A Dog’s View: Tip 4 – Walk without the Pull

billblassSCREENWRITER WANTED to help write my happy ending. The sole prerequisite for this position is love.  Hey there, my name is Bill Blass.  I spend my days at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh reading the papers that line my cage.  My favorite part of the newspaper is the Movie section. 

I don’t know about you, but the movies this summer are a bit frightening. Have you seen the flick where monkeys take over the world?  How about the prehistoric creature that devastates a city? I prefer family stories with happy endings. That isn’t to say that my story isn’t any less terrifying than the movies mentioned above.  There isn’t enough time to start from the beginning, so I’ll begin the day I arrived at the animal shelter.  I didn’t arrive in clothing and sandals like the monkeys.  My attire was a choke collar attached to a heavy metal leash that was weighted down with padlocks. My previous owner didn’t keep his promise to love me until the end of time.  In fact, he hated when I showed him affection and took to constrain me in a terrible manner. The marks along my nose are constant reminders of his discourse.   

My prayers were answered he day animal control rescued me.  The staff members and volunteers at the shelter, treat me well.  I even made a new two-legged friend who enjoys my kisses.  Her name is Andrea.  She’s really nice and pretty too.

Laura Garber, my trainer, spends a great deal of time with my dog friends and me. She’s taught us how to act like gentlemen.  I work hard during her classes just so my next owner treats me better.  Do you want me to share a tip I learned just last week?  Great! This is Tip 4 – Walk without the Pull.

Dogs enjoy pulling and are actually encouraged to pull when they wear traditional collars and harnesses where the leash attachment is on their neck or their back.  It’s called opposition reflex and the perfect example is the husky pulling the sled… he shoulders into the load!  But there is walking equipment available that will discourage pulling.  Front-attach harnesses, such as the Easy-Walk or the Freedom Harnesses, are effective in decreasing pulling on leash.  Alternatively headcollars like the Gentle Leader, the Halti, the Snoot Loop, or the Canny Collar, can decrease pulling on leash for dogs with issues on leash (lunging, etc) or for dogs who outweigh/outmuscle their handlers.

Of course, dogs should be trained to loose-leash walk, as if holding hands with their humans, but these no-pull devices can help as you work on these skills.

Thanks for dropping by our blog!  If you’re looking for a friend to watch movies with, please stop by the shelter and complete an adoption form.  I savor a broad array of genres – provided we don’t watch Garfield by Twentieth Century Fox or Disney’s Lion King.  Cats – yuck!

About the Author:  Bill Blass is a three-year old Terrier, American Staffordshire/Mix.  He enjoys spending time with everyone – from kids to strangers.  He is healthy, heartworm negative and up to date on all vaccinations.  Help Bill write a happy ending for himself, stop by the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, 3320 Beltagh Avenue, Wantagh, New York and provide him the life he deserves.


A Dog’s View: Tip #3 – “Tap Out”.

  tommy‘Hey There’! My name is Tommy. How did you ring in 2014? I hope your year started better than mine did. On New Year’s Eve, I listened to Harry Connick, Jr. on the stereo, fastened my blue bow tie about my neck and steered it out for an evening of merriment. Rather than dancing the night away with the cute Boxer down the block, I landed in a shelter.   To my dismay, no one ever came looking for me.   I don’t want you to ‘cry me a river’ because my human friends at the shelter have been great to me.   In the six months I’ve resided here, they’ve taught me to sit, lie down and play some ridiculous game called cookie drop. I don’t know where that name comes from because no one ever drops the cookie. I sit like a gentleman and wait for them to lower it to my mouth.   It should be called ‘Oh, ain’t that sweet’ game, because when the cookie reaches my lips, I’m thinking “sweet”.

Until someone comes to rescue me, I’ll hang with my dawgs. In the meantime, My trainer Laura taught me something new this week.  Please enjoy Tip #3 – “Tap Out”. 

Dogs sometimes roll over on their backs in an evasive maneuver referred to as a “tap out” to avoid certain handling.  The term “tap out” comes from wrestling jargon for the flat-handed tap a wrestler might do on the mat to signify he wants to quit the match.  In dogs, though it may look like a request for a belly rub, it is really a form of passive resistance, or passive submission, given in response to something that is being done.  The maneuver often happens when you’re trying to put on a leash or manipulate a collar, harness or head collar – your dog is trying to turn off your collar-grabbing behavior, for instance. To persist may only drive him to escalate his protest because, from his perspective, his wishes are not being heard.  As a result, he may protest with a growl or even a snap. 

 So, instead of insisting on continuing, help your dog gain more ease with what you’re trying to do. If it’s a concern about collar grabs, teach him “gotcha”. If he consistently taps out when you’re putting the harness or head collar on, teach him a “get dressed” exercise to have him put the equipment on himself.


I hope this tip is helpful for you and your pet. Before I bid farewell, I wondered if you understood the quoted terms above. If you guessed that they are all Harry Connick, Jr. song titles, you have great taste in music. Until next time, here is ‘a wink and a smile’ from me to you. Fondly, Tommy!


tommy2About the Author: Tommy is a two-year old Hound/Pit Bull. He is vet checked, vaccinated and has tons of love to give. He’d be happiest in a home with a yard so he can burn off his puppy energy. At night, he’d love a forever friend with a warm lap to snuggle into.   To meet Tommy, contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh.

A Dog’s View: Tip 2 – The Wagging Dog

 snow1 HI, my name is Snow! Did you peek at my photo and wonder how I got that name?   You are not alone. Several people ask the same question. Let me explain. I am a “cool” dog who loves to “chill” on a warm day with the great staff members and volunteers who care for me.   My story began with animal control. They found me wandering the streets. The moment I saw the workers in uniform headed my way, I “breezed” on down the road to the safety of a backyard. I thought I was safe from capture until the homeowners denied knowing me. I won’t tell you whether they were honest at the time, because I decided to “let it go”. I’ve since met compassionate people who have taught me well. I walk like a queen, know how to sit and I even wait patiently for a treat. Since the great people at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh have taught me many wonderful things, I thought I would pay it forward an share an animal tip with you.   My trainer Laura taught my handlers and me this tip during our last buddy class. Enjoy Tip 2 – The Wagging Dog.

 Tip #2

Did you know… that a wagging dog is not necessarily a happy dog?  There are all types and tempos of wags.  A wide, lolling wag is a happy invitation, a “come hither” signal.  But a high, stiff wagging tail that is flagged, which means that it’s curved in the direction of the dog’s head, is not meant to express invitation at all.  In fact, it’s what’s called a distance-increasing signal among dog experts. 

Of course, different breeds have different tail carriage, and even within a breed there is individual variation.  Shiba Inus have high, curly tails, and German Shepherds tend to carry their tails quite low.  Some breeds, like Australian Shepherds and Rottweilers, don’t even have tails and that can make it tricky for humans and even for other dogs to read a dog’s intention!


I hope you enjoyed my Blog post. If you or a friend is looking to adopt a pet, I hope you will visit the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh for your new four-legged family member. Do me a favor and let the staff know that Snow sent you.


snowAbout the author: Snow is a two-year old Hound mix with a beautiful brindle coat. She is vet checked and up-to-date on vaccinations. This girl is sprayed and a great addition to any family with older children.   Snow waits in the front hallway of the shelter for someone to finally notice her.



A Dog’s View – Tip # 1: The Growling Dog

acis11Hi, my name is Acis. I would love to have a family of my own, but currently live in the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter. While my friends and I wait for our forever family to rescue us, we decided to take a tip from a great show on the Disney Channel and start our own Blog. We strive to help pet owners and perspective pet owners understand their four-legged family members a little better. I am thrilled to provide Tip #1.

 The Growling Dog:

 Most people view a growling dog as vicious and often think poorly of the animal. What they don’t realize is a dog who growls is actually a great communicator.   How many times have you told your pet to lie down and leave you alone? I’m sure once or twice you’ve asked your children or spouse to give you space because you are stressed out.

Dogs don’t have the ability to express their emotions with words. Often, we will return to our bed or move away from a stressful situation. When scary parties continue to engage a frightened dog, a good communicator will growl. This act is the dog’s way of begging people to leave him/her alone. He’s expressing feelings of stress or fear.

So the next time you encounter a growling dog, dismiss those negative thoughts. Instead, give the dog her space and remind yourself that this dog possesses the gift of communicating with human friends.

acis6About the author: Acis is a Dutch Shepard/Terrier,  Pit Bull mix.  This handsome brindle boy is up-to-date on his vaccinations and tested heartworm negative.  He is happy to share his food, treats and toys.  Acis walks well and loves to stretch out on the grass and watch the world go by. This fantastic dog craves companionship. You will never feel alone in the world with him by your side. You can meet Acis at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh.

Adopt Your Next Pet From An Animal Shelter

Summer is the season most of us look ahead to all year long.  Alas, for shelter staff and their four-legged occupants, summertime is the scariest time of year.  For some reason, the highest percentage of animal surrenders takes place during June, July and August. Once again, animal shelters have reached capacity.  When available space runs out, there are merely two alternatives to make room: Adoption/foster or death.  To avoid the latter alternative, I am listing a few of the wonderful dogs at the shelter.  

If your family is considering adoption, or you know someone eager to welcome a dog into their home, please consider adopting or fostering an animal from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter.  The shelter is located at 3320 Beltagh Avenue, Wantagh, New York.   To read more about the shelter and the animals available for adoption, please check out their web site at http://toh.li/animal-shelter.

In addition to the dogs featured in the above photo section, please read past blog postings written by some of our best friends. Adopting an animal from a shelter saves the life of a dog and brings happiness to your home.  Please visit the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter this weekend.  Kindly share this post with your family and friends.  Did I mention that the animal shelter is waiving adoption fees?  It’s true. For a short time, adoptions are free.

Author Spotlight: Dave Freeman’s Anti-Bullying Book

I am delighted to introduce you to Dave Freeman, the Author of the Mushroom Tales Children’s Pictures Books.


 Mushroom Tales – Volume 2: “Bullies!”

Subtitled: “Where do they come from and how long will they stay.”

“A Bully can seem like a monster or just a mad kid with nothing to do.

For reasons unknown they are angry and they seem to like picking on you.”


I am thrilled to discover your books. Please tell us a little bit about Mushroom Tales – Volume 2: “Bullies!”

Most recently, we have released this new Tale in English, while we work on the bilingual (Spanish + English) and DVD versions:

Bullies!” is the second in our series of motivational Children’s Picture Books, in rhyming verse, with colorful, comical Mushroom characters. Each Mushroom Tale consists of a short story that will serve as a conversation starter between our young Mushroom Readers and their Parents. Our main character and narrator, Maximus Mushroom describes our Tales this way:

“Learning to read is exciting.

Sharing time and a laugh is great fun!


Mushroom Tales share a verse with a message,

That will last when the lesson is done.”

Max’s voice resembles Alvin or one of his chipmunk brothers and will be heard in the Audio, DVD, Downloadable file versions and currently in our YouTube Trailer. (http://youtu.be/Z72JkDFjdR4).

Our goal is to dedicate our books to influence young readers with what we call the Three L’s of Mushroom Tales….To Love, To Laugh & To Learn.

Where did you get the inspiration for this book?

Mushroom Tales, available on Amazon.com, are a family affair. My wife Connie (Maria Consuelo) is the Artist who, while living in Colombia, South America had a dream and an idea, having something to do with cute Mushroom Characters. Fifteen years later, give or take a week, Connie and I met and married (not in the same week), which makes me a Gringo with a Colombian connection, possibly a “Colom-Bingo”.

A year ago, Connie asked me to create a story to bring her Mushroom characters to life. “You mean a Mushroom Tale?” I asked and the rest is an obsession that I hope will never end.

 Connie’s experience confirms the rule: Authors should keep a pad and paper close by to write down dreams and ideas. How did you begin your writing career?

I don’t recall the beginning of my love affair with writing. I can only remember that once I joined the real world, in a professional capacity, I was always drawn to and selected for writing assignments. I was asked to write resumes, radio commercials, complaint letters and even letters to turn an angry client from antagonist to a proponent. I enjoyed the challenge and to my great pleasure continued to hit the bull’s eye on many assignments. That gratifying feeling of connecting individuals and solving problems is my major motivations as a writer.

It’s not uncommon to hear quite sincerely, “Wow, that’s excellent!…..Can I see the short version?” My biggest challenge is a variation of the KISS principle, “Keep It Somewhat Short”. (We’re not allowed to say “stupid” in our house, unless it’s talking about why we don’t use the word “stupid” in our house).

I have a tendency to be a trifle verbose, in my writing, due to the fact that it allows me to use words that would never pass my lips in normal Construction Manager conversations, words like “trifle” and “verbose”, for example.

I sometimes even have difficulty answering short questions with one sentence answers. I am pleased to announce that by transitioning to the writing of SHORT, motivational Children’s Books, I have now gone to the other extreme. I have actually written a series of books in rhyming verse, which following a non-scientific public survey, have been determined to be TOO SHORT.   I can fix that.

That last response had me laughing.  Readers love following their favorite authors, which social networking sites can fans find you? Please provide links.

Would you please share an odd behavior you’ve picked up while writing? (An example: during intense scenes, my fingers pound the keyboard.)

I’m told that I have a good “radio voice” (last tested as a DJ in the 60’s), but when I am reading my stories out loud to listen to the meter, rhythm and rhyme, the only voice that comes out is Maximus Mushroom. We will be introducing a new character, soon, Max’s friend Millennium Mushroom. Millie will have just a hint of a Spanish accent….Colombian, I think. We’ll see if Connie’s reading habits change with this new addition.

I would love to hear you read your writing aloud in that voice. Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book?

To be honest, our first 12 volumes of Mushroom Tales came from my experiences in a perfect “Ozzie & Harriet” childhood in Portland, Oregon. When I took charge of my life in young adulthood, life seemed to get much more complicated. My writing is a combination of the wonderful childhood and scary, goofy, real world adult experiences that have shaped my character. Now, the next series of Tales will deal with an area that is much more challenging and an area that I am researching through connections with Psychologists, Medical Professionals, Teachers and Librarians, to name a few. This condition that affects millions of individuals is called “Autistic Spectrum Disorder” (A.S. D.).

Are you working on new projects?

Our objective is to create a style of book that will capture the imagination and attention of children within the Autism Spectrum. Certainly of equal importance in our goal is to create lessons that help “less challenged” kids and their families and friends to be more compassionate, caring and considerate. “Inclusion” is our key word and we dedicate our next series to that end. My immediate plan is to continue and expand our research by reaching out to professionals and affected families in a Blog. This will, hopefully, start a conversation and the sharing of experiences, observations, questions and proven solutions. Now that I know how to spell Blog, all I need to do is figure out how to turn it on. The self- education process continues.

I already know your book is part of a series. Please describe the series for readers?

We began with stories of importance to our young readers, one subject per book. They include:

  • “Rules of Gold” (about the Golden Rule)
  • “Bullies” (about Bully Solutions)
  • “How to win a race” (about personal motivation)
  • “Your Smile! What’s it for?” (about personal interaction)
  • “Single Moms Rock! Lessons from a child” (about single parent families)
  • “Be Positive. You are what you think” (Think Positive)
  • “The Troll and the New Kid” (about prejudice)
  • “Where do Friends come from?” (about..you know)
  • “Good thoughts, why bother?” (shows that thoughts have meaning)
  • “Good Morning Choices” (shows that you can choose your path daily)
  • “You are Special” (shows the reader that they have value as a person)
  • “Be the one!” (Be like One, not the Other..you choose)

Please share an interesting fact about yourself (other than writing).

 With an Irish heritage, it might surprise you to know that at the age of 39-ish I spoke no Spanish. Fast forward, 20+ years and I have a website called “Ayúdame Gringo”, which means ‘Help me Gringo”. I translate documents, resumes, etc. from Spanish to English and write persuasive letters for Spanish only speaking clients with English only speaking antagonists.

It’s often fun to see the faces of individuals hearing me speak in Spanish for the first time. I often get one of those “What’s wrong with this picture” double takes. Especially when my new friends have been speaking Spanish and they quickly do a mental rewind of the conversation to remember if they accidently insulted the Gringo. (¡No problema!)

 Me encanta! Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Our goal is to share our sincere respect for all people, young and old. We will continue to dissect our daily experiences to identify the good parts and the teaching moments. We hope that you enjoy our positive approach to life and that we may bring a smile to you and your children, while helping parents and mentors to connect with those children with a positive and motivational message.

We are always seeking new story ideas and even sensitive subjects that could use the help from a loveable Mushroom character, to help open a conversation and to bring families and friends closer together.

We promise to remember the goal of Mushroom Tales is to teach our children:

Thank you Dave and Connie Freeman for this wonderful series. I am a firm believer that children, who learn how to deal with bully behavior at an early age, will successfully overcome the issue when faced with it later.



For more on Dave Freeman and his books, please visit www.farmingdale.patch.com and click on Author Interviews by Katie McKnight. Would you like to have your book featured on my blogs? You may contact me at www.katie-mcknight-author.com or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/katiemcknightauthorpage.


Sonnet O’Dell


Please welcome my fellow Eternal Press author, Sonnet O’Dell, into the Author’s Spotlight. I am thrilled to introduce you to Sonnet and to provide a sneak peek into the August release of her novel, Whispers in a Dead Man’s Ear.



Short Synopsis:

Doctor Kale Swanson is the only vampire psychiatrist in a small town. Usually he spends his nights listening to the undead’s problems, but recently branched out to human clients. Pamela is a woman who is cagey about her past and Kale finds himself drawn to her despite a strict belief in a platonic doctor/patient relationship. When two men burst into his office looking for her, Kale throws himself into protecting and claiming Pamela as his own by doing the one thing he swore never to – get involved.

O'Dell_Author Image

Author Bio:

Sonnet was born at the John Radcliffe in Oxford and spent the first six years of her life living in the town of Abingdon, close to both her grandparents and most of the rest of her family. She moved after that to Cornwall for three years and then to Devon for another three before moving to where she has lived for the last fourteen or so years. Sonnet now lives in Worcester, Worcestershire, famous for Lea & Perrin’s Sauce and as the site of the last battle of the Civil War. Sonnet has had a passion for the written word from a very young age and enjoys nothing more than to read a good book.

Links to Sonnet O’Dell and her work:



https://www.facebook.com/…/Sonnet-ODell…/127559694006921 –  giving away a free eBook to likes #225, #250, #275, #300, #315 etc.



Other books by Sonnet O’Dell:

Maternal Bones

Intimate Invasions (available September 2014)


Join us tomorrow for Sonnet’s interview. The interview will post the evening of May 30, 2014 at www.farmingdale.patch.com.


To learn how you can step into the author spotlight, contact Katie McKnight through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/katiemcknightauthorpage or visit her website http://www.katie-mcknight-author.com