This will probably be my last blog post of 2011. It's been an extraordinary year! A Dog's Way Home came out in March and has amassed a lot of fans. Abby and Tam's story has brought me many new friends from all over who've written to me to tell me how much they loved the book. That, more than foreign sales and film rights, is what makes all those lonely and sometimes difficult hours at the computer worth while.
I can think of no better way to end the year of blogging than by sharing my most recent friend I've made and her beloved sheltie. Molly read A Dog's Way Home and loved it so much, she did her school book report on it and created this gorgeous painting inspired by the book. Her proud papa, Tom, contacted me and sent me a picture of Molly, her art work, and her sheltie buddy, Harley. Needless to say, his note and photo moved me to tears and made me very proud too!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
|"My turn! No, my turn!"|
As I read through the essays and poems, I realized there was no way I could choose the three best--they were all "best"! So I figured the fair thing to do was draw three names out of a hat. And who better to do that than my dogs! But the three didn't quite get the concept of lining up and each choosing a name one at a time. I made an executive decision (being their Girl and all) and designated Teddy as the chooser of names. After all, Teddy, at just weeks from being 13, is Senior Dog.
- Cynthia Anderson
- Tina Towers
- Julie Griffin
I'll be contacting you to get your mailing address so I can send you your book. I would also like to post everyone's essays and poems individually on my blog during the next few months. I will not post your full name or contact information. Please let me know if you prefer not to have your entry posted.
Many thanks to everyone for entering! I'll be making a donation to Sheltie Rescue of Utah for $60.00 in all of your and your shelties' honor.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Donna recently added author to that list of achievements. Inspired by her time at West Point and as a U.S. Army officer, she wrote Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point's Long Gray Line. Her book is an insider's look at that male-dominated, storied institution that produces leaders for our military and nation. She also presents the long-overlooked history of women at West Point. Porcelain on Steel was the 2010 Gold Medal Winner for the Military Writers Society of America.
Donna, her husband, and daughter Carly, share their home and love of the outdoors in Park City with their faithful companion, Colonel Thayer. Donna took out time from her very busy schedule to talk with me a bit about her very sweet Colonel.
|Donna, Carley, Thayer|
As an aside, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer (June 9, 1785-Sept. 7, 1872) is known as "the Father of West Point." Both Ted and I are graduates of West Point. We wanted our canine companion to have a name of military historic significance. Eisenhower had too many syllables.
2. What makes Thayer's tail wag? Trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, any flavor of ice cream and moose droppings.
3. What's your all-time favorite dog story? It's too difficult to pick just one! Call of the Wild, by Jack London, Stetson the Park City Dog, by Jeanne Heil, a wonderfully illustrated book about an abandoned dog who becomes a ski patrol dog in Park City. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. Enzo, the dog narrator of the book is soul mates with Thayer.
4. If the Colonel could change just one thing about you, what would it be? That I ran faster and didn't spend so much time in front of an illuminated screen, writing.
To find out more about Donna and her really inspiring book, visit her website. Truly, I just touched the tip of the iceberg! To read an in-depth review of her
book check out http://jwlbooks.com/jack-london-reviews/porcelain-on-steel-women-of-west-points-long-gray-line/
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Your entry can be as an essay, poem, or short story, but it needs to be 350 words or less. Please send a photo of your sheltie(s) along with your entry. I'll be posting these on my blog after the holidays.
Send your entry and photo to email@example.com
All entries must be received by Dec. 17th! Let's celebrate life with shelties and help other shelties in need!
Monday, December 5, 2011
|Fred and Chris|
Neither of this duo graces the stage any longer, but that doesn't mean that don't appear in the spotlight (other than this one) from time to time. Chris spent nearly twenty years writing commercials for ad agencies. Some of his commercial spots include 7-Up, KFC, Dr. Pepper, Miller Lite, and others. It was while writing ads that Chris's writing talent was discovered by none other than James Patterson! At that time, Patterson was Chris's Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising.
Chris's writing career expanded to writing screenplays. He co-wrote the screenplay for the CBS-TV movie THE CHRISTMAS GIFT, starring John Denver. He also wrote scripts for "The Muppets." He has gone on to write award-winning mysteries for both adults and middle grade readers. The Black Heart Crypt, his latest middle grade mystery, caught my eye and led me to Chris's website where I saw his picture with the most handsome Fred!
|Fred in his office|
1. How did you and Fred find each other? Thanks to a friend who works in animal rescue with my wife, we were put in touch with famed Broadway animal trainer, Bill Berloni, who volunteers at the New York Humane Society. Fred had just completed a run on stage in the Broadway musical, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" with six other dogs, and wanted his own forever home. We feel very lucky to have a star licking our faces.
|Fred & Bernadette Peters|
3. What's your all-time favorite dog story? I love the story about the dog who waited for his human friend at the train station in Japan every night for years after the man had passed away. (Hachiko: A Dog Story)
4. If Fred could change just one thing about you, what would it be? He would change my face into a rump roast.
|Best Buds Forever|
Many thanks to these two amazing guys for visiting with us on
Fido and Friend in Five! Watch for Chris's new book, RILEY MACK
AND THE OTHER KNOWN TROUBLEMAKERS due out soon!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Now as you may or may not know, I was born and raised in the part of the country that perfected the art of "visiting." Folks in the South love to just sit around on the porch or chat on the sidewalk and catch up. We'll talk about anything--the weather, the kids, the parents, the garden, the dogs, local politics--but never money or religion. Sure we may be in a hurry to get somewhere, but never too busy to stop and talk, even if for just a few minutes. So adjusting to this fast town has been a challenge for me.
There's a little walk I do every couple of days with my dogs along a beautiful stream near our house. The last couple of years, I've referred to this particular walk as our "Teddy walk." Teddy is my almost 13-year-old sheltie. He's too old now for long or fast hikes, let alone trail running. But this little amble along the stream suits him just fine. There are soooo many new smells each time we go out, so many things to pee on, and oh, the sun feels good on his back! The other two (younger) dogs chase each other up and down the trail or hunt mice over in the field. I amble along with Teddy, letting his nose do for him what his eyes and ears, and hips can no longer do. What he can do is enough.
For the last several years, I've seen a couple running on this trail along the creek almost every time I've been out on it. No matter what the weather (and we get some pretty horrible weather here at 7,000 feet) they were out running what I suspected was about a 5-mile loop. A quick flip of one hand or a gasping "hello" was about all they slowed down for when they'd see me and the dogs. Although once, the woman said to me as she ran past, "You need to run with those dogs!" Of course, she didn't stop so that I could explain about Teddy. About a week ago, I saw someone walking towards us on the trail. When the person got closer, I realized it was the woman from the running couple--and she was not running! She actually stopped to say hello. She told me she'd had knee surgery six weeks before and was unable to run. She whined and whined about how awful life is without running, and how she just hates getting old.
At one point, she reached down to pet Teddy who was nuzzling her knee. "Why he's really a nice dog, isn't he?" she said. "He is indeed," said I. "He's almost thirteen and can't hear a thing. He can't run and chase the other dogs anymore but he doesn't care. He just loves to be out smelling everything and being with me." We all strolled along the stream for quite a while--the two younger dogs chasing and hunting, Teddy, the woman and I talking and taking in small things. When we got to my house, I said to the woman, "I'm sad for you that you can't run, but I've really enjoyed getting to know you!" She agreed. She reached down again and petted Teddy. "I need to learn from this old boy," she said. "I need to learn to not look back at what I used to be able to do, and just enjoy what I can do."
Amazing how an old dog can teach us new tricks!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
|Madison, Brian, Shay|
|Kate Morgan & Dixie|
|Cynthia Lord & Milo|
|Patty MacLachlan & BFFs|
|Ann Cannon & Zoe|
|Me and The Pack|
Monday, November 21, 2011
I caught up with Cat and Rena during rare break in their sheep-tending, ranch duties to talk about their relationship on this week's Fido and Friend in Five:
|Rena on the job|
|A little lamb love|
3. What's your all-time favorite dog story? Is it horrible that my favorites make me cry, every single time I read them? For novels it's Wilson Rawl's Where the Red Fern Grows. For stories, it's Corey Ford's 1964 The Road to Tinkhamtown. Ford's piece can be read on line at http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/hunting/2010/04/fs-classic-original-unedited-manuscript-corey-fords-road-tinkhamtown
4. If Rena could change just one thing about you, what would it be? Rena would like me to not screech so loudly and run away when she tries to share her treasures with me. She would like my reaction to be a bit more enthusiastic when she brings me things like dead prairie dogs, or when she tries to rub against me to share the dead-skunk smell she's worked so hard to perfect.
Thanks so much to Cat and Rena for visiting Fido and Friend in Five! Be sure to visit Cat's website to see more of her photos, find out about her other books, and learn more about the wolves of Yellowstone.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
|Skylos writing his essay|
To enter, email me your story and photo at firstname.lastname@example.org I'll also be randomly posting essays and photos on my blog, so if you'd rather I not post your story, please let me know. The winning essays will be posted. Contest closes midnight December 10th!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
|Ballet of the Elephants|
|Leda and Pippa|
|Too Cold for Frogs?|
3. What's your all-time favorite dog story? Oh that's tough. I can no longer read books where the dog dies, which eliminates all the classics, but I did read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle recently (even though the dog does die) and it made me appreciate even more deeply the wonder of dogs. They are the best. I like them more than most people, to be honest. Because I write picture books, here are some favorites: The Stray Dog (Simont), Henry and Mudge (Rylant), Boodil, My Dog (Lindenbaum), Martha Speaks (Meddaugh), Bark George (Feiffer), and of course my own book about Winnie, Winnie All Day Long.
|Chillin' with Pogo|
5. In five words, tell us what Pippa means to you: Almost more than life itself.
I couldn't agree more, Leda! Thank you and Pippa for visiting my little blog. Be sure to check out the latest on Leda's website and blog. She has another new picture book due out this month!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
|Original of sheltie at museum|
The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, located at 1721 S. Mason Rd., in beautiful Queeny Park, West St. Louis County, Missouri, is home to the world's finest collection of art devoted to the dog. The 14,000 sq. ft. facility, which includes historic Jarville House (1853), displays over 700 original paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, sculptures, bronzes, and porcelain figurines, and a variety of decorative arts objects depicting man's best friend throughout the ages.
Is that not cool?! And it even has a gift shop (oh, I would spend so much money there), a library (oh, I'd spend so much time there), and dog classes there. I must admit, I've never been to St. Louis, but I think I've found a very good reason to go! So if you and your four-legged pal are in need of some culture, check it out. I plan to!
Friday, November 4, 2011
|Chloe and Fans|
|Chloe & Tam|
The girls and their moms asked great questions: Why did you set the book in North Carolina when you live in Utah? Who is your favorite character in the book? Have you ever lost a dog? Are any of the characters based on me? And at the end, we took lots of pictures together and the girls and their families donated treats and toys to Sheltie Rescue of Utah .
Many thanks to South Jordan Library's Paula Burgon for arranging such a splendid visit, and to the Salt Lake County Library System for supporting A Dog's Way Home. And of course, paws up to Susan and Chloe for being such an inspiring team.