Saturday, July 01, 2006

LA/SPCA director gets a nod from NBC

Laura Maloney is the director of the Louisiana SPCA, and she's a pretty amazing woman. In addition to lowering the euthanasia rate considerably and promoting adoption, spay/neuter, a free tagging program and low cost veterinary care, Laura oversaw the evacuation of the city shelter anytime the city was threatened with a storm greater than a category 2. During and after Katrina, she set up the Lamar-Dixon site, found homes for her now homeless staff, coordinated rescue efforts with other organizations that had arrived to help, and returned to New Orleans to begin refurbishing an Algiers warehouse to accomodate the SPCA's operations after their Bywater shelter was destroyed. (Meanwhile, her husband Dan was living in the Audubon Zoo's reptile house while overseeing the care of the Zoo's animals--he's the head animal "curator" for the Zoo.) But unlike some people, Laura prefers to work and doesn't like to stop to give too many interviews, which I sometimes worry gives the impression that she's not working her ass off. But she is. (And she just spent the past many weeks and months pushing the pet evacuation bill that Louisiana just passed.)

But NBC is running a piece in praise of her work. And it is about time. You can read it here.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Dogster's ten part interview

Dogster--the website that lets your dog befriend other dogs online--is running an interview with me beginning today. It is actually a TEN PART interview, so I guess they'll be posting a little more each day for the next two weeks or so. You can find the first part here. (This has forced me to finally update Brando and Zephyr's Dogster pages.)

Update: Here is a link to the main dog blog page to read the rest as it appears.

Signing and adoptions this weekend in Jackson

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
I'll be signing books this weekend at the wonderful Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi: Saturday July 1 at 1pm. And Friends of the Shelter will be there with a collection of dogs looking for new homes. This little puppy is one of the many dogs they are trying to place. You can view all of their adoptable dogs at their Petfinder site.

Other upcoming events:
7/13: SFSCPA, Maddies Place, San Francisco
7/14: Kiehl's and Pets Unlimited, San Francisco
7/15: Kiehl's and Dove Lewis, Portland
7/22: Belladonna Day Spa (with $5 microchipping), New Orleans
8/6: Sqwires, St. Louis (celebrating Quentin the Miracle Dog's "rebirthday"!)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If you are wondering why the recovery is so slow...

Last night I was teaching my online course for Mediabistro when the power went out midway through the chat. This is my only source of income, since I lost my job at NOCCA/Riverfront after the storm and no one else wanted to hire someone with a book out. (I start at Tulane in a few weeks.) So, while Brando panicked, I ran out of the house and drove to Frenchmen Street to find wireless access. Usually the power is out only on the east side of Elysian Fields, so once I've crossed that line everything is normal. And last night, as usual, I found the power on there, but nothing was opened--because they'd been without power all afternoon. Fortunately, I was still able to find a signal, and I sat on the abandoned sidewalk with my laptop to log back into my classroom as termites swarmed.

This is the new New Orleans.

Of course, a blackout may seem like a relatively minor inconvenience. But imagine being a restaurant or cafe owner, without electricity and without refridgeration. Or just imagine being a regular person who has recently stocked the fridge.

Oh well, maybe next year they'll figure it out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I came home from dinner smelling like an elephant

Brando is sensitive to these things. And had to investigate.

Last night I was at a party at the Audubon Zoo for the winners of the ASPCA's annual awards for childrens books. The ALA (American Library Association) is having their annual convention here. So everyone gathered at the Zoo's Tea Room, where, in the courtyard, we got to mingle with an elephant, face to face. I've never been that close to one before, and it was pretty amazing, particularly when the elephant's eye stared into mine. When an elephant stares at you, do you stare back?

Earlier in the weekend, I did a signing on the Exhibit Hall floor at the Convention Center. Ingram was nice enough to invite me to do this. The copies were donated by my publisher. I didn't count, but there were supposed to be 75 copies; they were gone in thirty minutes.

What's most interesting is how different the various publishers are when you approach them. The idea is that the publishers set up these huge booths with lots of copies of their books to give away, which will generate more sales, reviews, etc. So it was surprising how many booths were manned by people who did everything in their power to avoid any eye contact. Warner, which was recently renamed Hachette, had perhaps the rudest reps. Algonquin and Workman, the nicest. And Penguin/Putnam too!

At one point, as I looked through the offerings of another publisher (who I like enough not to name), I had to overhear the rep complaining endlessly about New Orleans. "We did the right thing, I guess," she said to a friend. What she meant was that she and everyone else were very good people because they hadn't cancelled. "I just keep telling myself: At least I get to go home."