The Nutmeg Cookery in Hartford, Connecticut

The Nutmeg Cookery in Hartford, Connecticut

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Hartford for Voices for Animals Day at the State Capitol Building, organized by the ASPCA. Connecticut citizens gathered to speak with their individual legislators in support of prohibiting the sale of puppy-mill puppies in new pet stores (and phasing out sales in the sixteen pet stores that still have them). The day started with a welcoming breakfast and — wow — what scrumptious vegan goodies The Nutmeg Cookery had put together for us. A perfect start to the day while people mingled before the press conference and presentation. If you’re in the Hartford area, I hope you’ll keep in mind The Nutmeg Cookery if you’re looking to bring a little extra special vegan love into your home or office. Jenny and her husband mostly work as personal chefs but, as you can see, they are a dynamic duo for events, too. Voices for Animals Day and other “Lobby Day” Events If you have yet to participate in a Lobby Day event at your state capital, I highly encourage you to do so.  They are so uplifting — how inspiring and empowering when kids and adults come together for a few hours to lend their voices on behalf of the voiceless. For kids and adults alike, it also can be both fun and educational. Most of all, it’s incredibly rewarding to meet with your local representatives or their staff members in person. So how do you know when events like these are happening in your own community? Here’s one easy way: sign up for the ASPCA’s Advocacy Brigade. And, if you’re in...
Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons

Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons

Our companion animals Otis and Galileo deserve a respite from the city as much as we do. Lucky for us, c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton offers the perfect family getaway for all of us. This boutique hotel’s rooms are named after various Swedish authors and artists, and come with a nice supply of bath and body products by Malin + Goetz.  The Maidstone makes every aspect of one’s stay relaxing and dog-friendly, including suggestions about where to enjoy some beach time with the pups or places to explore in East Hampton and the neighboring towns with them. Late afternoons, it’s time for “Yappy Hour” in the cozy lounge or on the patio; sip one of Leandro’s amazing Strawberry Mojitos while the pups enjoy something off the Woof Menu. And, in the evening, the four-legged guests are invited to dine along with you in The Living Room Restaurant. The Living Room embraces the slow-food philosophy and is vegan-friendly, with plenty of fresh, local produce at work in the kitchen. For dinner there on our most recent visit, we started with the amazing Living Room Salad (love the pine nuts and shaved zucchini!) and then each had the roasted root vegetables entree. Beach time! In the mornings and early evenings, we enjoyed long family walks on Main Beach, just three minutes from the hotel. (During summer season, dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 6pm.) Other great spots for some beach time with the pups: the area surrounding Montauk Lighthouse, undeveloped coastline with pretty views into the horizon, and Maidstone Park Beach, secluded and serene. The Faves...
Accessorizing with Freckled Sage

Accessorizing with Freckled Sage

It was while wandering around Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia that I discovered the local design company Freckled Sage, which specializes in items made from oilcloth. This “retro fabric” that was popular during the 1950s is made from a combination of linseed oil and canvas. It’s durable, waterproof, fade-resistant, easy to clean… and no animals are used in its production. This fun fabric is perfect for so many items, especially as summertime is approaching. I love the big tote bags — ideal for trips to the pool or beach. And the tablecloths that come in vibrant, bold designs would brighten up any patio dining or picnic table. Other products include cosmetics/travel bags and aprons. There are even some items for companion animals available: I love the food mats for cats (shaped like a fish) and dogs (shaped like a...
Beagle Freedom Project

Beagle Freedom Project

When I adopted my beagle Pushkin, during one of our initial meetings with the veterinarian at the Bideawee center, a nurse casually asked me: “Is that one of the beagles they rescued from the lab in Pennsylvania?” I never did confirm this possible backstory, but it stuck with me; eventually, having a beagle as a family member and the thought of other beagles in laboratories was what prompted me to oust all animal-tested products from my home. The sad reality is that beagles are the most popular breed for lab use, specifically because of their gentle and forgiving nature. Beagle Freedom Project was founded by Los Angeles attorney and animal advocate Shannon Keith. Its mission is rescuing and finding homes for beagles that have been used in laboratory research. And, just so you don’t confuse BFP with more radical groups — visions of laboratory break-ins dancing in your head — BFP works directly with laboratories, who often attempt to find homes for adoptable, healthy beagles once they’re no longer needed for research. Here’s a video of BFP’s most recent rescued beagles, from a lab in the Midwest:   Meeting Frederick & Douglass, Two Very Special Beagles During our most recent trip to Los Angeles, my husband and I had tons of fun catching up with friends Kezia Jauron and Gary Smith — otherwise known as the power couple behind the public relations agency Evolotus. Kezia and Gary have been amazing in helping us spread the word about Letters To Pushkin; business aside, they’re just two great people doing incredible things on behalf of animals. Among their many efforts, they...
Galileo’s Freckles (and birthday cupcakes!)

Galileo’s Freckles (and birthday cupcakes!)

Happy 7th Birthday, Galileo! Our darling “fluffer nutter” Galileo has peanut butter-colored freckles as plentiful as the stars of the constellations, but early on I decided on this story: Once upon a time, in heaven, a bunch of angels were huddled together. The angel Galileo approached them to find out what all the buzz was about. Someone explained: “There’s a family down there for one of us. One of us is going to show up for them as a puppy.” Of course, this meant that whatever angel took on the job would have to leave behind his wings for a while. Galileo thought about it. He took a look at this family of four: he’d have a mom, dad, and two canine brothers. Galileo volunteered. He was so excited, he started flying around in circles over and over again, just as he runs around and around today (always to the right). With great ceremony, Galileo’s angel friends helped him remove his shimmery wings and hang them in the closet, where they wait for him. Then he became a puppy, covered in marshmallow-soft white fur; there’s an iridescence to the fur — in the sunlight, you can see a rainbow of colors — that’s a lot like his glorious wings. Then, to say “farewell for now” and wish Galileo well, all the angels gathered around him and showered him with kisses. And they each left their mark – each of the hundreds of freckles, the kiss of an angel. As we say in our home: another day, another gift. Today — every day — we celebrate Galileo and what a...
Volunteering at Best Friends Sanctuary

Volunteering at Best Friends Sanctuary

I was fortunate enough in September to spend some time volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.  The sanctuary serves as the headquarters for the 30 year-old organization Best Friends Animal Society, which launched the no-kill movement and facilitates adoptions and spay/neuter programs nationwide. In addition, BF works on initiatives related to puppy mills, pit bull/breed discrimination, and TNR for feral cat colonies. Nestled in Angel Canyon, the sanctuary is a slice of heaven where, at any given time, about 1700 animals are being cared for by the Best Friends staff. Although most of these animals are dogs and cats that are waiting for their forever homes, the sanctuary also takes in barnyard animals (horses, goats), pigs, bunnies, parrots and exotic birds, and wild life. Some of the animals have special needs, some have come from situations of abandonment or neglect. With the exception of the animals in the Wildlife department, all the animals are adoptable. The miracle here is that there is no clock ticking against them: the sanctuary, then, functions as the largest no-kill shelter in the country; in this idyllic setting, the animals are ensured whatever they need — physical, emotional, and psychological needs — for as long as it takes to find them a family. To spend time in such a gorgeous place with these animals, and the very special people who spend their days caring for them, was extraordinary. The sanctuary is a scenic four-hour drive from the Las Vegas airport. Kanab is a great little town in its own right: this “Little Hollywood” was the location for more than 100 western...