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The Value of Shelter Dogs with Marion Zola

Our guest in this episode is Marion Zola. Marion has a deep passion for animals, especially our four-legged best friends. She’s a speaker, author, animal rights activist, and award-winning writer. She has written for TV shows and also co-produces a PBS documentary series called “Shelter Me,” which is all about the value of shelter dogs.

Marion emphasizes the importance of adopting and tells us about her new book, “Romancing the Dog: The Struggle to Make a Pound Dog Happy in Beverly Hills.”

On this episode of the Live. Love. Engage. Podcast:

  • Where Marion’s passion for animals comes from.
  • Why humans have such a deep connection with dogs.
  • How people might be supporting abuse without knowing it.
  • The sad reality of puppy mills.
  • How to uncover if the seller is a proper breeder or not.
  • Tools for locating your perfect shelter dog.
  • The benefits of adopting an older dog.
  • The best way to find a dog if you’re ready to adopt.
  • Why fostering dogs is another great option next to adopting.
  • What to be aware of if you purchase dogs from overseas.
  • What Marion’s book is about and what prompted her to write it.
  • How Marion got involved with the show “Shelter Me” and where you can watch it.
  • The potential shelter dogs have to help families and the community.
  • The best ways to get involved with shelters and rescue groups.
  • How fostering can teach your kids about responsibility and compassion.
  • Why Marion discourages attending and supporting rodeos.

Connect with Marion

Marion’s book:

PupQuest – to source healthy puppies:


Quick Links:

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Live. Love. Engage. Podcast: Inspiration | Spiritual Awakening | Happiness | Success | Life


[00:00:00] You’re listening to the Live Love Engage podcast on today’s show, we’re going to be speaking with a woman who has produced a documentary and written a book all about the great value of shelter dogs.

[00:00:14] Stay tuned. I am Gloria Grace Rand, founder of the Love Method and author of the number one Amazon best seller, Live Love Engage How to stop doubting yourself and start being yourself. In this podcast, we share practical advice from a spiritual perspective on how to live fully. Love deeply and engage authentically so you can create a life and business with more impact, influence, and income. Welcome to live love, engage

Namaste and Welcome to another edition of Live Love, Engage and

[00:00:58] I’m Gloria Grace Rand, and I’ve got a wonderful, amazing, talented lady on the show with us who, as you probably heard in the tease, has got a passion for our four-legged furry friends, but we’re going to get into that in a minute. But first, I want to just Welcome Marion Zola to live, Love, engage.

Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:22] Well, I am delighted to have you. I’m going to share with our listeners and our viewers all about this lovely lady and why I wanted to have her on the show today. So she is a speaker, an animal rights advocate, author, award winning writer for TV film and books, who actually began life as a poet and English teacher before becoming a full time screen and book writer. She has been, she’s written for like TV shows like All in the Family and also is the

[00:01:59] Co-producer of a very cool PBS documentary series called Shelter Me about the Great Value of Shelter Dogs, which is a bit about what we’re going to be talking about today and how we connected actually is through a publicity summit where she was promoting her new book, which is called Romancing the Dog – The Struggle to Make a Pound Dog Happy in Beverly Hills.

[00:02:27] We’re definitely going to talk about that today as well, but I wanted to start off. Actually before I even ask you your first question. I just loved that today as we were. We’re recording this on October 4th, which happens to be the feast Day for Saint Francis of Assisi, who is the patron saint of animals. And I thought, well, isn’t this just divine timing that this worked out? So yeah, so I wanted to ask you, why are you? Why do you, why are you so passionate about dogs? Why don’t you have a soft spot in your heart for these, our canine friends?

[00:03:04] Well, most people have a soft spot for dogs because they truly are man’s best friend. And there was a reason why they were created and why they were so attached to people and vice versa. I mean, they’re just a package of unconditional love. Loyal, loving and have so many benefits for the people who know them and love them. But you know that and most people who know that love dogs. I really. Very passionate about all animals. Of course, dogs are the animals. We have the most contact with dogs and cats. But every animal needs our protection. There’s so much abuse of animals in this world that whenever we can do something and a lot of times that you know, we should. A lot of times people support abuse without knowing it, without knowing it. For instance, a lot of people want to buy puppies. I am sorry they do, because there are so many wonderful, fabulous dogs for adoption all over the United States, the world. During the pandemic, record numbers of dogs were adopted, and there were so many dogs adopted that people didn’t want to wait for the next available dog, and very often they would have been willing to adopt. But they get impatient and they say, Well, I’m just going to go buy a puppy. And unfortunately, most people who buy puppies,

[00:05:15] not all, but most do not know where they’re buying them from. A lot of people buy puppies unknowingly from these horrible places called puppy mills. Puppy mills are places where people have dogs strictly for profit. They do not care about the animals. They have hundreds, sometimes even more dogs in cages. Twenty-four hours a day. Oh, poor animals. Never, ever feel the ground under their feet. They do not get proper veterinary care. They do not have any touching from people, except when they’re being bred. And this is their life, 24/7. And they give birth to puppies, which are taken away from them and shipped to people all over the place. And how does this happen? Because people buy dogs on the internet or from ads in newspapers or ads here, there, and everywhere. And the puppy mill businesspeople use the word breeder. You know, this is a dog from a breeder. That is not a breeder. That is a businessperson. A proper breeder is somebody who is proud of their dogs. They wouldn’t think of selling a dog to someone they hadn’t met. They usually have one or two dogs that they breed. And people who want to get a puppy from a proper breeder, if you must get a puppy, should go to PUP (

[00:07:17] And PUP Quest will tell you exactly what I’m telling you. That if you want to buy a puppy, buy it from someone in state, in your own state, whom you can go and see the operation. You should drive to see the people or fly to see the people who are breeding the animals. A proper, legitimate breeder is proud of the dogs. They know a lot about the breed. They want to know where the dogs are going. They want to make sure it’s a good home and so on and so forth.

[00:07:56] They do not Sell their dogs on the internet. So PupQuest dot org, where you can find all the criteria you can put in the kind of dog you want and find an in-state breeder. If you have any doubt about whether someone is a proper breeder, you can call the Humane Society and they can give you information on that. If you want to adopt a dog, if you’re willing to adopt a dog and a lot of them are very young and there are puppies who are up for adoption as well, go to Pet Finder dot com. Pet Finder dot com lists every adoptable dog. You just put in where you’re located, the kind of dog you’re looking for, and they ask you a few questions and they will bring up all the dogs in your area that fit those criteria.

[00:09:00] Absolutely. Yeah, I think we’ve used that site before in the past when we were looking for dogs, but how we wound up actually getting well, one of our dogs is a shelter dog and the other dog we got from a foster organization. So we actually fostered it first, and

[00:09:23] I found that fostering is a great way to be able to number one, see if you really are going to connect with the dog and, you know, if because raising a dog, it’s not exactly like raising a kid. But in a way,

[00:09:40] I mean a child, human child, but in a way there are a lot of similarities and there can be… It’s a lot of responsibility. And so I found that fostering is a good way to sort of do this trial run and see if you really are cut out to be a pet owner. Have you had experience with fostering?

[00:09:57] Yes, I foster. We fostered this dog that we have now. And after six weeks, we realized that it was a good fit, and we should keep her. My husband wasn’t well at the time. He had Parkinson’s. I was concerned about him falling over the dog. But after she was with us for six weeks, it seemed to be OK. There wasn’t a problem. And she was such a delight and a wonderful addition that we decided to keep her. And before the show is over, I’m going to introduce you to her.

[00:10:39] Yes, before we got started our recording, she, Marion had said that she’s taking a nap at the moment and we didn’t want to disturb her. I know that one of the things, we talk about puppies and you know, yes, I know puppies are cute and adorable, but for me, OK, when I was a little kid, yes, I could see wanting puppies. But now as a grown up and as an adult and as someone who has raised two children, I don’t really want to go through potty training in a sense, you know, paper training. You know, which you have to do so,

[00:11:20] I like the idea of adopting older dogs. So what? That’s at least my benefit. What would you say are do you see some other benefits of owning like an older dog?

[00:11:35] Absolutely. I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t want any puppies. I don’t want to go through the chewing, potty training, pulling, running. Yeah.

[00:11:46] First of all, if you’re older as a person, certainly you should get an older dog. A puppy is a 15-year commitment. And you know, for people in their fifties, sixties, seventies, think where you’ll be in 15 years, you don’t know. And you don’t want to have that poor animal have to go get another family to be with. The older dogs, they’re calmer, they know the routine, they’ve usually been with another family or couple or a person, and they know what’s expected of them. They’re very appreciative and they usually homeless through no fault of their own. Believe me, there are all kinds of crazy reasons why the dog ends up at a shelter or a rescue group, and some of the reasons are absolutely insane. But don’t forget, a lot of people move to places with no dogs are allowed or they go to a hospice place or they go to an assisted living place. More and more of them are allowing pets, but some of them don’t. And the people suffer, the animals suffer. It’s terrible, but you don’t want to have to give up your dog because you’re older or you fell and you can’t take care of it. And it’s a terrible thing, I think when you get older, a shorter commitment is a wiser choice.

[00:13:30] Yeah, absolutely. You know, we talked and kind of been hinting around about this. So, you know, you talked about puppy mills to stay away from them and don’t that pet finder is a good place to start looking. Are there any other places which I think we’ve already talked about that you recommend is like, you know, the best places to find a dog if

[00:13:52] you’re ready to adopt places are local. You can put in if you wanted, for instance, a beagle, beagle breeder in whatever state you’re in. And make sure you go and see the setup, do not adopt a dog whose owner you haven’t seen. Go and visit the facility. If anybody discourages you from coming, you’ve got to be suspicious right there and then. I couldn’t agree with you more fostering is a terrific thing. You know, Gloria, so many people adopted during the pandemic and bought dogs that they were buying them from overseas, and a lot of the dogs came from countries, the people didn’t even know they came from out of the country. And many of them had falsified rabies certificates. Oh, dear. Dogs got sick. And as a result, the United States banned the sale of dogs from 113 countries that were doing this. Wow. You have to be very careful. And why give profit and encouragement to people who are not treating animals well? Yeah. First place, always adopt.

[00:15:21] Yeah, absolutely. And that’s why I, you know, check out your local Shelter, you know,

[00:15:27] Your local shelter or organizations that foster that rescue animals. Because, like I said, that’s where one of ours came from was called, it was called Pet Rescue by Judy, and she had her own little mini, mini shelter. And she would take in dogs who were either, you know, going to be homeless or whatnot and find homes for them.

[00:15:47] God bless these people because they’re saving the lives. And if you adopt a shelter dog in most cases with saving his life.

[00:15:56] Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. Well, and that brings us to, I think, your story. So you wrote this book about how to make a pound dog happy. So tell us a little bit about what is the, what’s the background of the book and then what prompted you to write that OK.

[00:16:20] It’s called Romancing the Dog the struggle to make a pound dog happy in Beverly Hills, which is where I live. We had adopted this dog from a rescue group who got him from the shelter, and he really changed our lives. And we had so many adventures with him, so many interesting things that when he died, I felt I had to write this as his obituary. I had already written the book. I had already had a book and I just had to write it. I mean, if I never sold one copy, I had to write this book. It was my obituary to him, and I felt that it was something I didn’t want to forget. I wanted to remember all these details, which were fresh in my mind when he died. So that’s why I wrote it. People seem to like it. The reviews on Amazon tell me they liked it. And so I hope your listeners will enjoy it.

[00:17:33] Can you share? Is there like one anecdote that you that you remember that you include in the book that you could share with us?

[00:17:40] Well, we had gone to buy a new car. I love Saabs. And at the time they were still in business. They’re no longer in business. And we went to the Saab dealer and there was another couple there also buying a car and they were looking for a hatchback type car. I won’t say an SUV because it wasn’t tall enough, but it was sort of the shape of an old station wagon that was for sale. And they had to make sure that their pet could access the car because their pet was too big, too heavy for them to pick up. Not too big, but too heavy. Now their pet was a pig. A black pig who they were hoping could get in the car. Well, the salesman had the back open and had a ramp arranged for this pig to get in and she wouldn’t get in. And the couple brought her over to the ramp and tried to cluck and encourage her. And they said, “Well, if she won’t go in, we can’t buy the car.” So. We were trying to help. We were trying to encourage her to get in. And my dog Chips, that’s his name. This is his picture. He must have grasped the situation. Because after we encouraged her a few minutes, he jumped in the back of this car and started barking at her, kept barking at her and kept barking at her and finally, whatever he said,

[00:19:41] She started to come up the ramp and people, you know, no one could believe it, but he was getting the pig up the ramp. And sure enough, she came up. Now he was a little afraid of her because she was much bigger than he was. Oh yeah. As she reached the top of the ramp, he jumped out and the salesman was just over the moon and he sold two cars that day thanks to the dog. My dog couldn’t jump in.

[00:20:11] I wasn’t going to buy the car either, So we both bought cars from this guy who was very grateful. I love that. I love… He should really have a copy of the book in his office.

[00:20:25] Oh yes.

[00:20:27] They went out of business Saab.

[00:20:29] Yeah, oh well, well, I love that story. That’s awesome. So I can see why you needed to be able to share things Like that. And. Dog books are great, you know, to read, to read, I think, because there’s so much gloom and doom in the world, so let’s let’s pick up something that’s fun, fun to read. You know, I was one of the things I wanted to just talk to you a little bit about, too, is because I was actually

[00:20:57] watching a trailer for that show, Shelter Me. And so I was wonder If you could tell, talk a little bit about how you got involved with that and what’s why, why people should look for that show.

[00:21:14] Well, the show initially ran on PBS. That kind of stick shows where they have a slot, you know, are a certain length. And when they have a slot, they put it on. So you don’t know exactly when it’s going to be on, but it streams at ShelterMe dot TV.

[00:21:37] Oh, good. Ok.

[00:21:40] And how I got involved is producer Steven Latham. I was interested in doing this and needed some help and came to see me because we had a mutual friend who knew I was very interested in animals and helping dogs, and he was too and he introduced us and Steven told me what he wanted to do, and I thought it was a great idea. And so, I helped him get it started. And it’s about the great value of shelter dogs. Different episodes are about different things. It shows that some of the shelter dogs who were not adopted by families went on to do other things. I mean, these dogs are so great they aren’t limited to being pets. Some dogs became search and rescue dogs. Some became service dogs for the handicapped. A friend of mine who has a handicapped daughter got a dog from this group that trained them in the women’s prison. Oh wow. And the head of the organization that had these dogs is handicapped herself. She’s in a wheelchair. And the dogs are trained. And then they’re adopted out. I mean, they’re given to the people who need them, not just handicapped people, soldiers who are handicapped veterans, and veterans who have PTSD. And these dogs are doing fabulous work, and these were dogs just left at the shelter.

[00:23:29] Yeah.

[00:23:30] So if they can be so highly trained, they certainly can give a family another wonderful experience with a pet. Some of them, I remember a couple of them became search dogs for the police. The police, I think it was in Massachusetts, were using seven thousand dollar German shepherds as drug sniffing dogs, and then they went to the shelter and got a little dog and tried to train this dog. And he was fine. And they showed how this smaller dog could get in spaces and search cars in spaces that were too small for the German Shepherd. And this one policeman who was involved in drug enforcement was using the dog as a drug sniffing dog. And at night, the dog would come home with him and be the pet for the family. So there was so many things, search and rescue service dogs, drug sniffing dogs, dogs who go to hospitals and keep company with cancer patients, especially children. Just a myriad of things, it’s wonderful.

[00:24:55] I think it’s so inspiring to know that they can have… Well, actually, number one is that there are people out there who are willing to help, who are willing to step in and give these dogs a new “leash” on life, shall we say, instead of these.

[00:25:15] Right, right. Yeah.

[00:25:18] If someone is listening out there and also wants to be able to help animals, maybe they’re not in a position to necessarily take care of their own dog. But what would you what do you recommend people to do to be able to maybe step up and help out and…

[00:25:38] Well, if they can help out with their time, volunteer at a shelter or a rescue group, volunteer to walk the dogs or take the dog for an outing, they need this help very much at the local shelters. If they can afford to give a donation to a non-profit, the local shelters. That’s not the ASPCA. The local shelters and rescue groups. The national groups are a little harder to vet. But if you’re in a position to vet them, you can decide whether you want to give something to them. But the local groups usually need the money very much and the local shelters. A lot of the advertising for the ASPCA, and I’m sure they do some wonderful work, but the advertising suggests or implies that they’re giving the money to all the shelters. They are not. The local shelters have to self-sustain. They may get something, but they’re not getting most of it from them. Those ads are very slick and very expensive, and people feel guilty when they look at those ads and then they send a check. No, send the check to the local group. That’s that would be a big help or volunteer.

[00:27:16] Absolutely. And I would, I would also encourage if you’re a parent listening and you’ve got kids, high school age children, check with their schools, too, because a lot of schools they want their, they want the students to get service hours. And that’s what actually, this really is how we wound up adopting our dog is because my son and daughter both did volunteer time at the local pet rescue, and so they were helping out. And then when it came time for us to see about fostering a dog was like, well, now we know where to go, we’ll just, you know where our kids have been helping out. So I encourage people to do that, too.

[00:27:59] Absolutely. Some of the kids read to the dogs in the shelter, who don’t get much attention, and they sit and read to them, and you’d be amazed how the dogs love it or they take them for a walk. It’s a great thing. Another thing I wanted to mention is that some parents want to get a dog for their kids, but then they get the dog, and after a short time, the kids are too busy. They’re not taking care of the dog and a great way to test to see if your children really will take care of the dog is fostering the dog and saying that if you do a good job with the dog, then we can get our own. But it is a commitment. Another way, especially if you have smaller children, I mean, not four and five, but nine or ten, is that if you’re afraid the children won’t take care of the dog long term and may lose interest as they get older and they get busier, you can volunteer to raise a dog for the blind. They need foster parents for 18 months until the dog is old enough to be trained to be a guide dog for the blind. Now that is an 18-month commitment. It’s probably difficult at the end of 18 months to give up the dog, but the children know from the beginning that it is not their dog to keep. They’re doing a wonderful thing for a blind person who will end up getting this dog. And if they do a good job, they can get a dog of their own. That’s another great thing to do.

[00:30:02] Oh yeah, and what great lessons you’re teaching the children. I mean, not only about responsibility, but also about compassion for other people. That’s really awesome. I did not hear about that, but I am… Thank you for sharing that information. So yeah, and I think that’s even good for older adults as well, who maybe don’t want again, want to necessarily have the commitment to maybe keep a dog for a long time. But, you know, 18 months, that’s enough to be able to get some companionship.

[00:30:33] So it’s good for a pandemic.

[00:30:36] Well, yeah, that’s true, too.

[00:30:40] Is there Anything else that you feel that we haven’t touched on today that you’d like to like to share with our audience?

[00:30:50] There are so many wonderful ways to better the lives of animals and animals unfortunately, in their contact with humans are often abused. I would like to urge people not to go to rodeos. For one thing, the animals often have their necks broken in the roping. People do not know that the bucking Broncos in the bucking bulls are not bucking for no reason. They’re bucking because they have tied a tight strap around their genitals. People can see it. If you just look, you’ll see a rope thing all around the animal’s middle and many other abusive practices. I would like to discourage people from going to rodeos. Circuses, fortunately, they’ve started to close all of the circuses that have animals, performing animals, many of whom are abused, most of whom are abused. And if you want to give to an animal organization, please vet it first. Make sure the money is going where you’d like it to go. And again, I encourage you to give it locally because it’s easier to vet a local organization and they usually need it more. Absolutely.

[00:32:24] Well, thank you so much. And for folks who want to find out about getting your book, Romancing the dog, so where’s the best place? Where can where can they find it? Or maybe even want to get some more information from you if they want to contact you?

[00:32:40] Well, it’s a, it’s a paperback, an e-book, and an audio book, and you can get them all on Amazon or from a bookstore or from my website Romancing the Dog dot com. You can send me questions at the website. I do have a blog which I don’t do often enough, but I try and I’d be delighted to hear from any of your listeners and thank you very, very much for having me. Can I show them the book once more?

[00:33:12] Absolutely, yes. And for those of you who are listening, it’s got the most adorable dog with. What type of what type of dog is that? Do you know the breed?

[00:33:23] We thought he was a mutt, but he turned out to be a Tibetan terrier.

[00:33:27] Oh, wow. Fancy dancy. Well, Nancy, he’s very cute.

[00:33:33] And the parent dog just woke up.

[00:33:35] Oh, all right. So what Is this? And what is this adorable dog’s name?

[00:33:41] She’s a terrier mix. Her name is Tosca, like the opera, and Tosca is a 15-year old, very good girl who we adopted at 10 years old.

[00:33:52] Oh, she is beautiful. She’s white terrier and very sweet. Actually, she’s blonde. I’m sorry. Ok. You’re right. She is blond. Ok?

[00:34:05] It’s just the lighting in here.

[00:34:07] Yes, there we go. I see it now. Awesome.

[00:34:15] Thank you for having us, Gloria.

[00:34:17] Oh, thank you, Marion, for being here. I so appreciate you and make sure you’re listening, watching, check out go to romancing the dog dot com and you can learn more about Marion and the work she’s doing.

[00:34:30] Learn about the Dog. And remember, no puppy mills go to local shelters. Great place fostering all that good stuff. And until next time, I encourage you to go out and live fully, love deeply and engage authentically. Did you know that

[00:34:54] A majority of entrepreneurs tend to discount the importance of their work and a good number feel their success is simply due to luck? I know from personal experience that self-doubt can keep you from having the kind of life and business you desire. That’s why I’ve created a free guide called Uniquely You How to Move From Self-doubt to Self-love in four simple steps to claim your free guide. Go to live love, engage dot gift. That’s live love. Engage dot G. I. F.T.

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About the Author
An online marketer, SEO copywriter, and speaker for 15+ years, Gloria Grace Rand has helped over 150 companies including AAA and Scholastic Book Fairs attract and convert leads into sales.

Losing her older sister to cancer propelled Gloria on a journey of spiritual awakening that resulted in the publication of her international best-selling book, "Live. Love. Engage. – How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Start Being Yourself."

Known as “The Light Messenger” for her ability to intuitively transmit healing messages of love and light, Gloria combines a unique blend of energy healing techniques, intuition, and marketing expertise to create transformational results for her clients.

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