BY NASTASSIA PUTZ, PUBLISHER REINS Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies began in 1982 by a group of students from Lakeshore Technical Institute in Sheboygan, Wis. The acronym REINS stands for Riders (Participants) being Encouraged, Inspired, Nurtured and above all Successful. At first this organization was created to provide recreation and exercise to those with special needs. […]
BY NASTASSIA PUTZ, PUBLISHER Nestled on a beautiful 17-acre horse ranch, and hiding amongst a quaint residential town is Heaven’s Gait Ranch Inc. This “hidden gem,” as patrons like to call it, began with the humility of one woman’s desire to help others. It then continued to grow throughout the years because many people joined […]
BY CHERESE COBB, FREELANCER If you ever feel that the world sometimes looks at you strangely, you’re probably a horsey person. The whole getting up at 5:00 a.m. to clip, braid and ship your horses halfway across the country to win a 37-cent ribbon is baffling to non-horsey people. Horses are better than people, with […]
By MANETTE KOHLER, DVM
In 1845, the construction of a road from Milwaukee to Fond du Lac was authorized. The half-way point was a rest stop for travelers and what is now the city of West Bend. Incorporated in 1885, West Bend was attractive to settlers, in part, because of the Milwaukee River that ran through it that was used to produce energy for power. West Bend is now a thriving community bustling with events and attractions for its residents and visitors alike. Every season features new activities and attractions.
But wait, this is supposed to be a column highlighting interesting stories about dogs, isn’t it? This brings us to Maggie, one of West Bend’s four-legged residents and the Customer Sales Representative for Schalla Jewelers, one of the many Historic Downtown specialty shops. Maggie is a 7-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, who belongs to Douglas Schalla, the owner of the jewelry store. He’s been bringing Maggie to the store since he got her at seven weeks of age, and his customers are drawn in not just by the pretty jewelry but by Maggie’s inviting face in the front window. In fact, she gets more visitors than Douglas does but he’s okay with that. “It puts many people at ease when they see a dog here,” says Schalla. Maggie even gets quite a lion’s share of Christmas presents from customers and visitors. She’s perfect for her role as Customer Sales Representative. “She’s good-natured, smart, loves everyone and loves hanging out at the store,” adds Schalla.
Official greeter is one of her very important responsibilities and she takes this role seriously, politely greeting customers as they come through the door, expecting only a kind word or two and a pet in return. One of her favorite visitors is the FedEx delivery man who predictably supplies her with tasty morsels. Nothing gets past Maggie’s nose, and she’s been known to sniff out treats in customers’ pockets, some of which they share with her if Dad deems them safe. When not performing her “Greeter” duties, she loves to exercise by running around the jewelry cases or by sitting in the front windows watching passersby. When the afternoon sun starts to stream through the front windows, Maggie channels her inner cat and lounges in the sunbeams.
Prior to learning about Schalla Jeweler’s canine greeting committee, I hadn’t had the opportunity to spend time in West Best and was very surprised to learn of all that the West Bend area has to offer. As my daughter and I visited with Maggie, Douglas shared with us some of the highlights of the area including the massive Farmer’s Market that is held on Saturdays from May to October in the heart of downtown West Bend and the 25-mile Eisenbahn State Trail where Maggie and Douglas love to hike and enjoy nature. Other area attractions include the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and Ridge Run Park, an area made up of steep ridges and valleys sculpted by glaciers, and featuring hiking, fishing, ice skating, a lighted sledding hill and ski trails. Outdoor attractions aren’t all the area has to offer. West Bend boasts a nice assortment of museums and a thriving arts community with entertainment ranging from a symphony orchestra to Broadway musicals, not to mention the wide variety of shops and eateries.
When not working, Maggie loves to run on the 68 acres at home while Douglas drives his ATV around the property. There are great smells everywhere that are thoroughly appreciated by Maggie, true to her German Shorthaired Pointer heritage, and she enthusiastically enjoys tracking critters and stalking rabbits. She is trained to hunt game birds and, when they have time, Maggie and Douglas do some hunting.
If you find yourself in West Bend to enjoy all that it has to offer, be sure to stop by Schalla Jewelers at 235 S. Main Street to say hello to Maggie and Douglas and peruse the wide assortment of jewelry. It’ll be the shop with Maggie’s pretty face in the window.
By MANETTE KOHLER, DVM
William Shakespeare once said, “The eyes are a window to your soul.” Photographer Andrew Grant allows us a glimpse into the beautiful eyes and souls of hundreds of dogs, many of which are shelter and rescue dogs awaiting their forever homes, through his stunning photography in “Rover: Wagmore Edition.” This beautiful coffee table book, published by Firefly Books, Ltd., is the sixth edition in a series of Rover books and is a collection of some of his most heartwarming and soulful dog portraits. Now in their ninth year, the Rover project’s (RoverWorks.org) mission is to raise awareness of the millions of pets (dogs and cats) that enter shelters and rescues and to promote the adoption of these deserving animals. “After visiting a few shelters, I quickly learned that their greatest challenge is raising money for spay and neuter programs, health care for the animals they take in, facility operations, overhead and the list goes on,” explains Grant. “Our biggest goal is to raise more money for the best and most effective rescues in the country,” he adds.
This project came from humble beginnings. Andrew is a commercial photographer and was on a shoot in a friend’s large kitchen showroom. “My friend’s two French Bulldogs repeatedly strolled through the set,” shares Grant. “We began to include both dogs in a few of the shots. They sat right where we wanted them and peered straight into the lens,” he adds. He later mentioned that perhaps he should do a book of dogs–someday. “I soon learned that every year, millions of cats and dogs enter shelters in America and are in need of new homes, so ‘someday’ became ‘next week’ and I began photographing dogs for Rover,” says Grant.
During the first nine months, Grant had much serendipity in his life. He conceived the project, photographed all the dogs, edited and designed the entire book, and contracted an overseas printer and saw his book featured on the “Ellen Degeneres Show” as her favorite new book. “Watching everything fall into place so easily assured me that I was on the right path,” says Grant. The first book “Rover” was followed by four more limited edition books and were all self-published.
Early on, Grant launched a program that enabled pet lovers to have their dog photographed and included in the next Rover book when they made a donation of $5,000 to a pet rescue. “That program has now generated donations of over $2 million for over thirty rescues across the country,” shares Grant. “Most of the dogs in “Rover” once lived in a rescue or shelter,” he adds. Both purebreds and mixed breeds are depicted, and Grant wishes to highlight the fact that purebreds account for over 30 percent of the dogs awaiting new homes.
They also feature dogs currently living in rescue or shelter through a “sponsor a homeless animal” donation. “These images are also given to the rescue to share on their website and social media platforms to help increase their changes for adoption,” explains Grant. Photographing these homeless dogs is very rewarding for Grant, seeing them enjoying themselves out of their cage and on the receiving end of a constant flow of treats as Grant tries to capture compelling shots of their true personality, knowing this may help them find their forever homes.
Grant has definitely grown as a photographer since embarking on the Rover project. This project remains his focus today but he still continues to pursue some commercial photography as he travels around the country. The fifth book, “Rover: Haute Dog Edition,” came out in November 2017 and retails for $125. Grant partnered with Firefly to produce a smaller, more affordable version of the book, “Rover: Wagmore Edition,” for $40. “Firefly is able to share our combined message and efforts on a much larger scale,” says Grant. This book is truly stunning and would be a welcome addition to any dog lover’s coffee table.
“When you adopt a cat or dog, you are not just saving the life of one animal but also are clearing the space for so many others to be taken off death row to be adopted,” Grant adds. To find out more and see Andrew Grant’s work, go to RoverWorks.org.
BY STACY KRAFCZYK
We’ve already established that animals are sentient beings. They see and know everything that’s going on in our lives, from our emotional instability to the energetic chaos from the home or work environment to disruptions in our schedules. Everything that affects us affects them.
More and more people are consciously becoming aware of this and these patterns, which is wonderful. The gap between our awareness and the animal’s perspective is connecting us closer together. We sense how our animal is feeling or even thinking. And this is often based on how the animal is acting.
So how do we deepen that bond and enhance the communication? We must be very clear and specific on our daily happenings, who is coming over to our house and any health changes/concerns we are having for the sake of both parties.
Animals age much quicker than us humans, so we tend to go to the caretaker role rather fast in a health crisis. Animal communication can help with identifying the details of a new health regimen. Are you giving them shots every day now? Is there medication to be given once or twice daily? Was there a sudden change in their food? Will there be more frequent visits to the vet? Or maybe meeting a new vet for a new treatment is needed.
It may sound silly but specific communication and visualizations work wonders. Try visualizing in your mind giving them this new pill or powder in their food and showing your animal friend that it will make them feel better. Try telling them how much you love them and that even if they don’t like something, it’s only temporary.
This gives you the ability to compromise as well. With animal communication you can help your furry companion understand why you have to do certain things for their care and then offer them something they want in return. Like a special treat, a trip to the dog park, a nice ride in the car, a visit to grandma or grandpa’s house, or an extra walk may help make this new transition easier. Most animals will compromise where others might need more coaxing. Keep in mind that animals have free will and choices just as we do. They may not be able to pay bills but they deserve to be respected for their wants and needs too.
Some animals will communicate with their humans that they’re ok with this new routine, treatment, pill or person that is helping them on their current journey. A lot of animals want to stay with their humans and aren’t ready to give up, so they become willing participants in the healing regimen. Most animals will do their part and then ask for something else instead of the stinky stuff or the nasty tasting pill etc.
And some may say “no” to the treatment, for instance having a leg amputated. Why? Because an animal’s physical body is tired and won’t make it through the additional surgery. There are some elderly animals that don’t have the energy for any invasive treatments. Sometimes we realize this but need the validation or confirmation of our animal’s wishes.
So instead of trying to hide the pills or be sneaky, you will see your animal give you a sign or feeling of surrender, ease and even peacefulness when you share the important details of each scenario with them. It will help ease our worries and give them a clear understanding of the appropriate next steps.
Animals should be our partners in the healing process so that there aren’t any doubts, questions or concerns. If fears and worries arise for either party, communication will help ease them. Communication is the key to a happy, healthy and connected household.