SUMMER READING LIST: Homeless dog writes letters to all his neighbors hoping to find a forever family

Remember summer reading programs when you were a kid? There was one at my local library that motivated me to read ALL the Lassie books they had and even Old Yeller!! I’m so happy to still have those great memories of sitting in the sun, reading books in the middle of the day — because it was summer!

Over the next few months, I hope you’ll stop by here for my reviews of a few kids books centered around dogs. I was fortunate enough to get advance copies from the publishers, and I bet one of these books will make a great present. Since today is the first day of summer, here is the first book!!

CAN I BE YOUR DOG?

Do you have a little dog lover at home? Have a kindergartener at home, or know a first grade teacher interested in showing their students the art of written letters while introducing them to the topic of dog adoption? I have just the big colorful picture book to read aloud at story time! 

Can I Be Your Dog? is a wonderful heartfelt story about Arfy, a homeless dog searching for his forever home. His story is hopeful and bittersweet at the same time. Arfy genuinely personifies what real dogs could go through, teaching a compassionate lesson to little ones.

I immediately fell in love with his big sweet and goofy face, and the tender hearted series of letters he sends to all the people who live along his street.

Letter writing may not be as common as it once was in the era of email and texting but the powerful meaning behind his words and search for a forever family resonates on every big colorful page.

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5 Great Reasons Why Time With a Senior Dog Makes Us Healthier!

Time spent with older dogs can be the best antidote for whatever is ailing you. Each time I walk out of the Muttville doggy loft, I feel better about myself, healthier in mind and body.

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Have you wondered what makes older dogs special, why I believe they rule? Read on for five great reasons why spending time with senior dogs can result in a healthier you!!

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Happy 2018! Here’s to all the ways we can experience the positive influence of dogs

Happy 2018!! Here’s to a new wonderful year celebrating the many ways the human animal bond is demonstrated by dogs and those who love them.

Here are just a few ways we saw the power of the human-dog bond expressed last year:

  • Spontaneous cuddles in the middle of a dog walk
  • Compassionate responses to a dog who unexpectedly loses their person
  • A tired person getting up in the middle of the night to take their dog outside to pee
  • Keeping a second identical toy that is your dog’s favorite on the ready
  • Making a special celebration of your dog’s Gotcha Day
  • Happy conversations between dog and person in public

There are so many ways we see how dogs positively influence us, and these were just a sample. What’s so wonderful is that there are truly unlimited ways for us to experience the power of this bond.

We’d love to hear from readers below in the comments how the human dog bond influences you...

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Want to feel good about helping give an older dog a second chance at a happy life?

Whenever I volunteer at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue there always seems to be Kodak moments with the dogs. These sweet adoptable dogs caught my eye last year with their loving manner, soft and welcoming expressions, and ability to make me laugh.

Do you need a dose of oxytocin, or a shot of endorphins? Want to feel good about helping give an older dog a second chance at a happy life? Have a few hours in your week to offer?

 

You’ll get love, when you give love (and a little elbow grease), each time you help Muttville mutts! 

Learn more here.

Foster. Adopt. Donate. Volunteer.

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Adopt a Senior Dog Month: Reason #5 Why Senior Dogs Are Amazing

Wonder why senior dogs are amazing? One big reason is they show how age is just a number!!

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

November is Adopt a Senior Dog Month. Discover for yourself how older dogs can positively influence your life, and just how it feels to have one show you what fearlessly giving is.

 

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Don’t fear! Senior dogs are very dear — and worth adopting!!

One of the biggest reasons senior dogs, and generally adult dogs, have a hard time getting adopted from shelters is because many people fear loss.

You know a simple way to counter that fear? Flip your perspective! 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

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5 Great Reasons Why Senior Dogs Rule and Puppies Drool

November has turned into a favorite month thanks to the older dogs in my life. I love senior dogs more than Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce!

My excitement for this month began after we adopted my own amazing Shepherd Husky from the San Francisco SPCA in November. After we shared every “Gotcha Day” and adoptaversary each November, I loved this month a little bit more.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Since my big fluffy girl had to move on three years ago, I’ve been spending time every week at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue among an ever changing tide of sweet oldsters. They show me how much more fun being around well-seasoned dogs are compared to puppies! 

Curious about what makes these sugar faces so great? Read on and see for yourself  Adorable adoptable dogs ahead!!

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The good feelings you can get from the smell of a dog or twenty

I love the smell of dogs. There, I said it, and I mean it.

Am I alone in this? I hadn’t thought before that something I was badly missing after the passing of my big fluffy dog would be her smell. Her thick Husky Shepherd triple coated fur smell. She had smelled like my beloved childhood stuffed bear who I took naps with and whose plastic nose I chewed. I still have that now fifty year old panda bear.

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Today, coming home from my morning with the oldsters at Muttville, I silently kept noticing the smell of the dogs on me. I could see their hairs on my black yoga pants but I also got little whiffs of scent every time I shifted in my bus seat. And I loved it!

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How do you feel when a dog smiles at you?

I have met emotional support dogs and understand why you would feel calm having a dog close by at all times. Whenever I volunteer at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, the dogs turn any frown upside down.

Our family dogs not only made me feel safe and protected, but on many occasion they also calmed my adolescence. I could turn to any one of them when I needed to redirect my anxiety over family squabbling.

How did the stress of growing up in a turbulent household diminish?

Dogs wanted to play with me. Playing together distracted me for hours from our family worries. And with dogs, there was always poop to be picked up or bedding to be cleaned. They enjoyed learning and eagerly gave me all their attention if I wanted to work with them. Anyone with a dog who loves to fetch knows how easy it is to pass hours tossing a ball. If I wanted to have a dog even just sit next to me and listen to my worries, one of them always would.

Dogs have always been excellent at distracting me. Is there a certain dog gene I carry that makes me susceptible? Is this why someone would visibly and physically respond to a dog they don't know?

This ability to distract and engage my attention so completely continues with dogs I meet at Muttville. Each week, whether I am surrounded by new dogs, or dogs I met previously, they still offer a unique calming effect on my demeanor.

I can understand the role emotional support dogs play. Just look at Oscar's face in this photo, he's showing you how to thoroughly enjoy a walk! 

When you look at a dog's face how does it make you feel? What about a dog's relaxed body language? When they smile do you return the look? 

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Young readers will love the story of Gobi, the little stray dog with a big heart

When I think back to my childhood, I realize that after my stuffed Snoopy, my first real friend was our family dog. I think because of my young age and personality, I was willing and able to develop meaningful friendships with all of our family dogs over the years. Each of them had an important and positive influence over my development growing up in a remote area of a California county. They were my study buddies, cheerleaders, confidants, motivators, and moral compass. I know that is a lot but believe me, never underestimate the power of the human-dog bond.

The support, generosity, and kindness of strangers

This leads me to a wonder pair of books that I was given the chance to read before their official release August 29th, starting with Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart. It's a picture book that offers a humane education for little ones, taking them on an adventure across the desert! They are introduced to a little stray dog whose positive influence has a remarkable impact on an ultra-marathon runner. Based on a true story, this picture book is a wonderful introduction to the idea of compassion for animals, courage and love for a little stray dog with a big heart.

Gobi Picture Book
Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart [picture book, 4-8 years]

 

Both books are about teamwork and power of a dog's positive influence, but the young reader edition adds a lot more to the 'man meets dog' story...

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Older dogs teach us patience and how to fill up your love tank!

In our hurry up, I'm always late world, spending time with an older dog can be the perfect counterbalance.

Time together may help you gain a thoughtful approach to the next hour of the day, or maybe the whole week ahead. After a few one-on-one minutes with an older dog, I have left motivated and empowered, focused more the softer side of life.

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Discover why senior dogs rule when you fall in love with Seymour!

Certain dogs have these furry faces that are look like they have a world of information waiting to share with you. Then when they're oldsters, their sweet face looks like they got into the sugar bowl. Seymour a cute blend of Terrier is like this. It’s hard not to fall in love with Seymour, he’s such a mellow and easy going fella. 

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We don’t know much about his past, but we can tell that all he wants is to love and be loved! Seymour is great with other dogs of all sizes and enjoys all the hustle and bustle of the Muttville loft. He’s easy to walk on leash too.

Seymour will make a great addition to any home! He's a love bug!

We think Seymour is about 16 years young, weighing about 14 lbs.

Due to Seymour’s advanced age, heart disease, and arthritis, he is available for hospice care adoption.

Here’s what Seymour’s Foster has to say about him:

Seymour is the biggest sweetheart! I would adopt him if I could – he brings so much joy with his perennial puppy smile, tolerance for wearing cute flower crowns and bow ties, and ever patient cuddles. Naps are the name of the game with Seymour. He loves following “his person” around. He perks up whenever he can go outside for a walk, and although his preferred pace is a bit slow, he really enjoys being carried in a dog carrier around. I take him in a dog backpack on a bike and on Bart for my commute (an hour each way) & I hardly hear a peep from him. Seymour is house-trained but does well when let out regularly during the day. He doesn’t have accidents overnight. Seymour is the most amazing dog for someone who wants an easy-going companion to accompany them around. He is low maintenance and full of cuddles – and it is just to cute to watch him take naps next to you on the couch or while working!

Fall in love with Seymour at Muttville on Rescue Row in San Francisco!

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Patricia McConnell Gives Fearlessly in her New Book "The Education of Will"

Anyone familiar with my blog, or the Grouchy Puppy motto, will know that the central theme to the writing and social media posts is the broad positive influence of the human-dog bond. 

The Education of Will
When Dr. Patricia McConnell published her new book, The Education of Will, I was immediately interested because it spoke to what I hold dear, the positive influence of a dog. However, her stories of facing one fear after another pulled me through the book. Her self-effacing and humble style of sharing filled me with empathy. It isn't easy to face our fears even with the help of a special dog. 

"I knew Willie like I knew myself. I knew what it was like to be happy and friendly on the outside and yet spend much of your life in fear."

This mutual memoir is a story of injury and recovery, but in addition to the themes of trauma, fear and love, I felt forgiveness, empathy, and compassion were striking themes throughout the book. 

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