Book Review: Romancing the Dog, The struggle to make a pound dog happy in Beverly Hills by Marion Zola

February is the month of love and it is appropriate that in the month of February we celebrate our love of dogs. Our dogs. The dogs of people we know. Dogs who are in shelters, their pleading innocent eyes gazing back at ours with the hopes that we just might become their  forever homes. The  “owners”, “parents”, whatever you wish to call them, who hold these beautiful beings close to their hearts, should also be celebrated.

romancing the dog cover

Yes this book is about DOGS, but the love and dedication that is clear in this touching book applies to EVERYONE who has ever loved an animal. Dog or not.

In celebration of this love, I am thrilled to present to you the book: Romancing the Dog by Marion Zola.

From the publisher: Romancing the Dog, a humorous memoir, reminds the reader just how much one dog can transform human lives. It will take you on a romp of unique adventures laced with poignant moments. When Chips, a rescue dog, enters the neat routines of a middle-aged couple and messes them up in the most delectable ways, the new guardians are led from one challenging situation to another. A Tibetan Terrier who always seems to have the upper paw, he sends Marion’s and Sam’s stress levels off the charts. Readers will smile, laugh and cry as they follow this trio through the journey of angst and joy.

I felt an instant sense of familiarity when I read that Author Marion Zola once loved a dog named Chips in her childhood who belonged to someone else. My love of Shetland Sheepdogs began with a dog named Dandy, a  feisty Shetland Sheepdog who also “belonged to someone else”, our neighbors across the street. Truth be told, I was 5 yrs old at the time and ONLY played with the 3 children who lived with Dandy because I was madly in love with their dog. That is when my love of Shetland Sheepdogs began. I was determined that one day I would own my own Shetland Sheepdog. Now I do, my precious Dakota.

When Dakota came into mine and my husband’s life, our “neat routines” were also “messed up.”  Dakota also has the “upper paw” and often, sends OUR stress levels “off the charts” as well. It is just those things that make us love him that much more, it was the same with Chips, it is the same with all of us who love, have loved, and are loved by animals.

We all know that moment of looking into a beloved animal’s eyes for the first time and knowing in our guts that “THIS is the ONE.” Author Zola and her husband, Sam, spend their years with Chips making him the center of their universe. Their lives are dedicated to making sure that Chips is happy, that all of his needs, and then some, are being met. Certain that Chips had been abused before he ended up in a Shelter, Marion and Sam were determined to make Chips  feel secure, confident and always LOVED. Through illnesses, allergies, attempts to find a “job” for Chips, separation anxiety, there are countless moments of sacrifice, worrying,  and loving to the nth degree that we all can relate to.

Before Dakota, my only other pet as an adult was my “soul kitty” named Bobo. He came into my life as a stray and lived with me for 18 wonderful years. Yes dog lovers,  because I have shared my life with a dog for only 6 years, I relate to this book more as a cat mother. Romancing the Dog reminded me of the lengths I went to throughout Bobo’s 18 years to make sure that he had the most marvelous life ever, and that the end was as peaceful and full of love as it could be. This book brought back joyous as well as painful memories of Bobo and as a   new and rather inexperienced dog mother, let me know that some of my fixations and obsessions are indeed, NORMAL.  They are normal to all of us who have made the life-long emotional, financial and physical commitment to care for one who depends on US for everything of value in their world.

From Romancing the Dog: “More than many other areas of our lives, pets and our treatment of them demonstrate our values, both as a nation and as individuals. Our dominion over these creatures thrusts a responsibility on us that is not unlike that for our children.” 

Romancing the Dog is a must-read for dog lovers,  ANIMAL lovers. You will recognize yourselves described on the pages, and you will  fall in love,  with Chips, Marion and Sam, just as I did.


To purchase Romancing the Dog click here

About the Author: Marion Zola is also the author of All the Good Ones Are Married. Recently, Marion co-produced Shelter Me a PBS show about the rewards of adopting shelter pets that has also appeared on this blog. Visit the Shelter Me TV website here



In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. I was mailed a copy of the book by the author for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


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45 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Just read a sample and then bought it. It looks wonderful!

    • YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! Ohhhh Debbie, you will LOVE IT!!!!! You will sooooooooooo be able to relate! So happy you bought it! Love, “Mom”

  2. LOL , I like the way your stress levels went up when your first got Dakota, know the feeling 🙂 Have a wonderful day xx00xx
    Mollie and Alfie

    • He often still sends them soaring……lol…… have a wonderful day too! xoxo Love, “Mom”

  3. Sounds like a wonderful book. Like you, I had my life turned upside down by Litchi but would not want it any other way. Great review.

    • thank you!! Love “Mom”

  4. Shared 🙂

  5. It sounds like a fascinating book. I used to send their stress levels off the chart when I was a puppy!

    • Clowie it is marvelous!! Oh you made me laugh…Dakota did too…..don’t tell, but often he STILL DOES! lol. Love, “Mom”

  6. Sounds great. Nice to learn about Bobo. They really do stick with you.

    Oink oink,
    Katie and Coccolino the mini pig

    • they sure do 🙂 Love, “Mom”

  7. Sounds like a great book!

    • it most definitely is! love, “Mom”

  8. This one really sounds fantastic! You do know that we have more books stacked up in our must read list than we can ever read thanks to you, right?


    • It IS fantastic!! Thanks so much for your kind words Bunny! I am trying to get through the STACK that was mailed to me! Many of them were sent to me last year! OMG!!! Love, “Mom”

  9. Oh Eva also has the “upper paw” too!!!

    • ohhhhh I know! lol! love, “mom”

  10. That’s a wonderful post and a wonderful profession of love to Dakota ;o) I’m feeling familiar with the Author too ;o) Tibbies are awesome! And I think you are related with my mom: she only played with a boy of her class because he had a beautiful poodle. Up today she knows, the name of the poodle was Oliver…the name of the boy?…gone with the wind ;o)

    • Awww thank you Easy!! Haaaa!!! Your Mom IS like my Mom!!! BOL!!! roflmao that she doesn’t know the name of the boy! Barks and licks and love, Dakota and “Mom”

  11. Sounds like a wonderful book! Our Teddy makes our mom’s stress levels go off the chart so we know what you’re talking about!!!

    • It is! Dakota often makes me feel the same way 🙂 Love, “Mom”

  12. Sounds like a wonderful read! I loved my sisters Newfie, Zeus, before I had my own!

  13. That looks like a great read! What a neat story.

    • It most definitely is! Love, “Mom”

  14. it sounds like a great book and one we can all related to. 🙂 I mean, doesn’t everyone have a Delilah in their life? 😉

    • Or a Dakota BOL!! 🙂 Love, “Mom”

  15. I love when adoption stories talk about the challenges as well as the joys. It gives a much more realistic understanding of a relationship with an animal. It’s complicated. Just like one with a human. 🙂

    I’ll check this out.

    • That is a most important point that you mentioned. You will love this book because it does just that! Love, “Mom”

  16. Great post Caren! I love all my fur babies! If somebody asks me if I am a dog person or a cat person, I tell them I am a pet person! I have loved my feathered babies too.

    • Thank you so much! I am with you about the “pet person” ALL the way!!

  17. Oh, I love YOUR little story of how you became a sheltie lover. How sweet. I never had a dog growing up either, but was deliriously in love with my best friend’s English sheepdog. I remember we used him as a pillow while we watched TV, and how he would stop at the curb, and look both ways before crossing the street. He was such a good dog. Pets sneak their way into our hearts in funny ways.

    • Hi Sara! Awww thank you!! Well, we DID have a dog from when I was 2 til when I was 7. She was a Boxer named Brandy…..she was the best dog. I adored her. OMG I have ALWAYS loved English Sheepdogs too and used to want one. I bet the experience of using him as a pillow laid the groundwork for your love of dogs today! Love, “Mom”

  18. Looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing it! I’ll put it on my to read list.

    • It is Jackie! Thank you!! Love, “Mom”

  19. I love these kind of books, think I will add for one of my challenges! Will us under new author category

    Thanks Alice M.

    • Should read “Will put under” Sorry 🙂

  20. Awesome review!


    • thank you Sophie!! Love, “Mom”

  21. Sounds like it needs to go into my Mum’s ‘must read’ list!!

    I don’t think I’ve ever caused my humans and stress with any of my mischief! But that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it! Tee Hee

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

    • I think your Mum will love it Snoopy! As for mischief? I hear ya!! Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  22. We had a family dog when I was young…a min pin…and I would take him everywhere with me…Then many years went by with no dog in my life…When I finally realized how much I missed having a dog and adopted one I did have to make changes but I’ve never regretted a minute of the time I’ve spent with any of the beloved dogs I’ve shared my life with…The book sounds like one I want to read

  23. it sounds like a wonderful book Caren. I love how you relate it to you and Dakota and Bobo.
    I totally understand when you said about looking to Dakota’s eyes and knew thatbhebisbthe one…that’s how I got all my turtles, I didn’t care whether they were healthy or not, what I care was ony the fact that those little eyes tld me tat they were the ones

    • Novroz thank you so much. They speak to us in ways that only animal lovers know. xoxoxo Love, “Mom”

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