October is now officially “Adopt a Dog Month“ and what a great addition to fall colors, apple pie and pumpkins (who I believe to be taking over the earth). Here’s a repeat of a post I wrote in June of 2011, right after the first copies of Love Has No Age Limit came out. Since then, over 80,000 copies of the book have gone out into the world, and hopefully, helped a dog settle happily into its forever home.
From June of 2011:
Love Has No Age Limit, the book I co-authored with Karen London about adopting an adolescent or adult dog, was delivered yesterday morning at 8 AM. I pulled up just after Denise had spent heaven knows how long carrying boxes from the truck into the office. (The delivery man’s comment, while first refusing to unload the boxes, was “Do you know how many books there are in that truck?!” That’s a line that will live forever in our office as “comments never to forget.” As will Denise’s answer: “Yes, I do. I ordered them.”) But thanks to Denise’s herculean efforts, there are now thousands of copies of our new book sitting in our office. (But a lot less than yesterday, we’ve sold hundreds and hundreds already!)
But right after it came, I entered my office to find a closed box of the books sitting on my desk. I took a breath and parted the cardboard panels. It’s scary to look at the book for the first time. Is it okay? Color right? Some horrific mistake that somehow passed through all the proofings? But, ah, when you pick it up and it’s okay and it’s good and you like it and all that work sits lightly in your hand? Priceless!
Here’s what I’m especially happy about:
*** Karen and I combined our combined years of experience working with clients who adopted dogs as adolescents or adults, with that of your wisdom, dear readers, and that of colleagues who have spent years helping to place dogs into their forever homes. We have high hopes that the book will not only encourage adoptions, but also increase the number of successful ones. (One research project found that almost a third of all adopted dogs were returned in the area studied.) It’s very clear that there are patterns to the adoption of older dogs, including in some of the problems that arise, and we’ve learned that a little bit of advice can go a long way toward helping families adapt to a new dog with a minimum of problems. Often the problem relates to expectations, and once expectations are aligned, things go much better than before.
*** We asked you and Facebook readers to send in a photo of a dog you rescued or adopted for the cover, and received over 800 of them. 800! Seriously! We loved every single one. It wasn’t easy, but we finally chose a dog named Theo to grace the cover, and a more compelling dog couldn’t be found. Theo was picked up by animal control on a New Jersey freeway, languished in a shelter for months, and is now a licensed therapy dog and beloved friend of Kimberly Wang in New York City.
*** So many fantastic photos, along with heart-swelling stories, came in that we decided to select more of them to introduce each new chapter. You can read about them and see some of their photos on our website.We’ll get more of them up as soon as we can.
*** We set a goal early on of creating a book that was thorough enough to be helpful but concise enough to be accessible. As importantly, we committed to creating a book that would be affordable for shelters and rescue groups so that they could hand it out with every dog they place. I’m thrilled with how it’s worked out: The printer, Suttle-Straus, graphic artist and typesetters, Jam Graphics, all agreed to take a substantial amount of their fee off of the price. We are truly grateful to them and thank them for their generosity. If you feel like it, send them an email and thank them too, we think they stepped up to the plate above and beyond. Because all the actors have been so generous, Love Has No Age Limit, if purchased in quantity, sells for a seriously ridiculous price. It’s barely covering our expenses, but it feels really really good nonetheless. We know how strapped shelters and rescue groups can be, and it feels wonderful to do our part to help dogs, as well as the people who want to adopt them.
*** We have a section on the website to help groups brainstorm ways to buy the book in bulk (when it is the least expensive, $2.88/copy) I’d love to hear your ideas about it. I think the best idea is for groups to ask donors to purchase books and donate them to the shelter. We know from research that people are more likely to contribute money for something specific rather than just cash toward a general fund.
I noticed that the Editor of Bark Magazine encouraged everyone to foster a dog this summer in their latest issue–a great idea that I’m all in favor of. Yeah for Claudia! However, it’s not something that each of us can do, no matter how much we’d like to. In April I had a foster dog scheduled to come to the farm in a few days (excitement reigned!), but then Willie’s injury was diagnosed at the Vet School, and we had to back out because I knew having a dog to play with in the house would make his recovery even more difficult. (The little girl found a good foster home soon after.) I’ll start again once Willie is recovered, but it’s not in the cards for us this summer. But it feels good to have spent over 8 months working on this book… we all can only do what we can do.
What can you do? Foster? If you can’t, there’s always a way you can help those millions of dogs out there who need homes. Be a volunteer dog walker? Contribute money for the general fund? Sponsor a dog? Buy the group or shelter some copies of Love Has No Age Limit? That feels self-serving to write, but the truth is, we did write the book to help, we do have a dream that every dog who leaves a shelter or rescue will leave with this book and that it will help at least a good number of them have an easy transition from “new dog” to “best dog ever.”
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Just back on the farm actually, from perfect vacation to Oregon to visit grandchildren Taylor and Quinne. I didn’t think to ask their wonderful mom, Rachel, about posting photos, so I’ll skip the photographs of all of us in rapture, and just say that being with the grandkids makes my bones melt.
The last half of the trip was spent at the Crater Lake Lodge and in the surrounding national park. If anything ever motivated you to work to save our national parks, this is the place. The Lodge was built in 1915, and was recently refurbished and is a testament to the beauty of stone and wood construction. It’s expensive (isolated and the only place to stay on Crater Lake), somewhat bare bones, but with a lobby both expansive and cozy, and a killer menu at the restaurant. I think it’s the only place I’ve ever eaten that had 1) a great view and 2) a monopoly—no where else to eat) that had such good food.
We arrived by driving through snow and ice on the East Rim Drive, which was closed soon after we got to the Lodge. (Icy, narrow road with massive, abrupt drop offs into the crater. What could go wrong?) Here’s Jim standing in front of the view of the lake we had that afternoon:
But it cleared a bit that evening, and was gorgeous sun the next morning. Then it socked in for a day and a half of snow and wind, just the right amount of time for us to lay low and read by the fire. The sun came out to a winter wonderland on the last day, so we hiked partway up Garfield Peak and had a brisk, stunningly beautiful walk before settling down to pancakes bigger than dinner plates and a view over looking the lake (it’s not actually a crater, it’s a caldera, as you’ll be told repeatedly by the rangers).
Looking north from the Sinott Overlook toward Wizard Island (a baby volcano):
Sun on tree tops, shadows in lake = visual bliss.
Clockwise, from top left: The “Phantom Ship” island in the fog, red cliffs at sunset, Crater Lake Lodge in the snow storm, blue sky and white trees (the sky really was this blue, seriously), a detail from the Lodge and an inch-long icicle resembling a flying dinosaur.
It is, of course, heaven to be home, back to the dogs, cats, sheep, flowers, green pastures, gardening chores, dirty laundry, emails.. oh wait. This is going in the wrong direction.
Tootsie, our little adopted dog who was rescued from a puppy mill, just came up and reminded me that it is still Adopt a Dog Month, and I get three whole days here before I leave for the 2017 APDT Conference in Richmond, VA. I’m so grateful we were able to give Tootsie a home, but we are the winners here. She is such a love. Here’s to your home from ours, and to all the dogs who are looking for a home and a family to love them.