Submit your Dog or Cat Stories for Upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul Books

My dog says it's time to start writing wonderful stories and poems about your dogs and cats!

The Chicken Soup for the Soul book series has dog and cat-themed books coming up and they're looking for YOUR content! Submissions must be first person, true stories that are sweet, funny, inspirational, insightful, or educational.  

Stories can be up to 1,200 words and must be submitted by August 31. If selected, you will receive $200 ($100 for devotionals) and 10 free copies of the book. See the Submission Guidelines for additional information about how to write a good story!

For more information on the upcoming Chicken Soup titles, click HERE. Be sure to scroll down to see the details pertaining to both the My Very Good, Very Bad Dog and My Very Good, Very Bad Cat books. 

Good luck, everyone! Let us know if you submit a story! 

A Glimpse into the Lives of Baby Chameleons

My dog says there's more to this world than just fluffy dogs and cats! We share this planet with all kinds of amazing creatures. Check out this short, but incredible, video about chameleons.

If the player doesn't work, you can see the video on the National Geographic site here.

God Made a Dog (Video)

My dog says he may be partial, but dogs are the best! They're loyal, brave, fun, sweet, and everything humans need in their lives.

Check out this incredible video "God Made a Dog" to celebrate all that is great about dogs! After all, it's no coincidence that god spelled backwards is DOG!

*Can't see the video? Click HERE.

Shawnee's Missing: The Story of a Lost Dog

My dog says this is the tale of Shawnee.

On April 22, Shawnee went missing in Castaic, California. Her family has been looking for her ever since.

They have plastered the community with 2,500 fliers and a dozen, eight-foot banners. They contacted every lost pet site and hired a company to make phone calls to all those who live in the surrounding area. They visited neighbors, dog parks, groomers, pet stores, and other local businesses to spread the word. And, they hired a pet detective and scent tracking dogs to find out Shawnee's path. The latter determined that Shawnee slipped out under a fence, went across the backyards of four houses, and the the trail went dead at the street. Shawnee was likely picked up by someone in a car and driven away from her home.

Shawnee is microchipped and has an ID tag, so her family expected to hear from someone by now. But, that hasn't happened. Shawnee is still missing. Her family is devastated.

We sat with Shawnee's mom Joyce to learn more about Shawnee and how people can help bring her home.

My Dog Says Woof: If someone knows of Shawnee's whereabouts, what do you want to tell them?
Joyce: We would like them to know how much we love our Shawnee and that there's a huge hole in our hearts with her being gone. We beg them to contact us and share whatever they know.

My Dog Says Woof: What would getting Shawnee back mean to you?
Joyce: Getting Shawnee back would mean our family is whole again. We don't have children, Shawnee is our little girl. She's not just a pet, she's our baby. She's the kiss that greets us when we get home from work, the first hug when we wake up in the morning, the cuddles on the couch in the evenings. Shawnee is sweet, friendly, and runs up to everyone with trust and love. 
My Dog Says Woof: Lots of people find dogs, but don't want to take them to the shelter because they're afraid they'll get killed. What should these people know? 
Joyce: People need to know that shelters are the first place many pet owners look when a beloved pet goes missing. The shelter can scan a dog and identify the owner immediately. If not chipped, the shelter can be a safe place for the dog to wait for the owner to locate them. People have a misconception that shelters just put dogs to sleep. They try to find the owners, and then they try to adopt out lost pets.
If someone finds a dog and is worried about it, they can put their name down as having first rights if the owner doesn't claim the dog. I've heard stories of people thinking they're doing the "right thing" by taking found pets to shelters in another area because they're "no-kill" shelters, but this can make it harder for owners to locate their fur babies. 
My Dog Says Woof: How can someone get Shawnee back to you anonymously, but still collect the $2,000 reward? 
Joyce: They can contact Shannon Tulloss Investigations at (818) 478-7900. She will treat this with complete confidentiality and has agreed to be a safe and anonymous drop off location for someone who is worried about getting caught or fearful of turning in someone they know. But in all honesty, all we want is our baby back, we have no problem meeting with anyone who can give her back. We'll meet in a public place. Our only goal is to get Shawnee back home where she belongs.
My Dog Says Woof: Do you have any advice for others who have lost dogs?

Joyce: We did everything we thought we were supposed to do. Shawnee had a collar on, with identification tags. She is microchipped. We secured our backyard. But small dogs sometimes find a hole in the fence, some room to wiggle under the fence, or escape through a gate that's been left open.

We will never give up. We just hope that people, strangers and neighbors, will stay vigilent and watch out for Shawnee. We have worked tirelessly to find her, and we will never give up. There's nothing we won't do! We love her and we want her home, safe in our arms!                                                                                 
If you have any information about Shawnee's whereabouts, please contact Joyce at (818) 618-3833 or Shannon Tulloss Investigations at (818) 478-7900. Shawnee's family doesn't care who you are or why you have Shawnee, they only want her back. A $2,000 cash reward will be given to anyone who returns her. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Please, if you have seen Shawnee or know her whereabouts, come forward.

Geico Dog Lacks Table Manners (Video)

My dog says spaghetti rules! This Geico commercial really cracked us up big time. The dog is priceless. Watch all the way through and we promise you will SMILE!

Animal Rescuer Tina Lythgoe & Her Cleft Palate Puppy Josh Want to Change the World

My dog says there are thousands of good people out there who rescue dogs, and we're so glad they're there to help! But, there are some rescuers, the super special ones, who do more. Tina Lythgoe is one such rescuer.

Tina Lythgoe and Josh

Last January, Tina was asked if she could foster a young puppy who had just been dumped at the animal shelter. The pup was only 48 hours old and the heartless breeder had asked that he be killed. You see, the dog had a cleft palate and the man knew he couldn't make a hefty profit off an imperfect dog so he decided killing the innocent creature was the best solution (how evil and soulless can you be?). Fortunately, the shelter staff wanted to give this sweet baby a chance and a rescue group went to pick up the tiny pup to deliver to Tina.

Tina bottle fed him, trying to give his little body the nourishment and warmth he needed to stay alive. A puppy should be with his mom and siblings during those early days and Tina barely slept so she could help the little boy pull through. Thanks to Tina's heroic efforts, the pup thrived and he was named Josh.

Josh at two days old.
Over that last 11 months, people on Facebook have watched Josh grow and flourish. He's had to have a few teeth removed since they didn't fit in his mouth quite right, but the palate itself will not require surgery. Josh has a little bit of an Elvis sneer, but can eat fine despite the cleft palate and is one happy little guy.

Tina, however, doesn't just rescue dogs. She rescues all kinds of critters: squirrels, opossums (check out Topo Gigio the Possum's Facebook page!), birds, gophers, turtles, pigs, rats, and anyone else who needs her. Many require around the clock care until they're out of the woods. Then, if the wild ones are able to fend for themselves, Tina releases them back into their natural habitat.

Tina is one of those folks who champions the underdog (we love those people!) and she's been sharing Josh's story to raise awareness about birth defects in dogs. She's also partnered with other special needs dogs on Facebook (such as Munster who has spina bifida and Brogan who has Addison's disease) to help show people that "imperfect" dogs are still special and wonderful and worthy of love and lifelong homes.

Part of Tina's mission to educate has included entering Josh in a cover dog contest. The dog with the most votes, as determined by the public, will be featured on the cover of Modern Dog magazine. Tina believes if Josh wins, it will help further the discussion about birth defects in dogs and the dangers of backyard breeding, She's been rallying Josh's Facebook friends to vote for him so he can be an advocate for all the other "imperfect" dogs out there (to vote for Josh, click HERE). Tina tried to get Josh on the cover last year, but he only came in second.

The pups here at My Dog Says Woof sat down today with Josh and Tina and asked a little about their mission to help animals.

My Dog Says Woof: Why do you save ALL the critters and not just the ones people consider "cute"?
Tina Lythgoe: I don't discriminate. I feel the need to help everything. Even what people consider pests, like rats, gophers, mice, and pigeons. Some people save dogs and just dogs. Why? Why stop there?
If something needs help I will jump through fire to help it. I will stay up all night. I will fight for its life. Even if it has given up, I won't. And I usually win, because I don't give up. I will never turn a critter down no matter what. If I don't have time, I will make time. If it has a heartbeat, I will help it. Even a human. Everything deserves a chance.
My Dog Says Woof: Why is it important to educate people about birth defects?
Tina Lythgoe: As for births defects, I just want people to know that they don't need to be a death sentence. Animals can still live happy, healthy lives. And if they can't afford it, there is help out there.
Most backyard breeders don't even know that they should not be breeding mothers and sons. We need to educate people.
My Dog Says Woof: Why do you believe so strongly in helping animals?
Tina Lythgoe: I have always believed in helping anything that needs help. I learned everything I know from my mom. She showed me how to do it all.
As a kid I watched her do it. As I got older, I took over. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn't for her.
My Dog Says Woof: If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
Tina Lythgoe: Wish #1. I wish the whole world would go vegan so the killing would stop. Who are we to kill something with a heartbeat? Who the hell saves a dog and goes home and eats a cow?
Wish #2. Have ALL no kill shelters!
Wish #3. I wish people would realize that wildlife lives outside and they have babies to feed. It's their land, too. If they're in your yard or on your lawn, eating your plants, remember that the outside world is their house. I wish people would have more compassion for so-called "pests."
My Dog Says Woof: Josh's page, Josh and His Critters, has more than 50,000 likes on Facebook and continues to grow. What is the best part of having such a large Facebook community?
Tina Lythgoe: Having a large following helps us to get the word out. We love sharing pages and links to donate to needy causes. We do not discriminate. We help ALL organizations, not just one.
We love joining contests because it helps us educate people and win money to save more critters. We love helping other people and pets win contests, too. Most pages will ignore you, but not ️Josh and His Critters. We will help everybody because that's what it's all about.
Most of all I want people not to lose hope in humanity. We are strong together. And together we can accomplish anything. Also maybe if someone sees me helping a harmless pest like a gopher or other wild creature, maybe it will change their mind about killing one.

My Dog Says Woof: If Josh wins the Modern Dog Magazine cover contest, what will be the first thing you'll do to celebrate?
Tina Lythgoe: Just thinking about ️Josh on the cover of Modern Dog makes me want to cry. That's how hard we tried to win it last time. When was the last time you saw someone with a cleft palate on the cover of a magazine? NEVER. You usually see a beautiful purebred on the cover. I will celebrate in my tears if we win. I will cry my eyes out. I feel like crying now just thinking about it.

The Modern Dog magazine cover dog contest ends on January 7, 2015 at noon (Pacific time), so please take a moment to vote for Josh so he can continue to be a voice for other animals with birth defects. Vote HERE. Voting is allowed every 12 hours. (UPDATE: Josh won the contest and appears on the cover of the Spring 2015 issue of Modern Dog magazine!)

Also be sure to connect with Josh and Tina on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter so you can follow the wonderful rescue stories they share and the fabulous photos of all the critters in their care.

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