Now more than ever, you are needed to donate your old blankets, towels, and sheets to your local animal shelter. With financial cut-backs, repairs on shelters are often put off, so if it's drafty, the animals suffer. I know my shelter uses rags to stuff under doors. No kidding! Empty out those closets... this is your chance to get rid of stuff and do something useful!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dogs At The Cloisters

There is a wonderful place on the northern tip of Manhattan called The Cloisters.  It was the labor of love and gift to the public of sculpture and avid collector George Grey Barnard and the eventual permanent gift to the public of John D. Rockefeller, not a bad collector himself, who added much to Barnard's original collection as well as the actual site as we know it today. Today The Cloisters is unparalleled in the Western Hemisphere for works of Romanesque and Gothic medieval sculpture, architecturally important medieval works, illuminated manuscripts, various ivories, paintings, metal-work pieces, and the renowned Unicorn Tapestries. There is a true Treasury (or Treasure Room, as some cathedrals and notable old churches are known to have,) filled with exquisitely made objects used in Masses, and in the personal worship of wealthy families who had them commissioned. To be there is to step out of our time and into another. Walking through the "cloisters" (literally brought brick and column from France to the United States) gives as close a feeling as possible to living in a cloistered community as one can have, I think, without actually being in one.

I know this sounds quirky, and it is, but when I walk up the stone stairs (that dip in the middle from many years of use) to the admissions desk, I feel as though I am entering my own house and I just happen to house all this beautiful art!  But I get off the topic...

Getting in is easy and organized. I feel this is worth noting because when one considers how much valuable and wonderful and priceless stuff is in the place, you would think a Fort Knox entry would be in order. But no; you pay, you get your Met pin, and you're in.  Great museum security is all around (in addition to the not-seen type, I'm certain), and they know the pieces and their importance. Last time I was trying to figure out the name of the third Wise Man and a security guy helped me figure out it was Caspar (after Melchior and Balthazar).  Once you check in, you walk down one spoke off the lobby and you are in a nave, like in a church and that church is filled with sculpture, altar pieces, architecturally interesting and notable works collected at some point in time but made in 1250 onward.  Above you, beneath you, and making up the walls are large stones unlike any that you see being used today. If there are some that were not brought over from France for the purpose of reassembling The Cloisters in Fort Tryon, New York in 1938, it is not obvious. You are immediately transported to a European monastery.

The artwork in the place is fabulous; lectures offered are interesting. I've been to one on the Cult of Medieval Saints and one on the Medieval Garden with my Mom, who's a Master Gardener. The Cloisters has an authentically medieval garden and I could tell she was impressed. There are so many minute details to notice about the place that one can probably find something new each time you go. I already have my favorite spots and I check on them as I do when I go to The Met (a.k.a. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which The Cloisters is a part, but which is located at Fifth Avenue and 84th Street), to make sure the Temple of Dendur has not gone anywhere and the Armor Hall hasn't been made off with.

At any rate, the purpose of this post is to show you the dogs pictured throughout The Cloisters and I've taken as many pictures of them as I could, even the ones the movie-set people were blocking off with their ubiquitous display of black cables, drapes, and can-lights that I see too often in New York City.

The first few pictures are of the outside of The Cloisters (a neat little window near the entrance to the garden, the West Terrace, which overlooks the Hudson River (and which you get to by turning a big iron door handle and push open the very heavy medieval-like door), and the somewhat more well-known outside view of the tower. The rest are of as many dogs as I could find in and amongst the artwork, which always please me so to find.   Enjoy! 

Dogs - you may know - in the world of art-as-meaningful expression of subject's life (and often in funerary sculpture,) represent loyalty and fidelity. Much better than cats. I'm sure some museum somewhere has an Inquisition exhibit and in that they have the cats.

Nevermind my magician-sawing-the-man-in-half act below; note the dog at the nobleman's feet. There is a tradition of having a "dog at one's feet" in funeral sculpture. It symbolizes feudal loyalty (for men's tombs) or marital fidelity (for women's tombs). That seems to let someone off the hook but we'll let that be someone else's post on another blog.

Below, Saint Rocco and his dog (or, a very nice picture of Saint Rocco's leg, and his dog). The quote next is from Wikipedia:
On the death of his parents in his twentieth year he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor like Francis of Assisi (to be noted later this week!)— though his father on his deathbed had ordained him governor of Montpellier— and set out as a mendicant pilgrim for Rome[8]. Coming into Italy during an epidemic of plague, he was very diligent in tending the sick in the public hospitals at Acquapendente, Cesena Rimini, Novara[9] and Rome, and is said to have effected many miraculous cures by prayer and the sign of the cross and the touch of his hand. At Rome he preserved the "cardinal of Angleria in Lombardy"[10] by making the mark of the cross on his forehead, which miraculously remained (Legenda Aurea). Ministering at Piacenza he himself finally fell ill. He was expelled from the town; and withdrew into the forest, where he made himself a hut of boughs and leaves, which was miraculously supplied with water by a spring that arose in the place; he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothard Palastrelli supplied him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them. Count Gothard, following his hunting dog that carried the bread, discovered Saint Roch and became his acolyte.
Early 16th century France. Wood, polycromy, and gilding.

Workmanship throughout The Cloisters includes many details of hunt scenes. This "windowsill" from the 1400's depicts two dogs chasing a hare:

You may have heard of something called The Unicorn Tapestries.  While I don't show any pictures of unicorns, all the pictures of dogs are taken from the tapestries, which depict the hunt, capture, and taming of the unicorn.  There are many interpretations of this story, illustrated as it was in tapestries made in France in 1495-1505. Here's a snipet from the official website of The Cloisters:
The seven individual hangings known as "The Unicorn Tapestries," are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn.
"The Unicorn in Captivity" may have been created as a single image rather than part of a series. In this instance, the unicorn probably represents the beloved tamed. He is tethered to a tree and constrained by a fence, but the chain is not secure and the fence is low enough to leap over: The unicorn could escape if he wished. Clearly, however, his confinement is a happy one, to which the ripe, seed-laden pomegranates in the tree—a medieval symbol of fertility and marriage—testify. The red stains on his flank do not appear to be blood, as there are no visible wounds like those in the hunting series; rather, they represent juice dripping from bursting pomegranates above. Many of the other plants represented here, such as wild orchid, bistort, and thistle, echo this theme of marriage and procreation: they were acclaimed in the Middle Ages as fertility aids for both men and women. Even the little frog, nestled among the violets at the lower right, was cited by medieval writers for its noisy mating.

The tapestries ownership can be traced thus:
Comtes de La Rochefoucauld, France; François VI de La Rochefoucauld, Paris (in 1680); François VIII de La Rochefoucauld, château de Verteuil, Charante (until 1728); Château de Verteuil, Charante (said to have been looted in 1793); Comtes de La Rochefoucauld, château de Verteuil, Charante (in family again in 1856); Comte Aimery de La Rochefoucauld, château de Verteuil, Charante (until 1923); Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr., New York (in 1923 through Edouard Larcade– until 1937)
Keep in mind this stuff was made on a loom! I don't know how many threads per square inch there are but the amazing details have held up nicely over six centuries! The rooms they are in are dimely lit, and in addition to the tapestries, there is a magnificent hearth-styled fireplace that you can stand inside of and still not touch the top.

Dogs chasing stag (this one is about 15 feet by 8 feet in size):

I thought this (below) was adorable! Somebody back then had a good sense of humor. I guess there would be reason to celebrate being out The Dark Ages.

Another one for marital fidelity (below):

Picture the above stained glass with the below image (a dog image I missed but noticed at home reading my Met book. The figures in the below stained glass are playing a courtship game called "quintain," a game developed from a tilting exercise for knights, the object of which was to topple your opponent).

Below are some non-dog things that I just had to share. My camera phone is filled with pictures from this incredible place.

The door below has an image on it that looks like a dog but it is infact a panther-like creature. The swirls coming out of its mouth depict a sweet smelling scent that lures its prey (or so the story goes).

Oh, the gift shop -- please.
Among the many wonderful and hard to find incredible art books, they have the following cool things I collect each time I go to The Cloisters (a girl can dream!)

And finally, if you ever go, look for this. Betcha can't find it!

This isn't bad, either:

This is a very fine piece, below.  Oh! This is from my house! Who is that crazy lady?


Monday, September 28, 2009


Best Friends

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there" The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is heaven," was the answer.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold streets and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."


Sunday, September 27, 2009

They All Do It!

Notice how he looks away from the camera. I think we somehow encourage this behavior.

And just because they are impossibly cute:


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blanket Drive for Yonkers Animal Shelter -- Don't Forget!...

Got this from Leslie at the Yonkers Animal Shelter. Please do what you can to help.

This is the time of the year that we reach out to the community for blankets and other warm bedding (including towels) to help keep the dogs warm during the cold weather. There are approximately 100 dogs here, and many are bully breeds who have short hair and get cold quite easily, so we go through a lot of blankets and can never have too many. Dog sweaters and coats are also appreciated.

These dogs, who have so little, depend on your kindness and generosity. Thanks from all of us.

All donations can be left at the Yonkers shelter, 120 Fullerton Ave, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and weekends from noon to 3:30 p.m.

Any questions? Call Leslie at 201-981-3215 or e-mail

A special thank you to ROGER, Volunteer at the shelter (a does-it-all kind of person) for the truckload of blankets brought our way on Friday. They'll go fast, but hey, those dogs will be glad for something soft to sit on!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Hounds On The Sound - Walk to Benefit Shelter Animals!

New Rochelle Humane Society & Pet Rescue are teaming up to raise funds for cats and dogs in need. Proceeds will benefit both organizations. Come join in the festivities and help us to continue with our mission to save the lives of these beautiful, helpless creatures.
Enjoy a leisurely 1.5 mile stroll with your dog on a path bordering the Long Island Sound, followed by a fun day at the park. Vendors, refreshments, activities for kids, demonstrations, dog contests, music & much, much more!
Go here for all info:

Here's a little info:

Sunday, October 4, 2009 (rain or shine)

10:00am to 3:00pm

Glen Island Park, Pelham Road, New Rochelle, NY

Registration begins at 10:00am; walk begins at 11:30am
Email or
or call Mary at 718-885-2587
The Sponsors and planners:
The success of this event depends on the number of walkers who participate and collect pledges. Because it is a pledged walk, it is important to ask family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to sponsor you. All walkers will receive a bandana for their dog. Walkers who raise over $100 will receive a Hounds on the Sound T-shirt!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

News Round Up

In the news this past week:

In the Let's-Sack-the-Quarterback! category:
Pennsylvania's Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR) placed an ad in the Washington Post pledging that each time the Eagles' new quarterback is tackled during the Oct. 26 away game against the Redskins, five bags of dog food will be donated to a D.C. animal shelter.

In the Michael-Vick-Is-A-Jerk category:

(Photo by Dawn Majors/P-D)

Multistate Dogfighting Bust

Four more guilty pleas in this case brings the total to five men awaiting sentencing in the biggest dog fighting ring bust in US history. The five have agreed to give up the dogs. A total of 26 people were arrested. So far, no other cases have been processed. This bust took place July 8. I guess I’d rather have this crawl through the system at a snail’s pace if that’s what it takes to get them all convicted.

Fay, pictured above, is one of the seized dogs whose lips and part of her nose were lost in the fighting ring, and is just 5 years old. She’s one of many being judged fit, or not, for adoption.
(See video at the link)... warning, there are some (more) graphic scenes.
In the Things-That-Make-You-Go-Hmmmm category:

ScienceDaily (July 17, 2009) — A single evolutionary event appears to explain the short, curved legs that characterize all of today's dachshunds, corgis, basset hounds and at least 16 other breeds of dogs, a team led by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, reported July 16. In addition to what it reveals about short-legged dogs, the unexpected discovery provides new clues about how physical differences may arise within species and suggests new approaches to understanding a form of human dwarfism.

In the Thank-God-this-Exists category:

Overview of NEADS:  (see all the types of service dogs they have!)

NEADS' mission is to provide independence to people who are deaf or physically disabled through the use of canine assistance. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of trained dogs to all qualified applicants within a reasonable amount of time (one year or less).
NEADS was once a Soldiers' Angels Charity of the Month. See Volunteer Greta Perry at Soldiers' Angels discuss this at her blog:

In the Inmates-Training-Dogs-category (a previous story):

CONCORD, Mass., Oct. 27 — Rainbow looks like any other Labrador retriever, but she is not a pet. Trained by a prison inmate, her mission is to help Roland Paquette, an injured veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, stay on his new feet, the ones he got after an explosion destroyed his legs.

In the Glad-This-Is-Happening category:
(and very upset I'll be traveling for work this weekend, as I am also missing Blessing of the Animals!)


On Sunday, October 4, Pet Rescue and the New Rochelle Humane Society will jointly host our first annual Hounds on the Sound Dog Walk and Festival at the beautiful Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, NY from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. There will be a leisurely 1.5 mile walk on a course bordering on Long Island Sound as well as vendors, exhibitors, contests, demonstrations, refreshments, entertainment and fun for all. Proceeds from the event will benefit both organizations equally and we hope you will come out and support us.

REGISTER OR DONATE TODAY!  Walk with your favorite dog!

Register to walk at the Hounds on the Sound website:

There is a $20 fee to register. Then you can create your own webpage and email friends, family and coworkers to solicit pledges for your walk. If you raise $100 or more in pledges you will get a free event t-shirt.
Become a Donor. A donation of $100 (FRIEND) will earn you an event t-shirt and special mention on our website. At the $250 level (DONOR) you will also get a 12" x 18" trail marker sign with your name or message which will be posted along the course. The deadline to donate for the trail marker is Friday, Sept. 18th. To make a donation click here, print the form and mail it to us.
Make a Contribution online in the amount of your choice. Click here and type "Cat Napper" in the box.
Forward this message to your dog lover friends and family and encourage them to participate too. Have a fun day in the park and help us to save lots of needy dogs and cats.

If you have any questions, email us at

A Sign-The-Petition-Drive:

Another one for Thank-God-This-Exists:

A paw and a prayer: Pilots save shelter animals
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Lady Di is a lovely purebred collie with a pleasant disposition, just like lots of other dogs dumped at shelters in areas that lack anywhere near enough would-be owners. Unlike all but a lucky few of those animals, she got a plane ride away from death row.
...That's when Lady Di met private pilot Jeff Bennett, a volunteer with Pilots N Paws, a group that moves pets from overwhelmed shelters to communities, often ones with higher median income, where they'll stand a better chance of adoption. The pilots donate their time, planes and fuel.

In the Hip Hip Hooray! Category:

Rolling Dog Ranch (in Beautiful Montana) placed third in the country in an online voting contest!  Keep voting so they can keep taking in disabled dogs!

Last time they won Third Prize and that meant winning...

The $3,000 Grant!

Last year they spent about $60,000 on vet bills so that money is very important. (Keep in mind this is one couple that gave up their lives in the world of finance to live on a ranch taking in animals that few would devote this much love to).
This was amazing -- we came in third place nationwide in the Shelter Challenge contest and won $3,000! Thank you for all your votes! They really added up, day after day, and brought in a fabulous grant for the animals at the ranch.
And guess what? The online contest is starting again! Yes, a new round began on September 14th and will run until December 20th. Enter "Rolling Dog Ranch" and our state postal code, MT for Montana, and it will bring up our listing so you can cast your vote.
Vote in the Shelter Challenge contest here:;jsessionid=1669E2C154F3553D42A14C1DA20270F6.ctgProd05?siteId=3&link=ctg_ars_shelterchallenge_from_home_sidetabs


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Maximus the Graduate

Click the title for a nice story about one of the dogs adopted out of Yonkers Animal Shelter earlier this year. 

Here's an exerpt:

We are a very happy family of four, and we are so thankful the shelter rescued Maximus so that he could be a part of our lives. Thank you!

Oh, I also forgot to mention that Maximus has a “security blanket.” It is a red Kong ball that he carries around with him everywhere. He will play catch with it until he is completely exhausted. It is the only toy strong enough to withstand his powerful jaws. I think we spent several hundred dollars on toys that he destroyed before we found this one. It has been around for months and our budget is very thankful…..LOL.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Pet Blessings in the Country

More on St. Francis later (his feast day is Oct. 4th), but here is a listing of blessings of the animals around the country.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who Is Your Favorite Cartoon Canine?

Take the poll.

I'm glad Underdog was listed!

(He'll always have my vote!)


Monday, September 14, 2009

Introducing Rolling Dog Ranch

When I have more time I want to do a proper post on these guys.  Bottom line, husband and wife team gave up their lives in the rough and tumble financial world (when things were good, mind you!) and instead bought a ranch in Montana (did I say BEAUTIFUL Montana?), and now adopt blind and otherwise medically challenged dogs and horses, to let them live out their days in the care of people who will love them.

These folks are living my dream. I want to say more about them and their wonderful mission, but for now here's a bit about their newest arrival, Teddy - a dog who was dumped on a sidewalk and left to fend for himself. (Don't worry, it ends well).

Be sure to poke around the Rolling Dog Ranch site.  These folks are truly angels. It will be worth reading, to be sure.

The title of this post leads you to Teddy's story, but here is Rolling Dog Ranch's main website page:


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rainy Day At The Shelter

I'm so bummed it's raining today. I used to love the rain (got to sit in, wear pajamas, drink soup or tea), but now it means the dogs sit in the dampness all day.  Nothing can be done about it. It's that or they stay in crates (indoors) all day. To their credit, most volunteers showed up today to do the usual walking. Everyone was soaked. The dogs, us. But it's the only real exercise they get and who could deprive them of it?
Lots of dogs getting adopted.  More to report on that when it's time. I hope to have pictures!
Today I walked Mr. Willie (of course, he's my little honey), Hannah Banana, Daffy, Hank (who I think has a home but he's got to be neutured,) Maybelle, Dixie (who still insists on her biscuit), and June (who smells everything in site and who has hookworm so I walk her last, washing my leash at the end).