Category: Blog (Page 1 of 8)

Jillian the Miniature Schnauzer Wants You to Express Yourself!

Jillian is one of the animals featured in the children’s book High Paw, Super Sebastian! The story follows the journey of a foster puppy as he moves from home to home. The characters in the book are based on real animals.

“When I’m feeling confused,” said Jillian, “I dress up in colorful costumes and remind myself that I can be whoever I want to be!”

Jillian the Miniature Schnauzer came from an award-winning lineage, but as the runt of the litter she was destined to be a different kind of show dog. Sadly, her breeders couldn’t see her intrinsic value and since she was deemed “unfit for show” they just wanted to get rid of her.

Fortunately for Jillian, one person’s underdog was another person’s superdog, and she soon found a loving home with Amy Jane Von Purr, a performance artist living in Peterborough, Ontario. Amy grew up with lots of animals in her family home, including Schnauzers, and she had always wanted a Schnauzer of her own as an adult. She researched the best way to find a Schnauzer and discovered that the dogs were mostly bred for show. She happened upon Jillian by chance — who was a show dog reject and unwanted — but when Amy saw her photo it was love at first sight. She thought, “Yep, that is the dog for me!”

Jillian performs tarot readings over Instagram.

Amy got Jillian for her birthday and the day after she graduated from her MA program, so it was a special time in her life. She drove with her mother all the way to Ottawa in a blizzard to get this little dog. Amy’s mother held Jillian the whole way home to Peterborough in the snow storm and luckily they all made it back safe. Jillian sure was worth it, though, and the pair quickly became a dynamic duo. That same week Jillian put on her first costume and it’s been a love affair with dressing up ever since.

Jillian had a flare for the eccentric, just like Amy. She immediately loved wearing costumes because she was a total ham for the camera. When she went out in her costumes, everyone loved to stop and compliment her, which Jillian was thrilled about because she loved meeting new people to whom she could show off her sense of style.  A cute pup in a fun outfit is always a great conversation starter!

The costumes she likes the best are t-shirt type outfits. Her absolute favourite costume is her Pride ensemble, which consists of a rainbow wig and rainbow tutu. She gets tons of attention and trots around like a superstar. Clearly, nothing was going to stop Jillian from being a show dog after all! She just had to do it in her own unique way.

A Dog Who Understands Self-Expression


Illustration by Lisa McKaskell

Jillian is not only a costume-loving, purebred Miniature Schnauzer, but a powerful clairvoyant who offers specialized tarot readings over the Internet. Amy shuffles the cards and lays them out on the table. Jillian then chooses the tarot cards with her paw. Amy flips them over and finishes the tarot reading. Jillian’s tarot fans on Instagram love that she’s so involved with the process.

This creative approach to self-expression is why Jillian was chosen as a character in the newly released children’s book High Paw, Super Sebastian. Costumes can make you feel like who you really are and allow you to play and discover your identity. This aligned well with one of the main messages in the book, that you can be whoever you want to be and that it’s a beautiful thing to express yourself.

Jillian Miniature SchnauzerFor the online launch of the children’s book, Jillian and Amy attended dressed in Marilyn Monroe outfits from the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes — complete with blonde wigs and all! Since the launch felt like a movie premiere, they wanted to attend in style. Amy introduced Jillian as wearing “Poochie by Gucci” and everyone laughed in delight.

Jillian is a Special Kind of Miniature Schnauzer

Jillian is small even for her Miniature Schnauzer breed, but her personality is large and fabulous. She enjoys long trips to the pet store (she loves to browse), collars with lots of bling, chasing birds (to maintain her figure), and leisurely walks through the park. She dislikes windy days, loud noises, and cranky old cats. She has had several songs written about her including Michael Barkson’s hit “Jilly Bean” and “Hold Me Schnau” by The Terrier Twins. She is often mistaken for Danny Glover. She has her own Instagram account in order to showcase her diverse array of skills and talent.

She is named Jillian for three reasons: after a character in Amy’s favourite novel Practical Magic, after the pianist Jill Tracy, and because Amy’s mom had a dog named Jack (so they had Jack and Jill!).

Jillian turned seven this past August. Amy says, “She makes every single day of my life better. She’s my best friend, my familiar, my constant companion. From the time we wake up together for our morning walk to when we fall asleep cuddling each night, she enriches my life in every way in every moment of every day!”

Jillian is clearly the star of Amy’s life. She is also a constant reminder to “express yourself”. You never know the positive impact you may have on the world simply by being you.

Want to see Jillian’s children’s book debut? Get a copy of High Paw, Super Sebastian HERE.

The No Name Bunny Is A Story that Charms

The sweet little tale of The No Name Bunny begins with a seed of hope. This is a good introduction for the book since the rest of the story’s beginning has a sadder note. Of course, this is to be expected given that the book is about an orphaned bunny that doesn’t have a name.

The creative description of humans as “bigs” is charming and adds a touch of whimsy right from the start. The book’s author, Ali Tibbetts, does a good job explaining the downsides to pet ownership in a way that children will understand. It’s also an important reminder for adults to be thoughtful when choosing animal companions for kids.

Rhonda Van, the book’s illustrator, also does a good job with making the story narrative come to life in the illustrations. The bunny is particularly adorable and readers will instantly fall in love with her charming details.

no name bunny children's bookThe next part of the story follows what not to do if you realize a pet isn’t the right fit for your family. Perhaps the the family in the story had well-intentions, but the reader quickly learns that setting a domestic animal free in the wild is not the right choice.

Luckily, the No Name Bunny has the grit and perseverance she needs to make it through the night. She maintains hope and focuses on keeping herself safe, which is always a good message for kids and adults alike.

The story has a happy middle — an animal rescuer finds the bunny and brings her to an animal shelter where she meets other bunnies like herself. Her newfound friends encourage her to not lose hope and that it’s still okay to trust in people.

The sweetness at the end of the story is expressed in the character Honey — a little girl who adopts the No Name Bunny. The little girl is as sweet as her namesake. Readers see an example of responsible pet ownership in the way that Honey treats her new pet.

At the very end, the bunny receives her new name — but you’ll have to read it to find out!

The No Name Bunny is published through Who Chains You Books and is available for purchase online.

Tutu Is a Pigeon Who Will Capture Your Heart

Animal rescue advocate Yazmin Feliz has a soft spot for the underdog… or should we say underbird? While most people simply pass by the pigeons that flock to the streets of New York City, Yazmin couldn’t help but notice the playfully social nature of these misunderstood birds.

Many people see pigeons as pests, but up until the past few decades pigeons were beloved pets and even assisted veterans on the frontlines. Pigeons carried our mail, helped us find soldiers wounded in battle (their capacity for picking patterns and people out of a crowd is astounding), and assisted on all sorts of missions. Though many people don’t realize it, even today pigeons provide support as therapy animals to children and adults. (The pigeon that is trained to “slap” products that contain gluten, as a way to alert a young boy with celiac disease, is a beloved example.)

Pigeon Love At First Sight

It was one pigeon in particular that truly tugged on Yazmin’s heartstrings and changed her life’s path. The bird was injured, afraid, and unable to fly. Yazmin decided to rescue the poor thing and instantly gained a soulmate. Tutu (as the pigeon is affectionately named) and Yazmin have been inseparable ever since.

When Yazmin first brought Tutu home, she was nervous because she had never before cared for a pigeon, but she learned fast. A veterinarian advised that Tutu was not releasable, which meant that Yazmin’s newfound friend would become a permanent member of her household. The two bonded so well that Tutu beat the odds and, after much love and care, has regained the ability to fly.

The dynamic duo quickly got the attention of the media and were featured on The Dodo as part of the Soulmates series. They have a story that certainly captures a lot of hearts!

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Tutu loves being an indoor pigeon and enjoys playing with stuffed toys, bathtime in the shower, and taking naps in the cat bed. Tutu also likes to build nests and is often seen “borrowing” household items such as q-tips, earrings, and car keys. Pigeons get a bad rap but Tutu is proof that they are clean, intelligent, and outgoing animals who love human affection.

A goofy pigeon with a big personality, Tutu gets along well with the other housemates. Yazmin felt inspired after her success with Tutu’s rehabilitation and often has other pigeons she is nursing back to health. Turtles are also a feature in Yazmin’s home — she’s rescued more than 15 turtles over the years.

Yazmin’s goals continue to grow. She recently received official non-profit status for her animal rescue charity, called Rescue Friends Inc. Her  goals are to increase public awareness about domestic turtles and pigeons, to reduce illegal turtle sales, and to create laws that would protect pigeons (pigeons, sparrows, and starlings are the only birds not protected by law in the United States). One of the first things her organization is doing is meeting with NYC’s mayor’s office to discuss turtle sale legislation and how to better enforce these measures.

Rescuing animals is not strictly business, though — a lot of it is playful and fun. On the lighter side of things, both Tutu and Tani (Yazmin’s main turtle) have gained quite a following on social media. People love to see the animals playing and just enjoying life.

pigeon rescue

Illustration by Lisa McKaskell

The playful antics of Tani and Tutu are also evident in their roles in the new children’s book High Paw, Super Sebastian. Tutu is in the first section of the story, as a way to highlight the message that all creatures have value, no matter what their station in life.

That’s certainly the message that Tutu lives everyday — love is sometimes found in the places we least expect it. We just have to take a closer look.

About Yazmin Feliz

Yazmin grew up in Bronx, NY to a single mother. She recently earned her PhD in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. While it was challenging to manage school and animal rescue, she took pride in her positivity, hard work, and care, and she extends her life philosophies to others who are pursuing their own goals. In her own words, “Everyone deserves a second chance and someone to give them a voice.”

Transformed By Love — Meet Kevin the Fluffy Wonder Corgi

Kevin is one of the animals featured in the children’s book High Paw, Super Sebastian! The story follows the journey of a foster puppy as he moves from home to home. The characters in the book are based on real animals.

“Everyone can make a difference, no matter how small.”

Some people say that love is a four-legged word. This was certainly the experience for Monica and Eric Hedman, when a fluffy Corgi named Kevin entered their lives in 2018. Kevin didn’t seem so lovable at first, since he suffered from deep anxiety and fear due to years of bullying from other dogs, but Monica and Eric knew that some extra love and care would give Kevin a chance to shine.

It was a close call for Kevin, too, since the recommendation his previous owners received was to euthanize him. Luckily for Kevin, his owners turned to a rescue organization instead called Paws Crossed Small Dog Rescue. It was at Paws Crossed in Oakland where Monica and Eric met Kevin and knew that they had found love in the form of a Corgi.

A Walking Advertisement for the Power of Love

The funny thing about love, and about dogs especially, is that it doesn’t always show up the way we expect it, but instead appears in ways that teach us important lessons. The big lesson with Kevin was the gift of patience and perseverance. In the beginning, Kevin did not even want to be touched by humans and even fear-bit Eric. The poor Corgi was terrified. But Monica and Eric did not give up.

After three months of compassionate, patient attempts, Kevin started to overcome his fear and brought a ball over to Monica so they could play fetch. This was the first time Kevin had brought a toy over to her and she knew it meant they were on the right track.

Two years later, after much rehab and love, Kevin the Fluffy Wonder Corgi (as he has come to be called) is now a happy, go-lucky pup. He loves people, loves his beach ball toy, loves playing at the dog park, and charms everyone he meets.

Paying the Love Forward

When Kevin shows up somewhere, it becomes an event where he is surrounded by fans. People can’t get enough of this Fluffy Wonder Corgi. There’s just something about him that inspires kindness. And Kevin is all too happy to accept the pets, affection, and treats.

This is the same ethos Kevin brings to his role in the new children’s book High Paw, Super Sebastian. In the book, Kevin is encountered by a group of animal friends who are inspired to perform an act of kindness by giving Kevin a stick. Their message is that anyone can make a difference, no matter how small, even if it’s just by brightening someone’s day.

Kevin can certainly testify to that — he brightens people’s lives on a daily basis with photos of his antics on his Instagram account. Whether it’s playing tug-of-war, playfully destroying toys (he is the master of performing squeaker-ectomies), chasing water out of the garden hose, or just romping around the garden, Kevin’s adventures add a little cheer and whimsy for his fans.

As Monica puts it, “He is a magnet to humans, has brought wonderful people into our life, and has added magic and comedy to experiences with existing friends.”

high paw super sebastian

Illustration by Lisa McKaskell

She also wants people to understand the importance of breed-specific animal rescue. People will sometimes get Corgi puppies from a breeder because they are cute, then not treat them properly as dogs, so Corgis in rescue will usually have behavioral problems from lack of training, and also weight or health problems.

Monica explains, “Eric and I look for middle-aged males because they are calmer, and also because people usually want a puppy. We love the intelligence and fun of the breed. It is harder to find a Corgi in rescue than other breeds, as they are extremely popular and will often be in and out of a shelter within 24 hours. Still, we have developed a reputation in the NorCA Corgi community and the NorCA Corgi breed association as rescuers/rehabilitators of males with certain behavioral problems, so people will sometimes send us links. That is how we got Kevin.”

Kevin is a walking advertisement for the power of love. Every time he demonstrates a new action of trust or peace around Monica and Eric, it means the world.

Meet Kevin the Fluffy Wonder Corgi

Want to learn more about Kevin? Join in the celebration of his progress on his Instagram account @kevinthefluffywondercorgi.

Kevin’s children’s book debut is now available! High Paw, Super Sebastian is designed to help children learn about difficult emotions in a safe and gentle way. The book is available on Amazon and online retailers.

25% of the proceeds from book sales are donated to Braid Mission, an organization that provides team-based mentoring to foster youth.

Canadian Government to Destroy Books Meant for Indigenous Children


A shipment of children’s books translated into Inuktitut are scheduled to be destroyed by the Canada Border Services Agency just days after Orange Shirt Day.

EDMONTON, AB, October 03, 2020 — In partnership with the Northwest Territories SPCA (NWT SPCA), the Canadian company Green Bamboo Publishing released two translated versions of the children’s book Kindness Is on National Indigenous Peoples Day earlier this year. Now the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Edmonton, Alberta have announced they will be destroying a shipment of the books — all due to a simple paperwork error.

The shipment of the Kindness Is books were meant for Indigenous children in the Northwest Territories and to support the NWT SPCA. Since the announcement comes just days after Orange Shirt Day, the impending destruction of the books is exceptionally heartbreaking. The Canadian government preaches reconciliation but they are going to destroy books meant for Indigenous children?

In July, the CBSA sent a letter to the destination address of the shipment, asking for a payment of $5000 for the books to be released. Jasmine Cabanaw, the founder of Green Bamboo Publishing, realized there had been an error, since the books were valued at no where near that amount. She has since been trying to reach the customs office for months but with no success. There is simply no method provided for rectifying the situation — the office does not even have an email address. The phone number provided simply rings and rings when called. Between Cabanaw and the NWT SPCA, they have called almost 100 times.

The only option is to go to the customs office in person, which is risky during COVID-19 and also not possible for Cabanaw, who lives in a different province. As the owner of a small business, Cabanaw will have to absorb costs she cannot afford in order to send a new shipment. She wonders how many other small businesses have been through this same situation.

Launching the Inuktitut and Tłı̨chǫ versions of Kindness Is… on National Indigenous Peoples Day was a way to celebrate Indigenous youth. The book launch also encouraged children of all backgrounds to honor Indigenous cultures and participate in kind and responsible pet ownership. Unfortunately, since the Inuktitut books were being held at the customs office, only the Tłı̨chǫ speakers were able to participate in the book readings for the launch.

We are looking for people to help us get the word out about this story and hopefully amend some of this injustice. Since the original writing of this press release, two people have agreed to go to the customs office on Cabanaw’s behalf for Monday, October 5th.

Mary Adele Mackenzie was adopted to her parents who only spoke the Tłı̨chǫ language so Tłı̨chǫ is her first language. She is revitalizing the Tłı̨chǫ language in her home.

About Kindness Is

Kindness Is… teaches children and adults alike the importance of compassion, kindness, and empathy through a series of common but important examples of responsible pet ownership. Green Bamboo Publishing founder, Jasmine Cabanaw, believes that all children should have the joy of reading stories in their traditional languages and was eager to help when she learned about the project.

Dana Martin of the NWT SPCA explains that the purpose of translating Kindness Is… “is important to help teach kindness, compassion, and empathy to children and adults in Indigenous languages of the NWT. Our northern animals and our northern peoples are important to the NWT SPCA. It brings great joy to help kids learn about kindness while also helping to strengthen and preserve the traditional languages. Kindness Is… becomes a bridge that joins together the different peoples of the North, giving rise to a stronger community with common goals.”

Kindness Is… is best suited for ages 0-5 and is written in a cheerful style that is relatable and fun. The illustrations are bright and colourful, using high contrast imagery, and have a unique feature — the fur for each illustrated dog is from a photograph of a real dog from the NWT SPCA. Children can view the gallery of doggy models at the beginning of the book.

Of the two currently translated books one is an Inuit language (Inuktitut) and one is a Dene language (Tłı̨chǫ). The remaining seven will be released over the course of the next year. Included in every book is the English version of the original poem, information about the Indigenous language, and a map of the Official Languages of the NWT.

The books are available for purchase online:

Inuktitut Version

Tłı̨chǫ Version

Media Contact

Jasmine Cabanaw

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