Last weekend, October 6, we had the honor and fun of attending American Humane Association’s Second Annual Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton in California. The weekend’s events started on Friday evening with a VIP reception where we got to meet American Humane’s president and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert. She and board member Steve Dale wrote the foreword for our book, ANIMALS AND THE KIDS WHO LOVE THEM, but we’d never met them in person until that night.

Saturday, Dr. Ganzert had invited us to walk the red carpet and be their guest at the award show. Betty White, a former board member of American Humane, received a special award to honor her years of devotion to helping animals. Eight dogs, voted on by the millions of people from around the world, were finalists in various categories such as therapy dog, military dog, K-9 dog, and service dog. That night, the winner was announced – Gabe, a combat-seasoned US Army NCO whose ability to sniff out bombs in Iraq saved hundreds of lives.

We were also thrilled to meet Judy Fridono and Ricochet whose story is in our book DOGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM. Judy and Ricochet were Hero Dog finalists last year. Ricochet has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities by surfing in the ocean. More about her inspiring contributions at http://www.surfdogricochet.com/

Visit http://www.angelanimals.net/recentevents.html to see photos of us at the event.

Do you have a hero dog or cat or horse or rabbit or any other kind of animal who has helped you or others?

Please share your comments and answers to the questions on Angel Animals Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/angelanimalsnetwork or http://www.facebook.com/adognamedleaf and “Like” Angel Animals and A Dog Named Leaf. We will also have the questions posted on the Angel Animals Facebook page.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network


This was the second week of our “drive-by” book tour from Minneapolis to Chicago with stops at Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois. It has been a thrill to meet and greet the devoted dog lovers and animal enthusiasts who come to these book events. To those of you who are joining our Angel Animals Story of the Week newsletter family for the first time this week after meeting us at a bookstore – Welcome!

In Madison we were able to have Linda read about how great dogs are to two R.E.A.D. dogs — Willow and Molly. They and their handlers are part of a wonderful organization called Dogs on Call. This group has pet therapy dogs who listen to children read at libraries and schools. The group’s volunteers also take therapy dogs to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to visit with seniors.

Polly Cisco, the president of Dogs and Call, spoke eloquently about what the R.E.A.D. dogs do to help children who are having difficulties. It goes so much further than raising test scores and improving skills. Reading to a dog increases children’s self-confidence in ways that go far beyond academic achievement.

Polly told about a little boy who had been bullied. He read to Polly’s R.E.A.D. dog regularly and loved it. Then he asked Polly if he could take her dog to Show and Tell in his classroom, and she said yes.

On the day when the child introduced Polly’s dog to his class, he stood proudly in front of the room and shared with the students the research he had done on the dog’s breed — golden retriever. Then he allowed students to come to the front of the room, one by one, and pet the dog.

Polly said that instead of being the child who was bullied; he was now the child in charge of the room. He stood proudly that day and gained stature in the eyes of his classmates. All with the help of a willing and loving dog.

In Milwaukee our event was co-hosted at Boswell Book Company by the Wisconsin Humane Society. Anne Reed, the organization’s executive director, introduced us. Later, we interviewed her in front of the group and asked about the shelter’s philosophies, accomplishments, and challenges. WHS also rescues wildlife in addition to rescuing and preparing domesticated animals for re-homing.

Anne emphasized that shelter dogs are not necessarily dogs who got into trouble and were kicked out of their homes. They are usually animals who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. Most of the animals are surrendered and have full histories that can be passed along to adopters. Some are fostered until they can be adopted. The group’s volunteers were there to sell raffle tickets and give out information for how the community can support the shelter.

In Chicago at Anderson’s Bookshop (no relation to us, but it would be nice) we featured the no-kill shelter A.D.O.P.T. Donna Picard, a board member, shared information about the shelter. She also brought bookmarks for people to take. Each one had the photo and short story about an animal who needs a home on one side and contact information for the shelter on the other side. What a great idea for any shelter that is going to take part in an author book event!

A highlight for this leg of the journey was our interview with the extraordinary Steve Dale. In addition to his Chicago radio show, nationally syndicated radio show/podcast, and Steve Dale Pet Minute, he has a syndicated pet column and writes articles for USA Weekend. He also serves on the board of many nonprofit animal welfare organizations, including one we have much admiration for — American Humane Association.

Steve was delightful to talk with, and we felt as if we made a new friend with a man who has devoted his career to helping animals in every way possible. More to come after we find out when you can listen to these interviews.

We stopped along the way to and from Minneapolis at Barnes & Nobles Bookstores in Madison and Rockford to sign books. What a warm reception we received as the managers pulled out stacks for us to autograph and sticker with the notice that these were now “author signed” books.

Visit www.angelanimals.net/recentevents.html to view photos and videos of our drive by book launch celebration tour.

Keep up with us by going to www.dogsandthewomenwholovethem.com/calendar.html

You may notice that most of the places where we are doing presentations are independent bookstores. We are trying to help support these beacons of light and learning in local communities. We appreciate all the bookstores, online and brick & mortar, that sell our books. But if you want to make a difference in your communities, please consider also buying books from independent bookstores.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family

Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson


Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson. Twenty true stories of dogs and women who changed each other’s lives. Endorsed by Betty White, Wendie Malick, Vanessa Williams, Linda Tellington-Jones, and American Humane Association, among others. Reviewed or mentioned in Modern Dog, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal so far.

Rory Freeman, #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of Skinny Bitch, an Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres favorite book, says in the foreword, “This book will open your heart, warm your soul, and make you proud to be a dog-loving woman.” Visit the Angel Animals Online Bookstore at http://shop.angelanimals.net/product.sc?productId=24 to pre-order now.

How Do Pets Handle Your Traveling?

In our household Allen travels as much as a week or two at a time for his day job. Each pet handles Allen’s absence differently.

The cats, Cuddles and Speedy, pretty much ignore the fact that Allen is not around. Linda doesn’t notice any change in their behavior. They do tend to jump in and out of the suitcases while he’s packing, but this seems to be more of a game than a statement about what will soon occur.

When Allen returns, Cuddles is the first to rush to greet him. She’s overwhelmed by the dog but eventually breaks through the chaos to receive her pat on the head.

Speedy takes his time acknowledging Allen’s return. He’s an older guy who has seen it all and isn’t impressed with human comings and goings.

Our yellow cockatiel Sunshine screeches at the top of his lungs to herald Allen’s arrival. No easing back into the homefront with Sunshine around. He notices and remarks on everything.

Leaf, our cocker spaniel, is most affected by Allen’s leaving and returning. While Allen packs, Leaf becomes nervous as the suitcases fill up.

We take Leaf with us to the airport so he can see Allen leave and associate this, we hope, with his coming home again. As Linda drives away from the departure area, Leaf gives her a look that seems to ask, “Why did you let him go away?” Then his head slumps and he sleeps on the ride home.

During the week Leaf mopes a bit, so Linda takes him to doggie daycare for a few hours to play with his friends. He definitely sleeps more while Allen is gone, probably feeling somewhat depressed at not having his constant companion nearby. He spends time with Linda, but she’s incredibly boring compared to Allen. Leaf adores male energy and bonding.

The most fun, of course, is watching Leaf gyrate after he recognizes Allen at the door. First, he barks at the “intruder” with a fierceness that communicates, “I mean business. Get out of my house.” Then he hears Allen’s voice, and it registers: He’s home! Life is worth living again!

Leaf wags his tail with such enthusiasm that we are grateful it remains attached to his body. He rolls over to have his tummy rubbed.

After his initial joy and excitement Leaf does a very odd thing. He rushes over to Linda and with great care and an expression of gratitude in his eyes, he showers her with wet doggy kisses. This goes on for much longer than usual. It’s studious, deliberate. The message we receive during this ritual is: “Thank you for bringing him back home.”

Somehow, Leaf has associated Linda’s taking Allen to the airport (making/letting him leave) with the assumption that she’s now responsible and needs to be thanked for his return home.

Well, she’ll take those doggy kisses any way she can get them. All is right with the world, as Leaf’s pack is brought back together.

What do your pets do when you leave and return home?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

The Bonds of Divine Love Between People and Animals

As we write, we’re being watched (coached?) by our rescued cat, friend, and co-worker Cuddles. She curls up and observes with her loving eyes gently focused upon us. Throughout licking her paws and stretching, Cuddles continues to be steadfast in her presence. We dearly love her.

Is part of her spiritual mission in this life to support ours? We believe it is.

We, as do others, have important messages to bring to a world where there is so much suffering, turmoil, and loneliness. We long for people to understand that the bonds of divine love between people and animals, and among animals for each other, transcend fear, anger, rivalry, and isolation. Repeatedly, it is the animals who teach a better way to all of us. We recently visited New Orleans to give a presentation about Angel Animals and the heroic efforts of animal rescuers on the Gulf Coast after Katrina.

We gave our talk to the veterinarian technicians for whom we have the highest regard and respect. They were attending a reception at the American Veterinary Technician Association’s annual conference.  Our talk was meant to be a reminder about the necessity of cherishing the spiritual connection with animals.

In our book “RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster,” excerpted below, we tell the story of a man who witnessed the heroics of an animal during the worst conditions. This man marveled at a dog who loved his mate more than he valued his own safety and comfort. His story sets the tone for our book. With the retelling of this heart-opening experience, we pause to remember that animals often fulfill the spiritual mission of showing people how to be more compassionate human beings.

“Days after the levees in New Orleans broke, Chris Cutter, communications director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, worked on a boat that maneuvered through toxic water. No one, human or animal, would have wanted to spend a minute more than necessary in it. Chris recalls, ‘We saw a dog swimming in the muck.’ Chris’s boat steered toward the dog. Instead of allowing the rescuers to help him into the vehicle, the dog turned around and swam away from the boat. That is when they heard barking coming from inside a house.

“The rescuers steered to follow the dog. He led them to the back of his house where a female dog, ‘his girlfriend,’ as Chris calls her, was trapped inside. Only after the rescuers freed the female dog did this big, shaggy husky allow the rescuers to haul him into the boat.

“As the boat moved away one of the rescuers petted him, saying, ‘You’re such a good boy.’ Her hand jerked suddenly off the dog’s head, as if she had touched a sizzling stove. ‘My hand is burning,’ she told Chris.

“‘The dog could have saved himself,’ Chris says. ‘Instead, he swam off so we would find his girlfriend. When you are dealing with things like that, it is hard not to think that there is a validity in what you are doing. That there is something bigger going on.'”

This dog made a conscious decision and was acting with purpose to save a life. Thank goodness for Chris and the animal rescuers. They listened to their intuition and inner guidance and decided to follow this brave dog back to his barely surviving mate.

Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon Help NOLA Animals

While researching and writing our book, Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster, we visited New Orleans to meet some of the courageous people who did so much to help the animals. We spent an afternoon with the folks at Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) and found them to be determined to do what is needed to help displaced and suffering animals.

In the Kinship Circle January 30, 2008 newsletter (kinshipcircle@accessus.net) we recently read that on Christmas Eve day, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and their two children, volunteered at ARNO. According to the report these celebrities worked for four hours. They walked dogs and painted cat cage pedestals. They even got to see the ARNO team in action.

The article  says, “Styx and Journey were next door. One of the Bacon family, we won’t say exactly which one, wasn’t quick enough to get to the gate. Styx and Journey took off running at high speed. Without a word, we all sprang into action.

“Kyra said it was like watching a SWAT team. We made sure to let them know they were now part of a very special and elite group, ARNO volunteers.”

Please go to animalrescueneworleans.org to help out these wonderful volunteers who have never given up on the animals of New Orleans. At the website learn more about what the organization is doing to keep stranded animals alive and to prepare for the safety and well being of animals and people in future disasters.

What do you think? Does it help when celebrities bring attention to what is needed with an animal organization such as ARNO?

Will Animal and People Live in an Enlightened World?


In her book, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, author Amy Tan writes, “I was like a turtle lying on its back, struggling to know why the world was upside down.” How likely is it that much of the world is like that turtle, trying to view the complex animal-human relationship from a perspective that only yields false results?

In an enlightened world the veil would be lifted, and golden threads that connect all life would become visible.

In an enlightened world you would communicate easily with species that have lived on this earth longer than people, can move about it more freely, and view life in an entirely unique way. Animals would become a valued resource for decision-making, health, and happiness.

In an enlightened world there would be no doubt that the souls of animals survive death and move on into an afterlife. You would be comforted in the knowledge that you’ll be reunited with those who have placed their indelible paw prints upon your heart.

Even though you personally may be enlightened about your spiritual connection with animals, unfortunately we’re not living in an enlightened world–yet.

In our opinion future generations will look back on our modern-day era and ask, “Can you believe back then people actually didn’t know that animals are souls?” Our cultures will seem as primitive as previous periods in history when one class, society, clan, or tribe looked down on, treated cruelly, or subjugated another and justified their actions with the viewpoint that the enslaved had no feelings, no ability to care for themselves or to make choices, no awareness, no souls. Today’s humans will appear to be arrogant people who confused the power to dominate with being superior to those who fell under their rule.

We invite you to reflect on the following questions. Observe how you and your special animal friends have served as spiritual catalysts for each other.

What have animals contributed to your physical, mental, and emotional health?

How have your sacred companions transformed you into a more whole and complete spiritual being?

Why and when animals have entered your life?

Could you have soul agreements with them?

What do you think are the promises you might have made to one another before entering this world?

Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter

Angel Animals News Featured

Dear Friends of Angel Animals,

Are you tired of bad news?

Have you ever wished for something that would consistently bring a smile to your face and make you forget your problems or anxieties?

How about accepting our gift to you of an absolutely FREE, QUICK-TO-READ newsletter? One that is chock full of love, joy, and comfort. A day-brightener that will become a special present you’ll look forward to opening every Saturday.

We are Allen and Linda Anderson, authors and founders of the Angel Animals Network. We are working to help people discover and benefit from the miraculous powers of animals. We’re inviting you to subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter and join a worldwide community of animal lovers.

The powerful stories in this unique publication warm the heart and offer a timely vision of spiritual wonders for a world sorely in need of them.  Each week, thousands of people from over 40 countries look forward to reading the fascinating stories contributed by our readers about the human/animal spiritual bond. They join together in celebration of the gifts animals, as spiritual partners, bring to all our lives.

Click here to be on our mailing list or send a blank e-mail to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit http://archive.mail-list.com/angelanimals to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

And please pass this invitation along to your animal-loving friends. They’ll thank you for it.

Animal blessings,
Allen & Linda Anderson

***Click here to be on our mailing list or send a blank e-mail to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week.

Is it Possible to Be Too Attached to an Animal Companion?

Because we live in a land with four seasons and an awesomely cold winter, one of our favorite pastimes is to relax in our living room with a roaring fire in the fireplace. Our dog lies on the carpet, gnawing on a chew toy. Kitty, Cuddles, sleeps next to the lamp. Sunshine, our cockatiel, whistles his latest musical creation. And our Lion King cat, Speedy, amuses himself (and us) by sitting in front of the television set to watch his favorite television programs on the Animal Planet channel. We look at each other and feel blessed to live in a home filled with love and contentment.

How many other households have a similar makeup of animal individuals? All filling an important, integral part of a loving family unit. Through the many letters, phone calls, and e-mails we receive from our Angel Animal friends around the world, we suspect the numbers would surprise even the census takers.

Recently we decided to pose an interesting question in our online Angel Animals Newsletter. Although most of us animal lovers view our pets as members of the family, we asked if it is possible to become too attached to an animal companion.  If so, what are the warning signs?

One reader thought that a warning sign of becoming obsessively attached or having a deeper emotional problem was when people cut themselves off from any human companionship. She wrote, “People who have more of an interest in animals should at least try to help out at their local animal shelter, join a breed-rescue group, or try to socialize animals to visit nursing homes/hospitals so that others benefit from their love of animals.”

Some readers thought that there are other example of becoming overly attached to animals or confusing love with neediness. They gave examples of someone who takes on more animals than he or she can handle. For example, a person can’t give enough individual attention to dozens of cats who all need vet visits, food, litter, and a clean environment. Or someone loves horses but doesn’t have the pastureland, food, or time to groom and exercise them.

Readers also thought that excessive grieving could be an indication of a person’s greater feelings of isolation. One reader wrote that she took a year off work when her animal companion died. During that time, though, she channeled her grief into rescuing over forty dogs and finding new homes for them.

Robin wrote the following letter to express her opinion that being too attached to animals is a difficult thing to judge.

“People have many different reasons for turning to their animal companions for love and validation. There may have been a time when I myself might have fallen into this category. As I struggled through years of infertility and pregnancy loss, my pet rabbits became the children that I couldn’t give birth to. I took the loss of my pets very hard, and it affected me deeply in ways I felt not many people understood.

“It is easy to displace our feelings onto our pets, and they are more than willing to receive our attention and devotion. I’m one who can completely understand a deeper connection with an animal companion. I think we all have a need to feel needed and necessary. Sometimes we hit rough areas in our lives that aren’t being filled by the humans in our world and often turn to animal companions to fill our emotional needs. I have found that instead of becoming isolated, my animal companions kept me connected to the world.

“I am not able to make a spiritual distinction between a human companion and an animal companion. In my heart the love, given and received, feels the same. So I suppose my answer to the question would be that I don’t feel it’s possible to become ‘too’ attached to an animal companion.

Along the same lines as Robin above, Jenny says that being attached is what love is all about.  She writes, “I delight in caring for my Tabby cat, Rico. He was pet-of-the-week in our local newspaper and is like my child. I love him and am very attached. When we go out of town on trips, I have his personal pet sitter, whom he loves very much, come and stay in our home with him. Rico is always there for me to hug. He never upsets me; he always calms me.”

Comfort in Our Uncertain Times

Are these tense and trying times contributing to our need to find comfort in the arms (and wings) of our animal companions?

Patti Ann writes, “NO, I do not believe anyone can become too attached to an animal companion. I feel that the world is becoming a colder, meaner, and less trusting place to live our lives everyday. Unfortunately today, most people are not trustworthy, do not have any ethical standards that they live by, and are basically selfish.

“How many people do you know who will still greet you with great enthusiasm, if you woke up in the morning with your hair sticking out all over the place, bags under your eyes (or wrinkle cream still white on your face like a ghost), looking like a beast from under the sea, bad breath, grumpy as all the dickens? Or if that’s too physical, what if you were dirt-poor homeless? Animals would still honor and love you as if you were a king or queen and stay with you till the dying end!”

In the end the answer to questions about attachments to animals seems to be answered by asking further questions. Does your relationship with an animal keep you away from friends, family, work, play, hobbies, or responsibilities such as taking care of kids, jobs, foods, health? Is your life in balance? Do you have a spiritual understanding of the animal as an individual spark of God who must develop his or her own personality and may have needs that are different from yours? Rather than offering solace and comfort, has your relationship with an animal companion become a way of avoiding the problems in your life? How well adjusted and content are the animals in your care? Are you able to give them the time and attention they need?

One thing we’ve concluded is that only you can decide what is excessive. Other people, especially those who have never bonded with an animal, don’t have the right to judge how much you love, how much you grieve, or how much you need. If you’re not hurting yourself or any other animal or person, then it’s really no one’s business that a cat or dog or rabbit or iguana means the world to you. On the other hand, if you’re hearing from EVERYBODY that you’ve gone overboard, you might want to at least consider finding other outlets for your love and devotion-including taking excellent care of yourself and the human relationships in your life.

What do you think? Is it possible to become too attached to an animal?
Allen and Linda Anderson

What is it about women and dogs?

Awhile back, there was a poll that found women preferred the company of their dogs to their spouses or significant others. Guess the human males growled more than their canine competitors for female affection.

To be serious, though, over the years since we have been collecting and writing stories for Angel Animals books, etc. we’ve observed how deeply women and dogs bond. They seem to bring out the best in each other.

Now, we’re giving all of you the chance to enter our Dogs and the Women Who Love Them True Story Contest. We’re looking for stories about canine-female teams that formed deep bonds of companionship and led to compassionate and courageous acts of kindness or service.

Think about some of the following scenarios that you may have been part of and see if you want to write a story about any of them:

* Has a dog(s) been there for a woman during challenging times or major events in her life?
* Have there been times when a dog has protected people from danger or warned them of possible danger?
* Have a woman and a dog teamed up to fulfill a life purpose and/or perform extraordinary acts of service?

This contest hopes to find life stories of remarkable women with dogs who are fulfilling their callings to the benefit of themselves and others. It will also focus on finding the best stories about dogs’ unconditional love and acceptance. From dogs as protectors to partners in the dance of life, the contest will honor a relationship that is like no other.

Any contest entries, but especially those of the winners, will be considered for possible publication in the new book Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson to be published by New World Library in Fall 2010. Previous books in the Angel Animals series have included many stories that were contest entries.

We’re looking forward to reading your stories, so go to the website, www.angelanimals.net/contests.html and fill out the contest entry form. Send in your stories.

What have dogs taught you about love, life, and yourself?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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