Yesterday, on June 30th, we would’ve celebrated my sister’s earthly 63rd birthday. Manette loved birthdays and always made sure they were enjoyed in style. I, born in the cold dark days of January, enjoyed, but also envied her sunny pool party celebrations. Mine always seemed to be shut down by ice storms and blizzards!
She and her late son, Zac, were animal-lovers and together, with Manette’s husband David, adopted a Pit bull named Styles several years ago. Understanding that Pit bulls require educated and informed humans to serve as their guardians, they took great care in adopting the right dog that would be a good fit for them and ensuring that he was properly socialized and trained.
Working with multiple shelters, they ultimately chose a young brindle-coated Staffordshire terrier-mix and named him Styles for the stylin’ white “gloves” that covered a good part of his front legs. Styles passed not too long ago and I like to imagine that Manette, Zac, Rich and Styles are enjoying time together somewhere over the rainbow bridge, a place where devoted dogs and their loving humans are believed to reunite and share eternity together.
I mentioned in my previous post that recent events had reminded me of why I chose to embark on the writer’s path several years ago, focusing on the dog-human bond. The first instance occurred when a dog-trainer and writer reached out to me to thank my family members and I for sponsoring the Manette Begin-Loudon Memorial Special Award in the annual Writing Competition organized by the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA). I serve as a board member for that organization that supports those who write and produce canine-centric works that enrich the relationships we have with our dogs.
Each year, dozens of dog-writers receive Maxwell Medallions and sponsored grants in dozens of Regular and Special Award categories. The award named in my sister’s memory is bestowed on an individual who produces content embracing the special needs and issues facing those who support the so-called “Bully Breeds”.
This year’s winning entrant for my sister’s award is Rachel Brix, a Michigan-based Certified Behavior Consultant Canine and Certified Professional Dog Trainer at Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Inc. Her entry titled “Guide to How to Train a Pit Bull and Why It’s So Important” focused on the unique approach Pit bull owners must take in training their dogs to avoid problems. Here is the link to her article that appeared on-line in Dogster. https://www.dogster.com/dog-training/guide-to-how-to-train-a-pit-bull-and-why-it-is-so-important
Although my sister loved dogs, her real passion was horses. On the occasion of her birthday each year, I’d do a “re-run” of a humorous post I’d written about the special relationship she’d had with a dappled grey Arabian-mix horse named Muna that she fostered for nine months when we lived in Boulder, Colorado. That post would later evolve into a personal essay titled The Year of the Dream Horse which appeared in the anthology THE HORSE OF MY DREAMS, (Revell-Baker 2019). I read an excerpt from that post at her Service because it was such a genuine and engaging account that captured her spirit.
I thank Laura for her efforts to educate and enlighten readers about this important topic, one that meant so much to my sister. I also thank American Legion Post # 348 in Brick Township, New Jersey, for sponsoring the Captain Wm. Lewis Judy Award for several years now, an award that honors those who’s work honor our Military and Service dogs. This year’s award went to “Down & Back: From The AKC Archives” by Melissa Olund and Bud Buccone. I met Bud in New York City at the DWAA Awards banquet when he became the first recipient of that Special Award.
And so, in the spirit of all the good the Written Word can do, I look forward to sharing what I have learned during a work shop I will lead out in San Diego at Camp Widow organized by Soaring Spirits International in two weeks. I am very honored and grateful for these opportunities that provide the stepping stones toward embracing a new direction.
Happy Birth Weekend to my sister. May she celebrate in a pasture filled with horses and a great dog, or two. Here is the link to her tribute: /https://nationaldogweekbook.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/a-horse-for-a-year-but-a-memory-forever-a-birthday-tribute/
Enjoy your holiday weekend.