It’s not often that an author emails you and asks your blessing to use what is essentially the title of one of your own books. But I got an email in January from Pilley Bianchi, the daughter of Dr. John W. Pilley, who not only made his dog Chaser famous, he changed our expectations of a canine’s cognitive potential.
Pilley sent her apologies for the title of her upcoming book, For the Love of Dog, knowing it is a close copy of the title my book, For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend. She explained she had little choice in the title and wondered if I might be able to review the book. (We authors are stunningly helpless sometimes when it comes to covers and titles–I had to fight like a tiger to get the cover proposed–horrific!–for The Other End of the Leash. I had 24 hours to settle on a final cover, which turned out to be a choice I continue to adore. Whew.)
I had to decline giving a review, my health being at its worst at the time, but gave her my blessing about the title. Besides feeling nothing but benevolence toward a book subtitled “The Ultimate Relationship Guide,” and based on the knowledge learned from Pilley’s work with Chaser, you can’t copyright titles, so why not cheer her on? Besides, I love the confluence–her book is about the cognitive potential in each of our dogs, while my book is about comparative emotions in people and dogs. So much the same, so much different.
Now: Full Disclosure. The book just came this morning, so I haven’t done anything but page through it. It looks like a delightful read: Half text, half charming cartoonish illustrations by Calum Heath, the book toggles from introducing Chaser and Pilley’s father (a delightful man I have heard from friends who worked with him), the evolution of dogs, the cognitive potential of dogs, how to be better friends to our dogs, and the profound impact that Chaser and John had on thousands of people. It ends with a brief note regarding a non-profit called The Chaser Initiative, which is “dedicated to educating children (K-12) about the power of play and the importance of John W. Pilley and Chaser’s legacy and how it applies to their own lives.”
I’m going to leave it there and keep this short, because, in honor of play and its benefits, I’m getting ready to spend some time doing little but reading, playing silly games with family and friends, and just simply being alive. The To Do list will include only things like “read fun books!” and “lie around doing nothing!”
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: As I mentioned above, I’m wrapping up “real life” to take a summer break. Late mornings in bed. Going through the books on the bedside table. Maybe a jigsaw puzzle. Lots of time with family and friends. Cuddles with dogs. Of course, as we all know, getting ready to do that makes one extra busy for awhile (ah, the irony), so I’m going to keep it short today.
Here are some photos from a special visit from my dear niece, Annie Piatt.
Annie came with me to work dogs at a friend’s, here’s Skip doing a nice job driving and cross driving at a good pace. (Later he wasn’t so good, kept sliding left instead of holding a line, but he redeemed himself bringing back a single so all’s well that ends well.
And please join Annie and I for laughing at Jim for cutting the pie like this. Annie and I took the two small slices at the top. Jim walked over and his brain hurt at how asymmetrical it was, so he made the perfect slice below to even things out.
May your next two weeks be perfectly symmetrical (or not), and include, summer break or regular life, time to play, love up on friends, family and dogs, and just be. Because, sometimes, that’s enough.