April 20, 2021

A Dog’s Story of Survival | We Don’t Deserve Dogs | A Dog Eases the Pain of Divorce | Dog Edition #14

A Dog’s Story of Survival | We Don’t Deserve Dogs | A Dog Eases the Pain of Divorce | Dog Edition #14

We like to think dogs need us at least as much as we need them … but is that true? Today we look at a stray, a film, and a divorce to find out.


If dogs represent the best of human qualities … and we assert they do … how, and when, do we need to become more human?

A Dog’s Story of Survival

For years Frankie lived on a hill above a suburban elementary school. All by himself, he survived by garbage picking after the last lunch bell rang. His scrounging paid off, but neighbors in the San Francisco suburb were worried about Frankie’s health. He evaded their attempts to catch him for a week, but eventually, was captured. At his veterinary appointment, the doctor found something that pointed to a ghastly past … one that made his life on the hill look pastoral by comparison.

We Don’t Deserve Dogs

Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker are documentary filmmakers who like to form hypotheses and then test them on film. Their latest is We Don’t Deserve Dogs … and they offer as proof a series of snapshots and portraits from around the globe. We visit several different cultures and through their lens inhabit new beliefs and attitudes about the human-dog bond. Former child soldiers in Uganda cope with PTSD with the help of adopted dogs. A Pakistani woman invites a stray dog home and is shunned by her neighbors. A dog in Lima, Peru is celebrated with a lavish birthday party.

A Dog Eases the Pain of Divorce

Donna Dees was in the throes of planning the Million Mom March when her husband asked for a divorce. The timing could not have been worse … especially for their two young daughters. Hoping to soften the blow, the couple decided to give their girls a puppy along with the bad news. Little Daisy’s arrival distracted everyone from the divorce drama by forcing everyone to make adjustments and achieve balance. In their case, getting a dog was a puptastic solution to an age-old problem.

The Hydrant

Pam and Jim stop by the hydrant to sniff out the latest dog gossip, innuendo, jokes, and notes. This week, Busch wants your dog to be their Dog Brew Influencer. Also, it turns out Democrats and Republicans on the Hill have always agreed on one thing, after all.

About A Dog’s Story of Survival

Frankie is living his best life at home in Northern California.

About Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker

Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker are an Australian born, Brooklyn based documentary filmmaking duo. Their new documentary film, We Don't Deserve Dogs, is out now.

We Don't Deserve Dogs is a contemplative odyssey across our planet, looking at the simple and extraordinary ways that dogs influence our daily lives.

Former child soldiers in Uganda. The local pub in a Scottish town. A dog walker on the streets of Istanbul. A kaleidoscope of unconventional portraits from fascinating locations. People need dogs, and perhaps they need us, but what do humans do to deserve the unconditional love they provide?

Watch the trailer, and rent or buy the movie from https://wedontdeservedogs.com

instagram.com/urtext

facebook.com/urtextfilms

About Donna Dees

Donna Dees, described in 2020 by Glamour Magazine as an “activist’s activist,” is the founder of the Million Mom March held on Mother’s Day 2000 — the largest protest against gun violence in US history until the more recent March for Our Lives.

Her 2004 memoir and guidebook called “Looking for a Few Good Moms: How One Mom Rallied a Million Others Against the Gun Lobby” earned her the “Chutzpah Award” from Oprah. The book was also cited by The Atlantic in 2008 as one of the best books on female leadership.

Over the years, she has promoted gun violence prevention and grassroots activism in hundreds of media outlets including on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Good Morning America, the Today Show and the NBC Nightly News.

Here’s What We Found at The Hydrant

Dog Brew Influencer Job

Congress is a Dog Friendly Workplace

Transcript

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:00] Hi, I'm James Jacobson. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:07] And I'm Pamela Lorence.

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:08] Welcome to Dog Edition. The first show designed for you to listen to while you walk your dogs. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:15] Today, we're going to explore the entanglement that is the human dog bond and all its complexities.

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:23] Our first story takes us to a hillside behind an elementary school where we meet a stray named by fate and rescued not once, but twice. Just like a cat, Frankie seems to have nine lives and thanks to a group of determined neighbors, he's finally living his best one. Frankie's is a story of survival that you don't want to miss.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:50] Are we worthy of the dogs in our lives? 

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:52] Yes, of course we are.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:54] I like your confidence. For our second story, we joined a pair of filmmakers who documented the human dog bond from a global and cultural perspective. From former child soldiers in Uganda to a pub in Scotland, We Don't Deserve Dogs is a movie that will have you mulling over just how worthy we humans are of a dog's love. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:13] And in our third segment, we'll discuss divorce, which is hard under the best of circumstances.

Well, one family found a way to maintain a bond even as the family broke apart, by adopting a family dog. Daisy the divorce dog is a tale that shows how humans deeply rely on dogs to get us through life's challenges.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:37] And then at the end of this show, we have our Hydrant Segment. So stop on by, and here's some of the doggy headlines that captured our attention this week.

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:45] So if you love dogs, as much as we do pause what you're doing, leash up your pup and let's take a walk. We've got a lot to talk about on today's episode of Dog Edition. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:59] Want to go for a walk.

>> James Jacobson: [00:02:06] Standing at the top of a Hill alongside an elementary school in a suburb of San Francisco, you can hear kids playing Foursquare and daring each other across the monkey bars. Maybe some are trading lunchbox items. Scraps from those lunch boxes will fill the trash cans scattered around the perimeter of the blacktop. It's in this place that our next story begins.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:02:30] January, 2019. Remember that date. A post titled lost dog at Franklin Elementary showed up on the neighborhood app called Next Door. It said, my wife was there at lunchtime and saw this dog by the parking lot with no collar. Do you know this dog? The accompanying picture was of a shaggy cream colored dog, matted and cautious looking. More than 60 neighbors commented, offering advice on what to do, whom to call.

One person mentioned they'd seen the dog there over here a year ago. Maybe it was a neighbor dog that kept getting loose. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe it was a dog in need. Some of the commenters organized themselves and planned a rescue mission. One of them was Debbie McKeever. 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:03:25] Friday night and it was like five o'clock and it was pouring rain.

And I said to my husband, I'm going out with a bunch of people to save a dog. And he goes, what are you talking about? And I said, yeah, there's this lost dog on the Hill and we're going to go get this dog. And he looked at me like I was insane.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:03:44] The group met in the parking lot of Franklin Elementary school.

The open and airy campus is a mix of buildings, portable classrooms, a sport field, and a black top, typical in the mild California climate. But it's enclosed by fencing and a wall for safety. 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:04:01] You have to go to the garbage can areas, jump the six foot cement wall to get into this guarded area and you literally had to have boots on. It's pouring rain, you're in the mud and we get up there and there's no dog. We're like, you know what? 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:04:21] Undeterred, debbie began to leave food for the dog every morning on her way to work. She and the group continued to meet regularly in the evenings, hoping to spot the dog.

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:04:31] We we're all in the parking lot, like what do we call the dog? Let's call the dog. I said, we have to have the same name because we can't all be calling here, puppy, puppy.

So we decided on Franklin because of Franklin school. So Frankie, okay. Everybody call for Frankie. So everyone would go up there and leave food. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:04:48] Debbie was one of the lucky ones. She spotted Frankie every time she stopped by the school to search for him.

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:04:55] He always would look at me and be like, yeah, try to catch me.

And I get out of the car really fast. I try to jump up there, take me like 10 minutes and he'd be hiding. So he had all these hidden dens. And by the time you got up there in the brush, he was gone. It was like Houdini.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:05:10] The Hillside where Frankie had his hidden dens was strewn with ketchup packets, empty chip bags, remnants of carefully packed lunches, tossed into garbage cans and snatched out again by Frankie.

Just how long were those scraps keeping Frankie alive?

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:05:29] I'd say a few years. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:05:31] Debbie kept going back to the school. 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:05:33] And my husband was like, you really should check in with the school now, cause this is really weird. Some lady is climbing up in the trees, you know, and the kids will be like, there he is.

There's the dog. There he is. And he's there trying to help me. And I'm running through the Bush. I'm getting all cut up. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:05:47] So Debbie checked in with the school. They were aware of the dog and had been for a long time. The kids even nicknamed him, the Dog on the Hill. The SPCA had been out to the school many times to try to catch the Dog on the Hill.

Police regularly received coyote calls from residents, mistaking Frankie for a coyote. No one had been able to catch him, though. So the neighbors stepped up their efforts. They placed a crate on the hillside and baited it with some meat. The meat was laced with Trazadone, a tranquilizer. One of the group members have the knowledge and experience necessary to do this safely.

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:06:29] Well, that didn't work twice. He chewed out of the metal wire. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:06:34] The third time they used a crate with plexiglass walls, so Frankie couldn't chew his way out. Someone in the group designed and built it. They checked the crate early on a Sunday morning, nearly four weeks since the group began their rescue efforts.

This time it had worked. Frankie had been caught. 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:06:56] But it was not the happy story that you think you were going to have. Cause he was vicious. And, um, he broke his blood vessels all in his eyes from being choked, trying to fight everybody. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:07:12] Debbie was wine tasting two hours away when she got the call about Frankie.

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:07:16] And I was like, you got him? That's great. And then she's like, Um, yeah, but we don't have anywhere to put them. And I was like, why would you and everybody that was like into, it was like, Oh, I can't take them. I'm not taking them. Hell no. Oh no. I'm no way. Cause he was like a Cujo and he's really good. He's really scared. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:07:34] Scared, confused, and covered in fleas. Debbie shared the code to her garage and said to wait there with Frankie, she would head home. She recounts what it was like when she first saw Frankie in her garage.

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:07:48] Really sad, super, super sad, just because he was just such a mess. And he held his head really, really low to the ground. Like just no confidence.

No. You know, he was just broken. He was just broken. Um, so the next day I had an appointment with the vet and we, um, we had them shaved down cause he was a really bad shape and that's when we saw the scars. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:08:17] Frankie had a scar that went from one side of his lower back torso all the way around his body to the other side. Debbie said it looked like his backend had been sewn back onto his body. That's how big the scar was. She and the vet had questions and it turned out Frankie was microchipped. They would get some answers.

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:08:38] So the original story was this lady lost him at Fort Funston, October. Let's just say middle October, 2015, but she only had him for 10 days.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:08:51] Frankie broke free and ran away from this owner at Fort Funston, a popular park for dog walking, just South of San Francisco. It's 13 miles from where Frankie eventually ended up on the hillside behind Franklin Elementary school. That was in 2015. Remember the date from the beginning of the story 2019, four years.

That's how long this dog survived on his own. What about the scar? 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:09:23] I think you forgot to tell me something because this dog has a scar that no dog should ever survive. I can't keep a dog if I don't really know what I'm dealing with his history. And that's when she said, um, he was one of the dogs from South Korea from rescue. Yeah. From a meat, meat market.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:09:44] A report from Green Dog Rescue says this about Frankie's case. As some of you may know, there is a market for dog meat in South Korea, and there are trappers who set out snares to capture dogs to sell to market. Poor Frankie was caught in one of those snares. And because the hunters didn't come back

it embedded in his skin, around his middle. A Korean animal rescue group found him in the snare and rescued him. And he wended his way to Green Dog in 2015. 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:10:16] They called it operation Frankie from South Korea because he was Frankenstein. They had to sew back together. And here we are at Franklin four years later calling him Frankie, because it was Franklin school.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:10:36] Maybe fate had a hand in transforming Frankie the Frankenstein dog into Frankie the dog no longer on the Hill, but how was he able to overcome all the trauma of his past? 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:10:49] You know, he survived as the Dog on the Hill because of his past. If he didn't have those feral instincts from Korea, he would have never survived four years.

His eyes were really, really black and sad when we first got him. Really black, like scary. Um, and now they're Brown. And they're smiling and they're happy. They're like these little half moons and they're, they smile with his smile. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:15] Frankie has spent the last two years living in the lap of luxury, although still a little wary of human laps.

It was a treacherous journey to his forever home, but he's happy now and learning to trust. 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:11:28] He's, he's a good forgiver, of the human people.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:31] Debbie is a little less forgiving. She shares some advice that's come out of this experience. 

>> Debbie McKeever: [00:11:37] People can be really nasty. You know, it's really awful. Um, animals and children don't have voices and bullies pick on them, you know, and all you could do is if you could make a change in one life, that's awesome.

Do it. Don't be afraid to. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:11:57] We'll be right back. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:58] You're listening to Dog Edition. 

Welcome back to Dog Edition. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:12:04] Take a moment to think deeply about what it means to have a dog in your life. Who benefits the most from that relationship, you or the dog. When you put that human dog bond in the context of our culture, does it seem common or extraordinary?

These are some of the questions addressed in a newly released film by documentarian power couple Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker. It's called We Don't Deserve Dogs. 

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:12:34] The film's title seems like a judgment. Humans, we don't deserve dogs. I was curious if this was a foregone conclusion filmmakers Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker made before shooting the film, or one they came to after hearing the many stories told throughout.

I think it was actually almost more like a hypothesis to start the film from. I, you know, it's a really common phrase. And for those that don't know, it's a, it's a phrase that like on the internet, there'll be a very uplifting story of something wonderful that a dog's done and know often, often something that people refrain is is we don't deserve dogs.

It's a challenge to humanity. Uh, like do we deserve the, uh, the love that dogs provide?

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:13:13] There's a sentiment that's been expressed a number of times and in one way or another by various authors, the gist is try to be the person your dog thinks you are. Matthew viewed that sentiment as sort of a guiding principle for the film.

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:13:29] We're sort of like, well, you know, what, what do we as humanity, um, give back to the love and loyalty that dogs provide. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:13:36] So while maybe you're out on your own dog-walking journey, we're going to join filmmakers, Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker on their journey around the globe to Chile, Uganda, Nepal, Pakistan, Scotland, Romania, 11 countries in total, to glimpse, intimate portraits of people and the dogs they love.

>> Rose Tucker: [00:13:56] We wanted it to be geographically broad as possible. So we started researching stories in, in parts of the world where we didn't know much about what it was like to, you know, what dog culture was like in these places. So, uh, we hired all sorts of researchers. Some of them were film students, some were photographers, some were street tour guides. Um, basically people that like knew their communities really well. And, and, and obviously these people were all passionate about dogs as well. So it wasn't hard convincing them to get on board and help us find these amazing stories.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:14:32]  Like the story of former child soldiers in Uganda, a population that faced unimaginable human rights abuses. UNICEF estimates that half of 10,000 children abducted to fight in the region's civil war since 1987, remain unaccounted for. Those who managed to escape return home with the weight of their trauma only to be stigmatized by their communities.

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:14:57] The story that we were telling was that, um, these former soldiers are working with stray dogs, that they are adopting to help them through their trauma. And so when they were recounting quite traumatic stories to us, they were holding their dogs and would sort of grab at them and hold onto them a bit closer as they were telling more difficult parts of the story.

So a lot of it just sort of naturally found its way in front of the lens. And as a documentarian, you just have to sort of sit back and take it all in. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:15:22] Dogs are there for these humans.

>> Rose Tucker: [00:15:24] Lucy, one of the former child soldiers in Uganda. Um, she said something that just really opened up my eyes. She said, I, I didn't know, dogs could be trained to be your friend.

I thought just that, that, you know, in a, in a culture where people don't always have dogs as friends, you know, having her discover that sort of in real time was really powerful. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:15:46] Dogs are not really thought of as friends in Pakistan, either. In fact, dogs are not commonly allowed in homes. It's deeply rooted in the Muslim religion, but one person pushed against that traditional belief when she saved the life of a stray dog and invited her into her home.

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:16:04] You know, I think Benish who, you know, she she's, uh, a devout Muslim, um, the book of religion for her prescribes not having a dog, but then she sort of appealed to her own version of it and her own higher power. Imagine it in a world where maybe your neighbors aren't very happy with you and stuff like that.

And I think it really solidified her as kind of like, pretty tough. 

>> Rose Tucker: [00:16:24] Yeah. I mean, she had family and friends that refused to come and visit her at her home because she kept a dog there and, you know, it takes a lot to, to push back against that kind of family pressure. Um, so yeah, she really was very determined and, and, and very confident in her own beliefs.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:16:41] Benish called the bond they shared a blessing. 

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:16:44] Yes. Yes. She had her own interpretation that it was God working through through Sheru. 

>> Rose Tucker: [00:16:49] Yes. Well, the, the, the, basically the common phrase that in, in, in Muslim culture that is, if you have a dog in your house, the house will not be blessed. So this is her way of saying, well, I, you know what?

I feel pretty blessed. My God and my Allah looking at what good is being happened to his creation. It is his creation and I'm taking care of it. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:17:10] The film is a kaleidoscope with the lens sometimes pointed at the humans like the dog walker in Istanbul who opens up emotionally and confides in the dogs or the woman in Lima, Peru who throws a lavish dog birthday party.

And sometimes that lens is pointed at the dog. 

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:17:29] Often the dogs decided. Often the heat they stole or stole us away from shots and sent us running up and down hills. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:17:35] And sometimes the dogs forced the filmmakers to find a stillness, a moment where the viewer can process a situation from the dog's perspective, like a scene in Scotland that takes place in a pub with Val and her rescue dog Major.

The moment happens while Val is talking about a dog's capacity for forgiveness. 

When bad things have happened to them, or when somebody has done something terrible at them, they'll always trust again, which amazes me. It amazes me. 

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:18:04] The shot is of Major, just watching her with her in the pub. And he's just watching and watching and keeping an eye on her.

And she didn't realize because you know, I'm down, a foot off the ground filming, filming these, these sly looks that dogs give away and she didn't even know that the dog had looked. I think it was a bit of a, an emotional thing for her because she didn't know Major had been looking at her in that way.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:18:23] There is no voiceover to tell you where in the world you are, to lead you through the story, or to pass judgment on any of the human dog bonds. As documentarians, Matthew, and Rose leave the question of whether we humans deserve dogs, up to the viewers to answer.

>> Rose Tucker: [00:18:42] Exactly, exactly. And I know that, you know, we tackle some fairly challenging material, um, in this film, like we, we look at examining the culture of dogs as meat in Vietnam.

And that was obviously one where we, uh, it was challenging to include it, but we wanted to make sure we did that in a completely observational, non-judgemental way. Um, because this is a part of life and this part of the world. And if we're telling a story about humans and dogs around the world, it would be sort of remiss to ignore that aspect of it.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:12] And just maybe learning about humans and dogs around the world from this beautifully framed and shot film with its original soundtrack acting as an ever-present heartbeat, tying us all together, will help us find more common ground than we ever thought possible. 

>> Matthew Salleh: [00:19:29] You know, I think we believe very much in a, in a world that's brought together through those sort of cultural understandings.

And so if it is through something as simple as, you know, people watching this film and thinking about other people that they might not know or not know a great deal about and going, Oh, that, that, that relationship there mimics my relationship with my, my dog and there's differences and we respect those differences, but those similarities also have power.

So I think, I think that's sort of the, the engine that we hope the film runs on for people. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:57] When I think about the times I shooed my dog away while I was busy working or the times I interrupted his nap, so I could demand attention I knew he would give freely and unconditionally, I'm convinced we don't deserve dogs.

>> James Jacobson: [00:20:15] It is a thoughtful question. Do we deserve dogs? I think we deserve dogs. I think dogs brighten our lives in such a way. And I'd like to think that I give back to my dogs lives in a way that is kind of meaningful. And, uh, you know, the whole purpose about a Dog Edition really is to help fix this imbalance that has been going on for way too many years. So, yes, I think we deserve dogs.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:20:40] All right. I like that take on it. That's a hot take. Um, I, uh, Uh, I'm a work in progress. The presence of a dog cuddled up next to you looking up when you make any kind of move or even just following you around your home can be like a tonic for when life serves up some challenges or in the case of our next story serves divorce papers.

>> James Jacobson: [00:21:05] In August of 1999, Donna Dees Thomases was working for the late show with David Letterman.

>> Donna Dees: [00:21:19] I had the best job in the business. I publicized Stupid Pet Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks Top 10 lists. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:21:28] Her life's trajectory changed on August 10th, 1999 when news of a mass shooting in Los Angeles gripped the nation. President Clinton held a press conference. 

Once again, our nation has been shaken and our heart's torn by an act of gun violence to the victims and their families, like all Americans, I offer our thoughts and prayers.

>> Donna Dees: [00:21:52] There was a shooting at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, in Granada Hills. And, uh, fortunately, uh, none of the killed the children died. Uh, but a gunman came in, it was a white supremacist who had never should have had access to a gun.

He managed to go through several loopholes in order to acquire his arsenal. And on. And we were Late Show happened to be on a dark week. It was vacation week. So I was so enraged, I you know, I decided I'm going to volunteer for the gun violence prevention movement. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:22:27] Two months after that shooting, Donna and a group of activists in and around the New York area announced their intention to march on Washington, DC, to advocate for stricter gun control laws.

Their grassroots effort became known as the Million Moms March, which was first held on Mother's Day in 2007. A warm welcome to U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy. We as mothers fight every day for our children. And I know one thing, when a mother is trying to protect her child, I will say again and again, don't mess with us.

Donna's years working at CBS network on its communications team, as well as representing high profile talent, including Dan Rather, and David Letterman and Bob Schieffer prepared her for the monumental task of organizing such a huge event. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:23:33] You take all of life's experiences and not really sure how they connect until that moment when they actually do connect. Um, when I organized the Million Mom March, it was all of my experiences came together in one moment to create something that was pretty spectacular. Something I had never done before, but because I had all these other life experiences, they just all converged with one moment. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:23:59] Another life event, unfortunately converged at the same time as the Million Mom March. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:24:04] Right in the middle of me organizing the Million Mom March, my husband asked me for a divorce, which, um, and, uh, he's a great divorce dad. I just want to say right up front and timing was not the best. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:24:16] Even under amicable circumstances, divorce can be stressful. And the couple also had to take into account how their two young children would react to the news.

Phoebe was five. Lily was six, a little young to understand all the implications of a divorce. But not too young to understand the extra bit of news they received. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:24:37] Mommy and daddy are getting a divorce and we're going to get a dog. So Daisy was a result of trying to soften the blow of, of, of, of a failed marriage and, and the family breaking apart. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:24:53] Dogs have been shown to help children deal with anxiety and stress.

Some kids see their dog as a trusted, neutral party and confide in them in a way they wouldn't ever do with a parent or even a friend. And sometimes a new dog is a great way to keep a kid's mind off of other things. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:25:12] I think if you've gone through a divorce, people understand the constant drama and battles you have. The dog definitely was the distraction we needed at the time. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:25:20] Donna involved the girls in the decision-making process. Big sister, Lily thought it might help Phoebe's fear of dogs. They settled on a soft coated Wheaton terrier that they named Daisy. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:25:32] That's the one Lily said let's get, because Phoebe's not, not, no little afraid of dogs. So they might be a good match for each other. And they were. They kind of Phoebe, when I brought Daisy home, Phoebe would sit up on the sofa, high up so Daisy could nip at her feet. And then Daisy was suddenly, I mean, very gradually would, uh, warm up to Phoebe and they became like best buddies forever. So. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:25:56] Sorting out child custody agreements and visiting days is hard enough. The shuffling between homes can be confusing and disruptive to a child. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:26:06] Do they have the right books? Do they have the right shoes? Do they have their things? Uh, it's a very complicated time for kids and I didn't really appreciate it until Daisy had a very hard time being house trained for, for one of the smartest dogs ever.

She was very confused about the whole process. And I think it was because of going back and forth and back and forth. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:26:27] Finding neutral ground is key to helping kids and, in this case, dogs adjust. Nesting sometimes called bird nesting has become commonplace. This means to keep the family residence intact as a home where both parents rotate living with their children while otherwise dwelling in separate residences.

In Donna's case the couple had a vacation home that served the same purpose. That became their neutral ground for Daisy and the girls. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:26:56] Sort of, that was the place that she felt the best and the safest. And ultimately I realized that's where my kids felt the best. Mommy and daddy were able to come and go from, from a house that they shared. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:27:06] Along with the many positives of introducing a dog into the family during a divorce, there may be some bumps along the road, as was the case with Daisy.

>> Donna Dees: [00:27:16] She was good for all of us. Um, she was also good for the divorce lawyers because a lot of, a lot of time went into arguing over the vet bills. Who's gonna pay the vet bills. And I do have to say, it was crazy arguments to be had because my ex-husband's a very generous person and he did take care of the vet bills.

>> James Jacobson: [00:27:34] Donna found comfort in Daisy and the girls loved having a dog to play with and care for. Daisy welcomed all of the affection. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:27:43] She was just the perfect pup for that experience. And sometimes I would call her Daisy the Divorce Dog in her presence. And she would look at me like, please don't. Don't label me with that. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:27:55] Even though she may not have approved of the moniker, Daisy the Divorce Dog was appreciated throughout her long life as a symbol of nonjudgmental love and stability for a family trying to cope.

When Daisy's health began to fail and it was time to say goodbye, Donna took Daisy on one last road trip, a pastime that she had always enjoyed. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:28:20] I drove her to Ann Arbor where my oldest daughter, Lily was at the university of Michigan and cause the lady wanted to be with her. And you know, it was a very spiritual moment of saying goodbye to Daisy in Ann Arbor.

>> James Jacobson: [00:28:33] Once again, Daisy found a way to help this family cope with a difficult time. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:28:38] When we left the vet hospital, we stopped at the florist to get some daisies and, you know, have a moment. My daughter and I were very sad. And this blind dog came out from behind the counter and sort of bow down at us. And the owner of the florist said that is so odd, is so odd.

The dog never leaves behind whatever. And that's when I realized there was a, there was a Daisy presence around us. It was a spiritual thing going on.

>> James Jacobson: [00:29:10] And because time marches on and change is inevitable, Donna and her daughters eventually had to face another difficult transition. Donna's decision to give up her New York apartment, their home. If he grew up in New York City, you'll understand that means saying goodbye to long-time neighbors and building handyman, perhaps a doorman or the person behind the counter at the corner store, who knows your name and just how you did in school.

All the people you grow close to living in a city like New York. 

>> Donna Dees: [00:29:42] When I told my younger daughter, Phoebe, that I was giving up their apartment that they grew up and, you know, as a divorced single mom, that, and Phoebe was very sad about saying goodbye to the building. And so she said, well, I think I need to get a dog.

And that will help. I'm like, here we go again, here we go again. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:30:06] And that is just what they did. Donna brought home a poodle Wheaton terrier mix who reminds them a little of Daisy the Divorce Dog and her unconditional love. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:30:18] Here we go again. I love it. I love it. Once a dog person, always a dog person. I lean on my dog in tough times.

>> James Jacobson: [00:30:27] Daisy is extraordinary and I get to give my, uh, uh, shout outs to my dogs, Kanga and Roo because this past week was a tough one. I lost my H?nai mom, who, um, Is in Hawaii H?nai means, uh, adopted, but we were very, very close. Uh, she passed away on Wednesday and the thing is the dogs knew a little bit about what was going on and gave me an extra hug and extra love.

They would've been there with me and they just sense what is going on in the world. So yeah, I rely on my dogs for sure. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:31:04] Yeah, and I, and I agree, they do understand, they know, and they sense when you need them to be there. Um, all right, well, this was, this was kind of a heavy episode. We got into a lot of serious stuff here, but we're going to end on an up note.

Join us at the hydrant for some of the doggy headlines that have caught our attention.

>> James Jacobson: [00:31:26] Listening to this deep stuff may drive you to drink or drive your dog to drink. Well, the good thing is there are beers for dogs. It's true. There are non-alcoholic beers and you know, a little company in St. Louis called Anheuser Busch has, uh, has, uh, has one of those beers for dogs called Dog Brew. And here's why it's important for you.

They are running a contest because they are looking to get a dog influencer, meaning a dog who will be like an advertising spokesperson, a spokes dog for the company. They're going to pay $20,000 salary plus like stock options and all sorts of crazy stuff for your dog. We will put a link to that if you think your dog might have the chops to be a spokesdog.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:32:10] I think my dog does. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:32:13] Try the beer. We need, we need to try this. We need to do a taste test sometime for all these different Dog Brews. We've we've done, uh, ice cream for dogs. And I think a natural, a natural addition is beer for dogs. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:32:28] Absolutely. I learned something new that in all the years of my life, I did not know this.

I learned this new today. So Congress is a dog friendly workplace. Lawmakers have actually been bringing their dogs to the Capitol since the 18 hundreds. And this is something I didn't know. So let's hope that Biden's dog Major really sort of settles into his life in DC finally. So cause there all these friends he could be making at the office.

>> James Jacobson: [00:32:56] He, he, he could be, he could bring the Executive and the Legislative branches together and maybe host a barbecue, have some Dog Brews at the South Lawn. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:33:06] He's the kind of dog you can have a beer with. Yeah. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:33:09] He does. That's what they say. You want a president that you can have a beer with. Well, maybe, maybe Major and Champion can do it.

They keep making our show don't they? Well, that is all we have for you today. Thank you for bringing Dog Edition along with you on your walk. We will be back with another episode, but chances are you and your dog will be taking a walk between now and then. So we have something else for you to listen to.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:33:37] If you're interested in hearing more from some of our guests, please check out DPN sister show the Long Leash for Jim's extended conversations. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:33:45] And follow Dog Edition so you can take us along on your dog walk next time. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:33:51] Social isolation and loneliness can be tough, especially on seniors during the pandemic. Can virtual visits with dogs, help folks stay socially connected and engaged. We think so. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:34:03] I'm looking forward to hearing that on the next episode. We also dig into the story of how a teen entrepreneur is using his sewing skills to help senior dogs get adopted. It is a story that caught the attention of former President Obama. And we think you'll like it too. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:34:22] You'll hear those stories and more. Dog Podcast Network is for dog lovers by dog lovers and that means we want to hear from you. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:34:29] Visit our website dog edition.com and there's a button in the bottom, right of every episode page so that you can easily leave us a voicemail and share your thoughts with us. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:34:40] Check out the show notes for links and information about the guests on this episode. 

>> James Jacobson: [00:34:44] We are looking for correspondants here at Dog Podcast Network is we grow this network.

And so if you are a content producer or a journalist or a podcast or an audio storyteller who loves dogs, check out our 101 Dog Stories Contest with over $15,000 in prize money. 

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:35:05] And join our pack. Be sure to follow Dog Edition in your favorite podcast app. And tell a friend about the show. I'm Pamela Lawrence and I'll see you at the dog park.

>> James Jacobson: [00:35:14] And I'm James Jacobson.

I want to thank you for listening today. On behalf of all of us here at Dog Podcast Network, we wish you and your dog a very warm Aloha.