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Sacred Sendoffs
An Animal Chaplain’s Advice for Surviving Animal Loss, Making Life Meaningful, and Healing the Planet
Sarah A. Bowen
Paperback
978-1-948626-59-0
US $16.95

eBook available
April 2022
An elegant manifesto for improving life―and death―for all beings on sacred Mother Earth
Combining humorous anecdotes and thought-provoking research, Sacred Sendoffs explores human relationships with beloved pets, wild creatures, animal astronauts, marine life, farmed animals, and other sentient beings. Along the way, animal chaplain Sarah Bowen shares insights for sustaining their lives, honoring deaths, and managing the emotions that arise when we lose an animal we love. While many books focus exclusively on pet loss, animal welfare, or environmental issues, Bowen’s ever curious and playful style takes on all three, revealing their unavoidable entanglement. Sacred Sendoffs helps animal lovers uncover practical actions and everyday opportunities for helping the more-than-human world thrive.
Author Bio
Sarah Bowen is an animal chaplain and advocate for all creatures. She offers workshops on interspecies mindfulness practices, works with humans around animal grief/loss, and advocates for exploited and endangered species within both religious and secular contexts. You can often find her huddled over wildlife struck by cars, giving them a sacred sendoff. Bowen is also a cofounder of Compassion Consortium, the first interfaith, interspiritual, and interspecies faith community, an academic dean at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary; a columnist on animal/human relationships for Spirituality & Health magazine; and the author of two award-winning books on modern spirituality, including Spiritual Rebel. Her work has also appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Elephant Journal, mindbodygreen, and on a wide range of podcasts. She holds a BA in Human Ecology, MA in Religious Studies, and is joyfully engaged in postgraduate research in Humane Religious Studies and Anthrozoology.
Praise
“After reading Sacred Sendoffs, I find myself living in a more amazing world, populated by a diverse array of unique individuals, each deserving of respect and care.” ― Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life and The Good Karma Diet
“Sarah Bowen’s magnificent manifesto Sacred Sendoffs is a call to acknowledge the divine Aliveness manifesting as our animal companions. If you befriend animals, read this book. If you don’t, read this book anyway and you will.” ― Rabbi Rami, author of Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent
“This book is a gift to all human animals seeking to live more reverently and lovingly within the larger web of life." ― Cody J. Sanders, Chaplain at Harvard University & Advisor in the Office of Religious, Spiritual, & Ethical Life, MIT
“If we heed Bowen’s teachings, perhaps animals will help us become more nonviolent toward one another―and teach us how to be human.” ― Rev. John Dear, author of The Nonviolent Life, Living Peace, and other books, and executive director of www.beatitudescenter.org
“Sarah Bowen is back, and with the characteristic humor and intelligence that marked Spiritual Rebel, she asks us to consider the more-than-human world. In crisp, clever language, she presents an elegant manifesto for improving life―and death―for all beings on sacred Mother Earth.  ― Barbara Becker, author of Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind
Sacred Sendoffs articulates the case for extending to all living beings the compassion, empathy, and reverence that resides at the core of all religions and wisdom traditions. Her approach is not to preach, scold, or admonish, but instead to pose questions that inspire thoughtful and honest answers. I am certain that the reader, and the world, will be in a better place from these inquiries.” ― William Melton, Co-Founder of the Compassion Consortium
Sacred Sendoffs is an uplifting spiritual masterpiece. With blessings on every page, this is one of those books we will all keep close at hand to read again and again.” ― Judy Carman, author of Peace to All Beings and co-chair of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition
 
 
We’re an eco-friendly dog toy company in St. Pete, FL that goes bananas for floofy pooches! Our business is centered around Minnie - a lovable Great Pyrenees with lots of spunk - who has her own unique way of play!
We love the planet and (almost) everything that lives on it - especially dogs! We're using this love to help the world in multiple ways! Not only do we make super awesome, eco-conscious dog toys made from upcycled and recycled materials, we also create a positive social impact on the world by donating 25% of profits to charities, volunteering monthly, and Spotlighting wholesome people!

We donate to 3 international non-profits:

Animal Welfare Institute
Gates Philanthropy Partners
Natural Resources Defense Council

We also donate to local causes - like school supplies drives and animal rescues.
To make even more of an impact on our local community, we volunteer once a month at a Tampa Bay non-profit, and we’ve adopted a road in St. Pete with Keep Pinellas Beautiful.

Our monkeys are made with upcycled polyester fabric with double-stitched edges and stuffed with PlanetFill® fluff, which is made from 100% post-consumer certified-safe recycled plastic bottles. All materials are non-toxic.

They're also machine washable and dryer friendly, and we ship them in eco-friendly packaging!

www.minniesmonkeys.com

 

Spirit grew up on the streets of South-Central Los Angeles and recounts his days of being abandoned, living a perilous life, enduring the terror of the streets, being trapped, rescued and finally finding his forever home.

Spirit tells it like it is and shares the street smarts of a sassy cat with his readers. There are lots of laughs, some tears and a heartwarming tale of a contemporary cat who went from the mean streets to the sweet life and the adventures he found along the way. Delightful reading for all ages and cat lovers everywhere.

“I have truly never enjoyed a cat as much as I enjoy Spirit.” Heidi Hirsch

“I am rolling on the floor laughing.” Stephanie Allyson Stacy

“Your stories are the highlight of my day.” Jackie Zeman

Author’s proceeds benefit Kitty Bungalow, Charm School for Wayward Cats

   Distributed by: DeVorss & Company         Available on their website: https://www.devorss.com/

Speak with Jill Twiss, the Emmy Award-Winning
Comedy Writer Behind HBO’s
LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER
on Talkin' Pets with Jon Patch October 2 at 5PM EST

Also a New York Times Best-Selling Author,
Twiss’ New Book, MAJOR MAKES HISTORY,
Tells the Story of the First Shelter Dog in the White House


 

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Jill Twiss has won multiple Emmys, WGA Awards and Peabody Awards for her work as a writer on HBO’s acclaimed hit series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In addition, Jill is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the children’s picture books Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, The Someone New and Everyone Gets a Say.

Now, Jill’s latest book – Major Makes History: From the Shelter to the White House -- tells the tale of President Biden’s friendship with Major, the first shelter dog in the White House. Hilarious and filled with heart, Major Makes History is written in the dog’s voice, and offers his perspective on adjusting to the White House and his urgent calling in life—to support and care for the president. When President Biden adopted his Major from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018, their bond was immediate. President Biden rescued Major and provided him with a loving home. What he didn’t know is that Major would also rescue him too.

Jill Twiss can share more details about this new, heartwarming book; her inspiration for telling Major’s story; offer perspective on how Major compares with past presidential pets; and offer information for adopting shelter animals.

BIO: 

Jill Twiss is the author of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a New York Times #1 bestseller. She is also a comedy writer who won multiple Emmys, WGA Awards, and Peabody Awards for her work as a Senior writer on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In her not-so-spare time, Jill writes sentences for the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN and is working on a play about the women of the Seneca Falls Convention.

Bee Scared Plants the Seed of Environmentalism in Young Minds
 
OSWEGO, NY, September 21, 2021“Your Majesty,” said the Scout Bee to the Queen of the Bees, “The Honeybees are in trouble. They are disappearing in great numbers!”
 
What will the queen do? Who will she turn to? How will she keep her hive safe from harm? Without bees there will be no fruit, no vegetables and no flowers.
 
Bee Scared, an Old Doc Turtle adventure from author Richard Faith, follows the Queen and her community of family and friends as they try to find a solution to this scary problem. They use music. They call on Auntie Bee. Even Old Doc Turtle becomes concerned! Can your young reader think of any ways to help Auntie Bee save the honeybees?
 
This delightful children’s tale delivers a simple lesson about the challenges of climate change and global warming — and the impact on nature’s tiniest but mightiest of creatures — in a way that young audiences can understand. Bee Scared can help you open a dialogue with the curious young people in your life about the importance of conservationism and protecting the future of our planet.
 
Author Richard Faith is passionate about raising awareness regarding the impacts of global warming and climate change. He is also the author of the science fiction series, Megamerse, which features a superhero who fights for Mother Earth. Megamerse has been turned into a screenplay and talks are ongoing with a movie studio. Faith’s other book titles include "I Can Barely See" Said Mandy Manatee, Barkley & Silvia, Crocodilly Lilly: Not so Toothy A Grin and The Owl that Said What.
 
Faith is also the executive director of Mother Nature Festival Live Incorporated (http://mothernaturefestival.live), a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to educate, inform and inspire everyone to get involved in helping Mother Nature.
 
Bee Scared
Publisher: Jongleur Publishing
ISBN-13: ‎ 979-8652428013

Available from Amazon.com

What Can We Learn from a Chimpanzee, a Rat, and a Spider?

A Facebook Live Conversation with Acclaimed Author Barbara J. King

Saturday, July 24, 2021, 12 PM EDT1PM EDT

July 12, 2021 (Albuquerque, NM) - Phoenix Zones Initiative, a global nonprofit organization on a mission to advance the interconnected rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals and the planet, will host a Facebook Live event, Extending Compassion for All Beings. Dr. Barbara J. King is an emerita professor of anthropology at William and Mary and a widely acclaimed author of seven books. Her work focuses on animal emotion and cognition, the ethics of our relationships with animals, and the evolution of language, culture, and religion.
 
“Our world may transform as we see how animals rejoice in good days and endure bad ones; love their families and friends and grieve their losses; and struggle to overcome physical and emotional challenges,says Dr. King. When each of us takes positive steps to help, the collective impact is enormous, an arc in which we strive to create a better world for animals.”

Dr. King will be joined by Phoenix Zones Initiative CEO, Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, as they discuss:

  • why the way we treat animals matters;
  • what we can do to translate our compassion for other beings into treating them with the love, justice, and dignity they deserve; and
  • what we need to learn about the connections between the rights, health, and wellbeing of people and animals.

“We are extremely excited and honored to have Dr. King join us for our second in a series of Facebook Live events,says Dr. Ferdowsian. Our mission of advancing the interconnected rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals, and the planet through a Just One Health approach is clearly reflected through the work of Dr. King. Together, we will explore how love and grief dont only belong to humans, and how many animals can experience rich lives, much like humans can, if given the chance. Most importantly, Dr. King will talk about how each of us has the power to take compassionate action to help others.”

Dr. King will also speak about some of the animals whose stories continue to motivate her throughout her work.
About Dr. Barbara J. King

Barbara J. King is emerita professor of anthropology at William & Mary and a freelance science writer and public speaker. The author of seven books, including her latest work, Animals Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild, Dr. King focuses on animal emotion and cognition, the ethics of our relationships with animals, and the evolutionary history of language, culture, and religion. Her book How Animals Grieve has been translated into seven languages. Dr. King is a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and her work has been featured in Scientific American, Aeon, Undark, SAPIENS, NPR, the BBC, Times Literary Supplement, the World Science Festival, and the annual TED conference in Vancouver. Her TED talk on animal love and grief has received over three million views and is available online at https://www.ted.com/speakers/barbara_j_king. You can also follow her on Twitter. She lives in Wicomico, Virginia, with her husband and rescued cats.

About Dr. Hope Ferdowsian

Hope Ferdowsian is president and CEO of Phoenix Zones Initiative and author of Phoenix Zones: Where Strength Is Born and Resilience Lives. For more than two decades, as a double board-certified internal medicine and preventive medicine physician, she has cared for individuals who have experienced displacement and violence, while she has also worked on public policies to address structural inequities, abuse, and exploitation. Dr. Ferdowsians work across six continents has included collaboration with the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States and the development of medical, public health, and educational resources for nongovernmental organizations, national governments, and intergovernmental organizations. Dr. Ferdowsian was named a Humanitarian of the Year in the American College of Physicians in 2017. She is also an associate professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, a co-director of the Society for Asylum Medicine, and a medical expert for Physicians for Human Rights.

About Phoenix Zones Initiative

Phoenix Zones Initiative is a global nonprofit organization on a mission to advance the interconnected rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals, and the planet through a Just One Healthapproach. Led by physicians and a diverse team, Phoenix Zones Initiative focuses on widespread ethical and structural change. Phoenix Zones Initiative advances legal, economic, and public policy to uplift the most vulnerable and marginalized, including children and animals, and the organization also provides resources so others can do the same. Follow Phoenix Zones Initiative on Facebook,Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the Phoenix Zones Initiative website.  

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A Guide to Discovering the Spiritual Agreements between Our Souls and Those of our Animal Companions Animal lovers are extraordinary. Despite awareness that we will probably outlive our beloved pets, we are still drawn, time and time again, to the connection, joy, and unconditional love that come with sharing our lives, homes, and laps with animals. Many of us feel something deeper than just companionship with our animal friends—a heart-to-heart connection felt all the way to the soul level. Revealing the higher purpose and soul mission behind our relationships with our animal companions, Tammy Billups explores the spiritual contracts that are created when a human bonds with an animal and shows how we come into each other’s lives for a reason. Providing real-life examples, Billups explains why animals choose, at the soul level, to have certain perceived negative experiences, such as physical or behavioral issues, to evolve their souls, clear karma, and help our soul’s evolution. She shows that human and animal souls orchestrate every experience and interaction that holds potential for transformation and healing, including the final transition. She demonstrates the inner dynamics of the animal-human relationship to help animal lovers understand their soul contracts with their pets. The inspirational, real-life examples of animal-human tandem healings that Billups facilitated identify the soul contracts within each pairing that transformed feelings of grief, loss, abandonment, betrayal, trauma, abuse, and anxiety. The author reveals how animals we have previously loved and shared our lives with come back, either on the spirit level or reincarnated in a new animal form, to support us. Offering peace and hope to those who’ve lost beloved animal companions, she describes what she’s witnessed during healing sessions with animals in the weeks before they transition and during their passing. Billups also includes practical instructions for identifying different types of animal soul contracts and connecting with and enlisting the help of your light team or spirit guides. By discovering the soul agreements that underlie our animal partnerships, we can find meaning in the issues that arise with our animals and ourselves, support our souls’ mutual evolution, and allow the soul contracts to weave their spiritual magic in the animal-human relationship. Author Bio: Tammy Billups is a transformational soul healer and pioneer on the animal-human sacred soul partnership. She’s a sought after holistic healer, the creator of animal-human Tandem Healings, and a Certified Interface Therapist. She has appeared on CNN’s The Daily Share, Primetime Live ABC, and Oprah. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia.
It’s time for a long-overdue upgrade to dog waste bags… My name is Max Leahy, and I am the founder of PnT Pets Inc., and the inventor of Poop ’N Tie dog waste bags. It has been said that "necessity is the mother of all invention.” This necessity is what lead me to create Poop ’N Tie bags. I grew up in a suburb of New York City with two Old English Sheepdogs. Our house had a dog run out back, so I never had to think about picking up after them right away. In fact, it never crossed my mind. When I relocated to Los Angeles, I got my first “fur-child.” She is a beautiful Australian Shepherd with two bright blue eyes named Scout. I quickly learned the trials and tribulations of picking up and conscientiously throwing away the poop. I tried many different dog waste bags and found them to be sub-par in quality. The problem was as Scout grew larger, it became more difficult to tie the full poop bag as she pulled on her leash. I tried bags similar to plastic shopping bags with handle ties. They were much easier. However, none of these came in a roll format, let alone bags that would fit into a roll dispenser for a leash. I began my quest to find an adequate poop bag that met my needs. One day after taking out my kitchen trash, it struck me that a drawstring poop bag might be the solution. Sometimes, the answer is right in front of you. I experimented cutting a drawstring kitchen bag into smaller bags and afterwards using a food saver machine to seal the edges - and - Eureka! The Poop ’N Tie bag was born. www.poopntie.com add PETRADIO in the promo code box for 20% off your first order
Earth Day 2021: Passing On a Cleaner World No matter where you stand on the climate change debate, we all want clean air and water. Just in time for Earth Day on April 22, Bill Pekny shares five ways to fight pollution everyone can get behind. Midway, UT (April 2021)—Preserving the beauty and wonder of our natural world for future generations should certainly be a goal everyone can get behind. While progress is often stymied by polarizing debates, clean air and water should be a priority for everyone. “We all want to pass on a clean and healthy world,” says Bill Pekny author of A Tale of Two Climates: One Real, One Imaginary (Two Climates LLC, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-73493-960-6, $34.59). “But the science is confusing to the average person, and it can be easy to get lost in the details. Meanwhile, instead of focusing on the fruit closest to the ground we waste our energy trying to convince ‘the other side’ to see things our way.” Pekny, who holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from Georgia Tech and DePaul and spent more than 50 years as a scientist in the U.S. Armed Forces and aerospace industry, wants to help demystify the science and help people understand what they can do to help. He says we should focus on combatting pollution in meaningful ways that are right in front of us instead of getting lost in debate that often just produces gridlock. “Small, incremental changes can get us moving toward bigger changes in the future,” he says. “People will start seeing the benefits right away. These little victories can generate some real momentum and get people excited about working toward a cleaner world.” With that in mind, here are five ways to fight pollution that we can all get behind. Pekny offers these ideas that could pack a big punch in our quest for clean air and water. Focus our efforts on pollution mitigation. All too often we get caught up on reducing carbon emissions in the abstract, and it can distract from other more meaningful ways to fight air pollution. Plus, getting rid of CO2 won’t help reduce other toxic pollutants. Manage forests better to minimize wildfires and resultant smoke (PM2.5) pollution. This includes controlled burns, managed logging operations, and preemptive thinning and removal of underbrush that fuel wildfires. This is a wise step, since trees usually leave the forest in only two ways—lumber or smoke! Place more emphasis on walking trails, biking trails, car-pooling, and public transportation in order to reduce vehicle pollutant emissions. Build more firebreak and logging roads. These roads improve accessibility to fire prone areas and gives us greater ability to inspect remote power lines (a frequent source of wildfires). Fund life cycle research and development of safe modular nuclear reactors and the geothermal fracking process. These have the potential to be flexible, reliable, and continuous sources of clean energy. “The natural beauty of our planet is incredible,” says Pekny. “My hope is that everyone will gain and enjoy a greater understanding of how we can work together to preserve this natural beauty for future generations.” # # # About the Author: Bill Pekny is the author of A Tale of Two Climates: One Real, One Imaginary. He holds physics M.S. and B.S. degrees from Georgia Tech and DePaul University, plus graduate study in physical meteorology and numerical analysis at Florida State University and the University of Utah, and a visiting scholar appointment at the Ginzton Laboratory of Applied Physics at Stanford University. Bill’s career in science spans over 50 years in the U.S. Armed Forces and the aerospace industry. His career highlights include: Project Stormfury with the U.S. Navy Hurricane Hunters; applied atmospheric physics and meteorology research; LASER RADAR development; new product testing in various atmospheric environments; aviation optics and electronics; global climate research; and more. About the Book: A Tale of Two Climates: One Real, One Imaginary (Two Climates LLC, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-73493-960-6, $34.59) is available from major online booksellers.
To put it simply, there’s little Dianne Scott doesn’t do. Between her successful modeling and acting career, her role as full-time wife and stepmom to three, and her devotion to advocating for pit bulls, Scott has allowed her creativity and artistry to pour out of her in far more ways than one. From performing in various film and television shows, gracing the cover of magazines, and turning her passion for pups into something tangible through her web series Neighborhood Watch, her Instagram page A Tale of 2 Pitties (which has gathered a community of 104k pit bull lovers), and her newly published children’s book series, A Tale of Two Pitties, Scott has gained an extensive amount of experience through her adventures. I was given the incredible opportunity to chat about her fondest memories, greatest advice, and future projects. Q: So you’ve done so many incredible things in your career. Before we jump into that, I’d love to know about your life before your career. How did your childhood and your upbringing inspire you to pursue a career in the industry? D: I knew when I was about eight or nine that I was a performer. I was always putting on silly skits and being ridiculous. I would force my friends and family to sit while I did something outrageous, and it was all to make them laugh—I really, really loved to make people laugh. I think it started because, I’m 5’10 now, so I was always very tall and very awkward as a child and I think I kind of leaned into my comedic ability to kind of compensate for how I didn’t feel beautiful or attractive. I was like “Okay, I’m really funny and I can make people laugh and that’s an even bigger gift,” and so I did that. I also started to write stories when I was in junior high and high school because I always loved to write. I still do and I’ll touch more on that later. So, as I got older and grew out of my ugly duckling phase, thank God, that was when my modeling career started, but I’ve always known I wanted to act. I was always performing and doing plays growing up. After high school, I went to Westmont College for a year and soon realized “Wait, this is not what I want to do,” so after that, I moved down to San Diego for a while, eventually made it to LA, and here I am now. Q: Could you tell me about your early career? What was your life like when you first moved to Los Angeles? DIANNE SCOTT, THE ACTRESS D: So I kind of hopped all over the place because I was honestly lost for a little while, which, aren’t we all in our early 20s? So when I finally made it up to LA, I had a very successful modeling career. But eventually, I thought, wait, I don’t want to do this, I need to be heard! I need to use my voice because I have a lot to say! So my first break was on the show Bones, which was my first co-star, so that was awesome. Then I zigzagged in and out of modeling and acting and was on a few other shows. I was on How I Met Your Mother, where I got to work with Neil Patrick Harris who is just so lovely and so funny. But I have to say the pinnacle of my career up until this point was, as far as working with absolute legends goes, I got to work on the movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. One day of filming, in particular, there was a scene where I was working with Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi, and Jay Mohr. It was twelve, maybe thirteen hours on this scene, and, girl, when I tell you it took everything in my being and acting training to not just crack up every time Jim Carrey looked over at me and made eye contact! It was just incredible, that was an amazing experience. Something else I got to work on that was just phenomenal was Face Off. I was a series regular for a few years and that was one of my favorites because you come on set and you have no idea what’s going to happen to you. They work you into these insane creatures and it was just so fun and fed my creative need so much. Q: What was it like adjusting to the people that live and work in Hollywood? As someone who moved from a suburb to LA at a young age as well, it was definitely culture shock for me. How has that adjustment been for you? D: When I first came to LA in my early 20’s, I was just clueless. I look back and I realize how many people were taking advantage of me and lying to me, and how starstruck I was and blind to it I was. So, it’s definitely tough. You have to have really thick skin and really know who you are and fortunately, over the years I found some really good people to hold onto. I went through a lot of friends and eventually found the right people, and that’s so important to stay grounded because it’s a very tricky industry. Q: So, switching gears to another one of your passions, you’re known for being a huge advocate for pit bulls. Can you tell me when and where this passion sort of stemmed from? DIANNE SCOTT, THE ACTRESS D: Yes, so in 2012 my husband saw a picture of a dog at a shelter and just had this urge to adopt him. I saw the picture and said, “That’s a pit bull, aren’t pit bulls dangerous?” because I didn’t know anything at the time. So I was like, “Can’t they lock their jaws, and aren’t they not safe around children?” And my husband, bless his heart, just kind of laughs and says “No, that’s a stereotype. That’s a bias you probably heard through the media.” The crazy thing was when I thought about it, I didn’t even know where I had heard that, it was just a fact rummaging around in my head. So thank God we took a chance on this dog. We brought him home, named him Hurley, and fell madly in love as one does when they take a chance on a pit bull. My mind was just blown at how what I thought was true was proven to be completely wrong by this beautiful, sweet boy. So something kind of awoke inside of me and shortly after Hurley we adopted another dog and I created an Instagram for them. Hurley died when he was four of lymphoma, and at this point, my social media following had grown pretty big. I had so much support from this amazing, insanely strong community of pit bull lovers and advocates on social media, and yes, it shattered my world. But also, in losing him, I realized what one of my missions in life was supposed to be, and it was to advocate for these dogs that are so misunderstood. So in 2016, shortly after Hurley died, we rescued another pit bull mix, so we have two again. He’s continued Hurley’s legacy, and over the years my passion in this whole mission has just continued to grow. Q: How did this passion for pit bulls connect with your love of writing? When did you feel inspired to connect the two and write A Tale of Two Pitties? D: When Hurley was still alive we had cats too, and when I married my husband I became a full-time stepmom to three, so we had a very full house. I started writing these children’s books because there are so many amazing stories with my life and these animals, you know? My pit bull loves on my cat and they just have this bromance that was featured on Ellen, and it was impacting so many people around the world! I thought, “I need to write these books and make them fun and educational!” and I couldn’t stop writing. So, I have five published on Amazon right now and I have no desire to stop, so I’m going to keep writing. I mean we now have two dogs, four cats, three children—the stories are just never going to end! Q: How has it been taking on this new hat of being an author? Seeing that you’re an actor, model, and now author, I’d love to hear your opinion on how these things connect. D: Yes, they definitely balance. As an artist, there are so many things that just pour out of you in any outlet you can find, and I’m just finding more as I get older, which is so lovely. When I became a full-time stepmom I didn’t know what I was doing. I don’t have any biological children and I decided to put a hiatus on my career so I could really adjust and be the best version of myself for them and for my husband and not lose my mind. In doing that, that’s when things really started ramping up in me artistically and all these different outlets appeared. So I kept writing and I created a web series called Neighborhood Watch with my dog, and I looked back and thought, “How funny is it that I stopped acting professionally for a while, but I couldn’t stop acting?” So, I created a series with my dog as my co-star (who is a phenomenal co-star, I must say)! It just goes to show if you’re meant to do something it’s going to manifest in some way. Now that our kids are older, I’ve since gone back to acting and it’s like picking up where I left off, but even better. Q: For our readers interested in keeping an eye out for you, are there any projects you’ve recently worked on or that you’re planning to do in the future? D: Yes, I do! So I was just part of a film released last weekend called Super Bois. The film is about people with special needs and pit bulls and shining this beautiful bright light on them. I have a niece with Down syndrome and I have pit bulls, so these were just two incredibly amazing causes I’m very passionate about. Just the way that it all happened was insane and I never expected to be a part of this film. I got to play opposite Marty York, who plays ‘Yeah-Yeah’ in The Sandlot, which is one of my all-time favorite movies to this day, so being able to play opposite him was just such a cool, amazing experience. It’s just a beautiful movie, so that’s really exciting. I also just did a documentary on plant-based dog food. Now, I’m not vegan or plant-based, so when they approached me to do it I was pretty skeptical. But when we did it, all of our dogs’ digestive issues, rashes, and allergies that we’ve spent so much money on disappeared within a week of being on this food and nothing has come back since. So, this documentary was just released last week, it’s by Wild Earth dog food, and I’m really excited about it. Q: Lastly, if you had one piece of advice for our readers who are aspiring to be actors, models, or authors, what would it be? D: Yes, I have a lot of advice! For someone wanting to pursue acting, I think a huge key is knowing who you are as a person, as an artist, as a soul, and making sure you’ve done as much of the inner work as you can. Meaning, for example, I remember getting to LA in my early 20s and not really having a sense of identity. I was so easily swayed one way or the other; it was hard for me to say no, and there were just so many things that were a recipe for disaster. So now, when I look back, I realize that was another reason I didn’t have as much success early on. I think knowing who you are, taking the time to figure out who you are, and really getting strong in what you believe, what you’re going to say yes or no to, and above all, this piece of advice goes for anything you’re pursuing, never ever give up on the desire that is in your heart. They are not random, they were put there, and you can do something so special that can help an endless amount of people if you follow that. If you live your life in fear, at the end of your life you’re going to be so regretful, and you’ll never know what you’re missing out on if you don’t leave your comfort zone. You have no idea of the path and you can’t predict what’s going to happen, so you just have to trust that what you’re meant to do is going to happen and just keep going no matter what.
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