Coastal Canine Winter 2023

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rom the country to the city, to across the pond, this winter edition explores some fun and inspiring dog tales to warm your heart. Spring is just about here, and after reading our first two stories you can feel that love is in the air.

Our first love story tells the tale of an abandoned traveling puppy who stole many hearts before completing quarantine and going to his forever home. And next, with a little help from a random canine messenger, a surprise proposal leaves a heartstruck young couple ready for marriage.

Dina Ruiz writes about a dynamic Pug trio from Maine known as the Pugdashians. Aside from being Instagram stars, these pups are also therapy dogs.

Our featured artist, Massachusetts photographer Ron Schmidt, brings his imagination to life by showing the human side of dogs through his iconic conceptual canine photographs.

After crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, ten-year-old Amber, a sweet Chihuahua-Poodle mix, journeyed through history as she toured the castles of both England and Scotland.

We have featured many canine interspecies friendships in past issues; read about another in the unique and enduring canine/bovine relationship of Colton and Bucket.

It's not always easy for guardians and dogs who live in big cities. Finding some greenery in the concrete jungle is a must. Read about how dogs and their humans get to enjoy a fabulous urban oasis right in the heart of New York City.

Woofs! Scott and Carie Broecker

Editor/Photographer SCOTT


Contributors: PAM BONSPER




Copy Editor/Writer CINDIE FARLEY

Marketing Executive MICHELLE HAYES

Please direct letters to the editor to: carie@ 831-601-4253

Please direct advertising inquiries to: michelle@ 831-539-4469

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Coastal Canine Issue #57, Winter 2023. Published quarterly (four issues per year). Copyright © 2023 Coastal Canine. All rights reserved.

Coastal Canine is dedicated to the memory of Sunshine Broecker.

Disclaimer: Coastal Canine is intended for entertainment purposes only. Please seek professional assistance from your veterinarian or qualified dog trainer before implementing any information acquired within these pages. Any resources mentioned are provided as a convenience to our read-ers, not as an endorsement.

Coastal Canine is printed on 30% recycled paper. All inks used contain a percentage of soy base. Our printer meets or exceeds all Federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Standards. Our printer is a certified member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) The FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way.

Winter 2023 | | 7
The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog. ♥ F

12 Polaris:

United with His New Family

Following four months in quarantine and legal limbo, a pup abandoned at the airport finally finds his forever home.

16 The Puprosal After a random encounter with a canine messenger, a visiting couple vow to be married. Find out more about this young couple and Abbey, their canine cupid.


The Pugdashians Dina Ruiz writes about a dynamic Pug trio from Maine, known as the Pugdashians. Aside from being Instagram stars, these pups are also therapy dogs.


The Conceptual Dog Photography of Ron Schmidt Morgan Eastwood interviews

Massachusetts photographer Ron Schmidt to learn more about the imaginative process that brings his iconic photos to life.

44 Amber’s

Trip Across the Pond and Beyond

An epic trip on the Queen Mary 2 takes Amber, a 10-year-old Chihuahua-Poodle mix on an unforgettable journey across both England and Scotland.

50 Bucket

and Colton: Breaking the Grass

Ceiling Rescued from a livestock auction, a calf named Bucket becomes forever pals with a canine named Colton. Did Colton become part calf, or vice versa?

54 New York City’s Canine Oasis In the heart of New York City lies a forested oasis for dogs and humans alike. Learn more about this park for all seasons.

12 24

On the Cover:

A sunny December morning is a welcome sight to dogs and their humans as they head into New York’s Central Park during off-leash hours. Learn more about this inner-city refuge starting on page 55.

18 30 44

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cc | contents


AGILITY GROOMING Suds ‘N Scissors 22 Who’s Your Groomer 21 HEALTH & WELLNESS Animal Cancer Center 43 Animal Hospital of Salinas 61 Cottage Veterinary Care 23 Dentistry For Animals 27 Monterey Peninsula Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Clinic ..39 Ophthalmology for Animals 29 Steinbeck Country Small Animal 22 Toro Park Animal Hospital 6 Veterinary Eye Clinic 20 INNS Cypress Inn 19 NONPROFITS Birchbark Foundation 39 FOWAS 60

Max’s Helping Paw 60 Peace of Mind Dog Rescue 59, 62 PHOTOGRAPHY Eva Sacher 21 REAL ESTATE EXP Realty, Loren Morse 28 Keller Williams, Rachelle Razzeca 37 RESTAURANTS Abalonetti 61 STORES Capitola Paws 4 Carmel Dog Shop 64 Earthwise Pet 60 Pet Pals 2 The Raw Connection/ Healthy Spot 3 Vanity By The Sea 4


Dr. Elizabeth Curto knew she wanted to end up on the Monterey Peninsula while she was at UC Davis getting her doctorate. She met her husband, Brian Jones, there when they were both veterinary students. They loved spending time and camping on the Central Coast and eventually got married in Big Sur in 2013.

Originally from Southern California, Dr. Curto graduated from UC Davis in 2010 and continued her postgraduate studies around the country. While she was interning at a large-animal hospital in Colorado, one of her mentors noticed her excitement when working on eye patients and suggested she consider specializing in ophthalmology. She completed her ophthalmology studies in 2016 and within three months had moved to the Peninsula and joined the staff at Ophthalmology for Animals in Santa Cruz. In April of 2022, she felt fortunate to establish her own practice with Brian’s great support as he pursued

his career in veterinary radiology.

Dogs have been with Dr. Curto her entire life. She grew up with them, rescued them—and only lasted 18 months without a dog before she started fostering them while in college. She loves all animals, and her field allows her to work with a range of species. She says her work is very rewarding in how it helps animals and “the people who belong to the animals.” Creating a sense of community is important to her, and she strives to make clients feel comfortable, heard, and respected. Her motto is “be kind on all levels, personally and professionally.”

Always challenging herself, Dr. Curto started training for Olympic distance triathlons in 2022. “Something fun to overcome!” And she enjoys swimming in the ocean now that she and Brian and their Boston Terrier named “Monkey” are very much at home on the Monterey Peninsula.

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Winter 2023 | | 9
VETERINARY EYE CLINIC MONTEREY BAY California Canine 57 From the Heart 61 ART Catherine Sullivan 21 Clown Bank Studio 49 Swan Design 49 BOARDING Dawg Gone It 15 BOOKS Tiny Dog 42 CBD Golden Pet Life 5 DAY CARE Dawg Gone It 15 Paws at Play 61
Veterinary Eye Clinic, Monterey Bay 2 Harris Court, Ste A-1, Monterey Open 9am-5pm | (831) 655-4939 Monday–Wednesday and Saturday


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Last August, a United Airlines passenger was traveling from China to New York with their four-month-old German Shepherd puppy. There was a stopover in San Francisco. At that time, the traveler was asked for proper vaccine documentation for the pup. The papers that were presented did not look valid to the airline representative tasked with approving the paperwork. The Centers for Disease Control has very strict rules for dogs entering the country from locations with high risk for rabies, like China.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SF SPCA 12 | | Winter 2023 rescue me | polaris

The passenger chose to continue on to their destination without the puppy—essentially abandoning the puppy.

United Airlines rallied around the pup. Options were sending the pup back to China, where he would be euthanized, or putting him down locally. The United Airlines management and staff made the decision to sponsor the pup’s quarantine time. They named him “Polaris” after their business-class service.

Little Polaris needed to be quarantined for four months. He spent some time in a United Airlines office in San Francisco being cared for by staff. Then he was flown first class to Los Angeles to finish his quarantine time at United Airlines’ quarantine station.

When Polaris was released from quarantine, it was time for him to get adopted. United Airlines asked the San Francisco SPCA to partner with them so any adopter would go through their regular adoption process. They had only one caveat. They wanted him to be adopted by a United Airlines employee. They had put so much time, money, energy, and love into this puppy, they really wanted him to stay within the United family.

The lucky employee who adopted Polaris is United Captain William Dale.

Capt. Dale said, “My family has been in our new neighborhood for almost a year, and everyone has been wonderful. It is a very dog-friendly area.

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14 | | Winter 2023 rescue me | polaris

Looking out of our kitchen window is a parade of dogs going by throughout the day.

My wife and I discussed adopting Polaris as we had been wanting a dog for quite a while. We both love dogs but the home we had been renting just didn’t have enough space. Now that we have the space and we feel settled in our new home, we decided the timing was perfect. We showed pictures of Polaris to our kids, and they thought he was really cute. It’s wonderful to see Polaris lick their faces and hear my daughter say, ‘I think he really likes me.’ I grew up with a Border Collie named Buddy, who we got when I was about three. Polaris is similar in that he’s very intelligent and needs lots of exercise. We started training in January and he’s doing so well.”

Kudos to everyone at United Airlines who went above and beyond to take care of this innocent soul and help find him a loving family!

Winter 2023 | | 15
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‘I think he really likes me.’ I grew up with a Border Collie named Buddy, who we got when I was about three. Polaris is similar in that he’s very intelligent and needs lots of exercise. We started training in January and he’s doing so well.”

The Puprosal

Last summer we got a very interesting email at Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR). The subject was “accidental meeting on one of your dog trips.” It was an odd request, so the email was forwarded to me, as the executive director.

16 | | Winter 2023 dog of the day | puprosal

Dear POMDR-Team,

My name is Sebastian and I'm from Germany.

I came across your site during my research/planning for a trip to the USA in September and found your project, which is incredibly great and admirable. My girlfriend (Larissa) and I are very big dog lovers and support European/German animal welfare organizations that help street dogs in the southeastern part of Europe (Hungary, Bulgaria, and Greece).

Unfortunately, due to our current living situation, we are not able to have a dog at this time. I share an immense passion for dogs with Larissa (both grew up with dogs.) We have been a happy couple for more than 15 years.

I plan to propose to her as part of our trip. I would like to surprise her with a special proposal that combines our closeness to nature and our love of dogs.

I wonder if a POMDR dog might be able to deliver a message with the proposal to Larissa when we are in Pacific Grove?

I would like to try to stage a "random" meeting to make a perfect surprise.

Thank you for your consideration and greetings from Germany.

dog of the day | puprosal Winter 2023 | | 17

This was a first! I was intrigued. It was so sweet. My husband, Scott, and I had just adopted a really friendly dog named Abbey who absolutely has to meet every person she sees. I thought she would be the perfect dog to deliver the proposal.

I wrote back to Sebastian and suggested that Abbey could wear a harness that would carry the proposal note. He said he would order a harness with the label “Abbey” on one side, and “Mail for Mausi” on the other side. (His nickname for his girlfriend is Mausi.)

Over the next several months we plotted and planned this chance meeting. I was a little skeptical at first that the whole thing might be a practical joke or scam. But lo and behold, the very nice harness did get delivered, which gave me faith that his story was legitimate.

Sebastian emailed me a handwritten letter, written in German, with a drawing of a mouse proposing to a mouse. This is the letter he wanted us to deliver to Larissa. I printed the letter and put it in an envelope and wrote “Mausi” on it and tucked it

dog of the day | puprosal 18 | | Winter 2023

away for the big day.

In early September, Sebastian let me know that they’d be arriving in Monterey soon and we should start to plan the day and time of our “accidental” meeting.

I suggested the meeting take place at Lover’s Point because who doesn’t want to say they got engaged at Lover’s Point? The name says it all. We chose the date and time. I sent him a photo of me and Abbey, and he sent me a photo of himself and Larissa. Scott would come along to slyly take video and photos of the proposal.

On the big day, Abbey wore her harness, a carnation on her collar, and the proposal letter slipped into the harness. Abbey, Scott, and I arrived about 15 minutes early. I walked Abbey around

the park while Scott sat under a tree ready to start documenting the meet-up.

From across the park, I recognized Sebastian and Larissa and began walking toward them. As expected, Abbey wiggled her whole body and wagged her tail like they were long-lost friends. Being the dog lovers that they are, Larissa was immediately drawn to her and reached down to pet her.

“She has to meet everyone she sees,” I said.

While they were petting her, I said, “She’s actually a mail-delivery dog. We’re looking for Mausi. Are you Mausi?” Larissa looked shocked because only Sebastian calls her Mausi. She looked at Sebastian with a confused expression. Who is this crazy lady? she must have been thinking.

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As she opened the envelope and began to read the letter, Abbey and I stepped back to give them privacy as Sebastian bent down on one knee and proposed. Larissa said “yes,” she cried, I teared up, they hugged.

I took the envelope out of Abbey’s harness and said, “I think this is for you.” And handed her the envelope.

As she opened the envelope and began to read the letter, Abbey and I stepped back to give them privacy as Sebastian bent down on one knee and proposed. Larissa said “yes,” she cried, I teared up, they hugged, and Scott got it all on video.

Although Larissa and Sebastian had been together for 15 years, they had never talked about getting married, so Larissa was 100 percent surprised and thrilled.

We filled Larissa in on how the whole plan came together. Then, off they went to their celebration dinner at the Beach House Restaurant.

We feel like we’ve made lifelong friends, and Peace of Mind Dog Rescue has two new supporters. Ain’t love grand?

dog of the day | puprosal 20 | | Winter 2023
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THE PUGDASHIANS Pugs With Fashion and Passion

What do former First Lady Barbara Bush and the Kardashian sisters have in common? They’ve influenced one of the most popular pup-centric accounts on Instagram: The Pugdashians of Portland, Maine.

24 | | Winter 2023

Like their famous namesakes, the Pugdashian sisters have plenty of curves, mostly on their backsides where they sport tightly coiled, cinnamon-roll-like tails. And it’s thanks to the late Mrs. Bush that they charm their followers by flaunting perfect strings of pearls. According to Pugdashian mom Lori Sorois, their success stems from one spontaneous event after another. Years ago, her pups were trained to be therapy dogs. A chance meeting solidified one of their trademarks. “We would be at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, so I thought, ‘They need to wear pearls like Barbara.’ I made the first string. I just went to the craft store, bought them and strung them.” The former First Lady loved it and asked for a photo with the dogs. Lori had no idea it would end up being the signature look for her famous flat-faced ladies.

The family’s pugs, now sporting cute (homemade!) outfits and those ubiquitous pearls, were soon requested to help raise money for a local rescue by sitting outside of a friend’s pet store. Tourists, getting off at a bus stop nearby, would snap away and leave donations. One day, as the three fawn pugs sat on a bench in front of the store, someone asked Lori, “What do you call them?” Without missing a beat, she replied, “They’re the Pugdashians!”

This phenomenal success stems from a woman who didn’t even know what a pug was twenty years ago. “I wasn’t a dog person. I’d see people dressing up their dogs and I’d give them a look.

People wanted to put a A $40,000 dog park in our town and I said, ‘Not with my tax dollars!’” she says with a chuckle. Then, it happened. “Eighteen years ago, I started seeing a little creature outside the window. It was a little old lady walking a dog. I asked her what it was, and it was a pug. A year later we had ourselves a pug.” That was Puggy, and Sissy came along eight months later. “I started going to Pug Rescue meet-ups. We started fostering, transporting, everything Pug. We did that for quite a few years and had several fosters.”

The current incarnation of The Pugdashians—Sissy, Tilly, Natty, and Missy—have more than 400,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, and close to 350,000 on TikTok where their videos have garnered almost six-million likes. But it hasn’t always been Pugs, pictures, and pearls, for Lori Sorois, her husband Jeff, and their son Lucas. In fact, posting photos of the pugs stemmed from a dark time in the family’s history. In 2009 the couple, at the time childless by choice, was faced with an emergency placement of a relative, Lucas, who was just a toddler. Unbeknownst to the Sorois’s, the child was autistic (and didn’t speak until he was four.) Throughout the first year, Lucas would kick, scream, and thrash for hours, day in and day out. In her own desperation for a little break, a little happiness, Lori would throw a photo of the family’s two pugs on her Facebook page. People began to take notice. More importantly, the pugs were able to help soothe the little boy’s soul. Almost nothing calmed him except the serene observance of his furry siblings. “We only had Puggy and Sissy. Lucas

cc | the pugdashians Winter 2023 | | 25
The current incarnation of The Pugdashians—Sissy, Tilly, Natty, and Missy—have more than 400,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, and close to 350,000 on TikTok where their videos have garnered almost six-million likes.

would be crying. I’d be crying. Puggy and Sissy would look at him, look at me. Give him kisses, then look at me again. They stayed beside him. It gave us comfort.” Once Lucas was diagnosed and got the help he needed, Lori was able to exhale. The Sorois’s adopted him soon after, and the young man, now almost fifteen, blossomed into an integral part of team Pugdashian. “He is amazing now. Natty sleeps with him every night. He’s understanding of where Pugs come from. I’ll hear him explain to people, ‘Pugs are from China 2,500 years ago!’” Lucas even takes a speaking role in some of the family’s charming videos.

Lori and her husband Jeff are both professionals in the elder care field. Jeff is a nursing home administrator, and Lori works with seniors in their

residences. All four of their pugs are registered therapy dogs, doing their good deeds at hospice, a youth detention center, elderly center, and nursing homes. “We’ve been on many dying bedsides,” Lori says. “I said to our friend who was passing away, ‘What can I do for you?’ He wanted one of the dogs. When I got back, the minister was giving last rights, but Sissy was cuddling with him.”

The Pugdashians do so much at home, but they’ve also left their paw-prints on international causes, most recently helping to save a human Ukrainian family with several pugs in the Russia/Ukraine conflict. In an almost unbelievable tale, a Russian friend of Lori’s arranged for the family and their thirteen pugs to flee the country. Lori and the Pugdashians then helped raise almost $15,000

26 | | Winter 2023 cc | the pugdashians

The Pugdashians do so much at home, but they’ve also left their pawprints on international causes, most recently helping to save a human Ukrainian family with several pugs in the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

to resettle the family in Canada, along with the eight pugs who survived the ordeal.

As if a huge social media presence (run without help), full-time work in senior care, and raising a teenager with special needs wasn’t enough, Lori decided to throw a wrench in it all by teaching

Practice devoted to dentistry & oral surgery Judy Force, DVM FAVD, DAVDC Diplomate, American Veterinary Dental College 8035 Soquel Drive, #45, Aptos (831) 768-7148 category | topic Winter 2023 | | 27

herself how to show her pugs in the professional arena. “We went to a Meet the Breed event and someone said, ‘You should show that one!’ and it was Tilly. So, I did a quick study on breed standards and entered a dog show nearby a month or two later. Mind you, I had trained by watching a YouTube video on dog handling. Off we went, and I accidentally stood in the German Shepherd line at first. But, once I found the correct line—we won!”

Lori loves the competition but calls it quite political and cutthroat. “I’ve had a lot of mentors, and they tell me, ‘The dog that gets the ribbon isn’t always the one who should have won it, but everybody knows outside.’ Being so new, and having accomplished what I’ve accomplished, it feels good.” Her Tilly and Missy are grand champions, and Natty is a bronze champion. “Our dogs sleep with us every night—they aren’t show dogs. It’s not

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LOREN MORSE 8 3 1 - 3 4 5 - 8 9 1 2 L o r e n s e l l s r e a l e s t a t e @ g m a i l c o m l o r e n m o r s e e x p r e a l t y c o m S e r v i n g S a n t a C r u z , M o n t e r e y , S a n B e n i t o , a n d S a n t a C l a r a C o u n t i e s P R O U D S P O N S O R Y O U R L O C A L R E A L E S T A T E A G E N T * F o r e v e r y h o m e s o l d , L o r e n p a y s f o r a d o g a d o p t i o n f e e w i t h t h e S P C A !

the life we want for them. The joy for me is me getting to show my own dogs.”

Lori, who was sewing clothes for the pugs when we spoke, always keeps it light, whether on social media, on a TV interview or on the phone. She is buoyant and sincere. “I love to do crafts. So, when I’m making the fleeces and stringing pearls, it allows me to craft. I make quilts for a nonprofit called Pugs Take DC. They raise money for Pug rescues all over the region. I make a pug quilt and raffle off tickets.” She cherishes every moment of this crazy life she could have never imagined twenty years ago. “It’s fun. I get messages, ‘Your posts make me smile,’ or ‘I suffer depression and the pugs help me through it.’ We love it.” She and her chic crew wouldn’t change a thing.

Dina Ruiz is a longtime Peninsula resident who has worked in the media for more than 30 years. She has been an anchor at KSBW-TV and featured on the TV shows “Candid Camera” and “Mrs. Eastwood and Company.” She has a masters degree from San Jose State in creative writing. Her Instagram handle is @DinaMRuiz.

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We are thrilled to be welcoming Dr. Taemi Horikawa to our Aptos practice! Dr. Horikawa completed her veterinary education at the University of California, Davis, followed by a rotating internship in Pittsburgh, PA and a comparative ophthalmology residency in Rocklin, CA.

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Dogs on skis, pups driving cars, and paws popping open bottles of wine aren’t figments of Ron Schmidt’s imagination. The conceptual photographer makes these silly scenarios come to life with an exquisite body of work that is featured on greeting cards, books, and major outdoor brands such as L.L. Bean. Schmidt is an artist based out of Newburyport, Massachusetts, whose muses have four paws and a tail. With the help of his wife and artistic partner Amy Schmidt and their yellow Lab, Lewie, Ron Schmidt Art Brand Studios can depict just about anything he dreams of.

More of a planner than a spur-of-the-moment shooter, Schmidt designs his photos to reveal volumes in just one frame. “We’ll ask ourselves, ‘Is there a story here?’ And if it can be a story, with a character, then we’re like ‘Alright, we’ll produce it.’ Typically, you’ll see a pretty image of a dog, or something like that, in a park. They’re beautiful images, but they don’t really tell a story, you know, they’re just a beautiful image. And I try to create images that tell stories.”

Schmidt takes pride in how nuanced the work can be. In a photo titled “Kane,” Lewie the Lab sticks his snout through the mail slot of his home’s front door at Christmastime. In his mouth, the familiar red and white stripes of a curved candy cane. Schmidt points out that this particular image has dual meaning; it can be regarded as the dog sneaking a sweet treat through the letter box, or something entirely different, like the pooch giving a peace offering to his nemesis—the mailman. “It’s funny, they’re kind of vague in that way so they’re open to interpretation,” Schmidt explains. He likens his photos to interactive art and is always enthusiastic about differing opinions. “We do school visits, bringing the photos to the kids who are typically between first and fifth grade, and do creative workshops. The images lend themselves really well to stories. We don’t

Winter 2023 | | 31
32 | | Winter 2023 cc | ron schmidt

even tell them the name [of the photo] because the name will kind of give them a path, so we say, ‘What do you think is happening in this image? What do you think happened five minutes before this, and five minutes after this?’ We’ll try to spur them on, and the kids will raise their hand and come up with ideas.”

A variety of breeds are featured in Schmidt’s shoots, including quirky characters like Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, and Corgis because of their eccentricities. But at the end of the day, his ideal model—the Labrador Retriever—lives in his own home. “Lewie is really a handsome Lab, and he works out well because he’s well trained and he’ll do anything for a slice of cheese, so he’s easy to work with.” To Schmidt, Labs are quintessential. “They are the perfect dog. It’s just a personal preference, but if you ask somebody to draw a dog, they’re

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Winter 2023 | | 33
Lewie is really a handsome Lab, and he works out well because he’s well trained and he’ll do anything for a slice of cheese, so he’s easy to work with.” To Schmidt, Labs are quintessential. “They are the perfect dog. It’s just a personal preference, but if you ask somebody to draw a dog, they’re going to draw a dog that looks like a Lab.

going to draw a dog that looks like a Lab. They’re enthusiastic and supporting and adventurous, so they work well in lots of different things.” Although Lewie is Schmidt’s leading man, his brother, Moses the 150-pound Anatolian Shepard, chooses to stay far from the spotlight. “Moses is beautiful, he’s huge, he’s majestic, and awesome—but not great in front of the camera.”

Oftentimes, the addition of fun details in postproduction make for an even better picture. Take “Fluke” for example, a photo of a serene nautical Pit Bull in a sailor’s hat and with an anchor tattoo on his chest. Another imaginative scene is “Labricorn,”

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which shows a Lab balancing an impossibly flawless rainbow cupcake upon his forehead. In some cases, it would be difficult to photograph a dog doing what Schmidt captures without a little help from Photoshop, but admittedly, some of the best shots happen without modern technology. In his piece titled “Adventurers,” two Labradors, a sleek black one with his sunny golden counterpart travel down a river in a wooden canoe, complete with their own paddle. “We weren’t even working with digital with that image, it was all shot on medium-format film. We try to source any kind of prop we can to save time, but in this case, I could not find a canoe that was wooden that looked like that. So, I built one in my basement. But it’s basically built for photography only, so it’s a half a canoe that has no back, no bottom, and is sitting in only two inches of water. It’s in the river, it’s just not moving,” Schmidt explains with a laugh.

Until he found his niche, Schmidt assisted photographers in New York City, working mostly in the fashion industry and taking celebrity portraits. He stumbled upon dog-centric conceptual art by chance. One year, while working for advertising companies, the Schmidts sent out a Christmas card to their family, friends, and clients. “We just had our dog on it, and it was by far the most popular thing our clients had seen. The dog resonated with them well beyond anything else that I’d done. [Amy and I both] thought, ‘I think we’re onto something here.’” After setting an intention to really give it his all, Schmidt created six more conceptual images of dogs that clients fell in love with—and the rest is history.

Around two decades and thousands of photos later, Schmidt now calls Hallmark, Scholastic, and even The US Postal Service, major clients. “You work with companies that license your work, and they pay you a

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royalty based on their sales.” Aside from making great connections in the licensing world, another industry called their name: publishing. After being approached by Penguin Random House, Schmidt’s photos were turned into the children’s book, Dog-Gone School, with Amy writing poems to accompany each one.

Together, the Schmidts have not only perfected the art of photographing dogs, but also combining work with marriage. “I love that awesome teamwork, or partnership. And people are always shocked. They’re like, ‘How do you two work together? I’d kill my husband!’ But we’re very lucky. We’re best friends, and it works really well.” And it’s been working that way for more than two decades. The blend of visual creativity, along with Amy’s quippy, relatable words, keeps the magic of their business flowing. Formulating captions such as “Obedience School,” to go with a photo of mischievous pups looking out the back of a yellow school bus, is Amy’s specialty. A

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ron schmidt

snapshot of a baby English Bulldog, frowning because the ice cream shop behind him is closed, is named “That’s Bull,” tying it all together. “Amy has the tricky responsibility or job to write to my photos. She’s bound to writing within this kind of area, which is hard. But she’s really a great writer. She does all the social media writing and all that stuff. I’m the visual, and she is the textuals.”

Schmidt’s continual inspiration comes from his real-life appreciation for canine creatures and the power they can have over people. “I’m a dog fanatic and a dog nut, and I’ve never lost that. I’ll still, to this day, think about that when I’m out with my dogs walking around downtown or the woods or whatever. Dogs are really special, and I just love them. I wish everyone had one because, it’s so funny, the people that don’t really know or appreciate dogs are people that have never had them. And once you’ve had a dog, you realize how special and wonderful they are.” And it is that love that will continue to launch endless magical stories for the world to enjoy.

See more of Ron’s photography at WWW.RONSCHMIDT.ART



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38 | | Winter 2023


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“Insightful, funny, beautifully drawn cartoons about man's best friend, our wonderful dogs. Dave's book is a real joy.”

A sequel to the popular Dogs Are People, Too, this collection of cartoons for cat lovers from the creator of Speed Bump is now available wherever books are soldpreferably at your local bookstore!

More info at

40 D A V E C O V E R L Y
~ Patrick McDonnel MUTTS cartoonist


Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Good Dog Bar & Park is a 14,000-square-foot fenced-in daycare billed as the "happiest place on turf.” This indoor park has an outdoor feel with features that include dog pools, tunnels, play ramps, and sitting areas. Have a drink and relax as your dog socializes and explores this spacious off-leash wonderland fully covered with a paw-friendly synthetic lawn. The park's fully trained staff, known as “Bark Rangers,” are on hand to politely monitor the park to keep it safe and clean.

Good Dog offers daycare, boarding, grooming, and training, as well as private events.

Weekly special events include various breed and rescue meet-ups, dog art days, holiday photos, live music nights, and birthday parties. Housed inside a muralcovered warehouse, Good Dog is equipped with ceiling fans and skylights making it an ideal place to escape a sweltering summer day. There is also a huge rolling electronic window that can be opened to let in a natural breeze.

Owner and Birmingham native Clint Carmichael says that Good Dog’s mission is to provide a safe, fun place for pups to play, as public dog parks are often underfunded, muddy, and have no safety protocols. Giving back to the community, one percent of Good Dog’s sales are donated to two local animal-related charities, Hand in Paw Animal-Assisted Therapy and Underdog Rescue of Alabama.

Humans can enter the park for free. Dogs must have a day pass or a membership. For safety, all dog entrants must be social and friendly and show proof of updated vaccinations before entering. Also, for safety concerns, no food is allowed inside; instead, a food-truck area is provided outside of the park. The in-house bar serves beer, hard seltzers, wines, and soda. The facility also has multiple TVs for game night and plans for a jumbotron.

With all the rain that we have been having in California this year, dog guardians would sure appreciate an indoor space for exercising their pups. Locally, we have some good ones available: California Canine in Pacific Grove, From the Heart Dog Training in Salinas, and Dawg Gone It in Monterey.

Winter 2023 | | 41


Available on Amazon or at Peace of Mind Dog Rescue 615 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove
HEART Portion of Proceeds Benefit This book is intended to inspire compassion and empathy in readers of all ages through the story of the life of a real dog named Bernie. The book also shines a light on the work of a non-profit organization, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, located on the coast of Central California.

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Amber’s Trip Across the Pond and Beyond


From hard kennel floors to castle doors, ten-and-a-halfyear-old Amber has made her mark across the pond and dabbled in all things royal and historic. On a recent trip aboard the Queen Mary 2, Amber and her parents traveled to the United Kingdom and explored parts of London, as well as the pastoral countryside in both Scotland and England.

Once aboard the ship, Amber was assigned to the kennel deck, where all dogs (and one cat) were kept for the entirety of the voyage. There is one room with the kennels, and two others with comfortable seating and a play area so that guardians can stop in during regular visiting hours and spend time with their dog. While it may appear lonesome for pets to be on a separate deck from their guardians, Amber and the other dogs were well cared for. The ship’s kennel master and his assistant make sure the dogs are pampered, fed, and exercised.

Amber didn’t love being kenneled, but frequent visits and time walking around on the deck made up for it. At the end of the crossing, Amber was given a certificate from the ship staff, as well as an official Queen Mary 2 dog jacket.

The rest of her journey awaits!

Amber and her family first touched down in London, where they rented a flat in historic Chelsea. Their flat had a private patio and backyard with ample space where Amber could

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run freely. London did present some challenges, with its narrow streets and large crowds. But these difficulties were easily outweighed by other attractions. These included a variety of parks and greenery, where Amber had some muchanticipated fun.

One of the highlights in London was the Maggie Jones Restaurant, a hidden gem with rustic charm. At one time, it was frequented by the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, and her husband. Amber’s presence was easily accommodated and warmly welcomed in London, with its many dog-friendly restaurants and pubs.

Edinburgh was their next stop. The four-and-a-half-hour train ride (with first-class tickets) suited Amber rather comfortably. The family rented a cottage there atop Lucklaw

Hill, overlooking rapeseed fields filled with cattle and sheep. Here and in the region of St Andrews, Amber enjoyed sitting and watching the animals in the fields.

Many castles caught the eyes of Amber and her family as they explored Scotland, and history made itself present. First, they visited Glamis Castle and its underground bunkers. Next was Falkland Palace, home to Scottish kings and a favorite of Mary, Queen of Scots. From there, they visited Culzean Castle & Country Park, along Scotland's west coast. Perched on a cliff high above the River Clyde, the park has a large pond, extensive grounds, and miles of woodland trails. The castle was also home to General Dwight Eisenhower.

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The next leg of Amber’s trip was a five-night stay at the 16th-century Craigcaffie Castle, where she and her parents had the space all to themselves! Made of stone and Scottish history, the rooms are all warmed by fireplaces in the kitchen and living quarters. Amber was not wildly keen on the winding staircase; the stone was rough and off-balance, but it did not stop her from going up and down to continue exploring. She enjoyed the local beach towns and eateries, as well as the nearby Glenapp Castle and Castle Kennedy

Amber and her parents were next off to Sudeley Castle near the town of Winchcombe in England. The castle itself was not available to rent, so they stayed in the Castle Gatehouse while there. It was a welcome sight to Amber. She got to explore the fenced-in backyard, making the gatehouse one of her favorite places. And there were tons of good eateries nearby, so Amber took a liking to this area and everything in it.

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She then enjoyed sitting on her mom’s lap while riding on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway to the small village of Broadway. Along the way, she got to take in a view of the spectacular Cotswolds region. The train ride was a success, and Amber’s mom can attest that “the old train was a fun excursion and the small, old train stations on the way were quaint.”

Amber enjoyed her time in England and Scotland, and her family found traveling with her to be easier than anticipated. She made the perfect travel companion and adjusted well to the unfamiliarity of being in a new country. Though some places did not allow Amber, what matters most are the ones that did and the memories that were made there. Her time

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exploring came with a lot of new sniffs, good food, and seeing new places with the people she loves most. From kennel floors to castle doors, Amber’s paws have left a mark on that part of the world. We can only wonder what more is in store for her—and where she is headed next!

Cheers, Amber!

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Colton and Bucket


Although there are many photos of dogs cuddling up with cats and other pets— even with birds and wild animals—the story of Colton and Bucket offers a look into a very unusual long-term friendship that started with a oneday-old calf and a young female Saint Bernard mixedbreed dog.

Their relationship started six years ago.

In 2017, Susan Klingenberg decided to make a bucket list. On her list was to save an animal’s life by going to

a livestock auction and bidding on an animal. “I knew it was going to be a really hard thing to do because of what I was going to see and the fact that I couldn't save them all. I cried in the parking lot going in.”

Susan explains how the calves were auctioned off first and when the littlest calf came out, the auctioneer looked right at her. “No one bid on him and so I did, and I got him for $10. He was at most a day old. So, I literally carried him to the trailer. I had never raised a calf before, but I was determined to give him the best life possible.”

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When they got home, the calf soon found Colton’s dog bed, dropped to his knees, and snuggled right in. Right from the start, Colton was a comfort to the tiny calf. Susan remembers those first few days: “The calf looked to Colton for companionship, and she certainly was there for him, lying next to him, watching out for him, and of course being his play buddy. Colton was always right there with me during every bottle feeding and more.”

She named the calf “Bucket,” thinking to herself, I’m going to have a large ranch someday and I’m going to have lots of little Buckets that I can save and care for.

Thus, the idea was born: Little Buckets Farm Sanctuary.

In 2018, Susan bought a large piece of property, and that’s where Colton and her pal have cavorted ever since.

What are the reasons these two oddly matched BFFs have remained inseparable for so many years?

Susan says, “One minute, they were snuggling. One minute running around like two little puppies. They saw each other as the same and acted just that way.”

Obviously, they had no species bias. Accepting each other is one thing, but changing their behaviors? Have you ever seen calves in a pasture chasing each other for literally hours? Why would a cow play like a puppy? Why would he drop his head, wag his tail, and encourage Colton to chase him? Why would he nibble Colton’s ears and let Colton nibble his?

Perhaps it is because Colton is a special dog. Perhaps she is the product of her mixed breeds: a patient, dedicated Saint Bernard who is drawn to those in need. Perhaps the DNA from other breeds gives her the leadership qualities to teach and the inexhaustible energy and endurance to deal with a . . .

One-thousand-pound playmate!

For as Bucket grew and grew and grew, Colton

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remained unbiased; she adapted her play to a giant. And equally amazing . . . Bucket adapted to Colton’s size (which, to his amazement, never seemed to change).

“They learned how to communicate,” Susan explains. “When I took Colton out to Bucket’s field, I never knew what was going to happen. Sometimes they would play and sometimes you could tell they just wanted to be together. Bucket would instigate play by nudging his

head toward Colton. Colton would instigate play by playing with Bucket’s ears.”

The videos of the two playing are lessons in adaptation. Watching them crash around in the grassy fields, I think they have broken the grass ceiling. Susan describes Bucket as a grass puppy who has the same personality as Colton, not the personality of a cow. The buddies have developed a unique style of understanding each other. They know how to avoid hurting each other by controlling their movements and speed. They shun stereotypes, do their own thing, improvise, and figure out what works, proving that nothing can get between two friends who love each other.

These are lessons we would all do well to emulate.

I asked if Colton and Bucket’s closeness has changed in any way over the years. “The biggest change is they don’t necessarily romp around together anymore. They hang out together. As both are older and more mature, just like us, they would rather hang out than be crazy puppies running around the field.”

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I asked Susan what her sweetest memory of her unlikely pair has been. “One of my favorite memories was when Bucket was young. They were running together. They were running around a tree in this square fenced-in area. Each kept changing directions to try to get to the other like they were playing tag and they didn’t want to be caught. It was so cute.”

She adds, “There are too many special memories to describe, as watching this friendship has been one of the most beautiful things I have gotten to witness in my life.”

I then asked, “Do other animals in the Little Buckets Farm Sanctuary have similar relationships with Colton?”

Susan’s answer: “Colton has many interspecies friendships, and we call her our animal whisperer because she is so special, not only with Bucket but everyone on the farm, and is absolutely welcoming and incredible with our new rescues. You can tell she makes them

feel safe, they trust her, she hangs out with them, and is looking out for them always. Our Instagram page has many photos and videos of these two to enjoy @ littlebucketsfarmsanctuary.”

For more about Little Buckets Farm Sanctuary go to Little Buckets Farm

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Dog guardians living in Manhattan are faced with a concrete world filled with crowded sidewalks, wall-to-wall buildings, and city streets clogged with traffic. Ah yes, but there is a nearby oasis that is New York City’s very own Central Park. For dog guardians and dogs, this is a much-needed refuge that helps locals and visitors alike escape the city’s daily hustle and bustle.

With endless places to explore, dog guardians and their pups can navigate through this 843-acre paradise on or off leash depending on their visiting time. This amazing park is complete with lakes, waterfalls, meadows, and wooded areas right in the middle of the city!

As the sun slowly rises up and over one of the many tall buildings that line the south end of the park, people and their dogs spontaneously make their way into the nearest park entrance to enjoy the early morning off-leash hours between 6:00 am and 9:00 am. This brilliant sunny morning is a welcome sight after a string of cloudy and cold days.

Among the four-legged visitors, a young Bernese Mountain Dog in a striking red service vest romps across a green lawn dotted with freshly fallen leaves. A runner and his dog come trotting by on one of the wide drives that span the outermost portions of the park. Cars are no longer allowed, keeping the roads reserved for runners, walkers, cyclists, skaters, and pedicabs.

There’s lots of adventure to be had here on two and four feet. Central Park is home to over 120 different species of trees, and there are nearly 300 different kinds of birds that visit here. When hiking around the park be sure to keep yourself and your dog hydrated; there are 28 drinking fountains just for dogs distributed throughout the park, marked with blue dots on the map.

Winter 2023 | | 55

To keep the park a safe space for all species, here are some Central Park dog rules that you should be aware of:


Dogs must not dig, chase, or harm wildlife, damage park property, or interfere with other park visitors.

Dogs must have a current license and rabies tag.

Leashes cannot be more than six feet long. And as always, responsible dog guardians should clean up after their dog.


Bring some snacks, water, and a blanket for you and your pup and enjoy a picnic lunch on the Great Lawn. During off-leash hours,

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The Great Lawn

bring a ball or Frisbee to take advantage of this spacious green carpet.

The North Woods

Enjoy a peaceful trek through this 90-acre woodland area located in the northwest corner of the park. Hear the relaxing sounds of flowing water as you hike along the stream and arrive at a beautiful waterfall. Dogs must be on leash at all times in the North Woods.

The Ramble and Lake

Another somewhat secluded area to take your pup is inside the Ramble. Follow the winding path along a narrow stream that takes you past three waterfalls and leads to a pond called the Loch. The Loch is lined with soaring trees that block out the surrounding cityscape, and the sounds of its waterfalls muffle other signs of urban life. Dogs must remain on leash here.

Loeb Boathouse

This building is located right along the lake and has a restaurant with a dog-friendly outdoor patio and cafe area.

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Balto Statue

This beautiful bronze statue is dedicated to one of the heroic Huskies who helped lead sled teams to save residents of the isolated city of Nome, Alaska, during a diphtheria outbreak by successfully delivering the antitoxin.

The Alice in Wonderland Statue

This giant whimsical sculpture will make you and

your dog feel as small as Alice once was. Complete with intricate details, the artwork includes many of the characters of the classic novel.

Cleopatra’s Needle

Walk your dog across the grassy area and marvel at this 4500-year-old obelisk located behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was installed here in 1881 and is New York’s oldest manmade object. Despite the name, it was over 1,000 years old by the time of Cleopatra’s reign.

Strawberry Fields

Located adjacent to John Lennon's former residence, The Dakota, this peaceful area’s focal point is a circular tiled mosaic, with a single word—the title of Lennon's most famous song, “Imagine." Here you will often find musicians playing Lennon and Beatles songs in tribute to the lost icon.

Bull Moose Dog Run

This newly renovated, fenced-in dog run is located next to the Museum of Natural History at West 81st Street and Central Park West and is an ideal place for your dog to run free during the park's on-leash hours.


Central Park can be enjoyed all year long, with each season having its own special feel. Bare trees and snowy paths in winter. Cherry blossoms and thousands of flowers in the spring. Lush green summers. And vibrant fiery colors each fall.

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Winter 2023 | | 59 (831) 718-9122 PO Box 51554, Pacific Grove, CA Peace of Mind Dog Rescue is a resource and advocate for senior dogs and senior people on California’s Central Coast. DONATE ADOPT VOLUNTEER Send us photos of two dogs who love to play, sleep, and hang out with each other. Email photo (at least 800x800pixels) to editor or text the photo with the words”community board” to 831-601-4253. Submission deadline is April 12th, 2023.
Winter 2023 | | 61 cc | the final word Quality training for you and your pet. • Puppy classes 10-20 weeks • Adult class 5 months and older • Basic and beyond – drop-in • Problem solving • Fun-gility • Tracking • Pet first aid classes • CGC workshops and tests Check our website for more information or Call 783-0818
Behavior and Counseling A s e r v ic e o f Fr o m t he He a r t Dog Tr a in ing • Indoor facility • Fully supervised play times • Matted flooring • Pet first aid trained staff • Weekly rates • Multiple day rates When you can’t care for your friend during the day, let us. Visit or call 783-0818 Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner 11:30am to 9pm (831) 373-1851 Casual Dining Fabulous Oceanfront Views Spacious Pet-friendly Patio Scrumptious Doggie Menu Monday–Friday 8:00am–5:30pm Saturday 8:30am–1pm To see YOUR ad here, contact
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“As a local bor n and raised here, I have loved being a par t of Coastal Canine. Their ar ticles have included many businesses and people who I love and suppor t. Many of my clients have pets, so sharing Coastal Canine with them is a gr eat way to stay connected. We ar e thrilled to be one of the adver tisers who make this local gem possible!”

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