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.

 

How my Week Turned Around by Piper

About 87 weeks ago I agreed to go home with my Aunt Amy and Uncle Jeff ’cause I knew they were sad and I wanted to help. But it’s been real hard for me. I missed my own Mom and Dad and my sis Ella so much. At Aunt Amy’s, I would sit at the top of the stairs where I know people come up from their cars and I would watch down to the driveway from the patio to see if my Mom was coming. I whined and breathed hard and refused to take my pills (they got stuck down my throat anyhow) and didn’t much feel like eating. Finally, Aunt Amy told my Mom I really needed to come back home because this was too hard on me. I really wanted to be here but I wanted my Mom to be here too.

Aunt Amy would not take me to work with her on Tuesdays because I have never liked being around little kids, and the Parents Day Out program kids come to the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I tried my best to go, but she still left me all alone at home. By the time she and Uncle Jeff got home last Tuesday night I was a wreck. I even had what she thinks was a little seizure from getting so worked up.

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Thursday: a happy, relaxed boy

Wednesday morning finally arrived and I got to go to work. It was just me and Aunt Amy there. I was very, very  good. I got to run all over the church – except for the place where they hold the Sunday worship service – and I wasn’t nervous so I didn’t mess anywhere. I was such a wreck home alone on Tuesday and so good at work with Aunt Amy on Wednesday that she decided to “go against her better judgement” and take me on Thursday. Thursday is the day the people come in to get their food vouchers to go to the Food Bank and get their food. That opening you see behind my foot goes between Aunt Amy’s office and the volunteer office where those people come. I thought about what Lexi had told me, how she always went to them very calmly and suggested that they pet her. I thought I would give it a try with the first two ladies that came in and guess what? It worked!  So this is therapizing, the therapizing that Lexi loved to do and was so good at it. Well, I could be good at it too. In my desire to therapize, I forgot about what color people were, what they smelled like and how big or little they were. I made them feel happy and they pet me and made me feel happy. No wonder Lexi loved to do this!

In between therapizing, I ran downstairs to see what was up with all the little kids. I have a reputation of not being especially fond of little kids. I decided right then that if I could therapize people in the office, I could therapize little kids in their classrooms too. Twice Aunt Amy called me to come back upstairs. The third time that I ran down, she just said, “Well Piper, you know who is down there and you go at your own risk. Come back when you are ready.” I discovered when I went in the first classroom that the kids loved me. I mean they loved me! They were sweet with me and pet me gently. I made sure everyone was happy and then went into the second classroom. Sure enough, the same thing happened. And guess what? Lexi never did this!!  I think I finally got one up on my cousin. I even think I heard someone say that I could be the church dog!

So you think this is good? I have to tell ya’, things only got better from there. Over the weekend I went for a ride up Lookout Mountain to Rock City with Aunt Amy. On the way, she said we would see my Uncle Jeff and, 15886-1and, and my Mom!! Woohoo! I got to lead the way on the trails and sit with my Momma while we listened to the oompah band, the Wurstbrauts. Mom even helped Uncle Jeff teach polka. The only bad part was when I got tied to a chair. Momma was on the dance floor and Aunt Amy was taking pictures. All these middling size kids kept running past and it kind of scared me. I started yelling “Momma! Amy!, Momma! Amy!” My Mom finally heard me and pointed at me and Aunt Amy saved me. Whew, that was a close call.

Now I am safely and wonderfully home in Kentucky with my Mom and Dad and Ella. I miss Aunt Amy and Uncle Jeff.

I am Piper, the why-can’t-everyone-just-live-together schnauzer.

Lexi’s Memorial Service – Recorded

For those of you who were unable to watch live this morning, here is the link to the recorded service. The sound levels are not great on this raw footage, so please bear with it. They improve a bit into it. Later, when my dear, over-worked husband has a bit of time to work on the sound, I will repost it. But for those who don’t want to wait, here it is on Vimeo:

Lexi’s Memorial Service at St. Luke UMC

 

 

Final Children’s Therapy Visit

This summer I finished up a ten year run as a therapy dog. I have done therapy in nursing homes and in a physical rehab center; however, my favorite has been at the children’s hospital – as long as the little munchkins stayed in their beds! The last Thursday of each month, Mom would say, “Lexi, do you want to go therapize the kids today?” I felt so good doing that work that I would grin the whole time I was there. So did the kids! See for yourself…

Reasons 7 and 8 to Vote Lexi for Mayor

Hello friends, Lexi here again. If you missed my Campaign Propoganda previous posts informing you why you need to vote for me for the Supreme Leader of Blogville your Mayor, you can check our reasons 1 & 2 here and reasons 3 & 4 here and reasons 5 & 6  here. Today, we move on to reasons #7 and #8:

7. Volunteer Service: I give all of myself at the Children’s Hospital once a month. My job is to make sick kids smile, and I am very good at it. I grin the whole time I am there. It feels good to give back to the community who loves me. How is this relevant, you may ask. I can give you pointers on how to qualify to be a therapy dog, too. Plus, you can use me as a reference. That should do the trick.

We are BOTH smiling.

We are BOTH smiling.

8. Spokesdog for a Major Multi-National Corporation: I will be YOUR spokesdog, too.

Me as spokesperson for CG Roxanne Water

Me as spokesdog for CG Roxanne Water a.k.a. Crystal Geyser.

While you are here, feel free to grab one of the campaign buttons from the sidebar and join my other friends who are proudly showing support for their candy date of choice!

Piper Update and Hodge Podge

Great news from the vet! We got he results from the biopsy on the tumor removed from Piper’s leg. Piper had a histeocytoma, which is bee nine. That means he does not have cancer. *happy dance* It fooled the vet because it is usually only very young dogs, like under the age of 2, who get these. They said it could grow back, but not to worry if it does. Whew! Piper and his folks and me and my Mom thank everyone for their happy thoughts, prayers POTP, well-wishes and concern. Auntie Jen is back to calling my cousin “the punk,” (as in “Hey, Punk, whatcha want for dinner?”)  so I know he is feeling good again.

It has been busy on the home front. Last weekend the boy stayed with us all weekend. Mommy always knew it was him running in the front doounspecifiedr because I would bark and he would smile and pet me. He’s a good kid, and understands it is just my job to bark at him. Then my peeps brother Adam came on Sunday and took over the room where the boy had been sleeping. I love Adam tons and he loves me tons too. I am his very favorite anipal, which is as it should be. I got to see my other peeps brother Andrew too! After everybody left, I got bored, so I barked at Dad until he agreed to be in a picture with me.

Last night I heard Mom ask Dad if he had people and anipals come stay with him before he met her. He gave a resounding, “No!” Mom said this has happened with her for most of her adult life, and she enjoys it. Mom then got quiet for a moment, and said, “This had to be a big adjustment for you – I love you soooo much!” Aw. To put this in perspective, Auntie Jen lived with us all for a year, brother Andrew, Jentry and The Boy lived with us for two years, my schnauzer cousins Piper and Milo lived with us for a year after Auntie Jen moved out, and there have been plenty of drop ins in between. That is just since Mom and Dad got married in 2008, BOL! Because Dad loves all the peeps and anipals who have also called our house home, he hasn’t minded a bit.

Moving on… Yesterday Dad took me for another acupuncture treat mint because my hip was starting to bother me again. I love going to see Dr. Karen, and I love my treat mints – they make me feel so much better. I get to go back next Friday.

Hallway ceiling at children's hospital

Hallway ceiling at children’s hospital

Today Mom took me to the children’s hospital to therapize the sick and hurting kids. There weren’t as many today, which is good. I was sitting in the bed with one 5 year old boy and he said, “Look Mommy, the doggy likes me. It is smiling at me.” Now, I don’t like being called an “it” but I am glad I made it, er him, happy! Mommy took a picture of the ceiling at the hospital – yes, she claims she meant to do that, BOL! Pretty cool, huh?

 

Blogsville Mayoral Candy Date Debate #2 – Bring It On!

DebateTuesday

Here we are again with Debate Tuesday, Week 2. I, Lexi, asked the questions this week and am hoping for some revealing answers to help you make an informed decision (to vote for me) in November. Be sure and grab one of the badges in my sidebar and display it prominently on your blog page to show your support!

For more information on us, the Candy Dates, you are invited to visit our blogs:

Lexi at Lexi the Schnauzer

Arty at Dory’s Backyard

Christmas at Paw Province

Now, let the debate begin!

1. If you could wish for any one thing for Blogville and have it come true, what would it be?

Lexi: There’s been a lot of medical problems lately. I would wish for perfect health for everyone throughout their lives.

Arty: My wish for Blogville and every-ville is that all our friends in shelters and roaming the streets find furr-ever homes real soon!!

Christmas: I know it isn’t possible, but I wish EVERY SINGLE Blogville peep could be in the same place all in one time and everyone would get a chance to talk about their experiences and meet the people and pets who they’ve loved from a distance for so many years.

2. Blogville includes anipals and peeps from all around the world. What experience do you have with foreign dignitaries that would help in your role as mayor, if elected?

Lexi: Let’s see. I had the French to my house one evening for an American meal served in the French tradition. Then I took them all for a walk around my neighborhood to observe and admire our American way of life. I hope they returned to France with stories of our American hospitality. Before a stressful production of Home for the Holidays I offered my therapy services backstage to the Chattanooga Symphony Director Kayoko Dan, originally from Japan. I went on to do therapy with several of the performers. Miss Dan was so appreciative that she sent me a Christmas card. I hope she lets the Japanese know of the kindness of Americans.

Arty: Hmmmm, well I love french fries and would love to try Chinese food someday. Other than that, I will be meeting with dogs from all over the world (well, from the USA and Canada) in June, when I attend the B.A.R. and hope to use this time to help refine my foreign policy!

Christmas: Well, because dog shows are full with top dogs from all over the world, I’ve met dogs from all sorts of places. I’ve met a Standard Schnauzer from Croatia and some other dogs I’ve met have probably been from 87 different places, too. Us Dachshunds are German dogs (wiener schnitzel, anyone?) so I’m part German! I am actually very fluent in German, but it’s a shame that my mommy is a human and can’t understand my German.

3. What is, or would be, your choice for a volunteer service and why?

Lexi: Since 2007 I have been doing monthly therapy with children of all ages at the local children’s hospital. My times onstage at the theatre were also volunteer work, besides being my very favorite thing in the whole world. Putting a smile on a sick or hurting child’s face and making people happy keeps me in touch with my purpose in life, to bring joy to others.

Arty: If given the chance, I would love to be a spokesdog for our anipals that need homes. Coming off the streets myself (when I was only 7 months old), I feel I would do a great job telling the humans out there Rescue Doggies Rock!!

Christmas: My mommy is thinking of training me specifically to be a therapy dog within the next couple of years. I love peeps and I’m very sweet and well behaved. I work well in public and I love to make peeps happy. My long body and longing eyes usually earn me lots of attention on my walks.

4. What is the hardest decision you ever had to make and how did it turn out?

Lexi: Mom and I play the “Leave It, Find It” game with treats. She puts a treat down, says, “Leave it,” and I have to ignore the treat while we go to the next spot in the house where she does it again. Eventually, Mom says, “Find it!” and I get to use my excellent memory to find all the treats and eat them. If I grab and eat one while Mommy is still in the first part of the game, the game is over. So the hardest decision is to leave the treat so that I can have more or satisfy my immediate desire to eat it right then. Things always go better when I listen.

Arty: Hmmm, being just 4 years old, I haven’t had to make many hard decisions except for deciding to resign myself to being an “Alpha in Training” under Dory. After living here for only a few months,  I decided she is the best girl for the job. Now I listen to (almost) everything she has to say! This has helped to give me the patience needed to be a good Blogville Mayor, and the ability to listen to others!

Christmas: My hardest decision? In my short life (I’m 2!) I haven’t had many hard decisions to make, except for one EXTREMELY DIFFICULT ONE!!! It was to decide if I wanted chicken canned dog food or beef canned dog food for dinner one day. Can’t you feel my pain? It was a very difficult choice, but I eventually chose the chicken. Where’s the beef?

5. A good mayor has to use empathy and common sense. Give an example of when you have done either one or both.

Lexi: Empathy: I do that every time I stay home with Dad when he feels bad and give him therapy instead of making demands. I do that when I give up my front car seat to Piper because he gets car sick in the back. Common sense: Sometimes when I come out of work the sun is shining in my eyes. So, instead of walking out into the parking lot without being able to see, I wait for Mommy to leash me or pick me up. Mommy says that is smart; I think it is just common sense.

Arty: I always feel when my Mama or Daddy are upset and am right there fighting for attention to soothe them! Also, as a member of a pack of four, I have the common sense to get to our food bowls first! Can’t have my brothers and Dory eating my dinner!!

Christmas: For empathy? Well, I always look out for my mommy. I make sure she’s happy and I have lots of fun taking walks with her. In the show ring, once I got very nervous. I tried to back off the table in the ring where my mom stacked me for the judge (a stack is a way a show dog stands in the ring). I don’t really know why, I was just nervous. Dog shows can be overwhelming sometimes. So she picked me up and talked to me and made me feel better, and when she put me back on the table, I was calm and happy and let the nice judge look at my teeth and pet me. The judge chose us for first place because my mommy put her dog’s needs first. I do the same for her. If my mommy is sometimes nervous in the ring or just in casual life, I like to lick her face or do one of my tricks to lighten her up!

Lexi for Mayor Day 2

Hello friends, Lexi here again. If you missed my Campaign Propoganda post yesterday informing you why you need to vote for me for the Supreme Leader of Blogville your Mayor, you can check it out here. Today, we move on to reasons #2 and #3.

2. Let Them Eat Cake: I eat at the table with my people. I get McDonald’s food and real cake for my birthday. How is this relevant, you may ask. I know how to manipulate the people and I will both share my knowledge with you and fight for your rights. Like your right to eat cake.

This picture is from my 10-year-old birthday party. I had a Healthy Choice meal with my Mom and Dad and then my very own cake shaped like a dog. I know, kinda’ weird, but Mom meant well. Can you see the happy all over my face?

This picture is from my 10-year-old birthday party. I had a Healthy Choice meal with my Mom and Dad and then my very own cake shaped like a dog.

3. All Lives Matter: All dog lives matter. All cat lives matter. All pig lives matter. All bird lives matter. All rabbit lives matter. In short, All Lives Matter. I will not discriminate because of species, breed, age, economic status, color, or gender. Not so sure about snakes and spiders, but I am open to discussion on this.

Lexi for Mayor

Hello, I am Lexi. I have been nominated (by me) for Mayor of Blogsville, and I accept my nomination. I won’t go into my entire background, as you can read more about me in my posts, in my Kindle book, and in the About section of my website. I am told I need a platform. I think I will use the platform I have used in the past:

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There is plenty of room on my platform for everyone.

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This is my platform. It is also commonly called a stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I possess many skills, experiences and qualities that make me uniquely qualified for this position as the Supreme Leader of Blogville your Mayor. Over the next few days I will use some of my considerable counting skills to list them for you so you don’t have to figure them out on your own. I am helpful like that. Today, besides, my platform, I will list reason #1 to vote for me, Lexi:

  1. Proclaimed Actor: You may have noticed that my election picture shows me next to my Publicity Photo and Annie Award. My Annie is like an Oscar for people and I was the first-ever animal to receive one at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. I received my Annie for the “Director’s Choice Award.” Quite prestigious. I went on to star two more times in other productions of the Wizard of Oz. Why is this important, you may ask. Some of our greatest politicians have been acclaimed performers. Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono,  and Jessie Ventura, to name a few.
    Publicity shot 2006

    Publicity shot 2006 for Wizard of Oz

    Please be sure to check back tomorrow for reasons #2 and #3.