Saturday, May 21, 2011

Arden Moore: “America’s Pet Edu-Trainer"

As a reporter and pet lover, I thought I knew just about everyone in North County who was involved in some aspect of animal rescue and education. Well, I didn't. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the dynamic Arden Moore when I interviewed her for a feature in The Coast News, "Ex-reporter finds new calling: pet expert."

Arden fell off my radar because she's frequently out of town, traveling around the U.S. making appearances on The Today Show, Fox News, The George Lopez Show and Martha Stewart Living, to name a few.

Each week she hosts the “Oh Behave!” show on Pet Life Radio where she’s interviewed celebrity pet owners from Betty White and Jennifer Aniston to Rachael Ray.

She's written more than 20 popular books about pets, and has been profiled in The New York Times and the National Enquirer.

Arden spent much of her career as an investigative reporter with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. What I want to know is, 'What's in the water down there?" Arden worked alongside another reporter-turned-bestselling pet author: John Grogan, who penned “Marley and Me.”

Since her newspaper days, Arden has carved out a successful career doing what she loves as a pet expert, behaviorist, public speaker, author -- and now a PetTech certified first aid, CPR and safety instructor.

You can meet Arden, and preview her class, in this short video I filmed in her Oceanside home which she shares with her rescue dogs Cleo and Chipper, and cats Zeki and Murphy.

Arden's planning a National Dog Party Day on June 24.

For more information about Arden, click here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Maggie's Celebration of Life, May 14, 2011

Thanks to Larry Abgarian for this wonderful photo. From left: Maggie's son, Chris Theobald; husband, Ian Thompson; and Maggie.

It was a glorious day at Quail Botanical Gardens today as we celebrated the life of Encinitas councilwoman and former mayor, and animal advocate, Maggie Houlihan.

Relatives and friends including Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and Republican and Democrat office holders from Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar laughed, cheered and shed an occasional tear as we gathered in a enchanting pocket of the Gardens to share memories and a gourmet vegan and vegetarian buffet. Long-time Encinitas resident and friend Jack Tempchin and his band provided music. Tempchin is known for writing many popular songs including The Eagles' "Peaceful, Easy Feelin'" and "Already Gone."

You can share in the celebration by viewing clips online:

Pam Slater-Price Presenting Maggie with a Proclamation making May 14 "Maggie Houlihan Day."

Maggie's son, Chris Theobald, sharing some very funny memories.

Maggie's husband, Ian Thompson, sharing more (hilarious) memories about "life with Maggie."

A young woman uses a Buddhist allegory to describe what Maggie has meant to her as a mentor after meeting through House Rabbit Rescue.

Maggie shares her thoughts.

Maggie was once featured in The Saturday Evening Post magazine for country dance moves she shows again here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Baby, I was born this way"

Last week I had the privilege of being asked to profile Encinitas councilwoman and former mayor, Maggie Houlihan for The Coast News.

I remember meeting Maggie around 1990 at the Olivenhain Meeting Hall for a small gathering of people concerned about the high euthanasia rate at county shelters brought on by pet overpopulation. That meeting was part of Maggie's effort to establish what is now known as SNAP (Spay Neuter Action Project). A few years later she founded Wee Companions, another rescue group for hamsters, guinea pigs and rats. Maggie has also been very active in the House Rabbit Society and turtle rescue. In fact, when she won a libel suit against a political opponent who posted a sign reading "Houlihan is a whore" along Interstate 5 during the 2006 election, she used her $6,000 judgment (after paying the attorneys) for a new enclosure for rescued turtles who live on her property. She told me, "I couldn't in good conscience spend the money on myself."

What some people may not know is that Maggie has fought just as valiantly for the disabled, seniors and other underserved members of our community. I remember during our interview her explaining: "I grew up always sensitive to suffering and injustice. I didn’t like eating meat or people making fun of kids in class who were heavy.”

While Maggie battles endometrial cancer, she continues to fight the good fight by inspiring young people to get involved in politics through lectures she gives on local government at San Dieguito Academy and MiraCosta College.

Maggie is one of those rare and beautiful people you meet in life who marches to her own drum, inspiring others to follow their hearts and minds to also do the right thing. As the expression goes, "When God made Maggie Houlihan, He broke the mold."