Little old dog plays very big role in Bay Area dental practice

Dogs are amazing adaptable creatures. They enrich our lives in many ways, including easing our stress and lifting our moods. When you're a dog person, even if you haven't been around a dog since childhood, engaging and handling one can transport you to a place of familiarity and comfort.

Enter Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and a stray Papillon from the streets of Hayward, California scooped up in September...

When a dog at Muttville gets adopted their new life often starts with a different name, in addition to a new home, as part of the matchmaking process. In the case of Babs, the Papillon, her name changed after she was adopted by Dr. Garrett's mother, and then again after Dr. Garrett moved her mom into an assisted living home and Babs took on the role of dental comfort dog.

Here's a special interview with Bay Area dentists, Dr Cameron T Garrett DDS and Debra Garrett RDH who realized a little old dog could play a very big role in their dental practice.

Karma, making dental patients happier

They tell us repeatedly that having Karma there makes the whole dental experience that much better.


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Influence Positively Interview: Christie Keith

Christie Keith is social media manager for The Shelter Pet Project, the first public service campaign promoting an animal welfare cause in the Ad Council's 60-year history.

After reading her column on for years, I was excited to not only meet Christie in person at the kick-off meeting for Maddie's Pet Adoption Days but get a selfie with her. During our short chat I knew she was a perfect addition to this interview series. Christie is the kind of person who uses her wit, thoughtfulness and mad skills so that the rest of us can make a difference in the lives of animals. If you get a chance to join in one of her webinars for Maddie's Institute, do it. You'll come away feeling empowered and smarter than you were an hour ago.

She also consults on social media and communications for a number of veterinary and animal welfare organizations, including Maddie's Fund and Dr. Marty Becker, the veterinarian on "The Dr. Oz Show" and "Good Morning America."

Learn more about this social media maven, and who inspires her the most as she answers our five light-hearted questions [...]

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Influence Positively Interview: Richard Avanzino

Widely viewed as the "dog-father" of the ‘no-kill’ movement, Rich Avanzino has had a major influence on companion animal welfare over his 38 years in the industry.
As President of Maddie’s Fund®, Rich directs the family foundation’s $300 million endowment effort to revolutionize the status and well being of companion animals. And to achieve and sustain a no-kill nation by providing solutions to the most challenging issues facing the animal welfare community through the combined efforts of Maddie's InstituteSM (research and education), Maddie's® Adoption Program (foster-based adoptions) and Maddie's® Grant Giving. Maddie’s Fund has awarded more than $150 million in grants since 1999.
Read Rich's answers to our five lighthearted questions and learn how like most of us, he's happiest when relaxing with his pets.

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Influence Positively Interview: Josephine Bloomfield

Last week I shared some of the back-story of Maddie's Pet Adoption Days coming up May 31 - June 1, 2014. Today the Grouchy Puppy Influence Positively Interviews return, and I want you to meet Josephine Bloomfield, Maddie’s Fund grants specialist and the person who makes Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days, the largest free pet adoption event in the United States happen.

Influence Positively Interviews.  A lot of new and amazing people involved with animal welfare, senior dog adoption, dog behavior and more have come to light since the Influence Positively Interview series began four years ago. [Revisit early interviews] It seemed like the right time to dust off those five light-hearted questions that everyone can answer -- giving readers a chance to discover and connect with other animal lovers they may or may not know.

Do you know someone who should join this series? Email the editors: [email protected]


Josephine Bloomfield_photo

Meet Josephine Bloomfield from Maddie’s Fund [...]

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Thanks to the spirit of a little dog and collaborative partnerships, Maddie's Pet Adoption Days sets goal of 10,000 qualified homes for pets

I have had an amazing big dog in my life for over eight years now. She’s beautiful, full of personality and an endless source of inspiration. She also happens to now be old, arthritic, blind and diabetic, but, if I saw her for the first time today, I would adopt her all over again. The incredible joy she brings into our family is worth the heartache from knowing her life with us will never be long enough.

My dog Cleo is a big reason behind my interest in supporting and promoting Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days. I look into Cleo's eyes and see the face of a dog who knows she's loved. I want other people interested in bringing a dog, or cat, into their family to consider adopting a senior or disabled pet. Did you know the financial support going to the 200 participating shelters and rescue agencies -- in 591 cities across the U.S. -- includes a $2,000 per adoption of medically treatable and senior dogs and cats?


image from
Grouchy Puppy Founder, Sharon with Cleo, adopted from the SF/SPCA

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Interview: Meet Musician Mark Alan. Learn How His Dog's Passing Produced The Album "Little Sun"

Almost a year ago I went to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary with my LIFE+DOG publisher. I had the chance to share some toys in both Dog Town and Cat World, which made me very happy especially because it was prior to the holidays. Touring the facilities, having a quiet moment in Angel's Rest, and meeting the dedicated employees left such a positive impression. We even enjoyed lunch with volunteers and staff alike, while listening to various sanctuary success stories. Three months later, one of the founders of Best Friends, Faith Mahoney, joined in my Influence Positively Interview series. Hard to say, but maybe this series of small serendipities might be behind a long time staff member at Best Friends introducing me to the Los Angeles-based musician Mark Alan, and his latest album Little Sun.

Happy Coincidence. Through Grouchy Puppy, I'm dedicated to sharing stories, interviews, cute photos, and generally any content that I believe educates others on the human-animal bond. With my older dog's health issues, I'm sensitive to every moment we have together, and how time is precious with her. Maybe it was a happy coincidence, but reading about Mark Alan's dog Dingo, the close bond between them, and ultimately how it inspired this album resonated with me.

image from download.themusebox.netAlphanautWhen you hear the emotion within the lyrics, to me, Little Sun, could've also been called "little son." The clear bond between Mark and Dingo comes through. Every song is a chapter in Dingo's story, some told from Dingo's perspective. Mark says, “These songs are not intellectualized, they are pure emotion – the cycles of life: births, deaths and the joys and heartaches in between.” 

Mark Alan considers his music to be a mirror of his personality, “Introspective, passionate and politically-minded.” Animal rights and environmental awareness are among these essential passions. In the midst of moving, and promoting Little Sun, I was fortunate enough to get Mark to pause, and answer some questions about how Dingo influenced his life, and music, and how this little "warm ball of light" gave fearlessly. Read Mark's heartfelt interview, and learn how you can help the National Canine Cancer Foundation:

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Influence Positively Interview - Kevin Kosik

Kevin Kosik joined PAWS as President/CEO in September 2011. With a background in corporate banking and more than 20 years of non-profit experience, Kevin brings expertise in fundraising, volunteer management and leadership development to his role overseeing organizational effectiveness and resource development at PAWS.  A Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), Kevin has devised and implemented annual fund, major donor, institutional and capital development programs and projects. He has held senior leadership positions at large non-profit organizations including serving as the Vice President & Chief Development Officer at the YMCA of the Central Bay Area, the Deputy Chief Development Officer & Director of Operations for SIERRA Magazine at the Sierra Club. He has served on the Board of Directors for The Emerging Artists Project, The Crucible and the Contra Costa Humane Society.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I just came back from a long overdue vacation, so I’d have to say that perfect happiness is sitting on the beach, watching the waves and sharing quality time with family and friends. You have to make your own happiness and that means it can be found almost anywhere. We all need a little more happiness in our lives. I start with keeping the people I love close.

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Influence Positively Interview - Marie Rochelle Macaspac

Marie is the owner of Switchblade Creative Studios, a design and marketing agency that specializes in working with nonprofit organizations and socially responsible businesses. She also co-manages Small Club, a walking/boarding/daycare service. With Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Marie volunteers as a foster caregiver, outreach member, and the team leader for marketing & design, and social media. For San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Marie offers support as an Animal Caregiver and provides Marketing and Social Media services.

Marie Macaspac's passion is an inspiration to many within Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and beyond. She gives her time & talent helping unwanted senior dogs find homes. By fostering more than 40 dogs in her own home as well as offering care and shelter for foster/hospice dogs whose end is near, Marie's heart is huge. Marie is a designer and is responsible for the accolades Muttville receives when our marketing efforts are noticed - Muttville's website, the design of Muttville's shirts, postcards/posters announcing an event, the concept for an event, and the design of the fast-growing Facebook page - these are just a few examples. She team leads the Marketing volunteers, overseeing video production, photography production, working with other people who give their marketing talents so that older dogs can be re-homed.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A quiet sunny warm day surrounded by nature, either the beach or the woods, with a handful of my furry friends enjoying the day with me - my girl ocean blue and all of our fosters/friends.....strolling without a care in the world, just being free and happy...

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Influence Positively Interview - Pamela Webster

Pamela & Honey on the beach
Pamela & Honey on the beach

In her paid work as a housing counselor for a nonprofit organization, Pamela sees that helping animals and helping people go together. Many first home buyers approach her for help because they are struggling to find apartments that allow animals. Others have trouble getting homeowner's insurance that doesn't discriminate against their dog's breed. And shelters in the areas hardest hit by foreclosures are struggling with an influx of pets from families who have lost their homes. Issues at the center of people's lives have tremendous impact on the animals who live with them.

This realization that compassion toward animals can't exist without compassion for people influences the content of Pamela's blog, Something Wagging This Way Comes. Yes, it's full of silly jokes and stories. But more serious posts describe ways for people to travel with reactive dogs, provide arguments for why puppy mills are bad capitalism, and even posit that someone seeking a dominance-based trainer might be looking for a way to understand their dog, even if the approach they take is misguided.

Pamela is the contributing Pet Travel writer for A Traveler's Library where she reviews books about pet-related travel. When she's not traveling with her dog, Honey, Pamela and her husband foster puppies for the Tompkins County SPCA.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I'd love to live in a world where life is more important than commerce. In that world, puppy mills and factory farms wouldn't exist because making money wouldn't take precedence over the health and welfare of living creatures. People would live balanced lives that gave them time to treat each other and animals with kindness. We'd remember that relationships are more important than acquiring stuff.

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Influence Positively Interview - Marcie Grube

Marcie Grube ACES Photo
Marcie’s professional background is Business Administration, but a hobby and passion for technology led her down the path of empowering online communities to make positive change using Social Media. She has developed Social Media strategies for both profit and non-profit organizations. She enjoys helping other animal welfare organizations voice their unique mission, and then share that mission with an online community thirsting to help their cause.

Her favorite quote explaining her philosophy on Social Media: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My personal happy moments are when I’m home and my family of humans and critters are simply enjoying life with one another. I can’t even express how fulfilled I feel when my family is together, connecting and loving each other. It’s my most desperate wish that every person and pet on earth experiences that feeling.

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Influence Positively Interview Joan Smith-Reese


Joan Smith-Reese is Executive Director of Animal Care Sanctuary. Animal Care Sanctuary is 45 years old but for many years was not in the limelight, just caring for animals without the fanfare. They are located in very rural NE Pennsylvania. They care for approximately 700 animals daily, mostly cats and dogs but have some horses, pigs, rabbits, etc. too.

They work under Cornell’s Shelter Management Program through Maddie’s Fund and their goal is adoption, concentrating on senior pets. "We certainly get plenty of pups and kittens but it is the seniors we melt for. Our adopters come from all over the country and we are proud of our matching program."

After the animals are medically evaluated and cared for, they are behaviorally assessed. They have 35 employees and over 50 volunteers that help care for our animals and assist at adoption events, fundraising, etc.  Along with owner surrenders they work with humane shelters to pull animals when they are at capacity so that euthanasia can be avoided. Because they are all privately funded the goal was to forge a trust with the government funded organizations to assist where they can.

Previously, Joan was owner of Keystone Home Health Services, Inc. in Philadelphia and President of Keystone Hospice. Both organizations had over 200 employees. Joan has her Bachelors from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA and her Masters from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia PA in Holy Spirituality in Health Care. She resides in Waverly NY and has one son Drason serving in the Air Force.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Lying in bed in the evening and reading poetry to my three dogs that listen intently until I read them to sleep.

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be & why?

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Influence Positively Interview | Faith Maloney

Photo of Kashi and Faith is by Molly Wald -- Best Friends Animal Society

Faith Maloney is one of the founders of Best Friends. Best Friends Animal Society® is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. Faith is a consultant in all aspects of animal care at the sanctuary, including the Best Friends clinic and adoption programs.

In the early days of Best Friends, Faith spent much of the day in the direct care and feeding of the animals. These days, she devotes an increasing amount of time to helping people from all over the world who are starting sanctuaries themselves. On any given day, there is usually at least one group visiting Best Friends with plans to start a sanctuary or other local animal-care program. For those who can?t come and spend time at the sanctuary, Faith has produced manuals like How to Start an Animal Sanctuary, and she offers help and guidance on the telephone.

Prior to working with Best Friends, Faith was involved with animal care in a small private sanctuary in Pennsylvania, and with counseling and social work in New York and Chicago. She has three children and two grandchildren. Her son is a veterinarian in Ohio, her oldest daughter is a schoolteacher in South Carolina and her youngest daughter is involved in the work of Best Friends.

Faith was born in England and has a degree in fine art. She also writes articles on animal issues and animal care for Best Friends magazine and other publications.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? My idea of perfect happiness is a time when all animal life is not abused or exploited. For me this applies to animals raised for food and other products as well as for companion animals.

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Influence Positively Interview | Sandra Estrada


Sandra Estrada grew up with animal companions, living in the country, they were her most frequent playmates. She could ride, as soon as she could walk. Her love for animal continues throughout her life. She founded and ran a non-profit dedicated to helping zoo bound animals for over a decade. She worked with the USDA to create new and improved requirements for maintenance of primates in Zoo. She even helped teach orphaned baby orangutans how to climb trees. She opened and ran the first Holistic pet store in San Francisco for another decade, and now dedicates her time to baking organic dog treats via

Sandra also works to raise public awareness about the needs of Military Working Dogs (MWDs), and she loves every minutes of it all. Her goal for the future is a statue of a Military Working Dog in Arlington Cemetery, (can you believe our country does not have a National Monument for these courageous dogs?) and a retirement home for the MWDs. She would love to raise public awareness so that everyone knows about the plight of these dogs and help them to get bullet proof vests, and cooling vests.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A world awake, aware, and grateful for all the great and daily wonderful help we get from the animals who share the planet with us. I always have wondered why we spent for much time and money on exploring space and other planets when we have so much to explore and learn right here.  

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Influence Positively Interview | Missy Johnson

Missy Johnson is a graphic designer and illustrator as well as the creative genius behind Dogs for the PAWS, a national pet rescue awareness site that is inspiring pet lovers to rescue, foster, adopt, volunteer and love pets in need. Dogs for the PAWS is an art and education project that started with 80 rescue dogs from all around the country. Missy paints the dogs' portraits and includes their touching stories of rescue and rehabilitation written by their companions and rescuers. She offers affordable design and illustration that rescues and other pet organizations can use for their events, fundraising and social media promotion of animals up for adoption.

Dogs for the PAWS and Missy's stunning artwork have been featured in numerous printed and online publications From FIDO Friendly, DogTipper, Lowcountry Dog Magazine, Indy Tails, Wadsworth News, and PeoplePets Online. She is a contributing writer for Life+Dog Magazine. Missy lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Jim and their 5 dogs, (4 of which are rescues) Lake, Gun, London, Schooner and Wyatt Earp. They volunteer with the Carolina Basset Hound Rescue.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?  My perfect happiness would be to see a solution to the flood of unwanted animals across our country and beyond . The ultimate happiness along with the perfect one, would be to have my art used as a resource for pet groups and organizations to promote their adoptable pets, promote  their dedicated work helping animals in need and raise funds using my designs on their event items, promotional materials and fundraising. Also having the opportunity to work with groups all across the country and travel to the different cities with a fun and unique exhibition to show the pet groups how to use my work as a resource would be a dream come true!

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Dogs Can Change Our Lives For The Better

Curiosity may cause trouble for a cat, but not for me.  My constant curiosity, about dogs and dog behavior, makes my days with my dog Cleo fly by. Her expressions, her behavior, has me so curious about what is going on insider her head. A friend of ours, Peggy Frezon, author of Dieting with my Dog, offered us a chance to ask her some questions, as part of the Dieting with my Dog "Weight Loss with a Wag" blog book tour.

Dieting with my dog cover 2 sm copy 2 for evitePeggy is the author of the new book Dieting With My Dog: One Busy Life, Two Full Figures, and Unconditional Love.

She and her dog, Kelly, are positively influencing each other towards their individual weight loss goals … Peggy’s lost 40 pounds, and Kelly’s lost six.

They are true inspirations about what it means to give fearlessly. 

And naturally, though she offered us five, we asked Peggy six questions, because we are just so curious about her life, with her dog Kelly:

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