When Sandra Says Yes, A Site Is Reborn: GNFP

Mention the name Sandy and most New Yorkers know exactly what you mean and it ain’t pretty, as in Hurricane Sandy. Heck, most of the nation knows what that name means.  Mention the name Sandra and most folks think of Sandra Bullock. Not a bad reference. My Sandra is Sandra Fathi, wiz of the PR tech world and founder of Affect, known to me and my fellow PRSA-NY colleagues as a more recent past-president of the chapter.  So what does she have to do about Goodnewsforpets (GNFP)? Plenty! When I decided to revamp the site and could not find the time to manage it against client projects, I turned to the colleague I knew could not only get it done, but get it done far better than me with her team. Without her, this GNFP rebirth would not be possible. Several years ago when I was the recipient of the Kansas City Business Journal Kauffman Women Who Mean Business Award I was reminded it was our turn to pay it back to other women leaders, to mentor. There’s no mentoring here. It’s reverse mentoring. Sandra is a PR business woman leader extraordinaire.

They’ll be more thanks to spread around in this celebratory month. While I’ve been front and center, great teams are the key to success. In 2000, GDM News was born with me(G), my special three time hire employee Amy Davis(D) with her University of Missouri School of Magazine Journalism degree, and my special two-time hire employee Shelli Manning(M), solid work ethic bar none. My brother Matthew O’Hare joined us in Las Vegas at Western Veterinary Conference as we launched the site with a virtual newsroom and Steve Dale’s debut column about  pet dumps. The late Mordecai Siegal joined us a year later. Julie Lux later joined us as the first editor. There have been so many more partners and wonderful clients along the way and we are grateful to be able to showcase dozens of important topics over a 14 year period. I will be writing more about them here as we celebrate our rebirth this month.

In the meantime, fast forward to today.  We are celebrating the rebirth of GNFP at BlogPaws May 8-10 in Las Vegas.  We are grateful that the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists is with us with a new Helping People Help Their Pets column, co-editor Steve Dale will be signing  Decoding Your Dog books at our BlogPaws Booth #14.  Ceva Animal Health has a new campaign, Why Wait for the Bite? and is sponsoring a BlogPaws session with Steve Dale Friday, May 9 3:45-5:15 PM. Finally, we are celebrating the GNFP rebirth at BlogPaws with a special raffle of an Elena Kreigner necklace and sponsorship of Pawject Runway to benefit pet shelters.  It’s a rebirth a time for new ideas, new partners, new avenues to explore. Now on to BlogPaws and the Celebration!

We Remember

We Remember. We remember who perished. We remember who helped. We remember where we were. We remember how we felt. Good or bad, we remember.

At goodnewsforpets, we are quietly remembering the search dogs that helped. The New York City-based American Kennel Club honors this special breed of hero. We reposted Steve Dale’s Inside Ground Zero column and our beloved New Yorker, the late Mordecai Siegal’s Paw Prints in the Dust. In Canine’s Role in Search and Rescue, FEMA tells us how urban search and rescue dogs are now used.

On 9-11, I remember I was in my office at the Livestock Exchange Building in Kansas City. I was reconfirming a phone interview for a client with a New York City business reporter. My then three school-age children were – in school. And then the world changed for everyone.

Frantic phone calls to my mom who lived just blocks from the World Trade Center – and who loved to frequently go there and to nearby Battery Park. Finally connecting by email. She was safe – thank G — she and her neighbors helping the streams of people coming from downtown as best they could. Calling the reporter who thought the smoke would clear in a bit, and then with shaky voices abandoning our plans. I remember – I just wanted to get my kids and go HOME. We all did. Then, when I knew everyone in my family was safe, I wanted to come to my New York.

Now, on the 10th anniversary of that horrible day, I am in the New York City metro area. My mom has moved but has not forgotten. New York is still her beloved New York. There are loved ones of people where we live that did not come home. So many changes. And while the tributes and memorials come to a crescendo, there are conflicting emotions for New Yorkers who lived it – some want to remember, some do not. We all deal with it in our own way. We remember.

Lea-Ann O’Hare Germinder

And the news keeps a’comin

This is a year with alot of news.   Really big merger news.  Really big political news.  Really big recall news.  Is there good news?  Try as I might, it just isn’t possible to stop the big news from coming. 

The last big goodnewsforpets news was about Mordecai Siegal’s passing.  Admittedly his death gave me a very big pause.  I just didn’t feel up to writing much but I certainly was reading alot.   His columns were also re-read by many, which was a great comfort.   I am still trying to decide how to pay him proper tribute, so I’ve decided to leave his columns up for a bit more. 

So where do we go from here?  Well, with the news not stopping and summer upon us,  I couldn’t just keep observing — it’s time to get back to writing and communicating.    We are thrilled to have our Summer Fun contest — this time it’s a video contest but we decided to add a photo component to give people another option for sharing their summertime fun.  Check it out and enter for a chance to win a $100 of pet toys for the winning video; $50 in toys for the winning photo and a matching gift for each to the winner’s favorite local shelter.

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine has been in the news, between hosting Congressman Schrader, (D-Oregon) as commencement speaker to receiving American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation of their veterinary hospital — the first outside of North America.

I am very excited to be involved with this year’s Kansas City Homecoming event featuring Jack Hanna.  We’ve been sponsoring and attending this very worthwhile networking event since its inception.  Now we are further involved in getting the good word out about all that is happening with the Corridor. 

And the news keeps a’comin, and a’comin, and a’comin…and goodnewsforpets.com is here to share it.   Enjoy the summer and we hope to have you stop in with a comment or two.

REALLY SOMETHING!: Mordecai Siegal

He was going to be a playwright.  He was repped by the William Morris Agency.  He drove out to California to make a movie, and when that didn’t pan out, he drove South during the civil rights marches.  He came back to New York to write some more.  He summered in the Hamptons. And then he met Matthew Margolis.  The rest is pet writing history. 

An astounding 34 books  later, including the Cornell Book of Cats and the U.C. Davis Book of Dogs and 38 columns in our own www.goodnewsforpets.com , his keyboard is now silenced.  Mordecai Siegal left this life on earth April 1, 2010.  But what a life he lived.

Although he was from Philadelphia, he was a consummate New Yorker and lived in the Village.  He knew the ins and outs of theater, publishing, journalism, of just living there.  He loved living in New York, he loved being “in the biz.”  He and his wife raised three wonderful children there — who he often praised and spoke about in our conversations of raising my own children and working.  When I would miss New York from afar, it was time to hear his latest tales.

He helped me launch www.goodnewsforpets.com while president of the Dog Writer’s Association of America.   Boy was he smart.   He had the gift of  the well-turned phrase, be it in conversation or the written word.  His talents showed in “The View from Mordecai Siegal” — the 38 personal columns he wrote for www.goodnewsforpets.com.   As soon as he would turn them in, he wanted to know what I thought.  Did I like the headline, was it snappy enough?  We would sometimes debate the placement of a comma, was a reference correct?  As if I knew better!  After a few more tweaks, he was satisfied.

He was multi-faceted, and as with many a New Yorker, he didn’t know the term “stand down” when he felt strongly about an issue.   His life was a complicated dichotomy.  He introduced me to many fine writers and publicist friends.   He helped many along in their writing careers.  When I told him about a particular piece of good business news he would say, now THAT’s really something.

He was REALLY SOMETHING.  He was extraordinary and he will be missed.  Farewell, my friend.