Loyal

I bet you thought I was talking about my dog. Well of course you did. My dog, your dog, all our dogs. Loyal is a defining word for our 4-legged, tail-wagging companions. It is also the name of a touching new book just out by author Rebecca Ascher-Walsh. I was pretty amazed as well as excited when  TLC Tours sent me a hot-off-the-press copy of Loyal in exchange for an honest review. No strings attached. So, here goes.

I love it. Yep. I mean, who wouldn’t love real life stories about dogs — just like many of ours — who have risen from unwanted shelter pups to heros in their own right? OK, so no one pulled a child from a burning building. What I’m talking about here is on-going, every day heroism. Not just the kind that we all need in our lives at least a little: the head in our laps when we are down, staying close when we are sick, the unconditional love. I’m talking about the kind that enables someone to continue on with life when all seemed lost. Who are these featured heroes?

There is Wyatt the Ridgeback, who detected a melanoma the doctors had missed in his soon-to-be Mom, saving her life.

There is Diamond the Lab Mix, who enabled an Afghanistan war veteran suffering from a disabling case of PTSD to resume a normal life.

There is Duke the Border Collie, who works as a team with his wheelchair-bound person to gather cattle on the pasture faster than the mounted cowboys.

In Loyal you will also read about Drago the Spinone Italiano, Zoey and Andy the Golden Retrievers, Scout the German Wirehaired Pointer, Glory the Bloodhound, Lyric the Beagle and many more.

Lucy wants to be sure I mention Roxy the Pit Bull. She said she wants to grow up to be just like Roxy: a glowing example representing her breed. She also wants me to give honorable mention to Niko the Pit Bull-Corgi Mix. He’s all hugs and licks, just like her. Oh, and he performs his magic in prisons.

Atlas the French Mastiff is Riley’s favorite since the Ri Boy also has some Dogue de Bordeaux in him. Atlas also shares Riley’s passion for children and acts as a champion for disabled children in rehab wards.

Angel Lexi wants you to know that her book is better because it is all about her. (She was never very good at sharing the spotlight.) Even so, she thinks maybe you will like this one too. After all, many of them are therapy dogs of one kind or another, just like Lexi was. Hmm, where was I? Oh yes.

Loyal is written as 38 short stories, all with beautiful color photographs.  I like that it lists facts about many of the dog breeds represented, such as origin, temperament, appearance and training tips. I also like that the hardcover is illustrated the same as the beautiful dust cover. That way, when your dog chews off the dust jacket, you still have the pretty picture on the front of the book! Come on, you know it’s true.

The rest of this post is the material the publisher gave me. You can click on links to read more about Loyal and author Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, as well as to purchase it.  Happy reading!

About Loyal

• Hardcover: 160 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 7, 2017)

This special collection of dog stories and photographs features four-legged heroes who have worked side by side with soldiers, searched the wreckage of natural and man-made disasters, changed families’ lives through emotional support, and administered aid around the world and at home in the United States. Heartwarming photographs and touching anecdotes bring to life thirty-eight caring canines who have served the people who mean the most to them, from a German Shepherd who leads a blind man on his marathon training mission to a belly rub-loving Sheltie who supports at-risk youth in the classroom. For anyone who has experienced the extraordinary affection of a dog, Loyal is a lasting celebration of the joys of canine companionship.

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Rebecca Ascher-Walsh is a writer who specializes in celebrity and lifestyle coverage, but who also loves dogs and telling stories about amazing animals. She contributes to many newspapers and national magazines including Entertainment Weekly, Adweek, and the Los Angeles Times. She is a volunteer at a high-kill shelter in Manhattan and a founding director of the Deja Foundation, devoted to funding the medical care and training costs of dogs rescued from high-kill shelters.

 

Purrs for Jamison

purrs4jamisonday Today we set aside a time to remember the brother of our well loved Noodle the Schnoodle, whose DNA test says he isn’t but none of us believe it. I most vividly remember the day Jamison took over Noodle’s blog without Noodle’s permission. Talk about Noodle being hot under the collar! He even brought charges against Jamison with Frankie and Ernie. The ruling was not in Jamison’s favor, and I don’t think he ever tried that again. The one thing I know for sure about Jamison is that his Mom loved him so very, very much and did everything she could to save his life. Please, if you haven’t already done so, please, please go to their gofundme account and try to help out, even if it’s just a little. Dear Jamison has crossed the rainbow bridge, but the bills are still there to be paid. Many thanks to the community for getting together to help ease that burden.

Siamese Visitor

Look who appeared on our front porch today.

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I see you but I am ignoring you in the hopes you will go away and leave me in peace.

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Why are you still here?

This cat has been a “stray” in the neighborhood for at least 3 years. I learned that one of our neighbors has been feeding him/her. Isn’t (s)he a beauty? I wonder if (s)he is related to Kali and Shoko up in Canada…

The Dogs of Rocktoberfest and a Rocky Adventure

First, let’s look at what happened between Jeff and Rocky the Gnome last Sunday at Rocktoberfest in Rock City on Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

Jeff is having a great time greeting people outside of the pavilion. Note the incoming Gnome to Jeff's left.

Jeff is having a great time greeting people outside of the pavilion. Note the incoming Gnome to Jeff’s left.

Rocky had his eye on Jeff's mat from the beginning, and now makes his move.

Rocky had his eye on Jeff’s mat from the beginning, and now makes his move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having knocked Jeff out of the way, Rocky takes up his position.

Having knocked Jeff out of the way, Rocky takes up his position.

Jeff attempts to retrieve his mat, but Rocky grabs it and runs.

Jeff attempts to retrieve his mat, but Rocky grabs it and runs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victorious, Jeff sends Rocky the Gnome scuttling back into the pavilion!

Victorious, Jeff sends Rocky the Gnome scuttling back into the pavilion!

Ready for some great dogs having fun at Rocktoberfest? By the way, Sam the Golden Retriever was the only one who asked Rocky to pet him. The rest either ran, barked or tried to bite Rocky. What would you do?

 

Top left the Yorkie is all ready for Halloween; right is a blue tick beale

Top left the Yorkie is all ready for Halloween; right is a blue tick beagle; bottom left is a Jack Russell Mix, right a mixed breed supergirl, with the sweetest smile!

 

You're not seeing triple. These 3 Aidales were with one family. What a happy black lab.

You’re not seeing triple. These 3 Airedales were with one family. What a happy black lab.

 

Top left is the popular Labradoodle, right is a regal Dobie who didn't want her picture taken. Botom left a Siberian Husky with startling ice blue eyes and right is sweet Sam, who just lost his brother. :(

Top left is the popular Labradoodle, right is a regal Dobie who didn’t want her picture taken. Bottom left a Siberian Husky with startling ice blue eyes and right is sweet Sam, who just lost his brother. 😦

 

Top left is a yellow lab; right is a Gordon Setter. Bottom left is another Yorkie who forgot to dress for Halloween; and a pomeranian, shaved for the heat

Top left is a yellow lab; right is a Gordon Setter. Bottom left is another Yorkie who forgot to dress for Halloween; and a pomeranian, shaved for the heat

 

Left -Lhasa Apso; right, I couldn't resist this second picture of our little mixed breed. Lexi would have been proud of the cocky sneer. Don't you wonder what she was thinking?

Left -Lhasa Apso; right, I couldn’t resist this second picture of our little mixed breed. Lexi would have been proud of the cocky sneer. Don’t you wonder what she was thinking?

What is Rocktoberfest?

If you have ever been on I-75 in Tennessee or Georgia, you have no doubt seen the billboards for Rock City, and maybe even seen the barn roofs or sides painted with the Rock City ad. The Rock City bird houses are famous around here.

Life-size birdhouse in which tourists can have their pictures taken

For thousands of visitors from all over the world each October, Rocktoberfest is a fun tourist destination where, once they make the drive to the top of Lookout Mountain, they can enjoy nature amongst huge rock formations, dizzying heights and natural flora. They also get to enjoy polka bands and dancing, and locally brewed beer, the best of which (IMHO) is the Octoberfest beer.

For Jeff and me, it means much more. This was the first year that Rocktoberfest has been in existence that Lexi did not attend. Sometimes she was frustrated by not being allowed to help teach polka with Jeff, and sometimes humiliated by being used as a prop when Jeff MC’ed and announced she was the “German dog helping out today”. She was recognized by the bands for singing with them from the sidelines and pet by many children of all nationalities. She often saw friends whom she always recognized from year to year, such as her beloved Dorothy from her first Wizard of Oz, as well as some band members. She loved walking the trails and smelling the pee mail. This year, Jeff worked there every Saturday and Sunday as usual, and I went every weekend to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and try to heal from her loss.

There is a different band each weekend , although sometimes a band will perform two weekends when there are five weekends, like this year. Last Saturday, a boy about 5 years old walked up to the band with his fingers in his ears, removing one long enough to try to grab the instruments. He managed to snag the slide on the trombone while it was being played as well as one of the bells. We were sitting on the bench just to the left of this picture, and when Jeff jumped up to rescue the bell, the kid’s Mom stopped laughing and ran up and grabbed the kid. Since I keep this a “G rated” blog, I won’t voice my feelings on the entire episode. Moving on. At least two of the bands had alphorns, the instrument used to play the famous “Ri-co-la.” I hear there’s even a ringtone with that three note cough drop tune.

Oompah band from Alabama

Oompah band from Birmingham, Alabama. Notice the alphorn lying in the front. 

The Birds of Prey show with different species of owls, a comical vulture, several falcons. and an American bald eagle is quite impressive, with the birds release to fly just above the heads of the seated audience. This all happens within an enclosed space. All these birds have been rescued, either from being raised in captivity or found with injuries too severe to treat and release back into the wild. The eagle, for example, only has one wing due to illegal poaching. No photography allowed during the show. 😦 And no dogs allowed anywhere near it. They are, after all, birds of prey, and some are quite large. If one should escape, well, there might be one less chihuahua or yorkie in the world.

Here is the overlook where you can see 7 states – Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and South Carolina. It helps to put a quarter in the telescopic viewers.

See 7 states with an American and state flag for each one

See 7 states. Each has an American and state flag in a rock base with important stats for each state.

There is one large waterfall as well as a small one very close to the overlook. I took all these pictures the last day of Rocktoberfest (last Sunday) and was too lazy to walk to the big falls again. So here is the smaller one. falls

ikSince Rock City strives to be child-friendly, there are some fun costumed characters. One of the most famous is Ik, King of the Trolls. This guy has been playing Ik at different venues for 20 years, and comes across as bigger than life. He says that he doesn’t eat children for three reasons:

  1. Children are not fully ripe.
  2. Children are not even a mouthful.
  3. Children are full of toxins such as sugar, GMO’s, and high-fructose corn syrup.

He will make an exception for free-range children that contain no antibiotics or growth hormones.

 

 

 

 

Rock City picsWhile at Rock City, there are plenty of souvenirs to buy. We have some very large beer mugs and steins that we take back every year, since the beer refill is only $2!

Jeff uses his special floor mat to stand on to keep his back from hurting. Come back tomorrow to find out who wins in Jeff’s battle with Rocky the Gnome for the mat. Also tomorrow I will highlight the dogs of Rocktoberfest. Well, at least all the dogs that were there last Sunday – and did’t get eaten by a bird of prey, bwahaha!

 

 

Campaign Announcement

I, Lexi, and Noodle, my campaign running mate, are officially withdrawing from the Mayoral race as of today. My health has worsened and I am not able to continue. With much of anything. Noodle doesn’t want to run without me. He would rather spend his energies helping to take care of me. Noodle is the world’s best boyfriend.

I wish Arty and Christmas both the best of luck in November. They have truly been worthy opponents, and Blogville will be fortunate to have either one as Mayor.

I am Lexi, the schnauzer

Renal Failure Update

Lexi asked me to update all her friends in Blogville as to her condition while she is at the vet’s this morning getting another – and possibly final – kidney treatment.

After her second treatment yesterday, more b/w was done. Her kidneys are responding somewhat. But not enough. The vet said the key is if she will eat and also keep it down. All I could get her to eat yesterday was some goat cheese we were having with supper. Her little cousin Piper was here and she perked up enough to beg at the table. All my tricks and coaxing couldn’t get her to eat anything else though. She has gotten very thin, and she has started shivering. I don’t know if it is from pain or what, but Jeff suggested that her body isn’t getting enough fuel to keep her warm.

We should know withing the next few days if she is going to recover enough from the kidney failure to continue with any kind of quality of life. Wow, this is a hard one to write. I think it will soon be time to call in her family and friends to say their last goodbyes.

I don’t have any brave Lexi or Mom pictures to show you today. I think we are both feeling pretty scared. Lexi has never been a snuggler or lap sitter, and now she wants me to hold and snuggle her most of the time. I will give her anything she wants.

I want to thank everyone so much for their prayers and support. 13 is a good, long life, and she has already lived 3 months longer than the 30 days the oncologists gave her. I am so grateful for these past three month.

Lexi or I will keep you informed. It’s almost time for me to go pick her up from the vet, where the techs all love her and where they are all doing everything possible to help her have more good time left.  So I will say good bye for now.

Amy, Lexi’s faithful servant

Super Sunday Selfie

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My Mom. *shakes head* She couldn’t find the Sunday Selfie hosting site today. So she said, “Never mind, you can still do your Sunday Selfie on your own blog, Lexi, and maybe someone will be kind enough to send us the link.” *sigh* So I did, since I have had some time to think about it this week.

This is how I have seen myself most of my life: brave, strong, humble, present in time of need, and much loved by everyone:

Super Schnauzer

Super Schnauzer

I am Lexi, the lonely Sunday Selfier. I guess I will go watch the PAWlympics.

OK, Mom finally got with it and found the hop. I am in it. Hop on over (really Mom?) to The Cat on My Head to see all the other Super Sunday Selfies.

Lexi the Boating Dog (2 years ago today)

Mom got another one of the nostalgic timeline pictures pop up again on her phone. I am sure your peeps get them too.  Two years ago today I was chillin’ out on and in the Tennessee River. Hmm, I wonder where my life jacket is? I bet Mom just took it off so I could dry my beautiful hair in the sun.

Lexi on boat seat

Since our boat isn’t running this summer, we have been staying inside to keep cool. How boring…

I am Lexi, the boating dog.