Compassion & Kindness are Never Wasted

Today’s world seems filled with turmoil and violence. We have mass media and expert propaganda continually spreading suspicion and fear, resulting in millions of folks who become negative and suspicious, or simply hardened with indifference, which is almost worse. A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change; even if they behave negatively or hurt us, and we must not let those who have taken advantage of us stop us from being generous. Compassion and kindness sometime ask us to go where we are uncomfortable, and challenge us to speak up for those suffering, whether human or canine. With one kind gesture, we can change a life…one at a time, we can change attitudes; together we can make a difference.

Compassion and kindness toward companion animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done, as emphasized by Harriett Beecher Stowe:

“We are the voice of the voiceless; only through us they can speak

‘Til the deaf world’s ears be made to hear the wrongs of the wordless weak.

We are our animals’ keepers and must fight their fight,

And spread compassion and kindness until the world shall set things right.”

Just about everyone has a lonely dog (or two or three…or more) in the neighborhood, often tied out at the end of a chain or in a pen “out back.” Mixing tact with kindness and compassion, without being judgmental, explain to the caregivers that you understand that they are busy, and as a dog lover, you would be available (at no cost) to help with his care. Perhaps they have never even realized that dogs are social creatures who long for companionship..…Maybe you could offer to walk the dog once a week. You probably have a few old blankets that he would enjoy…or a few safe toys to decrease his boredom. Little things can mean a lot to an isolated back-yard dog!

Keep working to raise awareness of the inhumane conditions in puppy mills, and keep supporting laws to improve the plight of these helpless animals. Legislators need to be reminded that animal advocates are not radical activists, and their motivation is fueled by the fact that compassion and kindness are NOT shown to the animals in these filthy, horrendous places. If you are not aware of the scourge of puppy mills, or are indifferent to this issue, please spend some time doing research and you will be motivated to get involved.

Teaching children to have compassion and kindness toward their furry friends is vital for preventing cruelty to animals. According to the national PTA Congress, “Children trained to extend, kindness, justice, and compassion to animals become more just, kind and considerate in their relationships with each other. Character training along these lines will result in men and women who are more humane, more law-abiding, in every respect more valuable citizens. Live and teach the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” According to FBI profilers, professionals, law-enforcement officials, and child advocacy organizations, people who hurt animals may eventually direct violence toward humans. Teaching kindness and compassion toward animals is the foundation stone to teaching empathy to the human world.

Your inner voice encourages compassion and kindness. As Shel Silverstein says, “ There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long, ‘I feel this is right for me; I know this is wrong.’ No teacher, preacher, parent, friend or wise man can decide what’s right for you…just listen to the voice that speaks inside “

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted 😉

Guardians of the Night

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it is sometimes called, is a federal holiday set aside to celebrate and honor United States men and women who have died serving their country in the military. Memorial Day originally began to honor and celebrate Union Soldiers who died during the American Civil War. It is customary to fly the U.S flag at half-mast from sunrise until midday, with many people visiting memorials and cemeteries to honor military people who lost their lives for their country, and remembering their loved ones who have passed on.

On Memorial Day it is appropriate to also pay tribute to our working military dogs who are loyal, heroic, save many lives and help many troops who just need a friendly touch to help boost their morale. Dogs do not have the option of enlisting in the military. Yet, after they are chosen and trained, they stand next to their handlers, willing to give their lives for the humans. When a war dog locates a bomb, or a large cache of weapons or explosives, or even deters an attack, we seldom hear about it. In fact, according to , until about the year 2000, most of the military dogs were actually left behind, literally abandoned. After the Vietnam War, documentation estimates that only about 200 of the 5000 war dogs returned to the U.S. Thankfully this practice changed when President Clinton signed a law allowing for the dogs to be adopted, and now the dogs are adopted to individuals, police departments or other government agencies. (To learn how to adopt and/or support retired war dogs, google “adopt military working dogs”.)

“Guardians of the Night” (author unknown) is a touching poem about military dogs that is often read at memorial ceremonies for our four-footed heroes:

“Trust in me, my friend, for I am your comrade. I will protect you with my last breath.

When all others have left you, and the loneliness of the night closes in, I will be at your side.

My eyes are your eyes to watch you and to protect you.

My ears are your ears to hear and detect evil minds in the dark.

My nose is your nose to scent the invader of your domain.

And so you may live, my life is also yours.

Together we will conquer all obstacles, and search out those who might wish to harm others.

It is for you that I will unselfishly give my life, and fill my nights without rest.

Although our days together may be marked by the passing of the seasons,

Know that each day at your side is my reward.

My days are measured by the coming and going of your footsteps. .

 I am your right arm, the sword at your side, your defender and protector.

I attempt to do what you bid of me. I seek only to please you and remain in your favor.

Together you and I shall experience a bond only others like us will understand

I will listen to you without question, nor will your spoken words ever be repeated.

I will remain ever silent, ever vigilant, always faithful and loyal.

When our time together is done, and you move on in the world,

Remember me with kind thoughts and tales of a time we were unbeatable.

If needed at another time and place,, I would gladly take up your fight.

I am a military working dog, and together we are guardians of the night.”

To those who courageously gave their lives, and those who bravely fight today, we say THANK YOU.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs

It is always time to celebrate senior pets, but November is National Senior Pet Month, and animal welfare groups stress the importance of acknowledging, embracing, and truly celebrating our mature pets. As Doris Day explains, “Puppies are wonderful…romping and playing, tearing up things, chewing on furniture. Then they bond with you, and you learn that they are capable of giving unconditional love. No matter what happens, they are always there for you, through joy and sorrow, sickness and health, loneliness and despair. And when the years have taken their toll and they can no longer romp and play, they continue to give you all the love in their hearts…they deserve every bit of love and care that we can offer, for they have given their all to us Old dogs are grateful, devoted, and very faithful, and have earned our respect.”

Too often, older pets are viewed as disposable due to medical challenges, changing family situations, or simply because they’re not as much fun as they once were. There’s nothing sadder than senior pets who spend years with a family, and then find themselves homeless or in shelters, frightened and confused, where they are usually passed over by potential adopters who want a younger dog. The truth is that older dogs often have the perfect traits that people are looking for—they are quiet, calm, housebroken, and affectionate. They are true treasures!

A GRAND OLD MAN by Jeri Chrysong

My friend, I remember our earlier walks when you, in your youth, strained at the leash. I marveled at how a creature could walk so powerfully while simultaneously being choked to death by his collar. Today we walk together in the silence of great companions, my pace slower now to match your own, the leash of long ago abandoned. Your playful antics as a pup made me laugh. Your exuberant diligence as a watchdog in your middle years comforted me because I knew you would hear and alert me to every sound. I slept peacefully for many years. The realization that you have aged more quickly than I puzzles me..I am still middle-aged, yet you’ve entered your golden years without fanfare or much notice. You are a grand old man, and you are my best friend. Now, old boy, it’s your turn to lie in the sun and relax. Let me take watchful care of you and tend to your needs. Fear not that you have lost your usefulness, for when you look at me, still in trust and undeserved adoration, I find unconditional love and I am reminded to be a better person.

If you are blessed to have an older dog in your family, there are things that you can do to make life a little easier for your aging best friend:

  • Slippery hardwood floors can be difficult to navigate for aging pets. Non-slip rugs can ensure your pet has better traction when venturing around the house.
  • If your senior companion is losing her eyesight, it is important to keep clutter off the floors. Make sure there are clear pathways from your pet’s lounging spots to her food and water dishes. Keep her toys in the same place so they are easier to find.
  • Chances are, your older dog has some degree of joint pain. Make sure he has an extra comfortable place to rest those achy joints.
  • If your dog has trouble jumping into the car or up into his favorite chair, a ramp is an easy solution.
  • If you are not privileged to have an older dog in your own family, reach out to a lonely senior dog and make life better for him. Perhaps a neighbor or friend’s dog could use a little attention, or visit your local shelter, and you will find needy dogs who will appreciate any bit of attention that you offer them. As they share their beauty, dignity, and character with you, you will realize that old dogs are indeed the best dogs.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender—your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.


A Valentine For Mom


–thanks to Ann for sharing this uplifting story by Cathy Moore

My mom was a quiet, gentle soul and when Dad died unexpectedly, she was devastated but kept busy with her many friends and activities; however, four days after her sixty-sixth birthday (the week before Valentine’s Day), she had a stroke. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital, and the next month was tough, and although she survived, something inside her died. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with anger and sarcasm. Her number of visitors thinned, and gradually stopped altogether. She was left alone.

Since my husband and I were now empty nesters, we invited her to come live with us on our small farm, hoping the fresh air and casual atmosphere would help her adjust. We soon regretted the decision…she was moody and critical and had frequent outbursts of anger. She criticized everything, even the birthday gifts that she had received. Feeling frustrated, I desperately wanted to get her a Valentine that would brighten her spirits (and mine!). I browsed through everything at the local gift shop and was ready to give up when the store owner suddenly exclaimed. “I just read something that might help you. Let me go get the article.”

The article described a remarkable study done on stroke victims. It offered many ideas that we had tried without success, but there was quite a commentary on how attitudes often improved dramatically when stroke survivors were given the responsibility of caring for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon, filled out a questionnaire, and explained my reason for being there. The attendant showed me row after row of pens with dogs. As I neared the last pen, a sheltie in the far corner struggled to her feet, looked at me, and then lay back down. Years had etched her face and muzzle with shades of gray, her hip bones jutted out…she certainly was not a show dog, but there was something about the sadness in her eyes that held my attention.

The attendant noticed. “She’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and just sat at the door. That was three weeks ago. Her time is up tomorrow.”

As the words sank in, I turned to the guy in horror. “You mean you are going to kill her?”

“Ma’am,” he said gently, “We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog. It certainly not what we would choose to do, but dogs seem to be throw-away property, and we are left with the sad responsibility to do what has to be done.”

I looked at the sheltie again. “I’ll take her,” I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house, I honked the horn twice, and Mom came out onto the front porch. “I want you to meet your Valentine.”

Mom looked, then wrinkled her face in disgust.” If I had wanted a dog, I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Take it back. I don’t want it.”

Anger rose inside me, and as we glared at each other, the sheltie pulled free from my grasp, stumbled toward Mom, and sat down directly in front of her. Then slowly, hesitantly, she raised her paw. Mom’s face softened. The dog just sat there, staring at her with those sad eyes. Mom dropped to her knees, sobbing as she hugged the dog.

We can’t explain what happened, but in that moment, Mom’s peace of mind was restored, and it was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. She named her Lucy, and together they explored the community, making new friends. They were inseparable. Mom was once again a gentle, lovable person, and the sadness disappeared from Lucy’s eyes.

Then last year, late on the eve of Valentine’s Day, I was wakened to feel Lucy’s cold nose frantically pawing at our bed. I rushed to Mom’s room, where she lay, hands folded across her chest, face serene. Her spirit had left quietly sometime earlier in the night. The next day my grief deepened when I discovered that Lucy had pulled Mom’s blanket from her bed, made herself a nest, and curled up for a permanent sleep..

The morning of Mom’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks the way I feel, I thought, as we entered the sanctuary, surprised to see the church overflowing with the many friends Mom and Lucy had made through the years.. As the pastor paid tribute to both my mother and the dog who had changed her life, I noticed that sunlight was streaming through the window. The heaviness in my heart lifted, as I realized what a blessing the Valentine for Mom was to all of our lives.


Christmas Is A Time for Miracles

Christmas is a busy time of year, with traveling, family gatherings, and parties, but please don’t forget that it is also the time of miracles. Because you are busy, it’s easy to look past the cold neighbor dog left outside on a chain, or the stray shivering in the cold; perhaps you are the only one who can provide the miracle needed.


Unseen they suffer; unheard they cry;

in loneliness they linger; and in agony they die.

The lighted window shows the room so warm and softly glowing;

A tree so tall with twinkling lights and stacks of presents showing.

While just outside, a starving cat stands shivering in the cold,

And down the street, a stray dog limps…tired, sick, and old.

How can we turn away when we know such sad things are so?

And say they don’t concern us…just close our eyes to what we know.

How can we celebrate Christmas while ignoring those who suffer needlessly?

When all the time we know it’s up to us if improvements are to be. We must not turn our backs on their pain just because it’s hard to see. They have no other places to turn; they’ve only you and me.

Mary Martin relates her true story about their miracle dog:

We had promised our son for quite a while that we would get him a dog, but we kept putting it off…we were just so busy. We procrastinated as long as we could before we finally took a trip to the area shelter where we lost our hearts to a scrawny, obviously frightened puppy (not realizing that he would grow up to be quite large one day). We named our new pup Ralph—but maybe he should have been Inch, because of the way he inched his way into our hearts.

Our agreement was “No dog in the house.” We had a large fenced yard and a nice, sturdy doghouse for Ralph, but he wanted to be with his family, so he was soon allowed him into the kitchen. He was obedient, but still longed to go wherever we went. He would lie on the kitchen floor with only his paws on the carpet, then slowly inch forward until we gave in and said, “Oh, come on!” It wasn’t long before he gained our trust and we gave him the run of the house.

He assumed that everyone was his friend, and if a new person walked in the yard, Ralph was there to greet him.. Then, as we would stand and talk, Ralph would slowly inch his way forward to gently lean on the visitor’s leg. Most people would automatically reach down to pet him, but if they didn’t, he would gradually lean a little more, then a little more, until he got the attention he wanted. With patience and persistence, he would earn the love of the most non-dog friendly people. We chuckled because we knew Ralph’s tactics.

Ralph was a mild mannered, well behaved guy, but he wasn’t sure about his first Christmas with us. That big tree filling up the whole corner in the living room just didn’t seem right. His hackles would go up and the growls would come, until he finally accepted the fact that the weird looking monstrosity was not a threat to him or his family. Then he decided that it was his responsibility to protect the tree from intruders…he would lie full length in front of the tree and carefully evaluate visitors. Ralph learned to love Christmas as much as the rest of us, and every year he would station himself as guard dog. He never snooped through the gifts under the tree, and on Christmas morning he listened attentively as we read the Christmas story, and watched politely as we opened our presents. When he got his own gifts, he tore them open with the same enthusiasm we did.

Ralph was a miracle dog. He taught us to recognize many of the miracles of life. We can all learn from this gentle giant: By patiently persisting, we can accomplish great things. Inch by inch. And if we can’t do great things, we can do small things in a great way.

It is our prayer that we all enjoy a blessed Christmas filled with miracles.

Light up the World for Orphan Pets

Don’t miss our Annual Woofs and Wags Day, Saturday 9:00 am to 3:00pm

at Century 21 in Storm Lake  (813 Flindt Drive, Storm Lake – across from the Dairy Queen.)  


Every year in the United States 3.4 million orphan pets lose their lives without finding a home. Yet only 30% of pets in U.S. households come from rescue facilities.  The TLC Canine Center is one of 219 organizations and rescue groups registered to raise awareness for homeless dogs this September. We will be lighting a candle to honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and shine a light on the millions of healthy pets who are still awaiting adoption.  This awareness campaign encourages individuals to light a candle in memory of these precious animals.

Moved by the staggering statistics of homeless pets who lose their lives each year, Helen Woodward Animal Center President Mike Arms put out a call to rescue organizations in an attempt to create an awareness campaign, explaining why he created this Remembrance Event, “My heart breaks for all those beautiful homeless animals and also for the people working in animal welfare who are forced to take the lives of pets they love.  I believe that this is a way for people to let the world know the sad   lives of many, many dogs, and raising awareness can help to increase adoptions, and decease euthanasia.” Grass roots programs and events have sprung up around the world, and last year thousands of candles were lit at ceremonies honoring orphan pets around the globe, bringing to light the plight of so many innocent pets.

                It’s time to make a change…it starts with one person.  Will it be you?

Who will light up your life?   It will be me!

Who will be your best friend?   It will be me!

Together we can make a difference; together we can save lives.

Join the movement to remember the pets who didn’t get a second chance

And to shine a light on the orphan pets who are still waiting.

Who will always be there for you?  It will be me!

Who will love you unconditionally?  It will be me!

–Emmy and Tony Award Winning Celebrity, Kristin Chenoweth

We will have a Remembrance Display at our Annual Woofs and Wags Event on Saturday, September 27, and would like to include your special dog in this display, so if you bring along a favorite photo, we will attach it to a special card for you to take home as a continual reminder to do your part to raise awareness of the plight of homeless pets. We do hope that you will join us for this special day.  The Walmart crew, under the direction of Lisa Billings, has been working hard to make the day a great one for both two-legs and four-legs. There will be a rummage sale, bake sale, and food booth, with all proceeds given to the local TLC.  Come meet and greet some of the TLC dogs! The Puppy Walk is scheduled for 2:00 and we know that your awesome dog deserves to strut his stuff  (and certainly deserves a sample of the home made dog biscuits which will also be available….along with the TLC Canine Cookbook which contains healthy, yummy treats.)  And the event will close with our candlelight remembrance ceremony immediately following the dog walk awards presentation.  

If you are not in our area or are unable to attend our Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony, we encourage you to create your own event!!!

Feel free to use any of the cards below or use our predefined template ( Light a candle in memory template ):

In Loving Honor of:

In Loving Honor of:

In Loving Memory of:

In Loving Memory of:

Light a Candle Poem

Light a Candle Poem