I love dedicated dog people.

10

The company that I work for is based in Norwalk, Connecticut. I have worked for Belvoir Media Group for the past 22 years on Whole Dog Journal, and before that, on The Whole Horse Journal! But given that I work from my home in northern California, and do little more than just produce the editorial content of the publication, it’s easy for me to be ignorant of the dozens of people on the other side of the country who are working to support WDJ’s circulation, marketing, website, promotions, etc.

I mean, I speak regularly to my boss, and I have weekly interaction with the person who needs my weekly blog post by a certain day at a certain time . . . and, in the day of modern publishing, I now also have regular meetings with the “kids” who do “search engine optimization” and let me know what sorts of articles you guys are looking for. They track the online access to our back issues and offer suggestions on what content needs to be updated and freshened up – which is helpful, because I tend to think “We just DID an in-depth article on pancreatitis!” when in fact that article is six or seven years old now.

But every once in a while the company asks me to come out to Connecticut and work with members of the team whose names I only really know from email – and am not even really sure what they do. And what a delight it is when it turns out that some of these people are ardent readers of WDJ, and are, in fact, super dedicated dog people who are doing absolutely everything right for their dogs! What fun!

My kind of dog person

For a couple of days, I am out here working with a number of people on producing a course for new dog owners – an online guide with video and slides and all sorts of valuable content plucked from the pages of WDJ. I’m spending a few hours in a role I do not enjoy, in front of a camera instead of behind one, taking pictures of dogs. But yesterday, we filmed at the home of one of the company’s circulation directors (Belvoir Media Group publishes a lot of magazines and newsletters, not just WDJ). And what a joy it was to pull up and see, on the back of Theresa’s car, a spare-tire cover featuring a lovely photo of her Bulldog, several Bulldog-themed bumper stickers, and inside her home, a plethora of not just Bulldog-themed art, but smart dog-owner stuff everywhere! Baby gates in both the kitchen doorways. Baskets of dog toys. A variety of collars and leashes hanging by the door. And two gorgeous but dog-friendly fenced yards, where we filmed.

A Bulldog with a nice waistline!

I brought a present for Theresa’s six-year-old Bulldog, Macy: Woody’s favorite toy in the world, a brand-new Planet Dog Squeak ball. I was happy initially because not only was Macy a particularly fit Bulldog, she immediately loved and coveted the toy (and Theresa assured me that it wasn’t indiscriminate love; “She’s very picky about her toys,” she said seriously). But then I told Theresa that I had brought some of my favorite dog treats from home, some Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Meal Mixers. And right away she asked, “What’s in them? Because Macy can’t have chicken or she breaks out in hives.” Of course, the ones I brought were chicken, but I was thrilled to meet a dog owner who was aware of the cause of a problem and proactive about protecting her dog from the problem – and who was ready with some chicken-free treats of her own to give me, so I could help guide Macy through our shots in front of the camera together. And she showed me the cues that she uses to ask Macy for the good-manners behaviors and tricks she knows. What fun!

In my part of the world, I meet a lot of dog owners who don’t microchip, who have choke chains on their dogs as a matter of course, who don’t train their dogs – or even let them in the house! So it’s a pure delight to go and meet a total stranger who works on behalf of WDJ behind the scenes who is a total WDJ-type of person.

I’ll keep you apprised about the course; it’s going to be great!

10 COMMENTS

  1. You’re in my hometown area! I was visiting there last week, and will be back again in a couple of more weeks. Good luck with the new dog owner course; it sounds like something I’ll be eager to recommend to friends and colleagues who are getting their first dogs.

  2. also abroad we have people who follow WDJ, and look for a good material to be better dog owners.
    I wish I had found a course like the one they are preparing, 4 years ago, when I rescued my puppy.
    Because of several factors, my puppy showed extreme aggression, putting his life and family life in danger.
    I learned about WDJ from the instructor of a course I took abroad, determined to save my dog ​​and my family, because for some, our dogs are our family.
    I’ve been reading your journal for two years and not only have I found a good guide for us, but I consult it frequently, to advise friends and acquaintances about their problems with their puppies and avoid being returned to shelters or starting a long family trip in family for their behavior and also their health issues.
    therefore, we ask for your help: all those wonderful books that WDJ have among their products, we need them in digital version to avoid the high costs of shipping to South America (Ecuador exactly).
    Thank you very much for everything you do for the canine families.

  3. I love pets especially dogs. There was a time I had about 37 dogs all adopted. They were a treat to watch, Daisy died when she was 18yrs old. Now I only hv 4. With time they died completing their age cycle. Lucky was a girl dog and I loved her. I formed Lucky welfare society for dogs in her memory but never got any recognition for my work, because in a country like Pakistan it is still an omen to be kind to dogs or other animals. However I alone do whatever I can and leave the rest in the hands of God Almighty

  4. Lots of dog friendly places around here for you to do your research.

    Cove Island (Stamford)
    Downtown Stamford
    Cranbury Park (Wilton – just north of Norwalk)
    Lake Mohegan (Fairfield.)

  5. I am fairly new WDJ. Please do an article regarding the decompression issues and time it takes for a shelter dog to get back to normal. Understanding this concept may help those pups that get returned to the shelter after only days or weeks of their adoption. Thank you

  6. I think it’s wonderful that you can do a job around animals. Especially dogs. I am a great big dog person. And I do enjoy whole dog journal. I think it would be very interesting to check out some of the toys thunder shirts and so forth. To see if all the things sold for our animals really do work or not. Have fun

  7. I have been a fan and subscriber of TheWDJ since August 2010. I just rec’d WDJ email in which you share your visit
    to Norwalk, Connecticut. I am always impressed that publications are both informative and beautifully done each time even though your in Northern CA. and actual print is done out of CT. I always enjoy your editor’s notes. I appreciate your real life situations with dogs. I am especially interested in the work that is required to keep our dogs safe when we buy commercial dog foods. I would like to know more about how the “good dog foods” are selected for your safe dog foods lists in your WDJs. Thank you for your great magazine. Rose Barry

  8. Hi Nancy,
    I have a dog-friendly question for you. Would Whole Dog Journal consider publishing, or, seeking out an article or book to publish, on training dogs who are blind or with severely limited vision? I have a Schipperke-Chow mix who is very well-mannered and does a great job leash-walking with me. However, one day I fell and her leash came out of my hand. Despite my (frantic) calls to her to “come” she kept on going, toward a high-volume traffic main street. By God’s grace, there were people nearby who saw my situation and grabbed her leash before she got to the street. There are other “training” issues I have with her. Not to get too long-winded here, but she was obviously trained adversely to stay off furniture, for instance, and I have tried to re-train her (in vain) to allow her on my bed and the couch. I wonder if you would consider addressing some of these issues, for dogs with special needs like mine, in the future. My particular concern is for teaching her an unfailing recall, in light of our prior accident, which could have been deadly if not for some good samaritans. Thanks very much for your consideration.

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