Monday, October 31, 2016


Excerpt from
I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog
by Genie Gabriel <>

~ Wisdom from Ace ~
I hope you know by now–without doubt, to the depths of your heart–every four-legged who has walked this physical life with you has tried to show you the pure love in your heart. We are the reflection of that love.

We are the message to let go of the need to punish, and to build your own pathway of love. You don’t have to follow what others have done. You don’t need any guide but what is in your heart. Simply allow. Trust what your heart tells you and allow. Let the fear fall away. Abandon expectations. Live moment to moment without fear of the future. You might have to occasionally wash the dishes or take out the trash, but revel in those moments too.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Ace and I continued our regular walks–without further yappy dog incidents–until Ace was fifteen years old. On a particularly warm day, Ace collapsed on the sidewalk. A trip to the emergency vet and a later visit with our regular vet brought a diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis.

An expensive surgery could buy us some time and I wasn’t ready to lose my furry buddy. I pulled together the money and we drove forty-five miles for a pre-op visit. The vet staff took Ace to a back room without me and he almost died during the exam.

When they told me what happened, I requested a wet towel, a fan and a darkened room. Within fifteen minutes Ace was cooled down, calmed down, and breathing normally.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had stumbled onto the power of connections between dogs and their humans. 

Considering Ace’s reaction at being away from me, the vet surgeon knew something beyond the physical was at work here.

On the day of the surgery, they adjusted their usual procedures so I could be with Ace as much as possible. At the end of the day, he was allowed to go home rather than stay overnight–another concession to our connection.

Since becoming aware of this connection between humans and animals, I've experienced a number of other connections with dogs in my life. 

--Sophie and I connected while she was at the shelter. Though others wrote her off as a hospice dog, she told me we would have 2-3 years together. We had three wonderful years before she transitioned.

--My Cocker Spaniel, Rascal, and I first connected nose-to-nose when I picked him up from his neuter surgery. When he was returned to the shelter for biting at anyone and everything, he came home with me. With my beautiful Shepherd mix, Stewart, as his therapist, Rascal has spent many years in our doggie household, sleeping on my pillow at night.

I've also had connections with my Warrior Girls, which I talk about in my book, I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, as well as other dogs. Perhaps the connection of most significance for me is with Collies, starting with the dog of my childhood, Tippie. He has returned four times to support me at critical times in this lifetime.  

If you feel a special connection with your pet, know they have come as a special messenger for you. I like to call them furry angels!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month during October, I am sharing a few of my shelter dog stories.

Excerpts from I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog
by Genie Gabriel (
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Ace was my first shelter dog. A Border Collie mix with golden eyes that mesmerized me, and I knew instantly he was smarter than most people. He convinced me some of the best dogs come from the shelter. I got that lesson instantly–most dogs are in shelters or on the streets because of human actions, not their own. The so-called issues that landed my adopted dogs in the shelter have not been problems for me.

For instance, one of the conditions of adopting Ace was he be neutered within seventy-two hours or we would forfeit the extra deposit we made when we adopted him. Seems he had a price on his head at the dog control office because he had run away several times from his previous owners. We didn’t have any problems with him running. In fact, one day he broke the glass in our old, single-paned front door when the mailman came. The neighbors called me at work and I hurried home. Ace was laying on the front porch and greeted me with a grin and the question, “When’s dinner?”

The first time I saw her, she was laying in deathly stillness in one of the stray kennels. A big, black dog and I was in love again…Though I didn’t know it at the time…she was mourning as well as having a massive bladder-and-more infection. When I heard her story and learned she was considered unadoptable because she was twelve years old and incontinent, I stated, “Well, I’ll adopt her.” …Staff cautioned me this would probably be for hospice…The first evening, she proudly TROTTED down the sidewalk. This “hospice” dog and I had three years together.

[Rascal] had three paws in the euthanasia room when I asked the kennel manager to give me a few days with him…Though he got along well with my other dogs, he was terrified of most everything, and it was obvious he had been abused…My beautiful Stewart was Rascal’s therapist. Whenever Raz panicked and started biting at everything, Stewart stood over him and put him in a gentle headlock until Raz realized he was safe and no one was hurting him. When Raz calmed down, Stewart released him…[Rascal] has been with me and my herd for many years now, and he still sleeps on my pillow.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


October is chock-full of holidays celebrating animals, including:

Adopt-a Dog Month sponsored by American Humane Association and Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month sponsored by the ASPCA , both established to help promote adopting dogs from local shelters.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month was created by the PALS Foundation to promote safe handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals.

National Pit Bull Awareness Day has been expanded to include the entire month of October to educate the public and change the negative image of pit bulls. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is promoting several pet-related holidays during October, including National Pet Wellness Month, National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 7, and National Veterinary Technician Week from October 16-22.

In addition, there are a number of other weeks and days dedicated to celebrating specific kinds of animals, and we will be highlighting some of those holidays on this blog throughout October.

A special heart-tug for me is National Black Dog Day on October 1. Some statistics show black dogs at shelters are passed over more often than dogs of other colors. Here's a fun article at  DogTime listing ten fun reasons to adopt a black dog.

My doggie household usually includes at least one or more black dogs. If they are a BIG black dog, so much the better! October's doggie host on this blog was a black dog--meet Ace!
Ace was my first shelter dog. A Border Collie mix with golden eyes that mesmerized me, and I knew instantly he was smarter than most people.

Ace approached life with an attitude all his own. This incident never fails to amuse my grandchildren and describes Ace perfectly.

We walked every day through our neighborhood and knew most of the other dogs. However, at one corner, a little dog came charging to the fence, barking. He followed us around the corner, yapping incessantly.

Ace glanced at me, doing a mental eye roll at the annoyance. However, he didn’t react until we reached the end of the corner yard. As the little dog bounced at the fence, still yapping, Ace paused and lifted his leg.

His aim was perfect. The little dog backed away and shook his now wet face–quiet for the first time since he had spotted us.
And Ace sauntered away, a grin on his face.

(Excerpt from I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, by Genie Gabriel)