#BKBLL - $14.95
A Big Little Life
A memoir of a joyful dog named Trixie
by Dean Koontz, Softcover 272 pages
In a profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion, bestselling novelist Dean Koontz remembers the golden retriever who changed his life. A retired service dog, Trixie was three when Dean and his wife, Gerda, welcomed her into their home. She was superbly trained, but her greatest gifts couldnÕt be taught: her keen intelligence, her innate joy, and an uncanny knack for living in the moment. Whether chasing a tennis ball or protecting those she loved, Trixie gave all she had to everything she did, inspiring Dean and Gerda to trust their instincts and recapture a sense of wonder that will remain with them always. Trixie lived fewer than twelve years; in this wide world, she was a little thing. But in every way that mattered, she lived a big life..
This memoir is a brilliantly written story of a couple's life with their Golden Retriever. Mostly it's a series of fairly ordinary human-dog interactions that will make you smile and warm your heart, but it's also layered with a lot of deep, spiritual observations. Consider this excerpt:
"Too many of us die without knowing transcendent joy, in part because we pursue one form or another of materialism. We seek meaning in possessions, in pursuit of cosmic justice for earthly grievances, in the acquisition of power over others. But one day Death reveals that life is wasted in these cold passions, because zealotry of any kind precludes love except of the thing that is idolized.
On the other hand, dogs eat with gusto, play with exuberance, work happily when given the opportunity, surrender themselves to the wonder and the mystery of their world, and love extravagantly. Envy infects the human heart; if we envy, next we covet, and what we covet becomes the object of our all-consuming avarice. If we live without envy, with the humility and the joyful gratitude of dogs - nachos! ball! cuddle time! - we will be ready even for Death when he comes for us, content that we have made good use of the gift of life."
I'm Listening With A Broken Ear
#BKLBE - $19.95
I'm Listening With A Broken Ear
by Vicky Kaseorg, Softcover, 426 pages
I'm Listening With a Broken Ear is a true story about a dying dog, Honeybun, the author found on a roadside and grudgingly rescued. A concomitant story of faith, persistence, and love unfolds as both she and her young daughter struggled to help Honeybun overcome severe issues of compromised health, aggression and fear. Untrained to deal with the overwhelming behavior, Vicky then tried to give her up.... unsuccessfully. Refusing to relinquish her to Animal Control who would undoubtedly euthanize Honeybun,Vicky happened upon a small rescue organization who offered to help rehabilitate Honeybun. During the many months of heartache and struggle, and multiple near deadly attacks on Vicky's other dog, she discovered a modern day parable of the truth that nothing is truly irredeemable. Each victory with the little rescue dog taught personal lessons in redemption and grace, patience and perseverance, and the power of transforming love to spread through a community in most unexpected and unlikely ways. There were multiple failures, and repeated surrenders to hopelessness. Each time, her weakness was thwarted and overcome by unexpected help and miracles. In the process, Vicky came face to snout with the harsh reality that real compassion involves action and responsibility. If she wanted to save the dog, ultimately it was up to her. It is a story of redemption, physically and spiritually in a very small corner of the world, told through the story of a discarded dog that no one wanted and no one thought could be saved.
This is one of the best dog books I have read in a while. The author's sense of humor shines through as she tells her family's tale of tackling the very serious problem of an aggressive dog, with the help of a dedicated, but overworked rescue owner. The uneventful beginning doesn't even hint at what's to come:
"The initial greeting is encouraging. We put both dogs on leash and escort them out back. Lucky wags his tail and sniffs Honeybun's bottom, the dog equivalent to a handshake. Honeybun stiffens, ears flattened and tail erect, but then largely ignores him. I had read that it is wise to keep new dogs leashed for a few days before trusting them free together. However, anyone can immediately see they are becoming fast friends. Oh true, some folks may have been more cautious and listened to the experts. This is exactly why I accomplish so much, with my goals quickly determined, and swiftly reached. Occasionally, this involves skipping a few steps. I unerringly discern which are the crucial steps to skip, particularly in areas like this, where I have not the slightest bit of experience or knowledge to hamper me."
Not only does Honeybun later prove to be problematic in the behavioral department, she's comandeered the family's schedule and is draining the budget with her myriad of health issues:
"I email Malta and iron out the details. Will plans to pick Honeybun up Monday, take her to the vet Tuesday, and return her Wednesday. I can't do it all by myself, with my teaching schedule and how far away the vet is. Fortunately, Malta's farm and her vet are very close to each other and Will works in Charlotte, very near me, every day this week. Malta insists it will be no problem for him to swing by. It is yet another one of God's incredible marvels of cosmic engineering, though I am still wondering why He feels the need to throw in that anal problem. Honestly, would it really disrupt His grand scheme for one more dog to be able to express her own anal glands? I suppose this is a problem for greather theologians than me."
There are many more brilliant quotes that I would like to share, but I don't want to even hint at the ending, which is a grand one. HoofPrints is selling this book for more than the suggested retail, with the difference going directly to the rescue that made such an enormous impact on this family's life.
#BKUT - $22.95
by Luis Carols Montalvan, hardcover, 252 pages
A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalv‡n never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll.
Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.
Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives; he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being until Luis.
Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other's souls.
Gina's note: This book has a little different tone than most of our others. The whole time you're reading you can sense the authors anger, pain, frustration and struggle. He's a skilled writer, and if you're not careful, you'll be feeling that way too as you read. But don't let that turn you away from this title - the powerful part of all this is how he is able to let his dog help him; and how he's able to analyze and convey their story.
PTSD is a terrible, crippling disorder that is very real with many, many trauma victims. The last thing you'd think would be a good idea is to live in a stressful place like New York City where people can be rude/hostile/dangerous, and businesses deny access to service dogs. So, to navigate a scary, potentially dangerous struggle every day AND to relive everything prior to that by writing a book about it is truly a very brave act. And Luis didn't stop there. He's made a mission of speaking up for veterans and their service dogs (actually ALL folks with service dogs), doing all sorts of intense things like television appearances and public speaking. He served our country in the military, and continues to do so now. His story is an inspiration.
There's a good article with pictures of Luis and Tuesday here
Another article "Happiness is a Warm Puppy" here
Video and article from Wall Street Journal here
Love is the Best Medicine
#BKLBM - $13.95
Love is the Best Medicine
What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian About Hope, Humility and Everyday Miracles
by Dr Nick Trout, Softcover, 270 pages
A touching and heartfelt true story from the front lines of veterinary medicine, Helen is an older cocker spaniel found one rainy night by a generous couple eager to give the pitiful dog a happy home. But just as soon as she is rescued from a sad life on the streets and settled into a loving home, she's given a devastating prognosis. Meanwhile, Cleo is a miniature pinscher puppy who experiences a crippling leg fracture which lands her in the Dr Trout's clinic for the specialist care she needs.
Soon, the paths of these two animals, their families, and a veterinarian become surprisingly linked, and offer them all a lesson in grace that resonates to this day.
Gina's note: It doesn't seem like a good idea to criticize a book that I am trying to convince you all to buy... the cover on this one totally does NOT fit the story. You'd almost think it was a comedy, showing a miserable/scowling bulldog with an ice bag on his head. Instead this is a complex, emotional, and very spiritual story that fearlessly addresses a lot of complicated situations that involve dog lovers, their dogs, and the professionals entrusted with their care. An excellent, thought-provoking read.
#BKBD - $23.95
Bad Dog - A Love Story
by Martin Kihn, Hardcover, 214 pages
(A true story.) Meet Hola. She's a nightmare, but it's not her fault if she tackles strangers and chews on furniture, or if she runs after buses and fried chicken containers and drug dealers. No one ever told her not to. Worse yet, she scares her family. Hola may be the most beautiful Bernese mountain dog in the world, but she's never been trained. At least not by anyone who knew what he was doing.
Hola's supposed master, Marty, is a high-functioning alcoholic. A TV writer turned management consultant, Marty's in debt and out of shape; he's about to lose his job, and one day he emerges from a haze of peach-flavored vodka to find he's on the verge of losing his wife, too, if he can't get his life - and his dog - under control.
Desperately trying to save his marriage, Marty throws himself headlong into the world of competitive dog training. Unfortunately, he knows even less than Hola, the only dog ever to be expelled from her puppy preschool twice. Somehow, together, they need to get through the American Kennel Club's rigorous Canine Good Citizen test. Of course, Hola first needs to learn how to sit.
Gina's note: Above is the publisher's description of the book. It's pretty good, but doesn't really touch much on the meat of the story; the parallels between the author struggling with his alcohol addiction, mirrored by the out-of-control behavior of his dog - who doesn't just jump on people and tear up things. She attacks them. And bites. It's a serious deal. This story is an epic journey to sobriety and a well behaved dog at the same time. At one point a professional tells the author that his angst is responsible for a great deal of the reason his dog acts out. (How many of us horse owners are learning the exact same thing?) There's excellent commentary on dog training methods currently popular today woven in with the author's experience with AA's 12 step program. This book is funny, serious, and thought provoking at the same time. I highly recommend.
#BKADP - Price $22.95
A Dog's Purpose
A Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron
Hardcover, 317 pages.
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog's Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.
But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders-will he ever find his purpose?
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
I'm an avid reader, and appreciate all sorts of genres, but I struggle with reading first person accounts that are written from a viewpoint (or language dialect) that's vastly different than my own. I just can't get "into character" enough to appreciate what's trying to be told. I almost didn't get this title in to review for that very reason.
Would it be a series of phonetic spellings of whines and barks and grunts?
A dorky telling of a dog's viewpoint from a best-selling author who thought he could pull one off for the pet market?
A new, even sadder and more gory way to describe the terrible unwanted pet problem?
I was emphatically wrong on all my theories, and I am so glad I gave this one a chance. I was not very far into the pages... and I WAS that dog - reading from his viewpoint and understanding his world. And yes, you will need kleenexes, but I wasn't distracted from the story line by the occasional tragedies. They were more than offset by the happy, and humorous moments (kind of like real life). And the spiritual slant on this one left me feeling very good when I finished reading. I highly recommend.
#BKADJ - Price $24.95
A Dog's Journey
Another Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron
Hardcover, 336 pages.
A sequel to the bestseller A Dog's Purpose - Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own.
When Buddy is reborn, he realizes that he has a new destiny. He's overjoyed when he is adopted by Clarity, now a vibrant but troubled teenager. When they are suddenly separated, Buddy despairsÑwho will take care of his girl?
A charming and heartwarming story of hope, love, and unending devotion, A Dog's Journey asks the question: Do we really take care of our pets, or do they take care of us? More than just another endearing dog tale, A Dog's Journey is the moving story of unwavering loyalty and a love that crosses all barriers.
Bruce Cameron Book Set
#BKBC-SET - $39.95
Includes both Bruce Cameron Books A Dog's Purpose & A Dog's Journey
#BKTDC - Price $16.95
Tales from a Dog Catcher
by Lisa Duffy-Korpics
Softcover, 252 pages.
In Tales from a Dog Catcher, Lisa Duffy-Korpics brings together her years in an all-too-often overlooked profession in a magical book that is funny, touching, and heartrending by turns. In the tradition of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small and John Grogan's Marley & Me, she gives readers an unforgettable look at the lives of everyday people (and animals) who, whether by accident or design, come into contact with the sad, comical, and often profound world of an animal control officer.
Set in a small Hudson River Valley town, Tales from a Dog Catcher comprises twenty-two real-life stories about people and their experiences with animals, stories that both entertain and charm and feature all creatures great and small-from plenty of dogs and cats and "peeping Tom" raccoons, to a lucky duck, a gaggle of turkeys, and an (imagined) mountain lion.
Read all about: Two archenemies who use each other's dogs to fuel their feud until a dramatic courtroom battle-where they end up unwittingly helping each other. A call on an elderly woman to surrender her twenty-three cats provokes a surprising revelation. Due to a language barrier, a woman ends up watering her kittens like plants (not a joke).
I think we all have have a stereotypical dog catcher character archived in our brains. Even the dog catchers in the cartoons are bad men to be avoided at all costs. So, when Lisa comes along - a lady dog catcher who's a college student to boot, you know the story's going to be interesting. And she doesn't disappoint. Some of the stories are indeed sad - as animals being maltreated and euthanasia, etc are a part of this job and to be expected in some of the stories. However, I am about as tender-hearted as they come, and I managed to get through it. Lisa does a great job telling about the characters (both human and animal) along with the events associated with her work as animal control officer of a smallish town, including some legal and paperwork aspects that I never had considered.
I was down to the very last chapter, and was sure this one was going in the catalog. I almost put it aside to finish later - so I could move on to another book. I am glad I decided to finish it. The ending has an unexpected twist that I didn't see coming. A heartwarming turn of events that changed her life forever - in a good way. I hear she's working on a sequel, and I can't wait to read it.
#BKDDD - Price $14.95
Don't Dump The Dog
Outrageous Stories and Simple Solutions
to Your Worst Dog Behavior Problems
Written by Randy Grim
Softcover, 216 pages.
Read Don't Dump The Dog
Excerpt Pages 12-27
Most folks who live in a rural area have experienced this. A strange dog shows up at your place. He or she appears to be somebody's dog - it's apparent someone's given the dog care. Sadly, the dog waits for his "master" to come back for him - and they never do. The dog's been dumped. Someone decides they can't (don't want to) keep it any longer, so they take their doggie friend for a ride in the country... and leave him there. In urban areas, folks just toodle down to the animal shelter and dump their dogs there - without the bother of casing a likely home in the country with the proverbial "big yard".
This book is written by someone who's worked in one of those shelters where people surrender their dogs, every day. Randy does what most of us can't - he works tirelessly to place all these dogs without euthanizing any. Mama dogs dropped off in the nick of time - BEFORE they deliver a litter of puppies, fighting dogs, starving dogs, sick or injured dogs... you name it, Randy's had it. And he's pretty mad. Cleaning up all these messes left by irresponsible and stupid people can do that to a person. In the stories, he speaks of therapy sessions with his shrink, psychiatric medications, alcohol and caffeine. Thankfully, he's channeled his anger in a most productive way - this book. It's about the funniest book I have ever read. And, bless his heart, he's included concise, step-by-step instructions for solving most dog behavior problems that we all encounter. There's none of the "pack leader" bullying stuff, either - it's all delightfully positive, constructive and sensible training. And in case you think all this might be a little boring, take a look at some of these chapter titles:
The Turd Eaters
Cujo in the Dog Park
Gina's note: Even if your dog doesn't eat turds or attack in the dog park - you'll be captivated by this book - it's humorous, serious, informative and inspirational. Randy is a brilliant writer and I am so thankful that he shared his (and his dog's) stories.
Clicker Training Kits for Horses & Dogs
Clicker Training Kits
These kits include: Getting Started: Clicker Training book (Horse = 40 pages, dog =100 pages), a Clicker, an instruction booklet on how to use the clicker, and a sample bag of treats. You will be amazed at the transformation in your horse or dog in just a few sessions of clicker training!
Amazing Dog Facts & Trivia
#BKADFT - Price $12.99
Amazing Dog Facts & Trivia
Spiral bound hardcover, profusely illustrated in color - 192 pages
Tail wagging trivia by Ryan O'Meara. This is a fun, and interesting book that has all sorts of dog trivia that many lifelong dog lovers will discover that they did not know. And pictures - bazillions of color pictures showing all that stuff you didn't know that you didn't know! And it's written in such a way that folks of all levels of knowledge and experience will find it interesting. Not too elementary - not too technical. There are lots of great training tips, too.
Did you know that...
The oldest dog ever was Bluey, an Austalian Cattle dog who lived to be 29?
The term "Dog Fancying" means breeding dogs for particular features and was coined in the 19th century.
The ancient Greeks believed that the sultry summer heat was caused by Sirius, the dog star, hence the term "dog days".
There are paintings of dogs in the Lascaux caves of France (not just horses!)
NPR Driveway Moments - All About Animals
Two audio CDs totalling over 80 minutes - (21 stories)
Click here for audio clip.
Radio Stories That Won't Let You Go
Hosted by Steve Inskeep; host of Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the United States.
Humorous, touching stories from the National Public Radio archives illuminate and celebrate our relationship with our furry, feathered, and sometimes scaly friends.
What's a "driveway moment"? It's when you're so captivated by a story you're hearing on NPR that you stay in your car to hear it to the endÑeven if you're sitting in your driveway with the motor running. For years, listeners have written to NPR to describe such moments. Now animal lovers especially will want to make sure their tanks are full.
Meet a dog who's addicted to toads, a chatty parrot who tells the truth, the Stupid Pet Tricks coordinator for the Late Show with David Letterman, and a professional dog walker whose day features 14 canines and a lot of fresh air. Learn about a dog's life in Vietnam (where dog meat is a delicacy) and the heartrending search for lost pets following Hurricane Katrina. Visit a retirement community for thoroughbred racehorses and the Wait Wait petting zoo, where cows moo with British accents and mice dislike cheese. Bid farewell to a cat named Miss Pudding and welcome three orphaned hummingbirds home.
Heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, hosted by Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, these stories will make you laugh out loud and shed a tear or two.
This slim little paperbacks are surprisingly weighty (please pardon the conflicting description). Meaning that in just 64 pages, author Herbert Brokering has covered all aspects of the dog - such as trust, hope, forgiveness - and paired each with a prayer we can offer up to God. After reading it you will look at your dog through new eyes - with appreciation for the lessons he or she has for you.
#BKDPS - Price $9.95
Prayers My Dogs Have Taught Me
#BKDPS2 - Price $9.95
More Dog Psalms
Prayers My Dogs Have Taught Me
#BKDPS-set - Price $18.95
Dog Psalms - Set of 2 Books
Both Dog Psalms Books
I plead.... I am dog. My eyes sometimes look far away... My eyes look to you, inside of you, through you. With my eyes I plead. My eyes meet your eyes and hold you, fix you, ask you, capture you. I can stare into your spirit. The deep silence in my eyes is stronger than my bark. I can bury my eyes in your eyes until we find tears.
-from Dog Psalms
My dog - Puppy Girl
#BK-AT - Price $24.95
Animals in Translation - By Temple Grandin PhD
Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
This is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. In writing this copy - to tell you all about it - I referenced the publisher's promotional notes - and discovered them to be very specific, but a little dry and uninviting:
"Applies the autism theory of "hyper-specificity" to animals, showing that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees".
"Explores the "interpreter" in the normal human brain that filters out detail, leaving people blind to much of the reality that surrounds them - a reality that animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearly...."
The reality is, that Temple Grandin is an amazing person, and this book is an amazing work. She went from being a child that doctors urged her parents to institutionalize - to a PhD, author, college professor, and lecturer. She was advisor to the film-makers for the movie "Rain Man" - which was acclaimed for it's humorous, and very accurate portrayal of the relationship between an autistic man and his brother.
Animals in Translation is a wonderfully factual, well-researched book that describes Temple's view of the world, and her theories surrounding animal's views as well. Because she is not an animal trainer by trade (but a very thoughtful observer) her views and theories described in this book are totally untainted by any previous animal training experience. Full of thought-provoking information that will cause you to look at your animal's behavior through new eyes! Hardcover 356 pages
A Dog Lover's Prayer Tassel Bookmark
FREE with the purchase of any book!
A Dog Lover's Prayer
My prayer book's unconventional,
An Album scarred with age.
The dogs who shared their lives with mine
Stand out on every page.
The Spaniels of my childhood days,
All floppy ears and fluff;
The Dobermans who shared my bed,
Magnificent and tough.
Though some folks picture Heaven's gates
Atop a golden stair,
The precious photos in my book inspire this humble prayer:
Lord, lead me to a sun-washed field,
Then send them one by one;
Let yelps of joy lead wagging tails as to my arms they run.
Sad eyes so pleading, paws that beg,
A symphony of barks
Invite a romp in fragrant grass to songs of meadowlarks.
This Heaven that I pray for, Lord,
Where lilacs scent the air,
Is blessed with all the dogs I've loved
Who come to greet me there.