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New video trailer for my book Letters To Pushkin!
Nov30

New video trailer for my book Letters To Pushkin!

The holiday season is a joyous time, but it also can be difficult as we’re missing loved ones who are now only with us in spirit. I hope my Letters To Pushkin book & the LTP web site are sources of comfort & peace for you, family, & friends. Here’s a brand new video trailer all about LTP. I hope you enjoy it, and perhaps share it with someone who might be having a tough time as all the fa-la-la gets underway. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omWcLdHSCAc&hd=1&w=600] Special thanks to all who have been so supportive of Letters To Pushkin. It warms my heart to know that so much good has come out of my own loss. And I like to think Pushkin is watching and smiling. *  *  *  *  *  *  * Sharon’s tender journey with Pushkin reveals the immense gifts we human beings receive from our four-legged animal companions.  The respect, humor, compassionate caring,  and unconditional love she shared with Pushkin reveals the preciousness of the human-canine bond.  We often refer to “rescuing” a dog, but it’s probably far more frequent that a dog rescues us, for as it says in Job 12:7, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you.”— Michael Bernard Beckwith, author of Spiritual Liberation~Fulfilling Your Soul’s...

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Volunteering at Best Friends Sanctuary
Nov09

Volunteering at Best Friends Sanctuary

I was fortunate enough in September to spend some time volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.  The sanctuary serves as the headquarters for the 30 year-old organization Best Friends Animal Society, which launched the no-kill movement and facilitates adoptions and spay/neuter programs nationwide. In addition, BF works on initiatives related to puppy mills, pit bull/breed discrimination, and TNR for feral cat colonies. Nestled in Angel Canyon, the sanctuary is a slice of heaven where, at any given time, about 1700 animals are being cared for by the Best Friends staff. Although most of these animals are dogs and cats that are waiting for their forever homes, the sanctuary also takes in barnyard animals (horses, goats), pigs, bunnies, parrots and exotic birds, and wild life. Some of the animals have special needs, some have come from situations of abandonment or neglect. With the exception of the animals in the Wildlife department, all the animals are adoptable. The miracle here is that there is no clock ticking against them: the sanctuary, then, functions as the largest no-kill shelter in the country; in this idyllic setting, the animals are ensured whatever they need — physical, emotional, and psychological needs — for as long as it takes to find them a family. To spend time in such a gorgeous place with these animals, and the very special people who spend their days caring for them, was extraordinary. The sanctuary is a scenic four-hour drive from the Las Vegas airport. Kanab is a great little town in its own right: this “Little Hollywood” was the location for more than 100 western films. The main street, lined with quaint shops and cafes, showcases a “western” walk of fame that features familiar faces such as Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck; and there’s a museum that houses pieces of old western movie sets. Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes are all just short drives away — we wrapped it all together into one great Utah trip. While the 90-minute tour of the sanctuary is alone worth a trip — some 3 million people visit each year — it was even better to spend a few days there and volunteer. There are plenty of places to stay in Kanab, about 10 minutes from the sanctuary; but if you book well in advance, you can have the added pleasure of staying right on the sanctuary’s premises, as we did, at one of its cabins or cottages. And here’s a tip: whether you are staying on site or in town, lunch at the cafeteria in Angel Village is an absolute must — both...

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Happy for Harpo!
Oct25

Happy for Harpo!

I have GREAT news to share today. When my husband and I were at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary last month, we were able to host a sleepover guest, Harpo. Volunteers are welcome to have dogs, cats, and pot-bellied pigs sleep over as part of their sanctuary experience. Although the sanctuary is quite the idyllic setting, it’s still not the same as having a real home and loving family; the sleepovers are a wonderful way of allowing animals to give and get some one-on-one affection while they are waiting for their forever homes. Our Sleepover with Harpo We met Harpo the day we were volunteering at Dogtown. I was sitting on the ground in one of the smaller dog runs among a handful of adult dogs when Harpo came up to me quietly. He brushed his face against my cheek and I said to Seth, “I think we found our sleepover dog.” When it was time to take him to our cabin on the sanctuary premises, Harpo jumped into our car and settled in right away. At the cabin, in an instant  he was up on the bed, ready for a belly rub and some snuggle.  While Harpo took a short nap, we looked up his online adoption profile: Harpo is about eight years old and came from a no-kill shelter in Texas that closed. That night, we enjoyed patio dining in town and lots more snuggle time. As Harpo rested his head on my chest and let out a long sigh before falling asleep that night, I knew that, although we could not bring him home with us, I would feel connected to this spirit for the rest of my life. I prayed his forever family would find him soon. Harpo Comes to Arizona This past Saturday morning while I was in Portland attending the annual Animal Law Conference, we got a call at our home in Tucson from Best Friends to let us know that Harpo was in Phoenix for an adoption event. I quickly spread the word to all my Arizona friends — let’s help Harpo find a home! I was hoping all day long that Harpo’s family would find him. We checked on Saturday night… Harpo hadn’t been adopted that day and was still with his BF caregiver, Marti. BUT on Tuesday night, once I was back in Tucson, I went to check his adoption profile on the Best Friends web site.  Harpo was not among the many dogs listed for adoption. I sent a couple of emails asking for an update and — yay! — Harpo has been adopted! I was thrilled to receive the...

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The Blessing Event: Angels Rest at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Oct18

The Blessing Event: Angels Rest at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

At Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, nestled in Angel Canyon near Kanab, Utah, there is a resting place and memorial site for companion animals loved and lost. Originally, Angels Rest was created as a place for animals whose time to cross over the Rainbow Bridge had come while they were living at the sanctuary, and for companion animals of the sanctuary’s staff. Each month, members of the Best Friends community gather to honor the dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, pigs, parrots, and wildlife that have moved on. Placements & Memorials in the Garden Over the years, the number of animals remembered and honored has grown, and extended beyond the sanctuary’s immediate family. Now, more than 3,000 animals have been placed or memorialized at Angels Rest. Supporters of Best Friends from around the country have the option of having their animals placed here, bodies ($300-$450) or cremains ($150), accompanied by a dedication plaque ($75) or a granite or rose stone ($425-$475). Plaques and stones also are available as memorials on their own. Or, people can have wind chimes hung on one of the myriad chime trees in the garden ($80-$150). The garden is bigger than it first appears from the front gate: row after row of memorials; a fountain in the garden’s center; the grounds peppered with statues of dogs and cats, a pig; and, everywhere you turn, there’s another crevice containing some sort of memento or an old collar.   The Annual Blessing Event & Tributes While the Blessing is a monthly event for the sanctuary community, each September — the month my husband and I decided to visit and volunteer — the Blessing event becomes one that includes the general public, as BF members are invited to send in “tributes” to the loved ones they’ve lost. The mailed-in tributes are long cards with handwritten comments, which the garden’s caretakers hang on the trees and shrubs specifically for the event. More than 30,000 companion animals were represented by these tributes during the September Blessing. And adding to the beauty of  all those cards moving gently in the breeze: the thought that, in the very moments the Blessing was happening, some 30,000 additional people  — spread out all across the country — were with us in their thoughts. All of us, together at Angels Rest, honoring the animals in our lives. The evening’s program, lasting about an hour and a half, was both somber and uplifting. As people arrived and took their seats, one of the sanctuary co-founders played the violin sweetly. The event began with a Call to Gathering followed by Welcoming Remarks by John Sichta, Angels Rest senior caretaker. The...

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Some New Food Favorites
Apr16

Some New Food Favorites

While we mostly stick to a whole foods vegan diet in our home, I always enjoy trying new products and discovering new favorites. Here are some recent finds that quickly have made the “faves” list. Enjoy! Vegan Gourmet Sour Cream by Follow Your Heart Smooth and creamy texture right out of the fridge. This is definitely was an instant new fave for us — for taco night, to top off a baked potato, or for having with some homemade guacamole and chips. Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt, Peach I don’t use many soy products on a regular basis, and I’ve not been a huge fan of soy yogurts. But I saw this on the shelf during a recent TJ’s run and decided I’d give it a try. So excited! This is just what I need to satisfy that yogurt craving I still get every once in a while, and peach has always been one of my favorite yogurt flavors. The Trader Joe’s brand (strawberry yogurt, too) doesn’t have the after-taste I’ve noticed with other soy yogurt brands. And at 160 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, it’s a great option for a quick breakfast. Daiya Mozzarella This is not the first time I’ve sung the praises of Daiya. I’ve never been a cheese person, so I don’t use the substitute on a regular basis. But Daiya mozzarella has had a couple of moments in the spotlight recently in our home: first, an Italian quesadilla — some mozzarella shreds sandwiched between tortilla for a quick appetizer or snack; second, we recently tried a new recipe for Baked Ziti and once again relied on Daiya to veganize an Italian dish. SO good! Check back with me next week for the recipe. Vegetarian Plus Ethnic Cuisine Although I love cooking up  recipes from scratch– especially ones that get creative with spices and sauces — frozen entrees that are this delicious are always nice to have handy on days when it’s dinnertime and I’ve been working non-stop all day. My husband, in his pre-vegan days, was a big Vindaloo fan, so we were particularly happy to discover this Vegan Lamb Vindaloo. The “lamb” has terrific texture, and the sauce is excellent —   a good amount of spice for him, without being too spicy for me.  Similarly, the Kung Pao “Chicken” should fill the bill for those of you who are missing an old take-out favorite. One heads up: these entrees are not complete frozen meals. You’ll need to make the rice on your own, or add peanuts and/or veggies to the Kung Pao. One for the Pups! Natural Balance, Vegetarian (wet food) Many of us...

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Meatless Monday for the New Year!
Jan09

Meatless Monday for the New Year!

Happy New Year! A new year is the perfect time to get on board with the Meatless Monday movement. So easy, and it’s amazing how just one day each week can make such a big difference — for animals, the environment, and human health. Prepare to be inspired by this fun 3-minute video. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpziz8cJMaI&feature=player_embedded&noredirect=1&w=600]   For more details and recipes, visit the Meatless Monday web site and follow on Twitter @MeatlessMonday. I usually retweet one recipe sent out by MM each Monday. Bonus Tip for Companion Animals! Fido and Fluffy also can get on board with Meatless Monday in your home, too! My pups enjoy vegan food such as Evolution, Dr. Harvey’s (with quinoa or tofu mixed in), and Humane Choice. Vegan food is available for cats,...

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