Category Archives: dog books

Jimmy the Bull

On artist’s Rafael Mantesso’s thirtieth birthday, his wife left him.

She took their cookware, their furniture, their photos.  But she left Rafael with Jimmy, their bull terrier who she had named after shoe designer Jimmy Choo.

With only Jimmy for company in an apartment painted white, Rafael found inspiration in his blank walls and his best friend and started snapping photos of Jimmy Choo.  Then, when Jimmy collapsed in happy exhaustion next to the white wall, on a whim Rafael grabbed a marker and drew a new world around his pup.

Jimmy with champagne

And this began a collaboration of the artist and his bull terrier which gained fame through social media – even attracting the attention of the Jimmy Choo brand.  In May 2015, they launched a limited edition line of accessories featuring Jimmy the Bull.

Jimmy Stop Wars

And a book of Mantesso’s drawings, A Dog Named Jimmy is also available.  In November 2015, it made the New York Times bestseller list.

A Dog named Jimmy

I love bullies and clearly many other people do, too.  Jimmy even has a 2016 calendar featuring his image.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

“Dog” (an appropriately named book)

Mitra Farmand is a comic book artist.  When she was studying at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont, she was given an assignment.

“We had to draw a cartoon from a dream and I was dreaming about my dog a lot because she had just died.”

She called the book Dog (the original title was Gone – but she didn’t want to give away the ending).

I contacted Mitra through her website to see if she would allow me to publish some of the sketches from Dog.  She was very gracious and sent me a number – only some of which I will use here – because I’d like you to support this artist and buy her book (and other drawings).

Dog by Mitra FarmandDog, a small book of only 20 pages, would make a great gift this Christmas for any dog lover.  And it covers, with sensitivity and heart, the feeling of those days after you’ve lost a loved dog.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

To Fetch a Thief – book review

To Fetch a Thief

I’ve just finished reading this book, the third in the series of the Chet and Bernie murder mysteries.

As with the previous two books, I loved reading about Bernie and Chet’s latest investigation, from Chet’s point of view with Chet as the narrator.

In this tale, a lead trainer and an elephant go missing from the circus when they are in town.  Bernie and Chet’s services are retained by the missing trainer’s partner, a clown with the circus.

I didn’t like a scene involving a snake, but other than that – it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

I have lots more Chet and Bernie mysteries to get through.  Author Spencer Quinn is prolific writer – and I only have so much time to read books and magazines as I run a business.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Norbert: the little therapy dog with a series of books

Norbert

Norbert shows his High Five (photo courtesy of Norberthood.com)

Norbert is a special therapy dog.  He’s a very tiny (3-pound) cross-breed who was the only puppy born to his dog mother in California.  His owners believe he is a Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier  and Lhasa Apso cross.  Adopted in 2009 from PetFinder.com, Norbert was his human mother’s first-ever dog and he traveled to Boston to live with her.

At the age of one, he passed his therapy dog tests and began working with children and the elderly. Along the way he learned new tricks like High Five, Namaste (stay) and Zen (lie down).

Then his mom decided to write a book, and then another, and (soon) another….

Book 1: Norbert - What can little me do?

Book 1: Norbert – What can little me do?

Book 2: Norbert - What can little you do?

Book 2: Norbert – What can little you do?

Book 3 (due out in November 2015): Norbert & Lil Bub - What can little we do?

Book 3 (due out in November 2015): Norbert & Lil Bub – What can little we do?

Therapy dogs are special dogs providing important emotional support services to those in need.  I like the fact that there are children’s books featuring Norbert – if we tell children about dogs and their personalities, and teach them lessons along the way, we set them up to be compassionate adults who are prepared to be responsible pet owners.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

What pet should I get?

“I want a pet, I want a pet, what pet should we get?” is the mantra of the latest Dr Seuss children’s book, published for the first time in July 2015.

The manuscript for this book was found amongst the papers of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss) almost 25 years after his death.

What pet should I get

From what I can see, the illustrations are classic Dr Seuss, as is the rhyming language he liked to use for his young audiences.

I grew up with Dr Seuss – Horton Hears a Who was a favorite.  And so it is rather nice to think that a whole younger generation of kids can talk about the newest Seuss book.

Critics say the book is dated because the children go to a pet store to find their animal (rather than adopting).  Let’s hope the teacher, parents and grandparents who read this story to the children are able to explain why going to the pet store “isn’t the way we do things nowadays…”

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Animal Stars – book review

Animal Stars

This book was a gift and covers more than just dogs.  Horses, birds, cats, monkeys and other animals also feature.  (The book opens with a section on horses, moves to other animals, and then sections devoted to dogs and cats, follow.)

Published in support of the American Humane Association (co-author Robin Ganzert is the President and CEO of the AHA) , which provides representatives on film sets to ensure animals are treated well, I had high hopes for the book.

Perhaps I was looking to hear more about the animal’s background before they started training to be animal actors, or perhaps I was expecting more detail about the training methods used,  or perhaps I needed to see the stories set out in chronological order so we could build a history of animals in film… For whatever reason, this was one of those books which I simply couldn’t get into.

It has a nice format, with small vignettes in the margins featuring quotations from actors and directors.  But somehow, the book felt like a marketing exercise for the AHA (most vignettes espouse the value of having the AHA on set).  It lacked a consistent ‘voice’ since it is really a compilation of stories written by those involved in films and training; a better job at editing the content may have resulted in a book that was more consistently entertaining and an easier read.

Recommended as ‘borrow from the library’ rather than ‘buy’.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Thunder Dog – book review

Thunder Dog

Thunder Dog tells the story of Michael Hingson and Roselle, his guide dog.  Michael was working in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on the 78th floor on the morning of September 11, 2001.  The book gets its title from the fact that Roselle was very afraid of thunder and, during the wee hours of September 11th, there had been a thunder storm which woke both dog and handler – with handler providing emotional support.

The book starts with a chapter ‘Goodbye to a Hero’ in which Hingson tells us that Roselle died on June 26, 2011.  This is not entirely surprising – virtually all of the dogs who had involvement in 9/11 have since passed away.  It is, sadly, to be expected.

This book is written in a conversational style, as if Hingson was giving an interview (he did, many in fact, after the 9/11 attacks – television presenter Larry King writes the Foreward to the book).  It makes for very easy reading.

Interspersed with chapters detailing the long walk down from the 78th floor as dog and handler evacuated, Hingson tells us more about his life.  He wasn’t born blind, for example.  He was a premature baby and back when he was born, babies were put into incubators with a very high oxygen environment (it wasn’t until later when many babies ended up surviving, but blind, that doctors became aware of the cause).  Roselle was not Hingson’s first guide dog, either.  And Hingson’s parents encouraged him to explore his world; he even rode a bicycle around his neighborhood without assistance – learning to navigate by echolocation.

But the horrors of that day, and the strong bond between man and dog are what this book is really about.  How Hingson had to rely on Roselle more than ever, whilst remaining calm for her so she could do her job.  And how Roselle offered terrified people emotional support on a day like no other.  Hingson’s recollections of short conversations with firefighters who were climbing up the tower to fight the fire and assist in rescue are most poignant.

Roselle’s legacy lives on in the Roselle’s Dream Foundation which has since been established by Mr Hingson to honor her memory.  Throughout the book, Hingson emphasizes that being blind did not stop him from having a normal life and so the Foundation does its best to support scholarships to enable blind people to live their lives to the fullest.  The Foundation also exists to educate the sighted about blindness.

A book well worth reading.  It spent time on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand