Yes I am super proud of my husband. He is so inspiring…just don’t tell him I said that…I still need him to take out the trash! Don’t want him to get a big head. His new project is a radio show…Take a listen.

Cartoonist Darrell Fusaro is an artist with a knack for being in the right place at the right time.  He follows his hunches, steps out boldly, and stumbles, like Mister Magoo, from one miraculous situation to the next.  And he’s really stepped in it this time  ending up on the air with his good friend Edward Biagiotti.  
Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed airs weekly on Unity Online Radio.  Each week Darrell and Ed share real-life stories of how surrendering to Divine Order leads to better-than-expected outcomes. These unlikely saints administer a refreshing dose of laughter and love that will inspire you to step out boldly and experience the funniest things.
Click here to listen to episodes online.  You can also download the free app Stitcher to listen to all your favorite programs anytime anywhere on your mobile device.  And you may subscribe to them on iTunes as well.  Join in the conversation and the fun!

Yep, I have a new favorite restaurant. LYFE Kitchen. They have a little bit of everything. And it’s shocking…healthy food that actually tastes great. Great patio too.

If I close my eyes I can still see him clearly. Huge smile. Gorgeous face. Giant blockhead. Painted like a cow with beautiful blue gray spots. His name was Rocky and he was such a happy pup. Full of life. Bouncing around his kennel, taking treats gently out of volunteer Ryoko Matsui’s hand. I fell in love the minute I saw his photo. He even liked cats and other dogs. He was a stray that ended up at the shelter. Everything was in place to bring him home except one thing. We really weren’t ready for a second dog. We already had Gabby plus 3 cats. No room at the Fusaro Inn.

I put him out of my mind- for a while anyway- but I found myself going back to his adoption page. Finally I couldn’t stand it and begged the husband to just let me meet him. And let’s face it, meeting him meant I was going to bring him home. The husband reluctantly agreed and I made the call to the shelter. I was put on hold for what seemed like forever. Finally, the shelter volunteer came back on the line. “I’m sorry,” she said, Rocky is no longer here. He was put down yesterday.” I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Tears welled in my eyes and a lump immediately formed in my throat. Devastated, I hung up the phone.

I still feel guilty about Rocky. If only I had made my decision one day earlier. Twenty-four hours too late. A single day. I cried as I watched his video one last time. Since Rocky, there have been others. It’s one of the horrible realities of working with rescues. I try not to think about the ones who never made it. And when they do pop into my head, the sadness overwhelms me.

There was beautiful Sky, a husky that was so malnourished and covered with mange she didn’t even look like a dog. The scabs were thick and she had almost no hair. Danielle Rollibard, founder of I.C.A.R.E Rescue saved her from her from the shelter.

“Sky was the sweetest thing ever – every part of her body had scabs and sores on it,” remembers Danielle. “The shirt I wore to pick her up from the shelter was covered in blood from her poor little body.”

Sky had never known love and all she wanted to do was be held in Danielle’s arms. I had made plans to photograph her for the I.C.A.R.E website. Just like Rocky, I never got to meet her. Danielle tried her best to save Sky. At least she died knowing she was loved.

There are so many others that don’t. They die alone in shelters. In backyards. In trash cans. Yes, there are people out there that do unspeakable things to animals and when they are done with them, throw them away like garbage. No dignity. No respect. Never having been loved. Never feeling safe. It’s these lost ones that I want to remember.

Paula Hsien volunteers at a local shelter and makes it her business to valiantly work to save as many dogs as she can. She remembers each and every one.

“During their stay at the shelter, they brightened our days with their beautiful smiles and unconditional love. They made us laugh with their silliness and playfulness. Even though they are no longer with us, they will be remembered, for they have left their paw prints on our hearts forever.”

“Vixen was quite a social butterfly. When we’d go out for walks she would greet everybody. She’d follow me around or would just sit next to me.

Manouka was a happy girl and a big ball of love. My heart was torn into pieces when I found out that she was euthanized because the shelter lacked space.

Mali came in as a stray. She gave me little kisses on the hand. The fact that she was willing to give me a chance tells me that she still had lots of love in her heart.

Honey was a sweet girl who won the hearts of many volunteers. She was super playful and full of energy.

Rayna was such a good girl. She’d sit and wait for me patiently when I passed out treats. She loved to give kisses.

Dolly was dumped at the shelter because she was too old. A lifetime of giving love and she died alone in a shelter without her family.

Brittle loved to be around people and was just a sweet boy with kind, soulful eyes.” The list could go on forever.

Without people like Hsien, Rollibard and Matsui these dogs would never know human kindness. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they do. And so it’s time I remember Rocky and Georgie and Jazz- three dogs that touched my life and left way too soon. And I thank the selfless men and women that can’t turn their backs on their plight. Memories like these need to be remembered. These loving creatures that were here for just a moment, but made a lasting impression- their short lives do matter.

Wake Up and Live. Act as if it were impossible to fail. ~  Dorothea Brande in 1936.


Seize every opportunity along the way, for how sad it would be if the road you chose became the road not taken ~ R. Brault


Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’ And then do it. ~D.Michals


Count the garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall.  Count your life with smiles and not the tears that roll.


There are times in everyone’s life when something constructive is born out of adversity… when things seem so bad that you’ve got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it.  ~Author Unknown


Nothing prevents happiness like the memory of happiness.  ~André Gide


Don’t cry when the sun is gone, because the tears won’t let you see the stars.  ~Violeta Parra


Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.  ~Steven Kloves


The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.  ~John Vance Cheney


Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.  ~African Proverb


When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Find someone who looks at you lovingly even when everything good in you is gone.


Never get too attached to anyone because attachments leads to expectations and expectations leads to disappointments.



Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Who do you see looking back? Is it the person you want to be or the person people want you to be?


We have to be fearless. We have to take chances. We can’t live life just being afraid of what comes next. That’s not what living is about.


SIMPLE things really matter. Because even a simple misunderstanding could ruin everything.


You must understand that even though a person loves you, you must consider the fact that you’re not the only one who makes him/her happy.


If you want to see a rainbow, you have to put up with the rain. If you want true love, you have to put up with the pain.


If you asked me how many times you’ve crossed my mind, i`d say once because you’ve never really left.


Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius. It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take. But by the moments that take our breath away.


Don’t make decisions when you’re angry, & don’t make promises when you’re happy.


Nobody really knows how much anyone else is hurting. We could be standing next to someone who is completely broken & we’d never know it.


Falling in love is like jumping off a really tall building, your brain tells you its not a good idea, but your heart tells you, you can fly.


Goodbye without reasons is the most painful one. Love without reasons is the most beautiful one.


Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow; Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead; Walk beside me, and just be my friend.


You don’t just stop loving someone. You either always will, or you never did in the first place.


She’s skinny. [I'm not.] She’s tan. [I'm pale.] She wears a zero. [I don't.] She’s popular. [I'm not.] She’s perfect. [SO AM I.]


As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.


I think the only reason why people hold onto memories is because memories are the only things that don’t change when everyone else does.


It’s not about having a perfect relationship but its finding someone who matches you, and you will go through everything without giving up.


Sometimes the only thing that people see is WHAT you did. When in fact, they should be looking at WHY you did it.


Love is blind, your mother started loving you before she ever saw your face. Proof enough.


You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.


Love is a strange thing. It can make the weakest person strong, and the strongest person weak.


Sometimes people have to cry out their tears to make room for a heart full of smiles.


Trying to forget someone you loved, is like trying to remember someone you never met.


When someone falls in love, it’s almost always with the wrong person and when they fall for the right one it’s sometimes at the wrong time.

the 2013 book is here!

It’s here! The 2013 Paws For Charity book is ready! Click on the link below to view and/or order online.All proceeds from these book sales are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals In Distress (, an animal shelter in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.If you order before April 5, 2013 you can get a 20% discount by using coupon code CSVIP when you order.

There are 90 participants, and 226 images of dogs and cats in this book, available in soft and hard cover books as well as ebooks. (discount does not apply to ebooks). Thanks so much to all the 90 participants who generously donated the use of their images for this project!

I love that the weather is getting warmer and it’s staying light out later. Gives me no excuse not to get out and exercise.

Lately I’ve been riding my bike to work. It’s great. The Ballona Creek bike path goes straight from my house to the office. It’s such a great ride. Quiet and safe too.  A great way to see a different side of Culver City.

I’m also addicted to the stairs at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Holy mackerel what a workout. I change it up daily….sometimes I do the switchbacks, sometimes the stairs. I just started the hill….a killer incline the whole way up. Good thing they have water fountains at the top.

HeARTs Speak member Nancy Furstinger is the author of nearly 100 books. Her latest, The Forgotten Rabbit, due out in 2014, is based on Marshmallow, a giant New Zealand rabbit.

How did you become involved in animal rescue and rabbit rescue?

I’ve been rescuing animals for years, but became involved in rabbit rescue after discovering a warren of domestic rabbits who were struggling to survive in my old neighborhood in the Catskill Mountains.
I humanely trapped, spayed/neutered, and rehomed. Then, after moving, I found a seemingly endless supply of domestic rabbits on the lam—people had either become bored with their kids’ former pets or they mistakenly thought that pet rabbits could adapt to living in the wild.

I have several house rabbits who were former strays (one, about to be dumped at age 11, lived to the amazing age of 15!). Word spread and two local humane societies contacted me to help them with four rabbit hoarder cases (I rehomed dozens of rabbits, including into my own home). A wildlife organization also alerted me about the New Zealand white rabbits who were going up for auction when the old Catskill Game Farm was closing (I won all 28 rabbits and again spayed/neutered and rehomed).

Why not buy a rabbit for a child for Easter?

Rabbits are neither cuddly nor low maintenance. They are very fragile and, as prey creatures, don’t enjoy being held or carried. Consider giving a child a stuffed or chocolate rabbit instead of a real one. If you live in a quiet household with older, gentle children, and you’ve all done your homework, you’ll discover that rabbits make wonderful indoor companions. However, the parent has to take responsibility as the primary caregiver for any pet.

There’s a fantastic article detailing why Easter and rabbits don’t mix at the House Rabbit Society, a great international organization where I volunteer:

Why is it so easy for people to justify purchasing a rabbit and then abandoning him or her?

Many people think rabbits are easy starter pets, which can’t be further from the truth. They purchase the rabbit in a pet store or from a breeder for a cheap rate and then refuse to spend money for an exotics vet to spay/neuter or treat the rabbit when he or she becomes ill. They also aren’t prepared when the rabbit reaches the “teenage stage” in a matter of months and has a surge of hormones that bring on unwanted behavior, which is easily resolved by spaying/neutering.

In our disposable society, it’s easier to abandon the rabbit than take him/her to a shelter. Others cruelly imprison rabbits outside in hutches with little human contact. Indoor rabbits can live into their teens, while those housed outside in hutches usually don’t survive to celebrate their first birthday. Outdoor rabbits are more prisoner than pet. They endure extremes in weather, attacks from predators, loneliness, and stress. Why have a pet of any kind if you don’t invite him or her inside to become a member of your family?


Tell me about your upcoming book (I believe it’s about a rabbit!)?

Yes, very exciting! The Gryphon Press, who published Maggie’s Second Chance: A Gentle Dog’s Rescue (based on my dog Jolly who was abandoned in a house after the people were evicted—in the period before massive foreclosures), has a list that focuses on dogs, cats, birds, and horses, but no rabbits (who are the third most popular pet). I wrote a manuscript based on my huge New Zealand white bunny, Marshmallow, who lived the first three years of her life in a tiny outdoor hutch, and who has now transformed into a house rabbit. My publisher suggested incorporating a story line about rabbit agility (a sport similar to dog agility) to appeal to the picture book crowd. The Forgotten Rabbit has a Spring 2014 pub date—I can’t wait!

Many of your books focus on children readers. Why is it important to involve children in thinking about animals and rescue?

We’ll be passing the reins to the next generation and it’s never too early to get kids involved in treating animals humanely. I meet many young readers during book festivals and school visitations, and they bubble over with excitement. They always have a marvelous selection of questions to ask about animals.

What inspired you to focus on writing about animals?

As I explain to kids, my teacher always told me to write about what you love. I love all kinds of animals—wild and tame—and I love books, so I combined the two and became an author of animal books. I like to tell people that I’ve been speaking up for animals since I learned to talk, and I haven’t shut up yet!

Do you have any advice for writers who’d like to break into the publishing world with stories about animals/rescues?

Read, read, read! Bring home stacks of books from the library and bookstore on animal topics to see what is being published. And join a professional organization (I recommend the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators if you’re targeting a young audience) to make connections and get feedback and advice. And then revise, revise, revise! You can’t believe how much work it is to write a 500-word book. It’s like writing poetry: every word has to count so you end up cutting nearly as much as you write.


Me and Jolly

Nancy Furstinger is the author of nearly 100 books, including many on her favorite topic: animals! She started her writing career in third grade, when her class performed a play she wrote while recovering from chicken pox. Since then, Nancy has been a feature writer for a daily newspaper, a managing editor of trade and consumer magazines, and an editor at two children’s book publishing houses. She shares her home with 2 dogs and 7 house rabbits (all rescued), volunteers and fosters pets for several animal organizations, and is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Maggie’s Second Chance

by Nancy Furstinger

illustration by Joe Hyatt

In a compelling story, movingly illustrated, the issue of animal abandonment is brought to life. Maggie, a pregnant lab mix, is left behind in an abandoned house. Discovered by the realtor, Maggie is brought to the pound where her puppies are born.

Maggie’s Second Chance is based on the true story of Texas fourth-graders who, with their teacher’s assistance, founded an animal shelter in their town. The final page offers factual comprehensive information on how to help abandoned dogs.

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I had the opportunity to go to a very special event. Sunday morning. 9 AM.  It had to be good to get me out of bed. I wasn’t disappointed.

Dog Man has a free training / socialization class every Sunday. The class meets on the East side of the Coliseum next to the Sports Arena.

My friends from Angel City Pit Bull invited me. All I can say is WOW.

There were about 45 dogs there. All colors. All sizes. Their people stood in line waiting for the class to start.

It’s an agility class and all the dogs walk in a circle, jump up on cement blocks and run the course. The backdrop of the Coliseum make it truly an athletic event. It was amazing. You can bet I’ll be back.


What a day! What a month! I can’t believe that 40 of the desert dogs have been whisked away by Wings Of Rescue on their 2012 Holiday Transport….to a new life and a chance at a forever home. When Lola asked me to photograph these dogs I had no idea how incredible this experience would be. The caring people I have met…Wow. It’s truly inspiring and gets me all teary-eyed. Today was a big day for about 400 dogs and cats from all over LA. I saw many familiar faces including Rene from Rock and Rescue.


I met Sassy and Corndog’s pilot. Two of the most wonderful folks I’ve ever met…Megan and Steve. And guess what? Sassy and Corndog had the plane all to themselves. LOL First class all the way. They were met at the airport by another pair of special people…Jill and Joanne. You may remember them from a few months ago when they adopted the senior boy, Blue. (also from LA and transported north) They took these lucky pups to their brand new home with my friend Donna. I’ll let her do the big welcome announcement.

Some of the other dogs went further north. Angela another friend I’ve never met icon smile Wings Of Rescue Transport The Desert Dogs was there to meet the dogs going to rescues in Portland. You might remember she took Jacinda not too long ago. icon smile Wings Of Rescue Transport The Desert Dogs

I am still blown away that so many strangers came together to help a few hundred homeless animals…many who were on death row. Not anymore. Here’s to brand new beginngings! Turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy the big day.