Tag Archives: dogs

A Girl and Her Dog

2 Nov

This is such a sweet book, even though it got me a little teary-eyed.


Publisher’s Summary:Eli the dog has been with Astrid since her parents brought her home from the hospital as a baby. Now Astrid is getting older, and so is Eli. Before he slows down too much, Astrid wants to make fun memories with him. So she makes a bucket list for Eli, which includes experiences such as eating with him in a restaurant, and taking him down a slide at the playground.

But in the end, what is most important to Eli is the time he spends with Astrid, whom he loves dearly. Sisters Kate and M. Sarah Klise have created a story that reminds readers of all ages that time with our loved ones is the most precious gift of all.

This book would be a great way to approach a discussion of aging pets with young readers. It could also be used to talk to children about aging grandparents.

Lovely Louies

15 May

My Louie loved everyone.

Louie-Just_being Louie

A cat once followed us home from the park. Fiona wanted to attack but Louie didn’t bat an eye. He was just that kind of guy. Needless to say, in the cat’s best interest, I did not invite it into the house.

Just like my Louie did, the eponymous Louie of Tony Fucile’s Poor Louie has a great life.


Publisher’s Summary:Louie’s life is great! A walk on the leash every morning, ice cream on Sundays, snuggling in bed at night with Mom and Dad. Even the playdates with Mom’s friends — despite their little crawling creatures who pull Louie’s ears — aren’t all that bad. But then things get weird: cold food on the floor, no room in the bed, and lots of new stuff coming into the house in pairs — two small beds, two little sweaters, two seats in the stroller. Does that bode double trouble ahead, or could there be a happier surprise in store for Louie? With perfect visual pacing, Tony Fucile takes a familiar story and gives it a comic spin.

The expressive cartoon artwork takes and comic look at how childless people (like me) anthropomorphize their dogs , and at the the arrival of a new sibling.  This would be a great book to share with children about to be displaced by a new baby, or a childless couple who’s pet is about to be relegated to the floor, just like Poor Louie.

Fortunately, the ending provides an excellent solution to Poor Louie’s dilemma.

Wild and Wary

1 Jun

Perhaps you’ve seen the dog dictum from Francesco Marciuliano’s collection of dog poems I Could Chew on This:

We were wolves once

Wild and wary

Then we noticed you have sofas

It has toured social media in a variety of memes. To illustrate this point in a non-meme way, Lucy is snoring beside me, in my bed, while I write this post. This is the first summer in eight years that I will have only one dog and I have promised Lucy that we will have some adventures together. Before she fell asleep, I read Lucy a bedtime story about one dog’s adventures.

Andrea Zuill’s debut picture book, Wolf Camp,  combines the idea of the wolf ancestor with summer adventure at a camp where city dogs can get in touch with their inner wolf.


Publisher’s Summary: Meet Homer, a dog who heads to camp to live like a wolf! Here’s the perfect book for the legions of kids out there who love dogs and funny books.

Bath day!

13 Mar

Bassets don’t like water and will do just about anything to avoid it.


Bath day in a basset home can be tricky. I had to chase Lucy around the house and carry her into the bathroom where I quickly closed the door to trap her inside.

She didn’t fight the warm water I scooped over her or the shampoo I scrubbed into her fur. It was while we were giving the shampoo time to sit that she got antsy and tried to jump out of the tub. I sang “Twinkle twinkle” a few times while holding her head and looking deeply into her eyes. Doggy hypnotism.  She regained her calm for the rinse phase, but, as soon as I’d finished drying her with the towel, she lept out of the tub and did the post bath dash familiar to all dog owners. She chased her tail a bit too. She might be close to 10, but she still has some puppy mannerisms.

I don’t have the heart to tell her she is going to have her nails trimmed and ears cleaned later.





Last ride

10 Nov


Later today, Fiona and I will probably take our last ride together. She’s been failing slowly over that last few months, more quickly the last few weeks, rapidly this week.

I’ve been looking for a “sign”, the sign they always tell you about. The one Clara gave me when she was ready to go. Louie gave no sign. We came home from a walk one day and, while I was getting ready for school, I heard a “thunk” in the living room. He was gone before I got there.

But, Fiona is a fighter. She’s fought cancer, bounced back from the surgery to remove a rock in her intestines, suffered my ministrations as I cleaned her ears every other day to fend off  chronic ear infections. She’s fighting now, too, but this time, I can see that she isn’t winning. For the last week at bedtime, I’ve been telling her it’s OK if she doesn’t wake up. I’d understand. But she is a fighter.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And so, after school today, we will drive to the vet. I am expecting that she won’t be coming home, but I don’t know that for sure. Vets won’t euthanize a dog that shouldn’t be euthanized, but I think he will.

Here she is in 2009, a year after I got her. This has always been my favorite picture of her.


Funny how it is so much easier to write about this than it is to talk about it.

Soldier Dog by Sam Angus

12 Nov


I mentioned this book in my post yesterday. I picked it up almost by accident when I was at the library a few days ago. It was displayed on the new book shelf. I even considered not checking  it out because it seemed to be too much of an echo of  War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. It is reminiscent of the book, don;t get me wrong, but it is certainly worth reading, too.

Stanley’s older brother has gone to fight in the Great War and his father is prone to sudden rages after the death of his wife. Stanley devotes himself to taking care of the family’s greyhound and puppies. One morning Stanley wakes to find the puppies gone. Determined to find his brother, Stanley runs away to join an increasingly desperate army. Assigned to the experimental War Dog School, Stanley is given a problematic Great Dane named Bones to train. Against all odds, the pair excels, and Stanley is sent to France.

If you enjoyed War Horse, you will enjoy this book, too.

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