Friday, June 17, 2011

Fido and Friend in Five: Gareth Crocker and Jack!

Finding Jack
Gareth C. & Jack
So this a first for Fido and Friend: an interview with an author in a different hemisphere! The author in the spotlight today is Gareth Crocker, who lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. That means that while I write this in Park City, Utah it's the next day where Gareth is. Cool!

I first heard about Gareth and his adult novel, Finding Jack, from one of my librarian buds. I'd emailed her to tell her how much I loved A Dog's Purpose and she said, "Now you need to read Finding Jack!" So I did. What a wonderful story about the healing power of love! Set in Vietnam, Finding Jack is the story of the unbreakable bond between a soldier, Fletcher, and his "army issued" dog, Jack. After several successful operations together, Fletcher arrives back to base and learns that a cease fire has been declared. This initially wonderful news is followed by the devastating news that all U.S. dogs serving in the war have been declared "surplus military equipment" and will be either destroyed or left to fend for themselves. This story, based on actual events, asks the question: when the war is over, how do you leave your best friend behind? This is really a gripping read.

Gareth lives in Johannesburg with his wife, two children, four dogs (one named Jack), and two cats. He's worked as journalist, copywriter, news editor, PR manager, and spokesperson for a multinational corporation. He's even made a film! As he says on his website, he writes at night by the light of the moon. Although I'm really hoping Gareth's busy at work on a new novel, I appreciate his taking the time to visit us with his bud, Jack.

Hiking buddies
1. How did you and Jack find each other?  Through a breeder that was recommended to me. I travelled three hundred miles to go see her latest offering of Labrador puppies, and little Jack, quite literally, jumped out at me. Together with his sister, Jill, the three of us have been almost inseparable since then. Proving that we were meant to find each other, it turns out we were born on the same day: December 10th. And I don't believe in coincidences...

2. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  Jock of the Bushveld--a real heart warmer. Followed closely by Finding Jack, of course.

3.  What makes Jack's tail wag?  Just showing up. As much as he loves swimming and the walks and the biscuits, just being with him makes him happy. I think that's one of the reasons why all of us connect so deeply with our dogs. We just have to be there for them--and in return they are there for us, unconditionally. (here, here!)

4. If Jack could change just one thing about you, what would it be?  He would definitely bury my laptop behind the fish pond. It eats into too much of his precious walk time...

5.  In five words, tell us what Jack means to you:  More than words can say (isn't that from a song?)

Indeed. To find out more about Gareth and his book, visit his website
And to watch a wonderful book trailer for FINDING JACK, visit  It's short but very compelling and will tug at your heartstrings.

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