|Gracie as a pup - a pic included in book - yes there's pictures!|
In order to help spread word about the book, we will be offering a promo price on the Kindle version for a few days: promo.
Also a reminder, if you don't Kindle, there are free apps available to download Kindle onto any wifi enabled device, including your laptop, tablet, or phone for that matter. I personally wouldn't want to read a book on a phone but then, I'm old by modern technology standards. Funny, but I don't feel outdated....
|Lil and Gracie|
Also a bit more about the book. While part of it is about Gracie and the process she and I went through finding each other and adjusting to life together, this story is paralleled by a history of how Bondogges became Bull and Terriers, became Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, and Bulldogs; tips for choosing a dog that suits one's own lifestyle; traveling safely with a dog; choosing how to leave a dog when you have to travel without him/her; making arrangements for a dog in case one is ever ill etc.
To set the book up though, I thought I'd include an excerpt - the Preface.
Every Story has a Dog
It seems all the stories I find most compelling in life are dog stories.
My own life with dogs starts with my earliest memory. I am under two years old, sitting in the backseat of the family car, in the dark. Outside I can see a bonfire: I am aware that it is night, that we are in the country, that I am up later than usual, and that it is cold enough that I have to wear my jacket. The car-door to my left opens and my father’s arm reaches in, placing a box on the floor of the car. I crouch on the spacious back seat and peer over the edge into the box. My blue eyes meet a pair of dark eyes set in a fuzzy brown face with a lovely white blaze. I feel an immediate connection that I've never felt before. I have just locked eyes with my first kindred spirit. It would turn out this was Champ, a farm collie who would grow up to become iconic in my memory.
My life has been filled with reading about and working with dogs. No matter what else has been happening, no matter where I've gone to school, worked, or struggled, dogs have always been a significant part of my life. I learned to train dogs and discovered I did well rehabilitating difficult dogs and have had some success with turning unwanted dogs into desirable companions. A few particularly challenging dogs became my permanent family members. We understood each other. Like so many people I found my life experiences were preparing me for new and greater challenges. To get to the point where I was ready for Gracie and being a companion suitable to living with an English Bull Terrier though, it is helpful to know something of my background with terriers.
Wee Bonnie Lass. She was my first German terrier, a Miniature Schnauzer of definite opinions. At the time Bonnie entered my life I was living with my grandparents, a young adult trying to provide at-home care for a grandmother who was slipping away into Alzheimer’s disease. Grandpa wasn't ready to see that Grandma needed care we couldn't provide. He wasn't ready to see she was sick. My grandparents’ adult children, including my mother, aunts and uncle were not ready to step in and declare that something had to be done. I was young but I understood that everyone needed more time to come to terms with what was happening.
A big part of what I did was just keeping Gram and Grandpa alive. I got up during the night and turned the stove off after Gram got up and turned it on, sometimes in vague memories of cooking – I would find pots with a mix of flour and other incongruous dry goods in a pot, on the stove and forgotten. I made sure the matches she lit and dropped on the carpet next to the fireplace didn't catch the rug on fire. I went after her when she tried to dart into traffic when we were shopping in town, or when she ran away from home because she’d again become convinced that she was the victim of kidnapping. While I managed all this I found it stressful, particularly since my immediate family was across the country and my nearest aunts and uncles were five hour’s drive away.
I ended up doing what I always do when I get too distressed with life, I looked for a canine companion to help me manage. While my grandparents had a big, long haired, middle aged retriever-collie mix, she was allowed to run free in the area and spent much of her day outside, showing up with Grandpa in the evening for dinner and to join him in front of the fire for the evening. I wanted company during the long, lonely days when Gram would putter away, lost in her own world and disinterested in interacting. I found advertisements in the paper for two litters of puppies; one was Basset Hounds, the other Miniature Schnauzers. I seriously considered both but then realized, since I would eventually be flying back across the country to where my parents and younger siblings lived, I ought to get a dog that would be smallest and therefore least expensive to transport. I convinced my grandfather to take me to see the Schnauzer pups. It was Grandpa’s one big silent thanks to me that he bought me one of the pups, since he thought paying for dogs was absurd. That’s when Bonnie entered our lives.
Bonnie had gotten me through the time with my grandmother and then saw me into my first independent adult years. Within two months of her death due to heart failure, Wills, a black male Miniature Schnauzer, found his way into my life. Wills was with me as I headed to graduate school, moved between Canada and the U.S. and through my initial diagnosis with disabilities. There were many days that seemed just plain rotten back then – including the day the rescued Boxer we lived with was initially diagnosed with cancer – and Wills was my little rock. He and I did have disagreements but honestly, his temperament turned out to be much more biddable than Bonnie’s ever had been and he was considerably less bossy. He had the same attitude about his role in the world though, and remained convinced that he was always top dog in the house, even when we adopted a Rottweiler-Lab mix who was under-socialized, cage bound, and uncertain of people. I knew we could manage this new dog, Sam, when Wills rushed his face and Sam just raised his head and wagged his tail with a bit of hesitation, as if to say, “Sorry, did I give offense?”
Bonnie and Wills – they were such a large part of my life, not just by the years we marked together, but by the events we went through. A person has to realize this in order to realize why my life was open to Gracie.
|Wills with Friend|
NOTE: I'm still taking names from people who would be interested in winning a copy of the book - you know, the old fashioned kind of book that doesn't shatter when you throw it across the room to get someone's attention. Just mention your interest in the comment section. And Beth from the Daily Dog Tag - your copy is on the way!