Category: Animals

Legacies: They’re For the Dogs

RIP Daisy Mae 2012-2014

While we are all so different, there are some things that we inherently share, regardless of location or ideology.  We all look at the same sun and the same moon each day.  We all eat and we all poop.  And, contrary to popular Hollywood movies based on best selling “non-fiction” books, none of us know for sure what is waiting for us after we each take our last breath.  We all speculate based on our individual belief systems.  Many of us are convinced that our understanding of the afterlife is locked-and-loaded.  But, I have yet to meet anyone who was declared dead for a few weeks and came back to life with a selfie full of images of God, angels and dead relatives on his phone.

My dog died two weeks ago, but let me make it clear that she wasn’t just my dog.  She was my best friend, my four-legged child, my confidante, my unconditional love, my biggest fan and my constant companion.  Simply put…She was my joy.  I had a series of appointments in my old town and brought her to the doggie daycare where she loved to play.  After giving me kisses, she ran back to the play area to greet her old friends.  She loved life, loved people, loved her friends and didn’t know when to stop and take a rest.  After getting over-heated, her heart gave out.  I got the call that my 2 year-old Valley Bulldog, Daisy Mae, had died just 4 hours after I dropped her off.  I was 4 blocks away and raced to be by her side, but she was gone.

The first thought that went through my mind was, “Please let there be a heaven because I can’t imagine never seeing my baby girl again.”  I have always been a person of faith, but moments like these make us realize how vulnerable we are to the truth about the afterlife.  We have no control over creating it.  I prayed that she went straight from this world to the Rainbow Bridge where all of the dogs play and wait for their one special owner to eventually arrive for a lovely permanent reunion.  Faith is the only thing that can provide comfort during times like these.  Without it, I know I would feel even emptier than I do now and life would feel purposeless.  So I choose to believe.

Daisy Mae’s death has forced me to see so many things differently.  I have received so much love from family and friends, more than I ever expected.  I have experienced the impact my little baby girl had on others and have been inspired to live a more joyous life.  I have developed such a sense of awareness of the grief that people who have lost a child must experience and am humbled by their courage to get up each day and face life without their loved one.  I have learned that there are animal lovers who “get” how I am feeling and those who probably never will…and I am so proud to be among the animal people.  I have been reminded that with love often comes loss, with birth comes death and then birth again, and with faith comes hope.  Finally, I have learned a great deal about leaving a legacy.  Dogs don’t have money or marketing degrees and they don’t care about having the best LinkedIn profile on the web; however, many of them have more impact (in a much shorter amount of time) than some of the people who do.  Self-promotion does not create a legacy, but what we give to others that inspires them to love more and live more through our example is what legacy is all about.

Someday these tears of grief will become tears of joy,  when I am not coming from a place of loss, but from a place of sheer gratitude for the lessons she taught me and the love she gave me.  Time will help with that.  And for me, paying tribute now to her joyful little spirit in a unique way that will honor her legacy, will be therapeutic and spiritually rewarding.  Daisy Mae’s joy will live on…and I hope to tell her how beautiful she is again at the Rainbow Bridge.


While we are all so different, there are some things that we inherently share, regardless of location or ideology.  We a...

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Paper or Plastic?


Sometimes you run across an individual who champions multiple causes that are near and dear to your heart. Dan Rosenthal is one of those champions.

I spend portions of my life at our condo on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. In the summer months, we keep our interior lights off in the evenings so we don’t interfere with the birthing processes of the Loggerhead turtles. Dan Rosenthal’s mother managed Loggerhead Turtle Watch program on Longboat Key and pioneered the efforts to handle endangered species programs for turtles throughout the state of Florida. While vacationing in St. Maarten, Dan saw a Loggerhead turtle wash ashore and later learned that it had died from ingesting a plastic take-out bag. The fact that he provided those same bags at his restaurants (over 400,000 per year), made him realize that he was playing a role in harming the same creatures his mother had worked so hard to preserve. He had to enact change…

Rosenthal founded the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op in 2007, in order to provide affordable option for fellow restaurateurs to procure sustainable products and services in volumes that are affordable. The Co-op has evolved into the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition, which focuses on advocacy and education regarding purchasing sustainable food products and supporting the restaurants that do so. They have tackled such issues as composting, immigration, and the agricultural industry’s impact on consumers and the environment.

What I love most about Rosenthal’s story is that family values often come full circle in creating social entrepreneurship. So many stories about various people who have created responsible business models to help solve problems in our society are tied together by the same golden thread…an awareness that was instilled in them by a prior generation. It is yet another reminder that the greatest accomplishments in life may not always be what we directly create, but how we impact others on a daily basis…how we mold and shape the entrepreneurship of our future generations by instilling the values needed to make a difference. Whatever your values may be, it is a great time to include your children in conversations and activities centered around those values. Sometimes the indirect impact we make is even more powerful than the direct one.

You can learn more about The Rosenthal Group’s most recent green accomplishments here.

Sometimes you run across an individual who champions multiple causes that are near and dear to your heart. Dan Rosenthal...

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Batteries Not Included

fuzzy cuffs

A few weeks ago, I was swapping dog stories with a friend over lunch.  Little did I know, I was about to hear a doozy.  Buried deep in her closet was a bag full of toys (of the battery-operated kind).  Of course, it just so happened that her son was home from college on break.  Her curious dog was doing what she does best…rummaging through the nooks and crannies of the house…and came across the bags of whirlies, shakers and glow sticks.  What fun!  In an effort to share her new discovery, she brought each item to her “brother” in hopes that he would engage in a game of fetch.  Push-bottom technology (for ease of use) allowed most items to be delivered in the ON position.  Did the college kid do the admirable thing and put them back in his parents’ room for them to discover in due time and hope that nobody saw?  Of course not!  All of the years of violating his privacy was about to be repaid in full.  The best revenge, he decided, was to play dumb and see how mom explains herself.   Needless to say, she was mortified.

Another girlfriend recently returned from a visit with her elderly parents in Michigan.  Her sweet little mom sat her down for what she could sense was about to be a serious talk.  “Honey, I have one wish and I need to know that I can trust you completely to carry it out.”  She nodded in agreement, convinced that there was no task too great to fulfill.  “When I die, I want you to immediately take a big yard-sized trash bag and just dump the contents of my drawers into it without looking.  Don’t unwrap anything.  Trust that there will be nothing of value in there.  I don’t want anyone to look through my drawers.”  She smiled and Jenerously agreed.  I know she will honor that promise.

I was sharing this story with a group of friends and one in the group instantly asked me to do the same for her.  So next time you are at happy hour with friends, make sure to assign someone the noble duty of cleaning out your drawers.  And ask them to remove the batteries before they drag the bag past your family and friends.

A few weeks ago, I was swapping dog stories with a friend over lunch.  Little did I know, I was about to hear a doozy. ...

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That’s An Ugly Baby!

OK, it is only right that I admit that I used to roll my eyes at a neighbor who walked her Bitchen Frizzy (sorry, Bichon Frise) in a little stroller with an umbrella attachment around my old neighborhood. She said that her dog had gotten too old, but still liked to go outside. Maybe it kept them both more active, I thought.

Then, I moved to a very dog-friendly city, where I admittedly scoffed at the wealthy old ladies walking their pets around the Saturday Morning Market, showing off their latest foo-foos and jewels (dogs and owners alike). I think whoever invents plastic surgery for posh pooches will make millions in my town alone.

But then, I got a bulldog. I like to walk and when I do get out and about, I tend to want to walk far. Bulldogs get over-heated easily and have trouble breathing in general, but are stubborn and will often keep pushing themselves until they pass out or stroke out. A bulldog in Florida is even more challenged. My dog likes to go outside and look around or take a trip to the dog park located about 3 miles away. As a former lab owner, I wanted to walk her to the park to really wear her out, but knew that wasn’t wise. So…I broke down and bought a pet stroller. I thought that a jogging stroller might not be so obnoxious, but clearly based on some of the looks I get, I was wrong.


Daisy paws at the stroller to get in when she has had enough walking. The princess enjoys being pushed around. The other day, she wanted to get in on the corner, which was on an incline. I let her in, not aware that her adult weight would cause the stroller to tip backwards, knocking her into the street. An older woman in a Mercedes Benz saw the stroller tip and pulled over right away, concerned that the “baby” may have been injured as I struggled to lift the stroller back up and keep Daisy safely inside. When she saw my “ugly baby” she rolled her eyes and continued on her way.

I never thought I would be one of those nutty dog pushers, but I have joined the club and regret judging others for bringing a little happiness to the mundane life of their house pets. And if it helps slow down the growth of my thighs, then I will continue to Jenerously push my ugly baby with my head held high!

OK, it is only right that I admit that I used to roll my eyes at a neighbor who walked her Bitchen Frizzy (sorry, Bichon...

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Mr. Ernie


Ernie is our Superintendent who takes consistently great care of our building throughout the year. He is always there when you need him, never complains and follows through on his commitments. He takes his job seriously and doesn’t waiver from his principles. Ernie is a simple man. He works hard and lives within his means.

Yesterday, my husband and I took him to lunch at a local beach spot. When asked if he had ever been there, he replied that he hadn’t since he “always brings lunch.” He ordered a simple chicken Caesar salad and avoided the croutons since he eats healthy now and has lost almost 50 lbs. He was so grateful to get to go to lunch, but we were so glad to have the opportunity to take him. He does so much for us…it was the least we could do.

Tonight, I was sitting out on my balcony, looking at the ocean waves crash against the shore, while my dog was leaning out through the rails barking at something below. What is she doing? I don’t see anything down there.

I took Daisy downstairs and ran into Ernie (2 hours after quitting time…still working away) and he greeted us with enthusiasm, reached down to pet my dog and asked if her pig was on the lawn outside. Aha! I knew what she was barking about and appreciated his attention to details. Poor rubber pig would have perished if it wasn’t for Ernie…and now I get to enjoy the musical snorts for the rest of the evening. Praise God!


Daisy says “Thanks Ernie for finding my pig!”

TAKE CARE OF THOSE WHO TAKE CARE OF YOU Ernie is our Superintendent who takes consistently great care of our building th...

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