Friday, April 26, 2013

Canada Post Creates Stamp Honouring Pet Adoption

The headline of the press release that came to me in email from our friends at CritterKin said "Canada Post shines a light on pet adoption with new stamp issue." 
 We are big supporters of shelters and rescue organizations, they work they do is so important in a community, and helps save lives. We adopted our dog Toby was from a local rescue organization when he was five years old, and as a result of his books, we had the pleasure of meeting many staff and volunteers from shelters across North America.  It was exciting to see that Canada Post has taken such a key role in bringing awareness to the importance of animal shelters and animal adoption.  You can read more in the press release and see the stamps here:

Here are a few highlights from the recent press release:

“These stamps show us what the shelters in Canada are accomplishing,” says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “The creativity incorporated into the design provides interaction and a true connection to each individual stamp and its story, ideally changing the stigma associated with shelter animals.”

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies recommends that Canadians go to their local humane society when considering pet adoption. “Adopted animals come with great benefits: they have been spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated and had a full vet check-up in addition to having their physical and behavioural health tested to ensure they are ready for a new home,” says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the CFHS. “But the real reward of adoption occurs when the right animal comes into your life and becomes a part of the family.”
We can all support this effort by purchasing these stamps the next time you are in the post office.  Together we can make a difference.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Toby The Pet Therapy Dog in Spanish!

Some exciting news for us in Hammond International and Team Toby headquarters... yesterday my publisher provided me with the first copy of Toby the Pet Therapy Dog and His Hospital Friends in Spanish!!  We are so excited to share Toby's story and the role of therapy dogs in a bigger way.

This book is based on Toby's story as an Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) volunteer. Toby volunteered in a mental health hospital for adults, and clearly, Wednesdays were Toby's day.  Not only did his volunteer job provide him the opportunity to be on purpose, have a job and be the dog he needed to be, it helped with some of the behavioural challenges we initially experienced with Toby. 

Toby the Pet Therapy Dog

To watch Toby the Pet Therapy Dog and His Hospital Friends book in English, please visit:

And to order your copy, you can visit  or Amazon:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Are you part of the pack?

Are you a CritterKin Kickstarter?  Are you in the pack? Visit to find out how to join the pack!  CritterKin Kickstarter Campaign… it starts April 22!

Last week, Jena Ball and Marty Keltz joined me PAWsitive Radio- All Things Pets!

This radio show was inspired by our precious dog Toby, a dog who lived life big, made a difference, and taught us a lot about life and being a better person.

Animals connect people... you can be sure that we met Toby's two friends families (especially when he returned to us with a toy he "borrowed" from his friends).  Pets stories are conversation starters. Animals create a safe place for conversation, and are incredible teachers about empathy, kindness and unconditional love.

CritterKin pack member, Jena Ball is a writer, illustrator and the creative director at Startled Cat, and is the artist/storyteller responsible for the CritterKin™ concept. Her work focuses on using new media to produce compelling narratives while building strong communities focused on innovation, creativity and collaboration.  An Emmy Award winning producer and pack member, Marty Keltz was the co-founder and president of Scholastic Productions, Inc. and a Senior Vice President in charge of New Media. He led the teams that created The Magic School Bus, The Baby-Sitters Club feature films, home videos for Clifford The Big Red Dog, and more than 300 hours of television programming. As a media consultant and producer, he has worked with the Discovery Channel and the Alliance Atlantis Lifetime Channel for a series with True Entertainment on Doctors Without Borders.

April 22 CritterKin launches the Kickstarter campaign.  And there is room in the pack for you to join.  :)

The mission of the CritterKin™ project is to help children learn the invaluable life lessons that pets can teach. These include respect for all life, an understanding of and appreciation for difference and diversity, empathy, responsibility, and an awareness of our role as the species that has the greatest impact on the planet. 

CritterKin™ is a suite of products including mobile apps, e-books, online games, print media, and film designed to educate kids (and their families) about responsible pet care through fun interactive activities.

 The Kickstarter campaign fundraiser to finish the app development will launch April 22.  How can you be involved?

Help spread the word.  Tweet about it using the #critterkin hashtag.  Share the CritterKin updates and news on social media, create your own "I'm a CritterKin Kickstarter" video and share with CritterKin and visit the Kickstarter Campaign page on April 22.

Share the animal stories that warm your heart with Critterkin and with us on our Toby blog.

Share this radio recording with animal shelters, pet lovers, pet businesses and your friends. Together we CAN make a difference!  Listen here:

To learn more about Toby's story visit: and


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CritterKin- helping kids learn the joys of petcare

Our guests on PAWsitive Radio- all things pets was    CritterKin

And what a PAWSOME conversation it was!

Jena Ball, the writer and illustrator and Creative Director with Startled Cat and CritterKin talked about the inspiration for CritterKin, which actually dates back to when she was a young child.  Jena grew up passionate about wanting to prevent animals from being returned to shelters, and to teaching the importance of choosing the best pet for your family, and making certain families have the education, tools and resources to have their pets be FOREVER (or shall I say.... FURever) pets.  They are part of our family.

Jena Ball

The CritterKin Mission is "help children (and through them their families) learn the invaluable life lessons that pets can teach. These include respect for all life, an understanding of and appreciation for difference and diversity, empathy, responsibility, and anawareness of our role as the species that has the greatest impact on the planet." (Source: CritterKin).  CritterKin is closely tied to and very supportive of animal shelters, and the important work they do!

Marty Keltz talked about the importance of stories, and that stories connect people. An Emmy Award-winning producer he was the co-founder and president of Scholastic Productions, Inc. (1978-1995) and a Senior Vice-President in charge of New Media at Scholastic Inc., the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books. He led the teams that created The Magic School Bus on PBS.

Martin Keltz

CritterKin Moments are beautiful stories, photographs and music about the lessons we learn from animals, and the many beautiful ways in which they make the world a better place. I was thrilled, and honored to learn CritterKin featured our dog Toby in one of their CritterKin Moments (   Scroll down and you will see PAWS with Purpose and a wonderful photo of Toby surrounded by children. What a legacy our pets leave. 

All the CritterKin dogs have their own personality, and their own story to share. One our interview Jena shared a few with the listeners.

The next phase of the CritterKin project is their Kickstarter launch in late April. This is a fundraising campaign to hire the animators, designers, engineers, and programmers needed to transform the humane education plan and Jena’s illustrations and stories into a mobile application. 

And there is one more member of the pack....
A veteran brand strategist, Thompson brings more than 20 years of experience in market research, brand positioning, advertising, design and digital media to Startled Cat. In 1998, he formed Remedy Communications, Inc., a full service agency with clients that included Fortune500 companies like Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol), AstraZeneca, and the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Thompson is both a co-founder of Startled Cat and the founder of the Academy of Bright Ideas (AOBI) Ltd.

Doug Thompson
So how can you help? What can you do?  First, listen to the radio show to hear Jena and Marty talk about CritterKin and the many ways in which the project will help create forever homes for animals. And, make sure you visit their website and their facebook and Twitter pages to help share their message.

You can listen to the show here:

Read a great article in the Examiner about CritterKin:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Barking Orders

Ryan Cooper is the co-founder of Barking Orders  – a free online resource dedicated to helping reduce the number of abandoned pets on the streets and in shelters because their owners were unprepared or unable to care for them. Through education Barking Orders (The Canine School for Humans) hopes to build awareness in dog owners in a fun and informative way. The services and information they offer will help many families who adopt pets.  

Our Toby was a rescue dog, who we adopted when he was five years of age. Learning more about his breed, Chesapeake Bay retriever, helped us help Toby.

Toby with his favorite toy....The KONG

Barking Orders was inspired by Jake the dog, and Ryan’s desire to help dogs thrive in their family situations. A recent guest on my PAWsitive Radio show, Ryan shared some great tips for pet families.

 Barking Order tips for pet families are:

  1.  Ensure your pet gets enough exercise, and the right type of exercise 
  2.  Do your research before adopting, know the breed and choose the breed that is the best fit for your family and lifestyle 
  3.   Invest in a seat belt for your pet. Having a seat belt saved Jake’s life. 
  4.   Choose a good quality leash, and safe toys, and 
  5.  Ensure your dog has a healthy diet and good quality food.

To learn more about Toby’s story, or his books On Toby’sTerms, or Toby The Pet Therapy Dog & His Hospital Friends, visit

 To listen to Ryan share more information about Barking Orders, and to hear his tips for helping dogs thrive in their family, listen to:

You can follow Toby on Twitter at: