Dear FETCH Friends:

What is magic? When I look at the picture above, I feel magic flowing in my veins. Magic is a tingly sensation. It’s the feeling you get when you can’t explain why you love something so much! It’s knowing that you would go to the end of the world for something other than yourself. That is what this issue explores … along with some more fun pieces about animal folklore and symbolism. The first article on page 7 is about the magic between an autistic child and a dog. As a parent to an autistic son, this gives me hope. Everyday I witness the love my son has for our dog. Some days can be a bit challenging—he can be a little handsy and squirrelly—but with redirection a more productive encounter can occur. If it were up to me, every autistic child would be paired with a service animal or companion animal because the change in the child is remarkable. Animals are great healers and conduits for communication.

The article on page 15 by Dr. Tiffany Mitchener titled “The Magic of Pet Ownership” is a great piece that touches on so many different aspects of how animals create magic in our lives. So if you get a chance, please peak through the whole issue to see what it has to offer you. From magic tricks to folklore to animal symbolism and much more, this issue is unique. Please enjoy!

To creating magic in your world,

NPutz

Dear FETCH Friends:

Water is the most healing natural element in the world…if you ask me!

You can have a bad day or be stressed out and after taking a bath or going for a good swim, feel entirely better. So why not share this experience with our dogs? Some will obviously hate it, but OTHERS will love it. And the benefits of swimming for dogs is immense. My dog Tess used to go swimming, and she was like a whole different dog. Her temperament was better, her body moved better, and the ball (which was her best friend) definitely motivated her to keep jumping in.

And her happiness motivated all of those around her to keep living life.

She was my water, and I didn’t know the true worth of it until it was gone. We have a tendency to forget the value a dog brings to our world, and once they have left it, then we start to remember how life was before and how badly we want it back!

So try and enjoy this summer with your best friend(s). Take them swimming, throw a ball into the lake, give them a good bath—anything that you can think of to make it a bonding experience. Our memories are like water. They keep flowing and quenching the thirst that life brings us.

We can’t survive without water. And I can’t imagine surviving a whole lifetime without a dog. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about all those I’ve lost along this journey.

To diving in and quenching your thirst for life,

NPutz

This past winter, I took a huge leap out of my comfort zone, and I left my two kids home with their respite therapist while my husband and I spent a week in Sedona, Arizona. It was an experience. And a cold one at that. But every experience teaches us something about ourselves that perhaps was lying dormant. I learned that I much prefer vacations where there are palm trees, high temperatures and an ocean view. Just kidding, I knew that already.

What I truly learned was that no matter where I go, so does the anxiety of being a mother (to human and fur babies alike). I cannot escape it. But trying something brand new allows me to adjust my perception of my life. It allows me to appreciate what I have but also tweak my goals and wants for the future.

This issue is about trying something new (for you), stepping out of yourself and either trying a new activity or procedure, going to a new place or buying a new product (if you want to start small). Or maybe you want to dive right in and start big. Like join the cause against dogfighting, enroll in a dog camp (in or out of state), adopt a dog or start a canicross team with your best four-legged friend. The sky is the limit.

Everybody needs a change at some point in their life. I just happen to be a person that likes A LOT of change. So explore this issue to the best of your ability. Take notes, make a phone call or two, tell a friend about a dog that needs a home in this issue, but please don’t just do nothing.

Nothing is boring. It’s a sure way to not grow for both you and your dog. The human-animal bond is one of the utmost amazing relationships to develop. It does take a sense of wonder and some pocket change because nothing is completely free. Everything comes with some risk.

To taking risks and adopting change,

Nastassia Putz

Dear FETCH Friends:

When I hear the words pride & prejudice, I automatically think of the romance novel by Jane Austen, and I start to question how can this relate to dogs? But if you think of those two words as a lens (not just as part of a well-known book), your mind will start to digest where we are going with this issue.

So many dog owners have pride. Their dogs are a big part of their worlds, and these four-legged companions survive some amazing situations. One situation being the prejudice they face by uninformed individuals. Our main feature, “Don’t Judge a Dog by Its Breed,” reveals examples of how people have endured some very hateful situations regarding the looks of their dog.

Because it’s breed that predicts behavior, right? Well, not exactly. You cannot tell just by merely looking at a dog what breed it is or how it behaves. Some dogs you can have a pretty good assumption, but for others they are mutts, they are black sheeps, they are trail blazers, they are ginormous lap dogs, etc. And “Pit Bull” is not a breed. It’s a label. And not one people take very lightly. Every dog I’ve had since I was a little girl has been called a “Pit Bull.” And I’ve had trouble with so many people not wanting to be around my dog or not allowing me to rent from them. I will never understand how people can assume anything about another without fully knowing who they are as an individual. Dogs are individuals. People are individuals. People who think dogs are all the same are not true dog people.

So please take the time this holiday season to spread the word on these issues to people who are uninformed or just feeding off the fears of others. Try to reach out to the community and donate some of your time by just explaining the positive experiences you’ve had with one or two of these persecuted breeds. SPREAD JOY, not hate. And simply be aware of your dogs and how others see them.

To a newer & wiser 2019,

Nastassia Putz

Dear FETCH Friends:

History has never sparked a sense of wonder in me until lately. Over the last month or so, I have binge-watched every season/episode of “Reign” on Netflix (not to be funny), and I’ve become extremely attached to the characters, the plot and often find myself daydreaming of what it would have been like to live in the 16th century. Would I have been lucky enough to have been born into royalty, or would I have died in the streets of France with some type of plague? It’s fascinating to think about, isn’t it? Would I have been a man or a woman? Would I have had children? My kids give me a heart attack now when they get a slight fever, so I can’t even imagine surviving with kids during a time when the Black Death was lurking around every corner.

I can tell you one thing is for certain, I would have had a dog—my own stray to cuddle up with on cold dark nights—and someone to share my scraps of food with. Because there is one certainty in my world, and that is I can’t seem to live without a dog. Sophia (the dog pictured above) was a stray in Mexico. She followed me around a village for three weeks, sleeping outside the gated complex my friend and I stayed in. And each day when I awoke, she was right around the corner looking for me. She saw me as an easy target as I stood in that village—a victim of culture shock. It seemed as if I was the only person with a dog in my suitcase on the flight home.

But that’s all history now. Eight years later, Sophia is quite heavy and happy. She is a cherished member of my family and one of the best dogs I’ve ever had.

In this issue, FETCH explores and celebrates the rich history of dogs. Therefore, we are extremely proud to bring you, “Old World Dogs”—The History Issue.

To a past that has steered the course on a better understanding of canine companionship and its importance—one we definitely benefit from today,

This theme really resonates with me. I’ve always been an artsy person that finds peace in those precious moments when I am creating. From poetry to photography, from writing a story to collaging, I just find it so rewarding to create something that I consider to be an extension of who I am. And not to sound vain, I just can’t help but leave a piece of me everywhere I go. Dogs are a huge inspiration in my artwork. Why? Because they are a huge part of my life. They leave a lasting impression and are the ideal muse for me. A dog is truly your best friend. And they make perfect Alebrijes.

Note: A vet is just as much of an artist as a painter or musician…wouldn’t you agree? Anyone can be an artist. That’s why it is such a great theme. The type of art you create, the passion that drives you is completely subjective and not everyone will relate. But that’s ok. So I challenge you to let go this summer and make some art. You deserve a break!

To the art of living life your way,

NPutz

Dear FETCH Friends:

Feeling helpless and in a constant panic is how I would describe being “homeless.” And not just in the tangible sense of the word but rather the notion of not having a family. As I sit here writing this, both my kids are sick and my dad is in the ICU dying from cancer. I’ve never watched someone close to me die this way. My dog Tess and my other dog Gracie were both so unbelievably dear to me that watching them be euthanized will forever be trapped inside my heart and head. The pain I felt in those circumstances is now once again surfacing as I watch my father struggle to breathe. I feel like my heart is dying.

And then just like that, I snap back and remember to breathe. My daughter takes my hand and says, “Come on mommy, let’s go read a book.” I sigh in relief because for a moment I am present again and the joy in her voice takes precedence over the horrible stuff going on in and outside my home. The constant internal struggle between wanting to be by my dad’s side and wanting to be with my sick kids is very real and present. No matter where I am right now, I feel guilty and sad that I’m not with the other. But what I keep forgetting is that even though I am not physically present with everyone, my heart is.

When I’m with my kids, my heart and head are still with my father and vice versa. My home doesn’t only include everyone and every pet that is in close proximity to me.

It includes my dad in the ICU, it includes my sisters who live an hour drive away, it includes my dogs who have died and so on. A “home” encompasses a whole lot more than four walls and a door. It’s the individuals and animals that bring love and joy into our lives. And bring so much pain and sadness when they leave us. This conglomerate of emotions and experiences is what makes life worth living. Every being deserves a home.

To having a sense of “home” no matter where life takes you or your loved ones,

Dear FETCH Friends:

Since my kids were born, I have been told that they will be alright as long as they are loved! And as a mom of two kids with autism spectrum disorder, my automatic response inside my head is, “yeah right.” It takes so much more than just loving them to help them succeed. They need therapy, special toys, extra socialization, more routine and structure, etc. Most of all they need a strong and functional mom and dad. There are so many days I just get down on myself wondering what I did wrong. Because yes, I am that powerful to have caused this right? Ehh, wrong!

But aside from all the self-pity and isolation one may feel at times, isn’t the bottom line for getting them all of this “extra stuff” they need, love? Yes, it is! Love and support.

As long as most of us receive an adequate amount of love, recognition and support in our daily lives, we will continue to persevere throughout the day. Just knowing we are good at our jobs (even if we don’t like them) can be enough for us to show up. However, to perform above and beyond our own expectations, we need to know others appreciate us as well. We need continued support and recognition to really conquer the unexpected.

Regardless of my childrens’ disabilities, they will flourish in life. Why? Because God and other caring individuals (dogs especially) will help them in their darkest of times.

The way my son lights up when he is around our rescue pittie Sophia is just heartwarming. He always makes sure to hug and kiss her goodbye before going to school in the morning. And for that minute, he is present and experiencing joy.

Life is so unexpected. And appreciating those that love and support you in the toughest of times is incredibly important. We need others. We need our canine companions.

To exceeding beyond your own limitations,