A Place to Bark and Meow Blog by Bernie Berlin

Thursday, September 25, 2008
OOoohh... Momma, Mommas!!!
"A home is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world,
a stronghold amid life's strains & struggles."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It wasn't until I started doing rescue, that I began to look at life so very differently..
Began to truly cherish, the moments of my life, the quiet times, the very simple moments, the people and things I love that I took for granted.  
Realizing that life is what we make it...

Many of you who read, know only what is on these pages..
And while I try to keep this upbeat the best I can, there is a part of me, that feels I should share just one day of my emotions with you.
Those of us who do rescue, are in the trenches so to speak, trying to save life..
It changes you forever.  It is so very easy for it to overwhelm you.. 
Your soul screams why??!!!  Your heart breaks a million times over..
Many nites my mind replays, over & over, the faces I left behind and could not take with me..
The eyes, as you see with so many of the pictures on my blog, the eyes say it all.
Doing this type of work day after day is emotionally hard, it is easy to become jaded, bitter, angry and just wanting to shut down.  
I struggle everyday with being positive, knowing that I have to keep my mind strong with positive thoughts & words.

As always, I want to take this moment to Thank YOU for being here:)
Your comments give me strength and courage to keep going on..
The power of  kind thoughts and  words, are immense, to the point of being everyday miracles.

These past months have been loaded, with moms and pups at the pound.  
It kills me to see them there and so it has been very, very, busy here!!!!
The before and after pictures are as always, so amazing...

This is "Britta" and her pups.  
There are 7 of them, many were under the cot when this picture was taken.

She is a small Lab, approximately 1 year old.  Super shy of people.  
Afraid of fast movement and especially men.
Note the change in body language and of course the eyes in the next picture.  
She is a love, when she gets to know you.  
I'm sure time will change her fear of people.  Her pups love everyone!!!

This is "Willa" she was terrified when we first picked her up.  
Skin and bones, cuts & wounds all over her body, part of her ear is missing.  

Approximately 11 months to 1 year, she LOVES people.  
Can't get enough of hanging around with us!!
Not sure what she is but we'll say lab/something tall, possible greyhound or whippet mix.
She has 8 pups, who knows what they are, but they are darling!!! 
Slowly gaining weight now that her pups are weaned.

Next we have "Gidget" she is ???? Boston Terrier or some type of terrier mix.  
Very undershot jaw.  
Approximately 1-2 years of age, weighing about 35 pounds.

Another one that loves people and food!!!  Super Happy & Silly girl!!!
She had 10 puppies if you can believe that..
Poor darling...

I couldn't stand it anymore, seeing all these momma dogs...
So we sponsored the "Spay Station" to come to the community I live in, Portland Tennessee. 
We truly didn't have the money to do this, but how could we not..  
I just don't want to see anymore adoptable animals at the pound being put to sleep needlessly, especially pups:(
We scraped it together and over 30 animals were fixed that day, with a waiting list for the next time we can afford to do this again.    
The cost was $425.00 to co-sponsor, the end result, is priceless..  
Think about it, if the 3 moms I have can create 25 new lives, how many lives were saved by fixing over 30 animals!!!  WoW!!!

We will be working on non stop fundraising next year, so we can do more and continue helping the animals.  The shelter is up, our septic is in, but we still have to buy the heating and cooling unit, kennels, cages and many other things to be fully functional.  
Times are financially tight for everyone and it does scare me, but I will keep thinking positive thoughts and know that one way or another God, the Universe or whatever you believe in will provide.  We have no choice the animals need us...
So we will continue on and keep going!!!

I know this post was a bit of a downer, but please focus on all the lives saved.  
Look at their faces and know they are safe & loved here and will be on their way to new homes in the near future. 
I promise the next post will be really cute and fun!!!



Thursday, September 18, 2008
Purrr...Fect!!! You wanted a kitty post, here it is!!!
"What you see reflects your thinking and your thinking but reflects the choice of what you want to see."
-A Course in Miracles

I know we mostly talk dog around here, But I can't turn my back on kitties in need... 
We do what we can, but truly there are too many cats in need & not enough people to rescue.
Tis the case will all the homeless animals out there...
We take in about 60 cats a year here, dogs are our main focus.

You would think I would be use to saying goodbye by now..
That after hundreds of animals passing thru my home and life it wouldn't affect me as much.
Well, that is not the case.. 
Nor do I think it will ever be the case, to not feel emptiness, when one of my sweet darlings leave.
My head tells me to rejoice that the pet has found it's forever home and people, my heart cries silently, but is full of joy.  Bittersweet life..  Life nonetheless:)  Life being the key word!!!

This story begins with "Pong"  This cat, was a declawed Siamese cat that was mauled by dogs, found dying half in, half out of a pond.
The animal control officer who pulled him out, called me in hopes I would take him.
He said that even though he was in incredible pain, the moment he pulled him out of the water, he started to purr. 
I agreed to help & asked the officer to take him to my vets office, since I was out of town.
His back leg was amputated, after several weeks of trying to save it, there just was no hope, too much damage had been done.
An Amazing cat he had been my constant companion for many months.  I honestly dreaded the day I would have to let him go and that day came, not to long ago.  He was adopted by one of the vets I go to.  After his many visits to the office his charm rubbed off on everyone who met him.  The good news is I will always hear the stories of "Pong" and get to visit from time to time:)
Funniest thing is he loves to strike up a conversation at 2, 3, 4 a.m. not quite understanding you aren't awake and talking back to him. I can hear him say "how rude" as he walks away:)
As sad as I am to see him go, I know his life will be full of love and the very best of care..
Click Here to see Pong's YouTube, cleaning a kitten named "Oscar".

"Oscar" and his little buddy "Hart" were adopted together, by another vet at the office I go to. 
 It has been a good cat adoption month at the clinic:)  
"Oscar" is the orange kitten above, "Hart" is the black kitten below.
Click Here to see their YouTube video.

The cats posted below have all been adopted.  I'm slow as usual posting, ((sorry))...
but I know you still want to see all the cute pics and ready their happy ending stories!!!

These kittens were in terrible shape when taken in..

The staff at the vet's office is wonderful and very much family to me..
They care for my rescued animals as if they were their own and you can see by the after pictures they are sooooo gorgeous, happy & healthy!!

"Irving" is a white, medium hair domestic kitty.
So handsome, isn't he!!  He is deaf..  Talks REALLY LOUD:)

"Onyx" Another gorgeous, sweet cat:)
Black is beautiful!!!  I have about a dozen black cats here looking for homes..
Sad but true, it is harder for me to adopt them out.

 That's all the cat talk for now....
Super busy behind the scenes with lots of surprizes that I am working on:)

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008
BoW WOW!!! Dogs RULE!!!
The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance,
The wise man grows it under his feet.
-James Oppenheim

The picture of me in the field was taken last summer, unbeknown to me..
How time flies....

But with every year, we move forward and continue to do more.
Can you believe it has been 8 years now I have been doing resue...

Check out the current issue of "Bark Magazine", page 18, for an art project auction that will benefit "A Place To Bark" in November on the 15Th, 2008.

I have always been a huge fan of "The Bark", this is a very special honor for us here!!!
Hoping the small feature will bring more awareness to "A Place To Bark", and our ongoing efforts to be part of the movement to become a, no kill nation.

Web page to advertise our art auctions will be up soon!!!
BoW WOW!!!

If you go to the website and click current issue, you can click on "Artists unite to help a great rescue group" the link will bring you to our website !!!
I know I am rambling on about this, I'm just thrilled!!!

This fabulous video featured below was created by: Rebecca Lansdowne of Art Paw.
It showcases the artwork up close and personal. Also included is a very fun interview with artist Jill Beninato of "Sit Stay Smile Photography", who hosted the art collaboration & put the books together painstakingly by hand. She is a non stop work horse, donating time to the animals in need, doing her art and being a full time wife, mother and dog mom on top of all of that!!

An AmAZing art book project, 13 artists were asked to create 14 pages for this book project.
These were the very talented ladies that participated:

Jill Beninato of "Sit Stay Smile Photography"
Linda O'Neill of Abby Creek Studios
Jamie Pflughoeft of "Cowbelly Photography"
Leigh Jackson of "Noisy Dog Studio"
Anne Leuck Feldhaus of Anne Leuck Feldhaus Studio Ltd.
Manon Doyle of "Hoochie Poochie Studios"
Moira McLaughlin of "Dream Dogs Art"
Melissa Langer of "Pug Notes"
Rebecca Lansdowne of Art Paw
Nicole Mlakar-Livingston of Nicole Mlakar-Livingston Photography
Wendy Crumbley of 2 Dog Studio
Kathy Weller Wellerwishes Pet Portraiture
& Me:) Bernie Berlin of "The Cre8tive Eye Studio" (not as talented but humbled to be asked:)

Each artist received their copy of the book and an extra will be auctioned off on e-bay November 15, 2008. Web page coming soon!!
Each artist did their interpretation of the theme "Dogs Rule" in the media of their choice.
The book is 8x10 inches in size, with canvas board covers to protect the artwork enclosed.
These a few pictures of the many pages in the book.

Photography by Jill Beninato, because Bernie is always too busy taking care of the dogs and othewise wouldn't post as much, if not for her wonderful friends helping her out:)

A very special "Thank YOU" to Jill & the Amazing artists who created this book, Bark Magazine and to all of you that read this..

If you haven't been to "A Place To Bark's" You Tube channel, please check it out HERE
Many of the videos are older but you can get a feel for what my life is like with the animals.

P.S. If you have art and would like to join the auction festivities to help us raise money in November, it is easy to do on e-bay via Mission Fish.
Whatever percentage you would like to donate, you specify & they will get the funds to us and you will get a tax deductible receipt right away.

See what is listed now to benefit "A Place To Bark"
If you want to learn more click the little tab that says sell
and it will tell you "How it Works".
Monday, September 08, 2008
"In Memory of Otis"
"Be kind- Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle"

There are no perfect words when we lose something we love with all our heart..
This post is dedicated to my dear & talented friend, Jill Marie Schulse.  
Dedicated Pug Lover & Mother.
I know many of you that read my blog are Pug People and I ask that you send her a kind word on her blog.  She just lost one of beloved Pugs, his name was Otis.  
We all know that when we lose one of our furry friends, you lose a piece of your heart, never to be replaced again.
All you can do is revel in the past and focus on the love that was given and shared...  
Jill has adopted two rescued Pugs from me in the past and I could not ask for a better home for them, truly the rags to riches story.  
This picture below was taken with Otis in it. 
He is the gray, distinguished, squishy face, underneath Popeye ( formerly Brutus).  
Mugsy (formerly Mister Magoo ) is the full figured Pug to the left of your screen:)

Otis will be missed by so many and I hope that Jill knows she is LOVED by ME & many, many artists everywhere!!!  We are with you in spirit.. 
You are in my thoughts & prayers....  
Till we all meet again at the rainbow bridge

Thursday, September 04, 2008
At Heaven's Gate...
"...whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.."
-Ephesians 6:8 KJV

There are people who leave their mark on this earth, even in their last moments...
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a woman, telling me that her mother had asked that donations be giving to our rescue in lieu of flowers. I was speechless.. 
Shirley Rogers was this woman. 
A woman who I had never met, but somehow, heard about what we do here. 
An animal loving person she did what she could for animals in need, according to her daughter. 
The act of reaching out to a perfect stranger and doing something for the animals in need, putting aside the material items of this earth, is such a profound act that I felt the need to share this beautiful story..
At this moment I am sure she is standing in Heaven, surrounded by animals, basking in the beautiful light of God.  
The picture above is one I took when I was in San Diego at the dog beach.  
This would be my heaven, the water, sand between my toes and a dog by my side..

If you read this today, please say a prayer for Shirley & keep her in your thoughts..
I wish I would have had the chance to meet her, surely some day I will:)

ROGERS, Shirley Craig Age 67 of Nashville, died September 1, 2008. Preceded in death by mother, Doyne Speakman Boatman; brother, Bill Craig. Survived by daughter, Kelly (Johnny) Copeland; sons, Thomas E. (Becky L.) Rogers and Michael (Erika) Rogers; sisters, Carolyn Dunn and Linda (Roger) Simpkins; grandchildren, Brian, Chris and Kendra. A Celebration in her memory will be held on Saturday, September 6, 2008 from 3 - 5 p.m., at the family's residence, 4247 Horseshoe Bend Trail in Murfreesboro. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rescue Shelter "A Place To Bark", P.O. Box 649, Portland, TN 37148. BURNS-SHORT DIRECTORS, (615) 770-0023. www.burns-short.com


Monday, September 01, 2008
With each day..
"The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes just a little longer:
-Air Force Motto

With each day, I count my blessings..
My family, friends, animal lovers and the artist community that rallies around to help us with our mission.  The recent events with Hurricane Gustav reminds us, not to take our daily lives for granted.  Life can change in the blink of an eye..  It does every day.  Lives saved, lives lost..
Take a moment today to give your loved ones and pets a BIG hug and revel in the moment!!!

Over the weekend I was called by our Sheriff's department calling to see if I had room to house animals.  They were preparing ahead, just in case the storm displaced more people & animals than there were places that could house them.  We have plenty of land and can surely help in situations like that.  I'll need to buy more kenneling for emergency housing, just in case, for the future.  I could not fathom what those poor people go thru, with the hurricanes.  
The thought of leaving my beloved pets behind is not something I think I could do...

I have been preoccupied with many, many things these days..
Home, family, work, new additions & we've been at record numbers for several months now with the animals taken in. 
The building is coming along slowly.  Almost done!!! Septic is going in this week.
Then the painting begins.. We are using an epoxy paint for the floor, trying to figure out what color to use???  As an artist you would think this would be easy, but so many to choose from and trying to envision the final result isn't as easy as you would think.  I want it to be perfect:)
I know most don't want to read my lengthy chatter, but want to see the fabulous fuzzies waiting for homes, so here you go!!!

This gorgeous girl is "Azure" she is a 4 month old female Lab/mix with striking blue eyes.
Super sweet, friendly, spunky and non stop loving energy!!!
She also has a sister who has one brown eye and one half of a blue eye.  Her name is Asia.

"Clover" & "Lily" are siblings, surrendered to the pound due to their family losing their home.
Approximately 1-2 years of age.  Female, Collie/mixes.  SWEeeeT!!!

"Eli" is a male Shepherd/mix.  Approximately 10 weeks old.  He had to have 2 blood transfusions from his mother.  We almost lost him... His blood loss was from a very severe infestation of hookworms and fleas.  He is not out of the woods yet, but is still with us and doing better.  We will know Thursday when his blood is tested to see where his levels are.

This picture perfect pup is "Lil Bit"  Female, truly not sure what breed, her siblings look like terrier/mixes, but she is very, very small compared to them.
She is the runt of her litter and they came to me with a horrible infestation of lice, fleas & ticks.
Doing great now, she is little but has a HUGE personality!!!

For "Parker's" family..
He is doing great and having a good time playing with everyone!!!
"Parker" is a young, male Basset Hound.  Loves to be with you, never leaves my side.
Good with other dogs, Loves food, obviously being a hound:)  
I'll have a video of him on You Tube soon, playing with all the puppies...

Many dogs I take in, I place with rescues, if I feel they would not do well at the Humane Societies I work with.  Not all dogs do well in a shelter situation and it's in the best interest of the dogs that they go to rescues who can work one on one with them and do private placements.  

I took "Bella" up north to Pug Hugs Rescue in Wisconsin.
So if you are looking to adopt her, contact them. She is a GREAT dog!!

"Mona" & "Millie" were from a puppy mill.  
Transferred to Illinois Cocker Rescue & Toy Breeds Rescue.   VERY, VERY, sweet girls!!
Both were in poor shape, but under Aly's care they will be well and up for adoption soon:)

"Gomez" was placed with Tennessee Shar Pei Rescue.  It will take several months before he is up for adoption.  They have much work ahead getting him back to health, but he's worth it. 

I do transfer many of my purebred dogs, so they can go to their specific breed rescues.
These rescues know their breed thru and thru.  Educating and screening the potential adopter so that it is a win/win situation for the animal. 
All the great people I know and am blessed to network with, I thank you and the animals thank you!!!
Will be working on the website, updates, announcements, super exciting announcement!!!
So I will be tormenting Claudine all day today:)  
If you don't know, she graciously donates her time to creating and maintaining our website. 
Cat post coming soon...

Have a Blessed Day all!!!!!

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A Place to Bark is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible.

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