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Influence Positively Interview - Paris Permenter


Paris Permenter publishes along with her husband and writing partner, John Bigley. Since the late '80s, Paris and John have been professional writers, specializing in travel writing and authoring numerous magazine articles and 26 guidebooks. Concentrating primarily in Caribbean and romantic travel, the couple launched their first website In 2000. However, it wasn't until 2008, with the adoption of two shelter dogs, Irie and Tiki, that Paris and John switched their focus to dogs. Their newest book, Barkonomics: Tips for Frugal Fidos, combines their love of dogs with a lifetime of frugal living and Paris' academic background in Economics. 

Paris and John live out in the country in the Texas Hill Country with their two dogs and four cats. When not at the keyboard, Paris enjoys long hikes around their property with the dogs, wading in the creek, and photography.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I think my idea of perfect happiness is to wake up every day and feel excited about the day ahead, whether that day is going to be spent working or playing. Being self-employed, sometimes it's difficult to find a dividing line between "at work" and "off work" time but recently I came to realize that it doesn't matter. I'm really lucky that the line between work and play is blurred so an afternoon photographing our dogs is fun...and "work" at the same time!

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be & why?

That's a tough one! I look at our dogs and the way they enjoy being part of our family, and I first think dogs. However, when I look at our four cats (Felix, Linus, Inca and Coco) and their combination of togetherness and independence, and I think I'd rather come back as a cat! Either dog or cat would be long as I could be in a loving home.

What is your pets most treasured possession?

Irie's most treasured possessions are her Dr. Seuss plush toys. She is notoriously hard on plush toys but this set of toys (which I bought in the toddler section of our local thrift store) reside on the couch and are never unstuffed. Irie cuddles with them and uses them as pillows. It makes me feel so good to see her with her toys; when we were signing her adoption papers at the shelter, Irie quietly crawled under the desk and found a box of toys in the shelter office. I promised her then that she'd have plenty of toys to play with at home and she definitely has (with both downstairs and upstairs toy boxes)!

Tiki's most prized possession is her dog bed. She loves to curl up in it every night, snuggled right beside our bed.

Our cats' most treasured possessions are our windowsills and perches in our second floor offices. They love to find a patch of sunshine and enjoy a good nap or spend a morning on the windowsill looking out at the birds and squirrels.

Your proudest achievement so far?

I'm very proud to make a major career change after 20 years in the travel writing business. John and I had been talking about starting a dog website for a while but when we adopted Irie and Tiki it sealed the deal. We were ready for a change, and the economy was requiring that we diversify outside of travel. We wanted to stay home with the dogs and learn all we could about the dog world. Over 20 years ago, my first big writing assignment had been a full-length feature in Reader's Digest  about a best-friend duck and dachshund duo I'd had as a child so it didn't seem like such an extreme switch to move from Caribbean to canines. The week we adopted Tiki we started, and there's been no looking back.

Who are your heroes in real life?

I have to say my heroes are the people that do the hard work day in and day out: the shelter and rescue personnel and volunteers everywhere. They face a massive task and one that so often has to be heartbreaking and discouraging. They--along with the animals they've saved like all our dogs and cats--really inspire me to help show people how wonderful rescue pets are.


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