Dear FETCH Friends,

Do you ever wonder where survival instincts come from? We’ve spent the last year watching people around us battling emotionally and physically with trying to protect themselves from a virus. Masks are being worn almost all of the time. Sanitizer is as readily available as water. Businesses have limited their patronage or are shut down to prevent the spread. Friends and family have been isolating themselves from one another, canceling events, missing birthdays, postponing funerals, and just simply trying to stay protected.

Our pets have stepped in where others have left off. They have seen us through the darkest of days and still they lay by our side day after day. No amount of sickness can change that. They have survival instincts similar to ours. They retreat when they are ill or scared. However, as we are now spending more time at home, we are realizing that our livelihood and happiness is greatly influenced by them. Our days revolve around one another. So why do we choose to isolate from the friends and family that we need most? Fear?

To remain alive is the definition of surviving. At what cost do you choose to self-preserve?

I know that I can’t go a day without knowing if my kids (or my dog) are okay. And as I survive each day, I am faced with a feeling of joy and sadness. This issue is not only about dogs surviving bad situations. It is about us surviving because of them.

It’s Time To Do More Than Just Survive.

Here’s To Letting Go Of Fear in 2021,

N.Putz

Dear FETCH Friends,

Sadly, winter is upon us. This means dark, cold days followed by even darker and colder nights. And now, with a novel virus still at large, more time in solitary. I have very little desire to remain in my home for the next 3 months praying for a vaccine, checking my kids for fevers, talking to family members on the phone or via the Internet, but what is the alternative? Finding peace in what makes you happy and giving thanks will undoubtedly get you through what may be a very dark time in your life. Unite with your neighbors, find joy at home with your kids and/or your animals, keep trying to be a good person and help those you can.

Death is all around us. This year has revealed to us the delicacy of life that we often try to forget about. If you have lost someone this year, there is nothing that can help ease the pain you feel. It’s time to make peace with what you can and focus on what you wish to change in 2021. Dog is God spelled backwards for a reason. If you feel a calling to help animals, maybe 2021 is the year to make a move. Unlike the crosses we bear as part of humanity, these innocent creatures can only thrive (or wither) with help from us.

Checklist for 2020-2021:
Start a rescue.
Volunteer for a rescue.
Bring an animal that needs you into your home.
Donate some of your resources to a rescue.
Train your dog to be a dog ambassador.
Don’t breed your dog. Spay/neuter your dog.
Don’t leave children unattended with the dog or allow them to treat the dog as a toy.
Teach children how to love and respect dogs.
Give gifts that support humane treatment and unity.
Don’t give gifts at all; instead give your time to an animal in need.
Be a good pet parent.
Don’t leave your dog in a cold car or unsafe situation.
Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to something that may poison them.
Stock up on food and medicines for your dog in case of an emergency.
Create art that supports a humane mission. Write a book, invent something…the sky is the limit.

Here’s to a humane end to 2020
and to a victorious 2021,

N. Putz

Dear FETCH Friends,

Where do I even begin…
Talk about a crazy year, and it’s not even over yet.

Fall’s theme is “Worldly Dogs” to highlight some of the greatness dogs around the world have accomplished. This not only makes me think of how great dogs are, but also what I would like to accomplish with dogs.

Have you given any thought lately to all the things you still wish to accomplish in your life? I feel like this fall is really a time for serious reflection. I believe things happen for a reason and that God plays a role in all of this. But a virus…what is the good in that?

Since this year began I have found myself trying very hard to pay more attention to the things that I am grateful for and less to the things that I am still not satisfied with. It’s so hard!

And this is the difference between us humans and our dogs right—the mentality that “Nothing is ever good enough,” versus the “Pet me please. I just love you the way you are.” These dogs are so innocent and amazing. The things they can do are signs to me that God is always present. Their uncanny intelligence, their playful nature and their endless display of unconditional love. Why can’t we be more like dogs? I’d give up my thumbs if it meant more love and less crises for everyone.

Here’s to a healthy and harmonious fall,

N.Putz

This year has been rough. I’ve been keeping my family and myself in a bubble of fear. Can you relate? Not only are most of us still afraid of catching this deadly virus, but also a lot of us have small businesses that are suffering from the previous Stay-at-Home order. As each day goes by, I try to force myself to stay present. It seems to be the safest place to be right now…at least for my own sanity. The future has way too much uncertainty and the past is over—so there’s no changing that. I’ve decided that I need to reexamine what’s important to me today. I need to make three wishes for the rest of this year, and make them come true. Wish Number One: Become and remain healthy. I don’t know about all of you…but I’ve definitely been packing on the pandemic pounds. Besides the coronavirus, killer hornets, 5G, protests and riots, my personal kryptonite and comfort food in 2020 has become cake…I LOVE CAKE! My body, however, is not a big fan of cake…or exercising…but you’ve got to start somewhere. Wish Number Two: Try to smile more and be happy. I hate Facebook with a passion. On one side, you have all of those happy family photos and vacations which look so amazing…so my brain goes…why can’t I have that? STOP. Pictures are so deceiving. Appreciate what you have right now. Other people’s lives aren’t always greener. Take, for instance, the complete opposite side of this like all the depressing posts and articles about death and suffering. Sometimes you need to tune it out and turn it all off. Adding more anxiety into my day isn’t helping me accomplish wish one or two. Wish Number Three: This one is my favorite wish of all: Do something great. It’s pretty broad, but I feel the need to do or be a part of something great. It could be simply helping out my fellow neighbor or taking on a cause that requires immense time and commitment. I must do something that is out of my comfort zone, something that will change and reflect who I am meant to be in the future.

What are your three wishes for the rest of this year?
Let’s try to manifest a better 2020 together.

May All Of Your Fears Disappear & May All Of Your Wishes Come True,

N.Putz

As I write this editorial, concerns of the coronavirus are spreading. As it continues to jump from person to person and country to country, one question (rooted in fear) remains for some pet lovers … can my pet get it and can they give it to me? This novel virus now named COVID-19 is wreaking havoc in many communities. It seems to be mostly lethal to populations 70 and older or for those with compromised immune systems (that we know of).

But what about our pets? Are we prepared for them? What is happening to the pets in these communities with active outbreaks? How can we help?

In Hong Kong, a dog without symptoms recently tested positive and will remain in quarantine until tests are negative. What does this mean to you? This grave situation is filled with too many variables and unknowns yet that people can barely protect themselves, let alone their beloved pets. People are being advised to not panic and to prepare for the virus to hit, especially here in Wisconsin.

However, in Wuhan, pets are being abandoned or unfairly targeted. They are being left in apartments alone while their owners are prohibited from entering the city. Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association has already rescued hundreds since this outbreak began. So what I plead to you is … help in anyway you can. Hug and love your own companion(s) every day. Do not abandon your pet. They need you to be strong and to take care of them, and in return, they will take care of you. Stress depletes the immune system; I know this firsthand. And pets help relieve stress. Get prepared as best you can.

This brings me to my 6-year-old son, Ezra. Even he has stress. He may be autistic, but why stress? Maybe it’s hereditary. Each day he struggles to control his body and his mind. It’s like watching someone whose body is on fire and whose mind is constantly just feeding it more fuel. His body just takes over. Animals help my son! I notice during equine therapy that he is trying hard to focus. It’s so hard as a mom to watch your child struggle each day (now imagine the moms in Wuhan). Animals are so therapeutic and comforting that it’s astounding that there aren’t more laws protecting them and more people taking care of them.

I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone helping those in need right now. I pray for the people who are infected, for the ones who have past, for the ones just trying to go home and especially for the ones who have children or animals they are responsible for. Be strong!

To all of you out there protecting & aiding your loved ones … don’t forget about yourself along the way,

NPutz

Dear FETCH Friends:

My heart goes out to every person that works with animals. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a vet (see page 8 about Megan’s dream). My 4-year-old daughter Scarlett, posing above with our dog Sophy, would also like to be a vet, ironically. But it is definitely not a job for someone like me. I cry constantly about dogs. So if I had to euthanize dogs or other animals as a part of my job, my head would not be able to move beyond that. It’s safe to say I am not strong enough. I once volunteered at MADACC (sorry, Karen, for not continuing), and I literally cried day and night for months. I’m tearing up now just writing about it. My dad, Tom Putz, God rest his soul, told me not to go back because I am not the type WHO can handle that. He was right (and boy do I miss how right he always was). I often dream about working with animals and having my own rescue, but again, can I handle that?  It really takes special people with gifts from God to do these jobs that are talked about in this issue. They deserve the utmost respect from all of us who are not capable of performing such tasks. My outlet for working with animals is simply producing this magazine. I believe (and I hope you do as well) that this is in some small way helping them! Again I encourage anyone with suggestions, comments or concerns to reach out to me. I’m not one to ignore another’s opinion or steer away from conflict. I am one to recognize it and appreciate it for what it’s worth, and it’s how I learn moving forward.   

To being your own beautiful self & helping animals in your own unique way,

N.Putz

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