Are Pets Good for Your Family?

DUH.  I HATE when these articles come out.  As any pet/animal lover knows, pets enrich our lives in so many ways.  They provide unconditional love and friendship, help relieve stress and lower our blood pressure when we are upset, provide exercise for us when we walk or play with them and, for children, they also help teach children empathy, responsibility.  Do I really need to go on?  For those who have working dogs, their presence in their people’s lives is undeniable and vital towards helping to lead more productive and happy lives.  As for allergy thing, it’s a cop out.  While there are exceptions to every rule and I am in no ways belittling or negating them, introducing pets to children at an early age may actually help them build up immunity to allergens — and, of course, there are several breeds of dogs and cats that are “non-allergic.”

The culprit article:  Can Fido and Whiskers Enrich Children’s Lives?  Tara, your articles are usually spot on and I love to read them but I fear you are a little late to the party here.  Better late than never, I suppose.

Brandy and Val are pet therapy dogs who witness first-hand the benefits their presence provides to families.  To find out more about us, visit our website:  Brandy and Val


April is Autism Awareness Month



Brandy and Val, whose mission is “to do good where good is needed” is focusing on Autism awareness.  As therapy dogs, they have worked first-hand with children and young adults who have autism ranging from mild to severe cases.   Pet therapy has proven to be successful in reaching and helping those afflicted and their families lead better, more productive and social lives.  We have written numerous times on the power of pet therapy in helping those with autism.   Last year’s movie WRETCHES & JABBERERS focused on two very special adults who lead the cause for helping and teaching the world about adults with autism, a growing subset of the population.

FACT:  1 in 88 children is diagnosed with some degree of autism

FACT:  boys are 5 times more likely to be afflicted than girls

FACT:  Autism Speaks, spearheaded by Bob & Suzanne Wright, currently funds research and resources for families to the tune of $173M!

FACT:  Autism costs America approx $126 BILLION a year 

FACT:  Almost 2,000 buildings in 28 countries will “light up blue” in recognition of the Autism Awareness month

For more information on who we are and what we do, visit our website:  Brandy and Val


Those pesky Hot Spots


AARGH.  I don’t know when but I’ve started licking my leg and have created a hot spot.   Very annoying.  Maybe I got an abrasion from something  when I was out walking or playing or maybe I got bitten by something.   Maybe I’m bored since my mom has been away a lot recently and she isn’t around to play as much and keep me company.   Perhaps it’s an allergy or that it has been so warm out and I haven’t shed my winter coat yet and it’s causing irritation from hair that needs to go.

In any event, I know it needs to get better even though I keep bothering it.  It’s pretty small (smaller than a dime) and I haven’t made it worse but what to do?  Right now it looks like a little, round sore.  I really don’t want to go to the doctor right now since mom and dad are really watching it and watching me.  Since the hair around it is already gone, I’ve let them clean it and mom and dad are really trying to keep me from aggravating it.   They bought some stuff at the store made by Hartz and it helps if I leave it alone.  At night or when they go out for a while, mom and dad wrap the area with Coban so I cannot get to it. That’s helping, too, especially since it’s not too tight that it bothers me.   Once they came home and I got the wrapping off and I was so proud of myself.  They didn’t think it was funny, though.

I hear that some dogs get really nasty when their humans try to take a look and remedy the situation.  It that’s the case, a visit to the vet ASAP may be the answer along with an Elizabethan collar to prevent further gnawing at the spot.   If my hot spot doesn’t go away soon, I’ll be off to the vet, myself for some further assistance.

NOTE:  We are not veterinarians and do not advocate administering any healthcare for your pet without consulting with a professional!  We are exercising what we consider to be good judgement for our situation and are monitoring the condition closely.

Doing good where good is needed is the mantra at Brandy and Val, LLC.  We support animal sanctuaries and shelters from the sales of our children’s books and toys.  Visit us at and learn more about who we are, what we do!


A Boy and His Dog…Inspirational Pet Therapy Organization


Here’s a recent story not to be missed from the NY TIMES Magazine.  It clearly reinforces the special relationship people have with their dogs, the importance and legitimacy of pet therapy, the “never give up theory” and  it  showcases the amazing goodness, perseverance and inspirational story  of Karen Shirk, the executive director of 4 Paws for Ability.  A role model we can all look up to.


Brandy and Val, two real rescue dogs who now star in their own children’s book series, were pet therapy dogs working with autistic children.  They have witnessed first-hand their ability to transform children with behavioral problems into calmer, happier, more social people!  To learn more about them, visit the Brandy and Val website

Westminster Dog Show Starts Today

American English Coonhound

Brandy, Val and I are so excited that the Westminster Dog Show starts today.  It’s a great event for showcasing all types of dogs.  If you are contemplating getting a done, the commentators do a great job talking about each breed’s personalities and “maintenance” levels,  enabling the uninitiated dog person to better make a decision on a selecting one that would be a best fit for the family.   Take note: all dogs aren’t alike!

As much as we enjoy the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Show,  we are very disappointed with the AKC (American Kennel Club) decision to break its’ relationship with Pedigree on the grounds that their ads promoting adoption of shelter dogs, many of whom are mixed-breed, are not in line with the AKC’s mission of “celebrating” happy dogs especially of the pedigree variety.  This is sad and misguided as we believe both worlds can and MUST co-exist at the show .  At Brandy and Val, we have long been advocates of adopting shelter/rescue dogs and we have also noted on numerous occasions that almost every breed sports a rescue of its’ own for pedigree pooches who have also been abused, abandoned or given away.  Pedigree’s campaign brought awareness to the crisis of animal abuse and abandonment in this country and helped raise funds to support adoption programs.   Money and support is desperately needed to help these animals.   A recent NEW YORKT TIMES article and graph on charitable giving showed that in 2010 ONLY 2% of donations went towards animal rights and environmental issues.  (to see graph click on link in Multimedia area).

No living creature should be left to suffer.  Helpless animals need all of our support of love, money or both.  Brandy and Val are two real rescue dogs and it is through the sales of their books and toys that they help animal shelters and sanctuaries throughout the U.S.  Visit to learn more about us.


Good Deeds – Holiday Giving 2011

It’s that time of year again when we remind everyone that at Brandy and Val, LLC our mission is “to do good where good is needed.”  With that in mind, we reiterate that we hope to make a difference in the lives of animals and children through our volunteer work and charitable giving from the sales of our children’s books and toys.

Our list includes the following animal sanctuaries, rescues and aid dogs:

Pets Alive:   A family favorite for years.  Located in Middletown, New York, this sanctuary saves and cares for many in need.

Best Friends:  Instrumental in coordinating the rescue efforts of animals after many natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Val is a Hurricane Katrina survivor.

National Search Dog Foundation Deployed teams to help in the rescue efforts after 9/11.  Helped provide rescue and psychological support and love to the first responders.

Fortunate Pooch and Lab Rescue Our local favorite where Brandy and Val were both adopted from.  Located in Palatine, IL, a suburb outside Chicago.

Happy Holidays to All and Best Wishes for 2012.

Ilene, Brandy and Val

(photo credit: Ron Vesely Photpgraphy)

Cyber Monday Sale – FREE Brandy and Val stuff

Through Cyber Monday.  ORDER ONE OF ANY BRANDY AND VAL PRODUCTS and get one FREE!  Profits from sales help animal rescues such as Best Friends and Pets Alive.   Don’t delay.  Order online at Brandy and Val

BRANDY AND VAL:  the original book


BRANDY AND VAL’S SPECIAL STORY 100% of profits from this book help Fortunate Pooches and Lab Rescue in Palatine, IL, the shelter Brandy and Val were adopted from

MINI-BRANDY and MINI-VAL plush toys

Dog Flu alert: Several Regions Affected

There is an outbreak of canine flu in the NY metropolitan region and San Antonio TX.  It is highly contagious and an influenza shot is highly recommended if you live in those areas and your dog comes into regular contact with other pooches.  Humans who work with dogs or who come into frequent contact with them can also spread the virus to their pooch so keep that in mind.

Symptoms include coughing, nasal discharge, and/or a low-grade fever and sneezing.

Please check with your vet to see if this bug has hit your area and if he thinks a preventive vaccination is needed!  If the flu is not in your area, you might want to consider talking to your vet to see if he thinks the flu shot is a good idea in your case.