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

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,