Why teens should rescue dogs

By | Gia Pizzano | No Comments

Being a teenager in today’s society is not easy or perfect. While most people look happy in the eyes of others, especially on social media, teenagers face many struggles everyday. Teens are expected to start to grow up and start to become an adult while they are still trying to discover their own identity. Many face anxiety, peer pressure, bullying, and loneliness. About one in two teens have also dealt with a mental illness at least once in their life. Teens have a lot to juggle during this difficult stage of their lives, needing someone or something to turn to at the end of the day for love and support.

No matter what happens during my day and no matter how hectic things get, I always come home to a huge welcome from my dogs who are always there for me. Dogs are not just a pet, they are family. They are your best friends and silent teachers. Rescuing a dog can not only save their lives, but the lives of their owners. So many dogs need homes today and are waiting for their forever home, but a teen can also be rescued by adopting a dog. Teens are able to learn how to be responsible and compassionate by them. Dogs require a lot of care, being fully dependent on their owner. This can also prepare teens for the future and adulthood.  A dog owner is given a new purpose in life and is needed by his canine companion. You are never alone and will have your dog to turn to in hard times whenever necessary.  

Dogs require a lot of attention and love. However, dogs give even more love in return and are always there for you. They are present to comfort you after a rough day and provide a support that no other human can offer. Dogs will understand your emotions and react to them. My dog senses when I am upset and tries to play with me and make me happy again, being that he gets upset seeing me sad. They have feelings, too, and understand you and all you do for them. Their unconditional love is irreplaceable and they are present to constantly give you emotional support.  They can relieve stress, turning our attention to them and away from our everyday problems. They will improve your life, and overall well being.

By a teen rescuing a dog, he will gain a new best friend that will love him forever. A dog can make him forget about the world around him and give him a reason to continue on. They will have a positive impact on a teen’s health, especially emotional health. Some dogs have been through hard times just like their owners, being able to understand them even more, building an even stronger bond. Two individuals will be saved by rescuing a dog and two lives will be changed forever.

Gia Pizzano

Loyalty to life

By | Loyalty | No Comments

I believe that our world will always be in dispute over when life truly begins and if a woman’s right to choose is appropriate. However, nobody will argue that a life is certainly a life when they are seen breathing outside a mother’s womb. What has always fascinated me is that while this argument continues to play itself out, the level of respect for life is never addressed, as it should be. In addition, some lives seem to mean so much more than others.

Consider the story of a dog that was found lying on what seemed to be another animal. Upon closer review, he was lying on another dog that had been hit by a car. Although the poor dog had died, his friend would not leave his side. It was also reported that he had stayed on top of this poor soul for an entire day before someone finally came along to help. This was clearly a demonstration of true sanctity of life, and it is a foundation to present some challenges to our society that are very much in need.

There are also plenty of debates on whether the Bible offers a level of respect for our animal friends. I cannot understand why it is a debate because it is clear to me that they are in fact respected. However, even if there is a valid argument against my beliefs, nobody should accept an animal being physically or emotionally abused. As much as I personally respect the Bible, I only refer to the sacred scripture to bring my point into a religious perspective. In reality, the Bible respecting animals should not be the be all and end all reason to treat animals with respect.

Consistency is one of my perspectives on many issues. I wonder why our society is not more consistent when it comes to the value of all life. It seems like only the high profile cases of sanctity of life are the ones that attract attention. Consider the high profile case of Terry Schiavo. The issue surrounding her was whether or not the end of her life and the feeding tube that was keeping her alive was appropriate. Some people I know well were very outspoken in this matter and were on the side of the value of Terry Schiavo as a person. A day later, the same group spoke out against homeless in their neighborhood! I am afraid that this dichotomy extends in many different directions even though this sanctity of life debate rages on.

I must admit that Daniel the Beagle who lives with me is also a high profile case and received much more attention than other dogs in need. However, I immediately took charge to use his miracle survival to help others, and I can say with confidence that to me every life matters. Daniel is a valued member of my family but no more than the other living creatures, dogs and humans, that I share my life with. I look at this as your typical bell shaped curve. About 20% of the people in our world will completely understand my points and in many cases can express them better than I can. The other 20% will not be convinced that I am making sense no matter what I say. But, it is the 60% in the middle we want to influence.

We want to convert the family that brings their dog to the shelter when he is 10 years old and they no longer want him.

We want to convert the teenager who at present time has no respect for the dog wandering the street, but comes to realize that he is a living, sentient being that feels pain.

We want to change the attitude, especially on those who proclaim to be compassionate, to think twice when they speak ill of a dog and make that statement, “it is just a dog”.

There is reason to be encouraged. After all, every time there is some type of natural disaster, people have a change of heart. Consider the horrible effects from Hurricane Katrina where dogs were left stranded in flooded houses and many left behind while people were saved. I heard so many crying out for the poor dogs, and those who did were not what we would call dog lovers!

It is interesting that these types of things can make people think differently. Well, there is some “good news” in all this. If we convince people that these terrible things happen to dogs every day, maybe we can get a ground swell of support to truly make a difference for all of them, every day.

That brings us to some action items to create this mindset in the people who we can influence. Many who read this are those who are in the category of “preaching to the choir”. My hope is that they will also benefit by finding new ways to inspire others to see that these lives matter. The other side of this spectrum is likely not to be converted to mater what we say or do. However, if we assume the bell shaped curve for this issue, there are many that can be tipped over to the side of loyalty to all life, all of the time.

With that, I introduce my 4-point plan. 4 paws on the floor grounded and ready to run.
There are way too many stories about how dogs are abused or even worse the horrific accounts of how so many loving canines lose their life. These situations are emotionally heartbreaking; they create anger, and can easily drain us. I totally understand all of this but we must also realize that in most cases there is nothing more we can do. My suggestion is to at least spend as much time each day sharing positive stories in order to keep our own sanity in check. This will also help us to inspire others to do more to help dogs in need.

I know these terrible situations where people hurt animals leaves very little room for any positive thoughts about the people who do the heinous act. However, there are plenty of situations where we can easily rush to judgment on someone and by doing so we are moving away from the loyalty to life that we are seeking. Consider the person who cuts you off on line in the store. We can get angry and escalate negative feelings, or we can let it go and consider the possibility that the person is having significant issues in their life. I am often reminded how Shelby, my formerly abused Pit bull now a therapy dog, treats every human with respect even those who are obviously not in a good place. If we can step back and consider these moments it will strengthen our own loyalty to life.
Although nothing is perfect, even for dogs, I love to see how well dogs get along and in many cases they work at it. Daniel and Spartacus are a good example. They will never be best friends, but they are often seen hanging out with each other and there is no animosity. If I had one wish to help more animals it would be for rescue organizations to get along better and not be so critical and create such “turf battles”. I do see the differences of opinion and yes, I have some of my own issues with what some organizations do and not do. However, I clearly prefer to look at the positives and if there are none, I will always try to remain quiet. There is a better alternative, which is to put differences aside and work together to not only help more animals but also send a powerful and positive message to society about our passion to help dogs, and how we live it every day. I have 29 years of corporate experience including 10 in Labor relations. I am happy to offer suggestions to make improvements in this important area.
I have been training in Martial Arts for over 30 years. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I almost quit after the first day thinking that there was no way I could really do this, physically and emotionally. Obviously I stayed the course and realized that although there would be challenges, I needed to dig down deep for effort and a positive attitude. I remain convinced today that Daniel survived that gas chamber experience because of his great attitude that I see in him every day. The path we have chosen to defend the lives of animals is not easy. We will be beaten down by negative stories and like me, you will be harshly criticized by people who do not believe as we do. This is where we must each adopt a “black belt’ mentality to never give up but know when to back off, support each other, and have the best positive attitude every day.
Peace, Joe Dwyer
Thank you so much for all you do.

Please contact me at www.danielsdream.org

Water fountain lessons

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In offices, many good stories and good teamwork can take place around the water fountain. In a gym it can be the same or it can take on another form.

In my gym it seems that many people turn the water fountain nozzle outward so that they can fill up a water bottle. If the next person comes by, who just so happened to be me, and wants a drink of water but does not look where the nozzle is pointed, they get wet!

I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten wet because the person before me filled up their water bottle and did not turn the nozzle back to the drinking position!

The toxin we are looking to knock out here is “anger”. Especially when we have a small issue overwhelm us so much that we take it personally.

Enter our hero, Daniel the Beagle Dwyer.

Heroes have consistent answers to the toxins that can affect our lives and Daniel has some thoughts on this issue right now.

The first thing we need to do is to realize that this is a small issue (toxin) and if we overreact it can grow to a much more toxic issue for us as the ripple effects take over. For instance, after you get wet you realize the machine you wanted to use is now occupied! Now the toxic level grows to a dangerous level!

Dogs never combine issues like this. They live in the moment and do not let these issues multiply exponentially. Wait a minute; this is not a math lesson!!

It is a good knock out toxins lesson, however, and we are not done yet!

The other part of this lesson that our hero, Daniel, is offering is not to take it personally. There is only a slight chance, if at all, that the person previously at the water fountain did not turn the nozzle back to make sure the next person got wet. So, it is a classic accident and should not be over reacted to.

Maybe for you it is not the water fountain in the gym, but guaranteed it is something similar that can turn us to a point of toxic anger for no good reason.

The lesson for today to knock out toxins is to take the time needed to first evaluate the issue and see it as a small matter that you do not want to escalate. Second is to understand that it is not personal, and it is not business either, Godfather!

Seriously, our hero is clearly inspiring us to knock out these easy toxins early so we can go on with our day and live in a peaceful, compassionate and productive way.


My first job

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I am not sure if I was excited, but at least it was a step in a positive direction. It was my first job, a bus boy at Rutt’s Hut, which is a famous hot dog place and restaurant in Northern New Jersey. The boss was reluctant to give me the position at first. He told me I would start each day mopping out the bathrooms. I turned to look at these small rest rooms and noticed how close they were to a very busy bar area. I said, “Sure, no problem.” (gulp), and at that moment I was given the job.

The first person I met was the other bus boy that quickly informed me that mopping the bathroom was not on his job description. What a tough way to begin, lower than the bottom rung on the ladder, or so I thought.

This was a busy restaurant with high tension to turn over tables so the waitresses were constantly moving which meant so were the bus boys! It was easy to see the pecking order: Bosses, waitresses, rodents that are not visible to the public, bus boys – in that order!

Many nights it was hard to tell if mopping the bathrooms was the high moment of my night or maybe it was a customer yelling at me for not cleaning the table well enough. That comment was of course after a burp that came over me like a storm cloud.

The reality of this experience is it was the best first job I could have ever asked for! However, that fact has only dawned on me recently, some 40 years later.

Yes, I was asked to work hard and do some uncomfortable things, but I was almost always thanked and at the end of the night I could literally have eaten every item on the menu. That was one thing the bosses made sure of.

The waitresses were really an interesting group of women, most working to pay their monthly bills, hoping to make enough in tips to do so. They worked hard and appreciated Jay (the other bus boy) and myself every night. They shared a portion of their tips and always gave on the high side of what was expected.

As for Jay, he may be the best and most loyal work partner I ever had. Although he did not clean the bathroom, he made sure he picked up the slack whenever possible and never complained. When a woman lost her ring and it was thought to be in the trash pile, it was Jay who went to look through the very undesirable pile.

Once again I credit my canine loves for helping me see this as a great experience. Dogs live in each moment but they appreciate each moment and they work effectively with others, without a need to compare.

Most important, no matter what happens, a dog will see the best side of everything, especially being rewarded and of course, eating!


The Dog Ate My Homework or Did He Chapter 6 Adversity and Conflict Resolution

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Consider how dogs greet each other compared to how humans do. A dog will be sure to run up as close as possible, arguably too close at times, but they always make sure they are close before the actual greeting takes place.

Humans on the other hand have a habit of trying to communicate from a distance. Many times the exchange then moves into a challenging place since the separation is not addressed appropriately. Case in point, I have been accused, and rightfully so, of trying to “communicate” from one level of the house to another.

Let’s address the frustration that can occur and how it applies to resolving conflicts and adversity.

We often expect others to simply understand our point of view or “buy in” to our way of thinking without considering where they stand on the particular issue. This is the distance and of course the resulting difficulty in communicating with someone else.

A dog has a much better sense, because when they are so close to another dog or human when greeting them they know everything they need to know about them. A dog is also showing us that we need to “meet people where they are” if we expect to have success in influencing those we are in contact with.

How many times have you not considered this distance when trying to communicate something and then end up having adversity be a huge issue?

The image we should create is a football field. Often times we are in one end zone with our point of view and the other person is in the other end zone. Frustration mounts when we cannot seem to make progress with the other person. Instead of moving to midfield or at least the 30-yard line we stay where we are and adversity rises. The communication is also not effective since we are clearly too far away, literally and figuratively.

Our thoughts should go to our canine friends as quickly as possible. No, I do not expect you to smell another person like a dog does, I just want you to consider coming closer so that we have a better chance of being open to the other perspective and cutting down on adversity and conflicts.

A Journey to KnockOut Toxins 8

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As I pull into the parking lot at the gym the cold water is rushing to my head. I am experiencing my daily dose of an anxiety attack and this time the portion size is very large.

As I get out of the car it is difficult to move but I know from experience that I need to get going and it will help, even a little.

Yes, I do still deal with anxiety and depression every day and it is not easy at times. However, it brings me to an important toxin in life. It is the toxin of excess.

I bet you are wondering how this can be a lesson on conquering the toxin of excess after staggering around my gym parking lot with an anxiety attack.

How many times have we heard about no matter how bad we have it, someone has it worse. It is often true, but very hard to keep in mind when we are filled with toxins. As the anxiety attack hit me, I could have been thinking of the many people who physically cannot make it to the gym each day. While, I still can regardless of anxiety.

Another choice to be made when we are hit with a toxin as I was on this day is to push harder to overcome it. We need to strive for that hunger that drives us to those things we need in our life.

It seems as if I am making contradictory statements about how best to handle the toxin of excess. However, this time the answer is in the confusion!

To effectively handle the toxin of excess in our life we must have the same approach as when we sit down for a nice meal.

When we are having our favorite dinner we should immediately develop a balanced mindset that has us in a state of deep appreciation for what we have, to enjoy it without taking it for granted, but to always leave the table a little hungry.

That said, there is not much more for me to say or I risk going to the excess for this post!

Sustained satisfaction in life comes from a blend of feeling totally satisfied and appreciative for all we have but remaining hungry enough to come back the next day and find more fulfillment

This 8-week journey may have come to an end, but the subject of knocking out toxins is an ongoing process for those who love life and all it has to offer.

Stay with us!

A Journey to Knock Out Toxins 7

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The toxin of bad things can be very difficult to handle. Some things that happen in life are truly very difficult to cope with. A death of a loved one or a dramatic change in lifestyle that is not by our choice certainly qualifies.

There are some daily life toxins that need to be looked at with a different perspective.

Last week I went to the gym as I do each morning. A large man was standing in front of the two water fountains filling a large container with water. The way he was standing kept me from using the water fountain he was not using. How annoying was this you ask? In fact it was really frustrating since a lot of time was going by and I needed a drink of water. After a few minutes I left the scene mumbling to myself.

After finishing my workout, I entered the men’s room to clean up. As I was washing my hands I heard a voice calling me to come over by the television. It was my “friend” from the water fountain! He called me over to let me know that there was a frostbite warning issued for the day and to take care and make sure I did not stay out long. He added that it is important to help those in need during days like this. In a state of surprise, I thanked him very much and staggered out of the room wondering if what had happened really did happen!

In fact it did and it gave me a lesson we can all relate to. The situation at the water fountain appeared to be a toxin in my day, but little did I know that there was going to be a chemical reaction that would turn it from a bad thing to a very positive one.

When we are the targets of a harmful act from someone else we have a choice to make.

Many of them we can just let go. I am not saying that if someone is truly trying to harm you that it can be ignored. As a martial artist I train others and myself in situations where we really need to protect ourselves. Although, the truth is that this is not the case most of the time.

Think back to the last 5 times you were given a toxin from someone else. I am willing to wager that at least 3 or 4 of them could have been let go. Did you react? Even worse, did you carry it with you more than 5 more minutes into your day?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, you have added toxin to a toxin and it is nobody’s fault but your own.

Now for the best chemical reaction of the day! What we need to add is the compound called patience.

As in my example from the gym, many “bad toxins” provided to us by others are not intentional and do not totally define the person permanently.

However, they will appear that way if we add in the wrong compound of anger and cannot locate the compound we need which is patience and peace.

Are you willing to give this a try? I know that I need to stock up on my supply of patience and peace!

A Journey to Knock Out Toxins 6

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The toxin that has the most dramatic impact on my life is the toxin of rejection. I spent the better part of the last month reflecting on rejections that have taken place in my life; ranging from small seemingly insignificant ones to rejections that have had me perplexed and depressed for many years.

I am not naïve by any stretch of the imagination and I am also far from perfect so I do understand that some of them I had my part in. However, that is where the reflecting comes front and center because as I can tell you that I have had my share of rejections that are at a minimum disturbing and curious.

This is not the time or place to reveal specifics since I am giving serious thought to writing about this in much more detail and I need some time to consider that.

Instead I want to concentrate on the ability to focus on the toxin of rejections in our life.

When we are rejected we immediately become devastated with the feeling that we are not loved or cared about. That could be the case, but it also may be a variety of other factors. Either way, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out the reason for the rejection.

Instead, our motivation to knock out this toxin is a choice we have in so many situations – to go into a negative place or to do something about it.

When any disappointment or challenge comes into our life we can choose to sink into a negative place or we can decide to make it a motivator for a hidden passion.

About 30 years ago I was faced with my first real dose of this toxin of rejection. Many images came back to me after my brother, Fritz passed away. For a while I soaked in the toxin and went to the negative place. Then I decided it was a sign for me to do something I always wanted to do. So I decided to begin training Martial Arts and today I am a 3rd degree black belt and still love to train in the discipline.

After careful reflection in the last month on many rejections, it is clear to me what I need to do.

Saving dogs will be my number one priority for the rest of my days I walk this earth. It was always inside me to make this my life, but after this time of reflection in many rejections swirling through my mind, it is feeding this passion.

My challenge to you is to reflect on some of the rejections in your life. Please do not over think it, but let the thoughts settle in your mind for a while.

I am willing to wager that they will send you in a similar direction. A passion will be unearthed and brought to an incredible level.

A Journey to Knock Out Toxins 5

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I recently read a book about George Bush and a statement made by Barbara Bush moved me. The reason they have had such a good relationship is that they are both willing to go 75%. Like them or not, is this is true, and I believe it is, it is an inspiration and it is rather quite uncommon.

We are used to hearing that relationships should be 50/50. That in itself would be progress since I have noticed that our perception is that most of us feel that we give more than we receive. This perception and the times when it is true make up a worthy toxin.

In the best-case scenario we would all feel that we are receiving enough emotional support from those that we need it from to fill our requirements. If that sounded too “business like”, it was intentional since I want to make it clear that these relationships extend to our business life as well as personal.

Often we are not in the same league as the Bush family in this area of life. We feel slighted and then we decide that we will get our revenge by holding back. The result is higher levels of toxins in everyone involved.

My good buddy, Daniel, provided me with some great insight just this week.

Typically I take Daniel for a good walk each day since he thrives on a lot of activity and exercise. Last week it was really cold and after less than half of what we normally do, I turned towards home because the cold had really gotten to me. Daniel came inside but he was not at all upset. As is his habit, he wagged his tail in approval and went on with his day. Even though his expectations were not met, he remained satisfied.

Are we capable of the same attitude? I think that if we are to make solid progress on this toxin of expectations, we need to make a stride towards Daniel’s way of thinking.

Is it because the person we seek attention from is not giving us what we need or have our expectations risen too high?

In most cases, the answer is a blend of the two. However, the action necessary is under our own control.

Like Daniel, we should often defer to keeping our expectations in check, remaining appreciative as possible with what we do receive.

The other fact to consider is that if we look carefully at the Bush family we may be thinking about 75% of a gallon of water, when in reality it is 75% of a quart. What does the person really have to give?

I have been making real strides with this toxin in the past couple of weeks and will continue to do so. How about you?

A Journey to Knock Out Toxins 4

A Journey to Knock Out Toxins 4

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The day begins with a phone call where all you hear are negative issues about what is wrong with the world. It continues with an e-mail that describes how messed up the person’s life is even though much is brought on by her!

This is the world of the toxin of other people’s toxins. They can seep right from them into you and before you know it, you are so filled with their toxins that you are drained of energy.

The reason that this toxin can be very dangerous is that like most, you do not see it coming until it is too late. You have good intent in mind but then you notice that you have no energy. It can then put you in a place where you start complaining about things that are not really legitimate, or ones that you do not have control over.

I am willing to bet that this sounds familiar to all of you! It is important to clarify that I am not saying that you should try to be there for those in need. As a matter of fact, I do that quite often in my life. What I am suggesting is that you need to really focus on that fine line where you can go from trying to help to making yourself sick with toxins.

My Rommel suffered with Cushing’s disease and it really started to make him sick in his last three months. During this time I was with Rommel as much as possible and it came clear to me that he was the model for this necessary balance on both sides!

Rommel would seek comfort from his toxic disease but he never crossed the line to making me feel like I was responsible for his illness. He appreciated every second we were together and had a perfect balance. During the same time I was in a frantic state as Daniel was in a heated campaign to win the Hero Dog competition. The toxin of stress was taking its toll on me and Rommel had always been my comforter. Here, too, he was so balanced. He cuddled near me and even jumped up so I could hold him when he noticed that I was in a stressed state. However, he had his own issues to deal with so after a few minutes he would retreat to his pillow to rest.

Rommel and I, during this time, provided a great testimonial for the balance necessary for the toxins of other’s toxins.

We all have some toxins we are trying to knock out at any given time. At the same time we need to be there for others to help them with their toxins. Then comes the most important balance. If a person has a piece of food in their teeth you can easily help them to remove it. If it is something you cannot really help with like an illness or their continued actions based on being simply silly or having a constant bad attitude, then the best way to proceed is to do the best you can up to a point. Then when you feel that toxin invading your mind, it is time to stop and politely but firmly move on.

I cannot tell you that I have knocked out this toxin completely, but I can say that I have made some positive strides to do so. Like many toxins, it has a way of sticking around for a while. Also, like many toxins, it is a journey and the first step is to clearly recognize it and become more aware of its presence.

I do hope that you have now taken a positive step in the same direction.

Please share your thoughts with us.