Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fido and Friend in Five: Dianne Ochiltree and Sally!

Reading prolific picture book author, Dianne Ochiltree's, biography on her website is like reading the ideal childhood--especially to someone who had a much less-than-ideal childhood. She grew up in small town Warren, Ohio, with three siblings, a stay-at-home mom, and grandparents who lived right next door. As she says, "I grew up around dozens of cousins, bunches of uncles, and
oodles of aunts." Every Sunday, this large extended family gathered  at her grandparent's house for dinner, with the grownups telling jokes and stories, and the kids making up musical plays. Not only did she grow up with a house filled with family, but also animals! "My family shared our house with an ever-changing, ever-growing "zoo". The pet parade included at times: ducklings, bunnies, baby chicks, stray cats and their kittens, guinea pigs, hamsters, painted turtles, guppies, white mice, gold fish, and a dog or two." Raise your hand if you want Dianne's childhood!

Luckily for her many readers out there, this stimulating childhood and raising her two sons led to a career writing picture books that make learning fun. From learning to count, to subtraction and addition, to finding out about the first female firefighter, to books that are just plain fun, Dianne has covered it all. Her latest book (coming out May of 2013), A Firefly Night, is already garnering lots of praise; her 2012 Molly, By Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, American's First Female Firefighter won the Bronze Medal in the Children's Literature Category of the Florida Book Awards

Simon the Office Asst.
Dianne lives and writes in Florida with her husband, Sally the lab, and Simon the kitty office assistant.

Let's meet Dianne and Sally in today's Fido and Friend in Five!

1. How did you and Sally find each other?  Like most modern couples, we met on the internet! My
Love at first sight!
husband and I had lost our yellow Labrador retriever, Stella, and were so eager to have another lab in our lives that I immediately started a search for a puppy. Not wanting to "replace" Stella, we decided to adopt a chocolate Labrador retriever this time around. I searched every breeder website in Florida, or so it seemed! Luckily, there was one chocolate lab puppy still looking for a new home and ready to travel in a few days. That was how I found myself on Valentine's Day not at a romantic candlelit table with my husband, but in the car together as we made the three-hour trip to Ocala to fetch our little bit of chocolate, immediately dubbed "Sally Valentine." Trust me, it was love at first sight!
Sally's Halloween

2. What makes Sally's tail wag?  A few of Sally's favorite tail-wagging things: leaping into the deep end of the pool just seconds behind a tennis ball headed in the same direction; senior citizens and first graders making a fuss over her on one of our therapy dog visits; and luxuriating in a belly rub anytime, anywhere--it's her hands-down favorite!

3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  Easy choice: The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. So beautifully written, illuminating key life truths as subtly as morning light touches a leaf.

4. If Sally could change just one thing about you, what would that be?  It would be my memory. She would wish a very selective amnesia on her owner. I would never remember how many treats I'd given her...or indeed that I had given her one. I would become a living, breathing dog-cookie vending machine at her disposal 24/7.

Sally's Chrismas
5. In five words, tell us what Sally means to you:  Furry fun on the run!

Many thanks to Dianne and Sally for visiting with us today on Fido and Friend in Five! Be sure to check out Dianne's website to find out more about her and her books.