” What do Europe, Google and JFK have in common? “

My dog Susie says

What could be better than taking your pet to work?

Sometimes humans get it right. They really scored points with me when they created a “Take your dog to Work Day.” June 22nd is the designated month and day this year for animal parents to show their dogs to their co-workers and bosses. This great idea was first created by pet “walkers” in 1999. So make sure your pets are on their best behavior.

Since I’m currently in California for the summer, I decided to look around at companies located here on the West Coast. One of my faves, Google, has allowed dogs to come to work since 2002. They’re always ahead of the curve aren’t they? The Google people believe that having your dog with you at work relieves stress and makes the employees more comfortable, and thus more productive. The Discovery Channel people believe that having a dog at work allows you to take a break and pet your dog or go out for a short walk to relieve stress. They think of it as “Preventative Healthcare.”

I read that courtrooms across the country are using dogs to calm victims testifying before their criminal perpetrators. The judge allows the person testifying to lean down and gently pet a dog lying nearby. It really helps in calming children who have been sexually abused by a family member to tell what really happened. One female dog was so popular in helping these victims, that she was nominated by her co-workers for “Court Employee of the Year.”

So dogs help to calm and reduce stress for people in various occupations. Now which job has the most stress? How about President of the United States? Starting with the first president, George Washington kept his dogs with him while he was in office. Teddy Roosevelt took his dogs with him everywhere. Franklin Roosevelt was so close to his Scottish Terrier, Fala, that when he accidentally left him behind in the Aleutian Islands after a tour, he sent the Navy back to rescue him. Now that’s service!

President Nixon had a Cocker Spaniel named Checkers who helped save his political career. His predecessor Lyndon Johnson got into trouble by picking up his beagles by their ears. Not smart! President Kennedy had an Irish Cocker Spaniel named Shannon and a Welsh Terrier named Pushinka. Pushinka, a gift from the Soviet Premier Khrushchev,  was the offspring of the first dog launched into outer space. He made JFK laugh because he was always climbing up the ladder to his daughter’s tree-house. I guess it was in his genes to try and get as high as possible.

Gerald Ford had a Golden Retriever, Liberty, who gave birth to nine puppies in the White House. Jimmy Carter had a rescue dog named Grits. Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who were neighbors of big mommy’s in L.A., owned two dogs; Rex, a Cocker Spaniel, and Lucky, a “Bouvier Des Flanders Sheepdog.” Wow what a long pedigree. I wonder if “Lucky” helped President Reagan survive the assassination attempt that almost killed him?

George H. W. Bush (I call him George the First), owned a Springer Spaniel named Millie. Millie was so popular that when her autobiography came out it sold more copies that President and Barbara Bush’s autobiographies. Bill Clinton had a Chocolate Labrador named Buddy. I’m sure Buddy helped during those trying times when he was impeached. George W. Bush (George the Second) had the only dog (Spot an English Springer Spaniel) to actually live in the White House during two different administrations. Now President Obama owns a Portuguese Water Dog named “Bo.”  I wonder if Bo helps when the president gets into hot water from time to time?

The point I’m trying to make is that pets, especially dogs, have helped every president from Washington to Obama deal with stress and strain. Don’t you think that every work place in America can use a “little help from your friends?”

Currently, more than 2.3 million dogs are taken to work on a regular basis. One in five businesses are now considered pet friendly. In fact , to keep ahead of competitors, more and more companies are welcoming workers’ pets with open arms. My big Mommy, Sandy, who grew up in Europe, told me that the Euro nations have been allowing their dogs, cats and even birds, to go everywhere with them including restaurants for decades. Glad to see America is catching up.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. In San Francisco, a high-tech company named Zynga offers doggie biscuits at the receptionist’s desk and water fountains located close to the ground for the animals. They also have a “barking lot” nearby just for the four -legged companions to relax with other animals. In fact, the Founder is so dog happy, that he named the company and logo image for his beloved now-deceased American Bulldog….Zynga.

To read more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

Information on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com


The Case of Sherlock Holmes and the Danes.

My dog Susie says

Sherlock Holmes to the rescue?

For all of you humans who watch all the crime shows on TV like CSI, this is a canine mystery of deplorable desecration. I call it the “Case of who left the Poo?” Believe it or not many human owners of dogs that live in communities like apartments are facing an indescribable assault on their senses. All because of dogs leaving dog poo and their owners not cleaning it up. It’s become such an epidemic that a company located not too far from me in Knoxville, Tennessee, decided to solve it. How you say? By linking an individual dog’s DNA to its dog doo doo.

The company, “Poo Prints,” has clients in 28 states as well as numerous countries around the world. I never realized this was such a large problem because I live near forests and oceans where any old place will doo doo. However, I always make sure I cover it and don’t leave my waste anywhere a human might step in it. I’m completely “Green” when it comes to the environment! So how exactly does this malodorous mystery get solved?

First, the apartment, condominium or homeowner association mandates that if you own a dog, you must submit to management a sample of waste or saliva to be analyzed by Poo Prints. Then if any doggie doo is discovered uncollected by an offending owner, it is sent on for DNA matching. When the culprit is identified the owner receives a fine of between $150 to $1,000 for the first offense. Most communities that utilize this high-tech detection system report that in about six weeks after implementation, the “Poo Pile Problem” is completely gone…forever! Isn’t science wonderful?

And since I’ve been barking about Englishman Sherlock Holmes deductive abilities, I discovered a heartwarming loving example of dogs helping dogs in England.

A great Dane named Lily hardly seemed deterred by her total blindness. The question is how and why? While still a pup, her eyelashes somehow grew into her eyeballs, causing irreparable damage and a medical need to remove both eyes. But with the help of her devoted four legged pal Madison, another Great Dane, she has continued to enjoy her life. Both Danes were homeless and kept in an animal shelter until recently, when they were rescued by a caring couple. Both dogs exhibit a joi de vie that many humans would do well to emulate. Madison and Lily became very close, always enjoying the others company, going about their daily routines as a tight twosome. Vocal in play, affectionate at rest, they even curl up together when ready to go to sleep.

With her lack of sight, Lily’s other senses sharpened. Although rarely apart, Lily can always sense when Madison is not nearby and uses a unique bark to search for her. At night the two sleep together in what can only be called a “spooning” position. Madison gently leads Lily around by her leash during the day to the amazement of onlookers.

Both Lily and Madison formed their bond while living together in one of the United Kingdom’s  eighteen “Dogs Trust Re-homing Centers,” a network of rescue centers which care for around 16,000 stray and abandoned dogs every year. The story ends extremely happily for Lily and Madison, who now live with Anne and Len Williams, a loving family who fell in love with these dogs after reading their story in London’s Daily Mail. Great parents for Great Danes!

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. Humans can learn a bunch by watching how totally disadvantaged animals help each other, whether they happen to be people or dogs!

To read more Susie says barks: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com 

Information on Sandy Steele; http://sandysteele.com

A Triple Crown Winner?

My dog Susie says…

Horses and Dogs are like peas and carrots….

My big mommy and daddy like all kinds of animals especially dogs and horses. We visited a couple of racetracks here in Southern California where I met quite a few racehorses. Boy are they big and beautiful! Hollywood Park is a smaller racing track located near Los Angeles with a lot of history associated with it. The track was opened in 1938 and managed by Henry Warner of Warner Brothers fame. The park seats 10,000 and has dirt made of  man-made soft cushion material. It sure made it harder for me when I needed to go potty because I would never soil a carpet or anything like that. I’m completely “housebroken.”

Santa Anita is located in Arcadia, California, about 30 miles south of L.A. With its backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains, it is considered by many as the most beautiful race track in the world. It opened in 1934 and immediately attracted movie stars like Cary Grant and Bing Crosby. Santa Anita introduced new things for horse racing including the use of starting gates and photo finishes for every race. Also, the very successful and famous “Seabiscuit” won his last race here in 1940. More than 85,000 people have attended The Santa Anita Derby on race day. While I was walking around the track, I noticed a huge gleaming  brown horse standing erect on a pedestal. Running over to examine this beautiful horse, I discovered it was a lifelike bronze statue of Seabiscuit. And no…I didn’t mark it!

The reason I’m barking about horses today is that 12 months ago Daddy decided on a hunch to bet some money on a horse that he felt could win the triple crown this year. He liked the horse’s name which seemed the only reason for daddy placing his unlikely bet in Las Vegas. You see, he never bets on anything except stocks. Anyway, over the advice of mom “that he was acting silly,” he called and placed his bet on the unlikely triple crown winner. If he won he would win a gazillion dollars or so.  Anyway the name of the horse that daddy liked was, “I’ll Have Another.” I think it reminded him of drinking with his buddies, watching a football game or such, in a sports bar. 

A few days ago before the Belmont Race, which was the third leg of the triple crown, mommy and daddy were having cocktails at the Polo Lounge with friends in Beverly Hills. Daddy was bragging about his unlikely bet and how it looked like a sure thing now because the best competition to “I’ll Have Another” had dropped out of the race. I think daddy was already spending his winnings in his mind. Mommy also knew that Rodeo Drive was just a mile away!

A friend of Daddy’s, Kevin Costner, came in and greeted the boisterous group who had been drinking in anticipated celebration. After telling Kevin how they had enjoyed his recent “Hatfields and McCoys” saga which received great  ratings, he asked what the celebration was all about? Daddy explained his crazy bet that he had made a year earlier
for the triple crown winner. Kevin looked at him and said, “Haven’t you heard the news? They had to scratch ‘I’ll Have Another’ because of damage to his leg or something. He’s not going to run in the Belmont.”

Dreams of a fabulous shopping spree for Big mommy quickly faded away. After a few more drinks the party broke up and they headed back to our hotel room. I greeted them with a wagging tail and smiling face , but mommy and daddy didn’t notice. After hearing what happened and mommy saying, “Daddy was crying in his beer,” I knew I had to take action. While they were relaxing on their bed together, I jumped up and started licking their faces over and over until they started laughing. Then we all hugged and decided to go over to Santa Monica Beach and watch a beautiful sunset. So you see, when horses fail you, there’s always man’s (and woman’s) best friend ready to make things better!

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Here in California they have outlawed using cell phones, iPads and other electronic devices while driving in your car. I have a much easier way of stopping this with a simple rule. Just make humans drive like dogs do…with their heads sticking out of the window.

For more barks from Susie:  http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

More information on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com


Marilyn Monroe and the hidden treasure?

My dog Susie says

26 Miles to Catalina?

Well, this is my first trip on a boat that actually leaves the harbor. My big mommy told me that when they moved to California over twenty years ago, their first sailing experience was really funny. They were visiting friends in Newport Beach at “The Balboa Yacht Club.” They met a couple of “free spirits” at the Club who invited mommy and daddy to go sailing with them on their 46 foot yacht. It was moored at John Wayne’s home on the water a few miles away. So they decided to take a chance and go with these two strangers for a day of sailing and sunbathing. Thank goodness they had packed bathing suits in their car’s trunk.

Mommy had never been sailing before, but Daddy had sailed a few times with his neighbor in Atlanta, Ted Turner. But that’s another story for another day. Anyway, after arriving at the boat, their two hosts, who were in their early thirties, invited them to partake of wine and cheese. The two sailors were smoking something that obviously made them laugh a lot. After an hour or so of getting to know each other, while inhaling the second-hand smoke, mommy and daddy were in really good spirits. The “captain” finally said that it was time to leave to go to Catalina Island which would take a few hours. As they started the boat’s engine to begin cruising out of the harbor, the captain and his friend who were completely stoned by now, started laughing uproariously and slapping each others’ backs.

Daddy asked what was so funny and the captain said, “Geez, I forgot that we took the sails down last week to be cleaned and we forgot to pick them up. We’ll just have to motor around the Newport harbor for a few hours and drink more wine!” Mommy and daddy thanked the captain and his mate for the unique “sailing” experience, but said it was time for them to return home to L.A. Thus ended mommy’s first sailing trip. I hope this one is more fun especially with me on board for entertainment.

The next morning we arrived in Marina Del Rey harbor, and immediately left on a beautiful sailboat owned by an old friend of mommy’s named Beryl, She also has a great pooch named “Buster,” a Black Lab, living on the boat full time. Lucky dog! Also, the trip over to Catalina is only 22 miles not 26 like the song says. Other interesting facts discovered after we arrived is the island is about the same size as Manhattan: 22mile long by 8 miles wide. But only 4,000 people reside here instead of the 8 million living in New York City. Different races of people had settled on the island for over 9,000 years, including the native Indian tribe Turai, Russians, Chinese and pirates. I also noticed that there aren’t many trees on Catalina. The reason for the lack of trees is pretty crazy, but when y’all understand that Catalina is  legally geographically part of L.A…..well…..

It seems that hundreds of years ago the Chief of the Turai tribe on his deathbed told a white hunter named Samuel Prentiss about a hidden golden treasure located on the island. He said that it was buried under a tree. So, Mr. Prentiss, who had hunted every living animal on Catalina or it’s surrounding waters, spent the next 30 years literally cutting down and digging up every tree on the island looking for the vast lost treasure. He never found anything. Maybe it was really just an Indian joke on the white man?

Buster and I thought about digging around a few trees to look for the gold, but decided to chase the big hairy cattle that we saw running all over the hills. Mommy called them Buffalo, and as we got closer, they were way too big for us to try and round up. Also on a much smaller critter scale, there are rattlesnakes roaming everywhere.  Mommy learned that Catalina was acquired in 1919 by a chewing-gum magnate named William Wrigley from Chicago. Another treasure seeker, Marilyn Monroe, lived here years before she became a star. And Natalie Wood who was a star, mysteriously died here a few decades ago. Seems like a lot of history for such a tiny island.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. Famous actor and heavy drinker  Humphrey Bogart was a frequent sailor to Catalina Island. On his deathbed his last words were, “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis!”

For more Susie says barks go to:  http://sandysteele.blogspot.com

More info on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com



My dog Susie says

California Canines

As I’ve mentioned in previous barks, I’ve met quite a few dogs of celebrities during the time I’ve spent here. I was pleased to find out that while many are expensive high-brow breeds, many are rescue dogs like me. Even Uggie who won a special Oscar for his “Silent Movie” movie in 2011 was a rescue mutt. To me they’re all “Stardogs.”

One thing I learned is that while there are hundreds of different breeds of dogs living here in the Golden State, there are lots of different languages they respond to. Gee..English is hard enough for me without having to understand, Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese or Cockney.

One of the first and definitely the biggest dogs I met, was George a Great Dane owned by Jim Carrey. Jim had dated a girlfriend of Big Mommy’s years ago. He’s really funny but George is so big he scares me a little. Mr. Carrey also made some funny movies like “Pet Detective” and “The Mask” which stared a really talented doggy. In Beverly Hills, I met Lucy a Boxer owned by Jodie Foster. She was really nice.

Some singer named Clay Aiken owns a Border Collie mix named Raleigh. Ashley Judd who’s from the south like me, owns a couple of Cockapoo’s named Shug and Buttermilk. Congratulations, Ashley, on your husband winning the 2012 Indianopolis 500! We also saw Pamela Anderson in Malibu and she had a Golden Retriever named Star. Charlize Theron, who’s really talented and beautiful, owns numerous dogs: all mutts.

In Bel-Air where Mommy lived, a neighbor of theirs, Nancy Reagan owns a Sheepdog named Lucky. Great name for a wonderful President. Steve Martin has a beautiful Yellow Lab named Roger. Oprah Winfrey, who we saw in Santa Monica, has a couple of Cocker Spaniels named Solomon and Sophie. Oprah’s original home isn’t too far from mine there in the Georgia mountains and forests.  Speaking of trees and such, I discovered that in downtown Los Angeles something wonderful was happening.

There’s an organization called “TreePeople” who, for years, have been planting trees and shrubs all over L. A. They believe that by helping nature recreate small robust natural forests, they are helping the city to heal itself. This group has enabled downtown parks to be reborn making the urban environment safer, healthier, and more fun and enjoyable for humans…and dogs. The people behind this aren’t celebrities but just ordinary people with extraordinary ideas. Good for them!

At one of the TreePeople supported parks, Coldwater Canyon Park, sitting on top of the Santa Monica Mountains, we met Clara Bo, a Pomeranian owned by Kate Hudson. My big Mommy has seen Goldie Hahn numerous times. They’ both seem really sweet.  We also met a French Bulldog named Coco Chanel, who was a famous French women who invented perfume or something. Sacre Bleu! Her owner is Reese Witherspoon, who is originally from nearby Tennessee. She is really perky and a wonderful person. So is Coco! The most interesting Stardog was Rufus a poodle owned by Leonardo DiCaprio, who daddy met at a party at the Playboy Mansion. It seems that Rufus liked the water so much at the grotto, which was an underground pool in a cave, that he decided to relieve himself there at every opportunity ONLY when the partying guests weren’t looking. I wonder if anyone noticed? Maybe Rufus doesn’t like movie stars and their antics so much either. Well, gotta go, because we’re getting ready to sail over to Catalina Island.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy Steele

P.S. On Sunday we were all walking by a local church in Westwood and saw a Minister talking to a group of young boys. The boys had circled around a stray dog and the Minister asked what they were doing. The boys said, “This dog is homeless, so we’re having a competition to see who gets to take the dog home. Whoever tells the biggest lie wins! “

The Minister who was disappointed said, “Boys, it’s very wrong to tell lies. When I was your age, I never told lies!”

The boys all looked at each other and said, “O.K. You win. The dog is yours!”

To read more “My dog Susie says” go to http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more info on Sandy Steele go to:  http://sandysteele.com

Living on the Left Coast

My dog Susie says

“Good Vibrations”

Ahh.. to be running along the ocean watching dolphins and whales jump high into the air. I feel like I’m watching a National Geographic show on TV. I love my green forests and lakes in the mountains of North Georgia, but the sand and surf here in L.A. is wonderful too. Especially if you’re a dog!

My Big Mommy and Daddy have lived here for over 20 years and I wondered what they enjoyed the most about this area in Southern California. I heard Mommy once on the phone explaining what Los Angeles is all about. She said that when they first moved here, they learned that the city stretches from east to west. Most cities go south to north. Starting in downtown Los Angeles, you go west to Hollywood, then Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Santa Monica and finally ending at Marina Del Rey on the shore. The greater L.A. Area is really composed of small villages linked together. Thus, reason #1 for living here is that Los Angeles is really like living in much smaller unique villages, instead of just one large metropolitan area. That’s kinda neat.

They’ve lived in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Santa Monica leaving only Marina Del Rey as their final destination in the “Golden State.” Getting back to why they love it here so much, these are my observations on what I’ve been able to ascertain. First: the weather is perfect with very little rainy days. Daddy said that when a friend of his moved from New York City to L. A. in the early eighties, he bought a convertible Mercedes and immediately put the top down. He didn’t put it up for 18 months. He also said that when it rains it usually rains at night. So the weather is the #2 reason.

Number 3 reason for living here is the natural beauty found in the mountains and valleys and the magnificent beaches located all over the area. Once, in the winter, mommy and daddy were sun bathing on the beach and looked up at all the mountains which surround L.A. They were unbelievably covered with snow.  I must admit that sitting on the Santa Monica beach watching surfers, dolphins, whales, seals and sometimes sharks all frolicking together seems totally unreal. Because I’m a Border Collie and a herding dog, I sure love jumping in the water and running back and forth chasing all these California critters.

The fourth and final main reason for mommy and daddy living here are the interesting people. Los Angels is the major destination for different types of humans from all over the world. Young and old, smart and not-so smart, pretty and homely looking, rich and poor are all welcomed here with open arms. Nobody cares what you do or think as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. There is an air of optimism here that mommy and daddy say they’ve never seen anywhere else in the world. And at the end of the day, everyone gets to enjoy a beautiful orange sunset over the Pacific Ocean…for free!

On my previous trips to the City of Angels, I met quite a few dogs of celebrities. Renee Zellweger has a beautiful Golden Retriever named Dylan and Drew Barrymore owns a rescue dog named Flossie. Years ago mommy and daddy looked at the Barrymore home which was for sale, that Drew had lived in, and almost bought it. Hey, I thought Drew was a guy’s name. Anyway, I’ll mention the other interesting dogs owned by other stars on my next “bark.”

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Daddy told me a story about when he and mommy were recently married newlyweds:

Daddy came home early from work and Sandy, my mom, had been cooking all day fixing a big dinner. Mommy, a totally inexperienced cook, was crying and blubbered, “I worked so hard preparing this special meal, but our new doggie just ate it.”

Daddy gently said while hugging and kissing her, “Don’t worry honey. We’ll get another new doggie right away!”

For more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

Info on Sandy Steele: http://sandysteele.com