Book Review: “Final Journey: Buddy’s Book” By Elizabeth Parker

A week ago I reviewed a wonderful book: Finally Home, Lessons On Life From A Free-Spirited Dog, by Elizabeth Parker. If you haven’t read the review I urge you to please read it before you continue on with this post.

From Elizabeth Parker Books:

After the publication of “Finally Home,” Buddy was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Once the unthinkable happened and Buddy’s precious life was cut short, his family was left heartbroken and devastated.

At the same time, in another state, poor economic conditions forced another family to give up their golden retriever.
As fate would have it, his name…was Buddy.
While they were mourning the loss of their beloved dog, another dog was mourning the loss of his treasured family.
Brought together by misfortune, they entered each other’s lives to help put back together the pieces of their broken hearts.
This story is for both Buddys, producing the subtitle “Buddys’ Book.”

Copyrighted © 2010 Elizabeth Parker

From Dakota’s “Mom” : As I sat down to begin reading this book there were a couple of reasons that I was not looking forward to it. One, was that after having read the first book I had completely fallen in love with Buddy, as did everyone  else whose life he touched.  I knew what was going to happen, and I knew my heart was going to break reading about it. The other reason was that I knew it was going to remind me of when my beloved “Soul Kitty”  (Bobo) passed back in 2007.

Wait! This is a dog blog and I am mentioning a cat? Yes. Buddy’s story is universal. It is written from the experience of owning and loving a unique and free-spirited dog, but it is a story that will resonate with anyone who has had to bid farewell to a cherished 4-legged family member.

Thankfully, other than when I was a little girl and we lost our 7-year-old Boxer to cancer (which I barely remember), I haven’t had to experience losing a dog to death. I know that one day it will happen with our precious Dakota, and it is something I try not to think about.

I have experienced the wretched pain of having to decide when it was “time” to let my baby stop suffering. I laid on the bed the day before, crying, thanking him for all he had given me those glorious 18 years. I told him what a wonderful cat he was, I thanked him for  comforting me, for his companionship, his love,  for protecting me and I begged him to give me some sort of “sign” that it was “time.” He did. He stopped eating. I had always said that when my food obsessed “boy” would stop eating I would know it was “time.”

I have experienced the pain of being with, loving and holding my pet in the last seconds of his life.

“I looked into his beautiful, soulful eyes and it made me realize that his trusting heart was depending on us to do the right thing. Only I did not know if we could actually follow through with it.”

I have experienced the pain of collapsing on top of my angel as the breath left his body. Shaking and shrieking, collapsing  heartbroken, into tear-stained fur.

I have experienced the nagging doubts after. Could something else have been done to save him? No. To this day I still second-guess that heartbreaking decision. Love does that to you. It makes you second guess even if you are certain it is the right thing to do.

“For all of those that are grieving their little angels, take comfort that they are no longer suffering and are playing together in that big playground in the sky.”

Will you cry while reading this book? YES.

Anyone who has loved and lost a pet will.

There are gifts that I received from reading this soul-stirring book:

I received the “gift” of reading the words that another pained “mother” had gone through during her dogs’ final days. My heart ached for her as she bared her soul on paper. I  felt a kinship, that someone UNDERSTOOD. That it isn’t just a dog, or a cat or a rabbit or whatever animal you lose, it is a MEMBER OF THE FAMILY. It is part of the fabric of who we are, they are part of our SOUL.


“And yet when I look forward to the future that I am so scared of, it is without my Buddy that I am most fearful of. Can you be soul mates with an animal?” YES…a RESOUNDING YES.  Someone understands, they GET IT.

I received the “gift” of learning about and loving Buddy (and then BOTH Buddy’s but you will have to read that for yourself) as told by the person who knew him best (his MOM).

There are many other gifts that are ripe for the picking tucked lovingly in the pages of this wonderful book. Is it all sad? No, not at all. You will laugh at some hilarious doggie antics, you will cheer for Elizabeth’s strength, her patience, her faith, her sense of purpose, her ability to help/rescue dogs, her ability to understand.  When you read this  book you will be able to  feel Elizabeth’s soul within the pages, you will feel her gratitude, courage, hope, peace.  But most of all….you will feel LOVE. Beautiful, unconditional, “golden” LOVE. 


Elizabeth Parker was born and raised in New York.

“As an avid dog lover, I volunteer for a few dog rescue organizations, as well as donate a portion of the proceeds from all of my books to some that I strongly believe in.” 

Elizabeth lives in Las Vegas, NV with her husband, their two beautiful golden retrievers and duck tolling retriever and the wonderful, loving memories of their golden retriever, Buddy.”

TO PURCHASE FINAL JOURNEY: BUDDY’S BOOK by Elizabeth Parker visit, Kindle, or Nook. You may also purchase it by visiting:

ISBN: 1453880828


We  were not compensated for this review. We received Elizabeth’s books to read/review. All opinions are our own.

Book Review: “Finally Home” By Elizabeth Parker

Hi Everyone!  It’s Dakota’s “Mom” and today I am taking over his blog to tell you about a wonderful book that I read over the weekend.  The  book is “Finally Home” By Elizabeth Parker.

From “Finally Home”

“There is a time in everyone’s life when they have been emotionally inspired or amazed by something that was completely unexpected. Sometimes it is so touching, that they want to share their experience with the world and tell their story. 
This particular story is about a precious heart along with a free-spirited little boy who owns that heart. This little boy has expressive brown eyes, a beautiful smile, and golden-brown coat that he never takes off. He also has a huge pinkish-brown nose and four very fast legs. His name is Buddy. He answers to that…when he wants to.”

Do any of you have a “free-spirited” dog? A dog who has a mind of its own, who will obey your commands when HE feels like it, who is high-energy and a fur-bundle of mischief? Who even in his “adult” years still exhibits behavior that normally is reserved for puppies?  Do you have a dog that will eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that isn’t fastened to the ground, table, chair or wherever? Do you have a dog that defies all traditional “textbook” training methods?

If you said “yes” to any one of the above questions then you will relate to “Buddy” the free-spirited Golden Retriever who was  the inspiration behind Elizabeth Parker’s “Finally Home.”

When I began reading “Finally Home” I was instantly reminded of Marley (from the book and movie, Marley & Me.  Marley, however was a Labrador Retriever)

“Goldens” are known for their “well-behaved and friendly temperament”.  Buddy, well-behaved? No. Friendly, definitely.

I am a Mom of a “free-spirited” dog, the namesake of this blog, Dakota. While reading “Finally Home” I found myself nodding my head in recognition. When we first acquired Dakota there were times, as was the case with Buddy, that I literally thought he was insane. I thought I would never get him to understand the concept of going outside to pee, I thought we would never break his eating wood addiction, his thievery (we have yet to conquer that but it HAS gotten better), his neurotic barking (well, that also still continues!), and his obeying commands when HE feels like it! (Ummm…that continues as well!) In spite of or BECAUSE of all of his idiosyncracies I adore him, he is a loving and sensitive dog and I wouldn’t have him any other way.


As is the case with people, there are dogs whose behavior was shaped by their environment (being given rewards for “bad” behavior instead of reinforcing good behavior, being so dreadfully emotionally neglected that they will do anything to be noticed.)  In some cases the behavior is a result of environmental shaping, in other instances it is just a case of   the gene pool, or how the cards were dealt. In other words, often there isn’t a whole heck of  a lot you can do to change the dog but you can love it, nurture it, find “creative” training methods and simply accept the dog for who he is.

Love and acceptance go a long way in changing unwanted behavior.

When Buddy was adopted by Elizabeth and her (now) husband Michael, they became Buddy’s fourth home. As you read  this love-filled, engrossing and in many cases  laugh-out-loud funny story that will also touch your soul, you will find that when Elizabeth and Michael adopted Buddy, through their understanding,  love, attention, devotion and a host of other positive reinforcement methods,  Buddy did indeed learn what it is like to be “Finally Home”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  For the first time in any book review that I have done, I am omitting this section. Why? I don’t want to reveal anything about what is coming in Elizabeth’s next book that I will be reviewing:  “Buddy’s Book.”  I will be sure to include an “About The Author” description at that time. If you absolutely cannot wait until December 5th for me to include that, click here

In the meantime, from Elizabeth: “although Buddy found a family that loves him beyond belief, not all dogs are lucky enough to get that chance.  If just one person will stop and think about the welfare of a dog after reading my book, then it was all worth it.”

To buy “Finally Home” click here “

*A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to an animal rescue group.*

Book Review And Give-Away: “Awkward Family Pet Photos” By Mike Bender and Doug Chernack

“Awkward Family Pet Photos” c’mon, you know you have ’em!  There isn’t a pet in the world that hasn’t been subjected to a moment of “awkwardness” in front of the camera,  or in the world of blogs as we like to call it “the flashy box.”

My Mom and I were asked  if we would like a complimentary copy of Awkward Family Pet Photos by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack to read and review.

Seeing as we have the most dysfunctional family on the planet Mom leaped at the chance!  Me? Not so much. I shivered and shook in fear that once Mom took a look at this book I was done for. All this book would do for my Mom is give her even MORE ideas, more ways to embarrass me.  I wanted NONE of it! I lost. The book arrived and of course Mom loved it!  You don’t have to wonder what I thought of it!

Take a gander at some of these photos. There is a certain dog breed (that shall remain nameless) that makes a prominent appearance in a few of these photos.

"Family Portrait"


Family Color Coordinates With The Sheltie

Want some more info about this book? Here you go, here is some info from the publisher:

“There are few things more rewarding than having a pet. They love us unconditionally, shower us with attention, and actually help us live longer. So, what can possibly be awkward about our animal BFFs? Well . . . nothing. In truth, we’re the awkward ones. We adore our pets and treat them like members of the family, but let’s face it—sometimes L-O-V-E makes us go a little overboard.”

"The Switch"

“Along with many never-before-seen photos, essays, and graphics, AWKWARD FAMILY PET PHOTOS features outrageous pet photos … including dogs, cats, birds, rats, horses, pigs, goats, and exotic pets such as reptiles, sugar gliders, ferrets, and monkeys.

I have certainly  taken my share of “Awkward Family Photos”:

I look thrilled don't I?


See my expression in that photo above?  It makes me feel good to see that I am not the only one who must humor my live-in paparazzi  by indulging their whims!

GIVE-AWAY: Trust me, this isn’t my idea, it’s my Mom’s. She thinks you will LOVE this book. She said with the Holidays approaching the photos in this book are the  perfect fodder to give her more ideas for more opportunities to humiliate and embarrass me. She said if this is left on the coffee table it is a sure-fire way to get that weird Uncle of yours who hovers silently in a corner to open up.

Pet lovers!  Have a first date and feeling shy? Whip out this baby, you’ll be talking and laughing in no time!

So… if you have a desire to torture your pet, just leave a comment.  Mom and I will pick ONE  victim winner (as chosen by  The DEADLINE to enter is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21 at 11PM EASTERN. (Yep this is a “quickie” give-away!)  The winner  will be announced WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23. This way it will arrive in plenty of time for your holiday humiliation to begin.

If you feel so inclined,  you may also email my Mom any “Awkward Family Pet Photos” that YOU may have stashed at your house! Mom and I will be happy to publicly embarrass you by featuring them on a future Wordless Wednesday!  You can email them to Mom at cgittleman @ mi dot rr dot com.

Doggies, kitties, snakes, ferrets, rabbits, turtles, (you get the idea) by all means keep this book AWAY from whomever is behind the lens in your den! Ya got it? Tell them to BACK-AWAY-FROM-THIS-BOOK!!! If they don’t, I just might be seeing you in the next edition.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Barks and licks and love, Dakota


Mike Bender is a professional screenwriter living in Los Angeles whose credits include Not Another Teen Movie and the MTV Movie Awards. He is also a regular contributor to Esquire. Mike’s dog, Din-Din, had final approval over his author

Doug Chernack


Mike Bender

Doug Chernack is a professional screenwriter and producer living in Los Angeles who has created and produced shows for E!, Fox Sports, and the Golf Channel. He has been known to take his fish, Porky, on walks around the block.



By Mike Bender and Doug Chernack

A Three Rivers Press Paperback Original

 ISBN: 978-0-307-88812-9




Book Review: Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan

Hi everyone, this is Dakota’s Mom.  I fell in love this past weekend. I fell in love with a little black and white Miniature  Schnauzer  with a name and  bushy white  eyebrows reminiscent of a professor or lawyer, deeply knit in thought,  full of moxie, wiser than his years.

I fell in love with Atticus M. Finch as thousands of others have, for his wisdom, courage, love, devotion and willingness to defy the odds on many fronts.

Atticus and Tom Ryan

I also fell in love with author Tom Ryan who in many ways is a “dog whisperer”. He  didn’t believe in training methods that others would consider to be “normal”.   More than any other books that I have read about a man’s love for his dog and their ensuing  adventures, the title “Following Atticus” speaks volumes.  Ryan  is so keenly tied to the nuances of Atticus that he raised Atticus not to do what HE wanted him to do, (there is nobody who is hung up on who is the “Alpha” here), he raised him to be what Atticus wanted to be.

Tom Ryan, who knew little about owning a dog when he brought home Atticus based his entire upbringing on literally following Atticus’s  lead, which was also something he practiced when he and Atticus attempted the unthinkable,  exploring and conquering forty-eight peaks.

In other words, he observed, he listened, he sensed, he felt. This was a skill he was already adept at  using, being the founder of the Newburyport, Massachusetts, newspaper, The Undertoad where for a decade he was its editor, publisher and “roving reporter.”

From “Following Atticus”:

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

The above quote sets the stage for what lies ahead in this heart-tugging,  adventurous, suspenseful, thought-provoking,  deliciously descriptive gem.

From the publisher:

“Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. . . .”

Ryan and Atticus,  two  unlikely partners conquering mountains both literally in reference to nature and figuratively of the mountainous challenges that life has a tendency to hurl our way as well as the  mountainous burdens of our past seeking to take over our present.

The book also features photos with incredible images taken by Tom and others that document his journey with Atticus.

Following Atticus is for all of us who dare to dream, who have dreams that we think may never become a reality, for dog lovers, those who are inspired and reap strength from nature, for those who set high expectations for themselves,  for those who seek to make sense of the past and how it relates to the present.

"Little Buddha"

For those who know what it feels like to sacrifice our own wants and needs for that of our pet, and for those who dare to admit that our pet just might be a lot wiser than we are and have faith that they will lead us, to give us exactly what we need, if only we are willing to follow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In 2007  Tom Ryan sold The Undertoad and moved to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to write and to hike with Atticus. Over the last five years the pair has climbed more than 450 4,000 foot peaks. Tom writes the popular “The Adventures of Tom & Atticus” column in the NorthCountry News and Mountainside Guide and the blog:

“The Adventures of Tom and Atticus.” 

In November of 2008 Tom & Atticus were honored as co-recipients of the MSPCA’s Human Hero of the Year award given at their annual Hall of Fame dinner at the JFK Presidential Library.

Heroes Of The Year 2008

FOLLOWING ATTICUS: FORTY-EIGHT PEAKS, ONE LITTLE DOG, AND AN EXTRAORDINARY FRIENDSHIP  published by  William Morrow Hardcover/September 20, 2011/ $25.99/ 9780061997105 E-Book/September 20, 2011/$12.99/ 9780062101303

Book Review: Barkonomics By Paris Permenter and John Bigley

One of the many treats that Mom received at BlogPaws 2011 was the book Barkonomics by Paris Permenter and John Bigley.  She took one look at that book and was certain that it would be of huge benefit to us!

Mom is kinda slow on the uptake and didn’t realize until she read the book that Paris Permenter and John Bigley were also the duo  that write the hugely popular Dogtipper.  It is on this website where they share  dog tips, products, news, photos and more!

Continuing on these lines is Barkonomics.

This superbly helpful book is aimed at all income levels,  for people with one or many dogs or pets in general.

Mom has been waiting for a book like this! Having lost a steady income in 2007 , Dad retiring last year and living in Michigan (specifically DETROIT ’nuff said) Mom has decided this is her “Pet Bible” in reference to cutting/saving on pet expenditures.

How will YOU benefit from purchasing Barkonomics?

you will learn how to cut costs so that you will be able to keep your pets instead of being forced to give them to a shelter or rehoming them.

Barkonomics  will enable you to cut expenditures so you can afford veterinary care and direct you to resources that can help you finance that care!

There are some expenses that should NEVER be cut (as listed in Barkonomics)

1. Spay and Neuter

2.Quality Dog Food

3.Core Vaccines

4. Heartworm Preventative

5. Annual Wellness Exam

For further explanation pertaining to  the above I strongly urge you to buy this book!

From Barkonomics: Some tips  for cutting costs when it comes to your canine:

1. Sign up for newsletters of favorite companies. Many dog food and treat manufacturers offer electronic newsletters that provide exclusive discounts and coupons.
2. Follow favorites on Twitter and Facebook. Just about every company has a Twitter and Facebook presence these days (just check the company website for links). You’ll often find some great fan/follower discount offers that are only promoted through social media.
3. Go the DIY route. Consider learning some grooming and dog training skills. You’ll find numerous free videos at sharing sites such as YouTube for everything from trimming your dog’s hair to teaching your dog to stay.

4. Learn whether your pet’s prescription can be filled at the drugstore. Many dog prescriptions can be filled at the drugstore, often at a savings (and you’ll have the option of generic, low-cost equivalents for some drugs.) Also, some drugstores offer prescription clubs with lower costs–and family pets can be added to many of the prescription clubs.
5. Check your memberships for special offers. Check all your memberships–from auto clubs to work-related affiliations–for special partnerships offering discounts on everything from pet insurance to boarding services.
6. Consider pet insurance. Investigate pet insurance options while your dog is young, if at all possible. Do your homework and learn about exclusions and limitations, balancing the monthly premium against the amount of coverage.
7 Get proactive. Prevent costly problems before they start by taking your dog to his annual veterinary exam, spaying and neutering, brushing your dog’s teeth, and dog-proofing your home to prevent expensive accidents.

For more information on over 300 other tips for saving money on all aspects of your dog’s care, learn more about Barkonomics at

  • Number of Pages: 168
  • Imprint: Riviera Books
  • Retail price: $9.95 [on]
  • Trim size: 7 x 10 inches
  • ISBN 978-0-9717620-0-8
  • Charitable contribution: Every quarter, 20 percent of proceeds donated to pet non-profit selected by DogTipper readers
Author Bio: Paris Permenter and John Bigley
Paris Permenter and John Bigley are a husband-wife team of professional writers. Along
with over 2,500 published magazine articles, Paris and John have authored 28 published 
books ranging from Fodor’s In Focus Jamaica to Texas Barbecue (named best
guidebook of the year by the Midwest Publishers Association).
Paris and John have a long history of frugal living, starting with their marriage and the
launch of their writing business in 1986. Paris graduated from college with double
degrees in Economics and Accounting (followed by graduate school, then a few years of
teaching Economics) then the couple turned their attention to freelance writing,
specializing in leisure and business travel.
Lifetime dog lovers, John and Paris launched in 2008, highlighting tips
for dog lovers with additional sections including dog news, dog-centric festivals,
celebrity canines, pet product reviews, Dog of the Day, dog rescue, and more.
Frequent television and radio guests, the couple has appeared as expert guests on many 
programs including local news stations as well as series on the Fine Living television 
Paris and John live with their dogs and cats in the Texas Hill Country near Austin.

Also:If you’re new to DogTipper, you might want to subscribe to our email updates or our RSS feed! And be sure to bark at us on Twitter and Facebook, too…woof, woof!

Can you tell that Mom LOVED this book?

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

Book Review: “The Blue House Dog” Written By Deborah Blumenthal, Illustrated By Adam Gustavson

The Blue House Dog is a story about “A boy without a dog-and a dog without an owner”.

“Some people call him Bones

because he’s so thin.

But nobody knows his real name.”

“He’s just a stray dog,

people say,

and not a special one…”

“Only his eyes are special.

One is brown

and the other

sapphire blue.”

The above is a description of “Bones” (as he is called by Cody, the little boy who tells us the story of The Blue House Dog).  From the day that Cody first noticed Bones,  he  spends his days watching  him, giving him food, worrying about his welfare.

You see, Bones once had a home. He lived with a man in a big blue house. One day the man suddenly died.  Bones, after being frightened by the police who come to the home, escapes and is left to wander the neighborhood.

He spends much of his time searching for food and trying to elude the evil dog-catcher.

To make matters worse, the big blue house that Bones used to live in was torn down.

It was the only home that Bones had ever known.

Bones is heartbroken  and lonely.

So is Cody. You see, Cody once had a dog of his own  named Teddy, that he loved very much.  Teddy used to curl up in bed with Cody every night. Cody used to tell him secrets because he  considered Teddy to be his “best friend in the world.”

One day Teddy became sick and died.  Cody doesn’t know why.  All he knows is that he is still hurting. He still Teddy’s  picture in his room.  He has kept Teddy’s bright fire-engine red dog bowl wrapped in a brown paper bag, stashed deep in the closet of his bedroom,  because he cannot bear to look at it.

“When you lose someone

who’s as close as your own skin,

the only place

you can find him again

is hidden

inside your memories.”

Throughout this tug-at-your-heartstrings story,  Cody and Bones cautiously grow closer, both are afraid of being hurt again.  They both must relearn how to love and trust.

“Bones is just a stray dog,

people say,

and not a special one.

But he is to me.

Dogs find their way

inside you

and you want to keep them there.”


Will Bones and Cody ever learn to trust and love each other?

I’m not telling.

You will have to read this touching story to find out.


“Readers will be deeply affected by Deborah Blumenthal’s story of love and loss. Adam Gustavson’s full-color illustrations reveal the shadows and light, as well as the quiet drama, of neighborhood life, and highlight the emerging relationship between the narrator and the lonely, dispirited dog that captures his attention, and finally, his heart.”

  • Hardcover: $15.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-537-9
  • Total Pages: 32




Deborah Blumenthal has written nine children’s books, including two Book Sense 76 winners. She has also been a regular contributor to the New York Times, covering beauty and fitness. Blumenthal lives in New York.

You can visit Deborah Blumenthal’s website here.



Adam Gustavson has illustrated sixteen books for children, including Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt! and Snow Day!.He lives in New Jersey.

You can visit Adam Gustavson’s website here



IN FULL DISCLOSURE: I was not compensated for this blog post. I was sent a copy of The Blue House Dog to  review.

Book Review: “First Dog Fala”, Written By Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery

Today Mom gave me my first American History lesson.

Frankly, Mom had a lesson in American History herself.

Mom told me she was never very good in history when she was a young pup in school, so she was happy to learn a lot of interesting and fun things while reading me First Dog Fala,  which was written by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk and illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery.

Mom was given the book First Dog Fala for me to read and review. She knew that Fala was the adorable Scottish Terrier  that was owned by President Franklin D.Roosevelt. She didn’t remember this fact from school. Nope, she remembered it because Fala is a frequent answer in the New York Times crossword puzzles that  Mom used to be addicted to. That was before the days of computers of course.

Mom told me that throughout history it is a well-known fact that many Presidents had dogs by their sides while they carried out the most important job of the United States,  that of being President.

Here is a partial list of some American Presidents and the names and breeds of the dogs that they owned. When Mom and I researched this we saw that there are TONS! We will only list a few:


1974 – 1977 Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford owned a Golden Retriever called Liberty who gave birth to nine puppies at the White House.

1993 – 2001  President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton owned a chocolate Labrador called Buddy

2009 President Barack Obama
From the beginning of his presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to buy his daughters Malia and Sasha a dog whether he won the presidential election or not. In January 2009, President Obama kept
his word and ‘Amigo’s New Hope’ which his daughters have nicknamed ‘Bo’ moved into the Whitehouse. Bo is a black-and-white Portuguese water dog and was a gift from Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who also owns Portuguese water dogs. Portuguese water dogs are known as working dogs and are recognised for their intelligence, strength, and stamina.

this  partial list came from: American Presidents Dogs if you would like to see how many more Presidents had dogs just click on the link.

“Meet the Scottish terrier who won the heart of a U.S. president and the hearts of the American people.”

First Dog Fala is for children (and doggies) ages 4-8  (although Mom thinks that has to be some pretty smart four-year olds if they would be able to understand the concept of being President.

The book details how President Roosevelt acquired Fala, some historical events that took place while he was President and owned Fala and gives us some insight about what Fala’s personality and life at the White House was like.

There are a number of things that Mom and I enjoyed about First Dog Fala.

  • It is interesting
  • It is highly educational
  • It makes learning fun because children are learning about Fala and are so caught up in the story about Fala that they don’t even realize they are having a history lesson  at the same time
  • The  marvelous,  deeply rich  illustrations!

Mom is pretty artistic so the illustrations by Michael G. Montgomery really caught her eye. She told me they looked like they were done in the style of the era that President Roosevelt was in office  (World War II). Mom said they had an “old-time” feel and they looked like paintings, not just illustrations.  They also reminded Mom of  newspaper photographs from the 1940s,  only in color (back in those days newspapers didn’t have color photos like they do now). Mom was completely smitten by the portrait quality of the illustrations  and felt they were the perfect companion to the wonderfully written and interesting story of Fala.


This would be the perfect “Back-to-school” book.  Mom isn’t sure if they still do book reports in elementary school but if they do (and even if they don’t!) , she strongly suggests First Dog Fala for those students in 5th, 4th, or 3rd grade.

  • Hardcover: $16.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-411-2
  • Total Pages: 32
  • Size: 10 7/8 x 8 3/8
  • Language: English
  • Rights: World
  • Status: active



Elizabeth Van Steenwyk is the award-winning author of more than 70 published books for young people. After graduating from Knox College, she went on to spend ten years writing for radio and television with a concentration on children’s programming. She lives in California.


Michael G. Montgomery has illustrated numerous children’s books. He attended Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia. Montgomery lives in Georgia.

You can visit Michael G. Montgomery’s website here.



KC3 Reading Program (nominee) ―Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians 2010-2011

California Collection (elementary) ―California Readers

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (intermediate) ―Kansas National Education Association

KIND Children’s Honorable Mention Book ―Humane Society Youth

Teachers’ Choices (primary) ―IRA













BOOK REVIEW:BARK PARK Written & Illustrated By Karen Gray Ruelle

After days and days of neglect, Mom finally sat down with me to read one of many books that were mailed to our house for Mom and I to review.

The most recent of the list is Bark Park!

Bark Park is the perfect bedtime story book for little pups (primarily human pups) ages 2 to 6.

There are brightly colored, lively illustrations that show all sorts of doggies romping and playing in the park.  Some of the illustrations show a Dalmatian, Scottie, Dachshund, Poodle, just to name a few.

There are mutts, old dogs, digging dogs, barking dogs, finding bone and ball dogs, all sorts of dogs!

There was one breed of dog  of the many that were featured that I didn’t see in Bark Park (maybe Mom and I missed it?) SHELTIES!

Where are the Shelties?

There is an illustration of what appears to be a Collie with (ready for this?) a CAT in its mouth!!

My brother Cody refused to pose with this illustration, BOL!


Needless to say, my brother Cody was NOT amused by THAT in the least!

Bark Park is fun!

As it says in the inside sleeve:

“Energetic rhymes are punctuated with cheerful illustrations in this bouncy, fast-paced frolic. It’s doggone delightful!”

Here is an example:

“Thin dog, grin dog, gulping, lapping.  Hairless, careless, digging, yapping. Pack dog, track dog, on the prowl. Curly, surly, woof and growl.”

If you are looking for a fun, fast reading, adorably written/illustrated children’s book about dogs, head on over to Bark Park!



  • Hardcover: $15.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-434-1
  • Total Pages: 32
  • Size: 10 3/8 x 8 1/2
  • Language: English



Karen Gray Ruelle has written and illustrated a number of books, including Bark ParkHidden on the Mountain: Stories of Children Sheltered From the Nazis in Le Chambon (which she co-authored with Deborah Durland DeSaix), The Tree, and theHarry and Emily series. She has also worked as an editor, a reviewer, and a librarian. She lives in New York.”




Barking Book Review: CAMP K-9, Written By Mary Ann Rodman, Illustrated By Nancy Hayashi


I was excited when Mom received Camp K-9 in the mail! It is my second bark book review!



I couldn’t wait to get my paws on it!


We all have fears and insecurities and sometimes when we are faced with a bully (like for me the scary black dog I sometimes see when I am walking)  we forget that the reason the bully is being mean to us is because they actually have secret insecurities themselves!

Sometimes if we just open up and share with the bully the person we really are,  the bully might discover that we actually worry about and are afraid of the same things!  We are always stronger than the person who is bullying us, it doesn’t seem like it at the time, but we are.


Many times the most unlikely friends come out of situations where we were being bullied.

Camp K-9 is a delightfully written/illustrated Children’s book that takes a look at hidden insecurities (as well as hidden similarities) as seen through the eyes of  Roxie, an adorable pup on her way to camp (Camp K-9) for the first time.

Roxie has a secret , (her blankie) stashed in her “Pooch Pouch” that she doesn’t want the other campers (especially that mean old Poodle Lacy) to see because Roxie is afraid that Lacy will bully her even worse if she sees what is hiding in her pouch!


Roxie and her friends are all afraid of Lacy and her bullying, until one day Lacy is missing. When Roxie and her friends find that mean old Lacy they discover that SHE has kept a secret HERSELF!

Will Roxie and her fellow doggie campers become friends with Lacy?

What is Lacy’s secret?

I can’t tell!

You will have to read this pawfectly wonderful book yourself to find out!

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  • Hardcover: $15.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-561-4
  • Total Pages: 32
  • Size: 8 1/4 x 10
  • Language: English
  • Rights: World


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Ann Rodman, a former school media specialist, is the author of A Tree for Emmy and First Grade Stinks!. She has received both the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Outstanding New Picture Book Writer and the Charlotte Zolotow Award. She lives in Georgia. You can visit Mary Ann Rodman’s website here.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:Nancy Hayashi has illustrated seven picture books, including I Can Do It Myself!, Bunny Bungalow, which won a 2000 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award; Wanda’s Monster, a CCBC Choice; and What Did You Do Today?, also a CCBC Choice. She lives in California.

In full disclosure: Mom and I received no compensation for this review. Well I may have received one or two treats but that was it I swear!


Cody was just incredulous that he WASN’T doing the review AND that the doggies in the book were called “scaredy cats!!” Don’t worry, he’ll get over it!

Book Review: “Don’t Lick The Dog, Making Friends With Dogs” By Wendy Wahman

I am so excited I can barely keep my tail from wagging and my body from spinning!

Today I present to you my FIRST book review!

I couldn’t have picked a cuter book to read for my first review!

I may have only been alive for four years but in those years I have come across my share of kids AND their parents who don’t know the proper way to approach a doggie that they do not know.  Heck sometimes my Mommy and my Daddy have to be told the correct way to meet and greet an unfamiliar doggie.

Now that we have “Don’t Lick The Dog, Making Friends With Dogs”, by Wendy Wahman kids and their parents have no excuse NOT to greet a doggie properly!

My Mom and I read this book together and we think it is adorable! (That is Mom’s word, adorable is too “girrly” of a word for me to use).

It is written in a rhyming style :

“Easy now, take it slow

when meeting dogs

that you don’t know.

Don’t stick your nose in Stella’s face-

until you’re friends,

she needs her space.”

This book  has brightly colored illustrations that were also done by Wendy,  that are fun to look at!  I like the doggies in the book that look like a Chihuahua and one that is a Poodle because they remind me of my friends Chico and Colette. I will have to show them this book one day! There is even a drawing of one doggie that looks like a Sheltie! It was probably meant to be a Collie but for the purpose of this blog we will just go with a Sheltie, ok?

Check out this cool video that I have that will tell you even more about this fun and informative book!

I hope you will purchase this book. It is super fun to read and look at and  it teaches everybody from kids to their parents the best way to act with all of us doggies.

Speaking as one of the canine persuasion I say BRAVO and THANK YOU to Wendy!

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: WENDY WAHMAN lives in Washington State with big poodles, old cats and a husband named Joe. She has won many awards for illustration, but her greatest joy is loving the two, three and four-legged animals she has known. This is her first children’s book.

You can find Wendy here:

EXTRA!!! EXTRA!!! My Mom and my brother, Cody will be reviewing Wendy’s second book “A Cat Like That”  on Friday, July 8th on their Cat Chat blog.  Be sure to stop by and check it out!

I wasn’t compensated in any way for this review (well, my Mom gave me a few dog biscuits if you want FULL disclosure!). I only received a copy of this FUN and INFORMATIVE book!