Waiting for Snow

Waiting for Snow

Waiting for Snow Image courtesy Unsplash
Waiting for Snow
Image courtesy Unsplash

Dad cheerful said: “We’ll have Snow tomorrow!”

So my human pup and I, brave Eskimos,

Early before breakfast went down below

And sat by the window, waiting for snow.

 

It must be someone special, went through my head,

Since we could, this morning, and quite by chance,

Not eat at the table. “Toast! Can I have some more?”

“On one condition: not a crumb on the floor!”

 

I’m looking left, towards the deep, dark woods.

I’m looking right, towards the town with goods.

Where will she come from, Mrs. Snow?

Will she take the bus? Will she arrive by noon?

 

There’s a little bus station right by our house,

It’s busy in the morning, you couldn’t spot a mouse.

Buses stop here often throughout the day.

But Snow doesn’t get off. What’s causing her delay?

 

Maybe she’ll ride a bicycle, red and bright and shiny.

Like the postman does each day, even when it’s rainy.

Maybe she’ll come by yellow taxi, honking any minute.

Like the doctor does; arriving in an instant.

 

But what if Snow will just walk here, like grandpa likes to do.

“Exercise is good for you, I’m never sick with flue!”

He always tells my human pup and winks at her some more.

Grandpa’s old and wrinkled; his exercise advice might work!

 

What if Snow arrives at tea time? Mom always sais to us:

“It’s fashionable to do so, but always come announced!”

Aunts and quite so many Ladies visit once a week.

And tea, cookies and cakes, so yummy, they always like to eat.

 

Who is this Snow? Nobody mentioned her before!

Why is she coming? Did Mom even agreed?

My human pup expects her to play games;

I just want to know: will she throws sticks, twice in a row?

 

Will she tell bedtime stories and like pups like me?

Is she a stern or friendly Lady? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Will she share crumbs? And mostly,

Where will she sleep, if feeling lonely?

 

It’s way past lunch, we waited for sooo long.

My human pup is restless, Mom even hums a song.

I’ll tell Snow, when I’ll meet her, whenever that will be,

That being late is a no-no, please Ma’am, excuse me.

 

She didn’t come at all and it’s already time for bed.

Pajamas on, the story read, my human pup still sad.

“She’s here!” shouts Mom, so excited. “Hurry, get dressed!”

Get dressed? Go OUT? Why everyone’s so restless?

 

Is Snow a President?  What do I say, maybe she’s the Queen!

For all I know, from what I’ve seen, she’s a most expected being!

I won’t mention being late, but offer her some tea.

I only hope she brings presents, a little bone for me?

 

by Patricia Furstenberg

This is an edited version of the poem initially written for mypuppyclub.net

 

10 Enchanting Christmas and Bedtime Books for Babies and Young Readers

Redtricycle Spoke Contributor
Redtricycle Spoke Contributor

10 Enchanting Christmas and Bedtime Books for Babies and Young Readers

When my daughter was six month old I began reading to her “The Little Duckling.” We would cuddle together every day and enjoy the little bird’s adventures of bravery. It was a magical time for me and for my daughter as well. Later on she would look excited just seeing this book!

My son loved the touch and feel story of a puppy. It was a board book and, no matter how hard I tried, he would always put it in his mouth. I guess that’s what board books are for! He loved the touch of the puppy’s fur on the cover and, mostly, having his family around him at story time.

Later on I would read to both my children Enid Blyton’s “The Faraway Tree” and to this day my teen children remember the warm, fuzzy evenings and the big book we shared and delighted in together.

Continue reading Pat’s article on the Redtricycle website.

The newly adopted puppy: Time Out (Puppy Story – part 4)

The newly adopted puppy: Time Out

Dog digging
Dog digging? Oh no!

I’ve got to be quiet; I’ve got to lie still. They didn’t put me in a corner, but they did give me… time out. Only inside…

It was because of shredding the newspaper to bits on Sunday morning… and bumping over the trash can in the kitchen, which spilled the garbage…

I only tried to clean up!

Oh, and for scratching Mom’s bedroom door. But I tried to get in! It was a matter of life and death! It was past breakfast time and everybody was still sleeping!

I’m in the hallway now, on the carpet. This one is a rough carpet, not soft like the one in our bedroom. It tickles my tummy. I’ve got to scratch.

But I’ve got to sit still.

Oh, the carpet itches. My tummy itches.

“Sit still, puppy!” Mom had said…

But I’ve got an itch. Just one scratch?

Quick, while nobody’s watching.

Thump! Bang!

“Puppy!”

“The umbrella stand?! Whatever next?!”

I lay flat on the carpet. I wish I could melt in it and disappear.

I really didn’t, didn’t, didn’t want to bump it over!

It was just an itch.

A big itch and I’m a small puppy.

I’ve got to be quiet; I’ve got to lie still.

Now I’m outside.

Time out SHOULD take place outside? It only makes sense.

Mom hasn’t told me to sit still; she just opened the door and pointed outside. But I want to. To show her I’m a good puppy.

What does a good puppy do? I wonder if my friend Mole knows. He seems to know so much… There he is! He’s always busy digging. He’s such a good digger, he keeps all the plants fresh, Mom’s flowers pretty.

Mom loves flowers.

Maybe that’s what I should do! Pick some flowers for her. Dad brought her flowers last week and she was so happy she danced!

If I should make her so happy she’ll forget all about being upset with me!

I’ll do it! For Mom!

Here, a mouthful of flowers for Mom; freshly picked!

Flowers for Mom
Flowers for Mom

They did got a bit squashed in the process, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

“Mom, my puppy’s barking outside the door! Can I please let him in now? I’m sure he learned his lesson.”

“Puppy!! My flowers! And LOOK at ALL this mud! PUPPY!”

by Patricia Furstenberg

Initially wrote for mypuppuclub.net.

It is my first Sunday in my new home (Puppy Story – part 3)

It is my first Sunday in my new home

First Sunday Morning
First Sunday Morning

It is my first Sunday

In my new home

I open my eyes,

My human still sleeps.

 

I’m hoping for some bacon smell,

For the kettle to hum.

No flavor coming up,

No noises at all.

 

The house is quiet,

What could be the matter?

Surely IS the right time

For food on the table?

 

My human pup snores,

Sounds just like a baby kettle.

I lick her ear;

She doesn’t budge.

 

I jump off the bed,

I am on a mission.

To wake everyone

Before it’s too late.

 

I grab at her blanket;

It is a pup’s play

To pull it off the bed

And onto the floor.

 

But this puppy is small

And the blanket is heavy.

I try my best

And head for the door.

 

I listen for noises:

Where is Mom’s room?

That is the only room

I haven’t been into.

 

“No puppies in here.”

I remember the rule.

But surely for emergency

We can bend it a bit?

 

The door is closed

But I push with my nose.

I push with my paws,

I push with all my might.

 

I’ve got to get it open.

I’ve got to get inside.

They have to wake up,

It’s well past their time.

 

I can’t open the door.

It’s too heavy for me.

My paws slide off,

I even hurt my snout.

 

I whimper, I cry.

As quietly as can be.

Surely they will hear me,

Open for me?

 

A thump at the door!

Someone’s outside!

I’ve got to protect them!

Stand up for my pack!

 

I run down the stairs.

It was a big mistake;

My paws slide,

My bum gets ahead.

 

Thump! My bottom hits the floor

Then my head hits the carpet.

I need a second

To regain my balance.

 

No time to spare,

Someone’s at the door!

I’ve got to protect my family,

I’m heading ahead.

 

I’ll bark and I’ll fight.

I’ll tear them apart!

This is my home!

It’s under my guard!

 

Silence.

Whoever it was,

It got scared.

I am sure.

 

Such a vicious pup

Got them on the run!

They got so scared,

Didn’t even come inside.

 

They left just one thing,

Small item behind.

A paper! I’ll show them!

I grab it right away.

 

I’ll fight and I’ll bite

And if they dare come back,

They’ll see what’s waiting for them.

And be scared of me!

 

Good, now the paper is gone.

What did Father said?

Garbage belongs with garbage.

I’ll clean up in a sec.

 

Such a big mess

And such a small pup.

I’ll do my best,

Let me find the trash.

 

It’s easy to spot it,

My nose takes me straight.

There’s the trash can,

Hidden in the darkest place.

 

Sooo big,

Me, so short.

But I’ve got to clean

The shreds from the floor.

 

I jumped. It fell.

BUMP!

Its lid came off.

More trash rolled onto the floor.

 

Footsteps upstairs! Coming down the stairs!

I’ve got to hide,

But where? Where?

Sorry about the mess!

 

I had to protect…

I had to protect
I had to protect

by Patricia Furstenberg

Initially wrote for mypuppuclub.net. Images courtesy Unsplash

The newly adopted puppy: The Worm. (Puppy Story – part 2)

The newly adopted puppy: The Worm

Looking for my doggy treasure.
Looking for my doggy treasure.

I love my new place.

I love it during my sleep for I can smell my human pup cuddled tight against me. She smells of milk and of love, the stuff sweet dreams are made of.

I love my new place in the moments just before I wake up, when the aroma of freshly cooked breakfast creeps through under the door and through the keyhole, conquering our bedroom. What better way to start the day but knowing what sorts of scraps will fly off the table? And if I catch the titbits before Mother ever sees us I get a pat and a scratch behind my ear for showing such super skills! For it is against the house rules to feed me like this, but my human pup loves me so much she shares everything with me.

I share with my human pup too.

My new place comes with a big yard, so big that if I run all around once my tongue spills out of my mouth in search of water, so tired I am. It took me a few whole mornings to sniff all around it and learn it off by heart.

At its far end, by the corner of the fence, my new friend lives, Mr. Mole. He likes to dig tunnels through the ground and to share his wiggly worms with me. Nobody seems to feed him so I share some of my tasty morsels with him. I hope he likes them; he keeps on burying them into his tunnels.

It was here that I found the biggest, juiciest worm!

It made me remember my human pup and her toes. Mother calls them wiggly worms and she keeps on counting them each night at bedtime. I thought how she would laugh to discover an extra one! Would she be able to tell the difference? I thought not; they smelled the same to me.

That night I found out that…

Mothers can scream VERY loud.

I still want to make my human Mother laugh; when she does so she smells so much more of love. I’ll have to find something else to share next time.

How much is that doggie in the window? (Puppy Story – part 1)

How much is that doggie in the window?  (Feelings of a stray dog)

Dogs have feelings too.
Dogs have feelings too.

I like my new place. It is dry and I have water and food. Last night I fell asleep with a full tummy, on a soft blanket! It isn’t much, but it was dry and it kept me warm and I was out of the wind and the wet streets and nobody kicked me. Yesterday a friendly lady even gave me a cuddle. Her cheek was soft and warm; it felt good on the inside.

I like my clean water the most and my food, it’s the best I had in a very long time. I didn’t eat it all last night, I was too afraid that I’ll have nothing left for the morning. But, guess what, this morning they gave me fresh food and water! The man who came to feed me was very quiet so I stayed away in my corner. He didn’t seem interested in me, so I left him alone. Maybe the loving lady I saw yesterday will come to see me later.

This week I haven’t been hungry and I haven’t been cold or hurt.

I have food and water. My blanket smells like me, it is my home. It isn’t a big home. I have a patch of grass fenced with a high metal mesh, but it keeps me safe. Someone brings me food and water twice a day. There are a few other kennels like mine, but their occupants are much bigger than me and very noisy, especially at feeding time.

Today some people came and they looked at each one of us. They picked the occupant of the kennel to my right because she had long, silky ears. Mine are short, but they help me hear; very well. I know what happened to the occupant of the last kennel, the one in the corner. I heard him cry last night and then he was silent. They cleaned his kennel this morning and now it is empty.

Now people come and visit the kennels every day and each time another one of us leaves to a new home. I am happy for them because they used to cry every night. Now they would have found a family of their own.

I don’t cry. I am brave. My mommy told me to be brave when she last licked me goodbye. She had soft brown eyes and short ears just like mine. She had a loving owner too, who loved her for her sweet nature and big heart.

One day someone just like that will adopt me and take me to my new home.

One day.

Maybe today.

“How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale.”

A dog's heart is full of hopes.
A dog’s heart is full of hopes.

 

 

 

How to self-publish an eBook and become an Indie Author on a ZERO budget in ten steps

I wrote this blog post based on my own experience as an Indie Author, having illustrated and self-published my children’s book “Happy Friends” in March 2016. I advise you to bookmark and return to this page often as I intend to update it regularly.

You wrote a book or you’re almost done writing it.

What’s next?

You could go two ways. You could submit your manuscript to mainstream publishers and wait … then wait some more OR, with eye wide open and a dry mouth, you could take the road “less traveled” and become an Indie.

What does Indie means? Indie is the abbreviation for “independent”, a term first used in the 1920s with reference to film production.

Join a 100 years long industry. If they succeeded, so can YOU, you and your MS Word manuscript.

Self-publish your e-book on a ZERO BUDGET.

  1. “Stop wishing. Start doing.”

HOW TO PROOFREAD / EDIT your work for FREE.

This is crucial to your work, to good reviews and customers.

Search Twitter or Facebook for emerging proofreaders / editors willing do it for free in an exchange for a reference from you. Or find a student in the field looking to broaden his experience. If you don’t have social media accounts create them now, they’re FREE.

Proofreading means correcting spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation or formatting errors.

Editing looks into depths. It will consider the way you present your ideas, making your manuscript easier to read.

When on a zero budget you have to do what best works for you in order to move forward on your self-publishing road.

 

  1. “Don’t watch the clock. Do what it does, keep going.”

HOW TO get a FREE BOOK COVER.

Don’t worry about a book cover at this stage as Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP (Amazon’s own publishing platform) provides FREE templates you can edit and use.

 

  1. “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”

HOW TO get your book ON AMAZON for FREE.

One of the best places to first publish your eBook is on Amazon, using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s eBook publishing platform. Publishing here will take a few minutes and subsequently your book will appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours, available for all Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps. Publish once and sell worldwide on all the Amazon sites.

What is great about self-publishing an eBook is that you can make changes even after publishing your book. You just upload the new file!

Step 1.Sign up for a free KDP account on www.kdp.amazon.com

Step 2.Format your book for FREE.

To publish your eBook on Amazon your manuscript must have specific formatting.

I recommend you read and use “Building Your Book for Kindle, Kindle Edition”. It is a VERY easy to follow, FREE step by step guide on how to format your book to easy self-publish it on Kindle found here.

If you’re a MAC user, then you might want to download “Building Your Book for Kindle for MAC, Kindle Edition“.

Your book cover will be taken care of at this step, during the uploading process.

Step 3.Enroll your book in KDP Select. It is a FREE PROMOTIONAL program.

At least for the first three month (as enrollment in KDP Select is renewed quarterly) I advise that you do enroll your book in KDP Select. You will be able to run promotions (list your book for FREE for up to five days over each three months or run a Kindle countdown deal, also for up to five days over each three months). Read more here.

 

  1. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

HOW TO get your own, FREE Amazon AUTHOR PAGE.

Create a FREE account on Amazon Author Central.

On your Amazon Author Page you can add a short biography (keep it short and sweet. Include something funny about yourself. Look at what other authors wrote about themselves). You can also include a photo of yourself and have a blog (more about this later). Include links to your social media accounts for your readers to follow and get in touch.

Have a look at my Amazon Author Page.

If you don’t have your own website, then your Amazon Author Page can be your home online.

 

  1. “Stay focused. Never give up.”

HOW TO create a FREE Goodreads ACCOUNT for yourself and a get a FREE BLOG.

Step 1.Create a Goodreads account for yourself. Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. You can see what everyone is reading, their reviews and you can post your own books and meet like-minded authors, make connections.

Search for your book on Goodreads and add yourself as the author. Now you can request Goodreads to upgrade your account to a FREE Author Account. This is important because it will give you a BLOG. Blogging increases your visibility online, where your eBook is.

Step 2.LINK your Goodreads blog to your Amazon Author Page by using RSS feeds. This way your blog posts from Goodreads will be pulled into your Amazon Author Page, thus giving your readers more information about you, the Author, and giving you more credibility.

Have a look at my Goodreads Author page.

  1. “Action is the foundation key to success.”

HOW TO get Book REVIEWS for your book for FREE.

Step 1.Search Twitter and Facebook, there are great Book Reviewers there. Keep in mind that they will have a pile of books already awaiting their review so you might have to wait for your turn.

Step 2.When your book is on a free promotion on KDP Select ask family and friends to download it for free and post a review on Amazon.

Step 3.Do a review exchange with another emerging author.

Keep in mind that each reviewer has his / her own requirements for submitting your work. Follow them and respect their time as they do give out of the goodness of their hearts and love for books. For free.

 

  1. “When you feel like quitting think about why you started.”

HOW TO self-publish for FREE on Barnes & Noble and Apple. And get a FREE ISBN.

Step 1.If your three months subscription on KDP Select has ended (and do make sure it is), you can put your eggs in more than one basket.

Smashwords (eBooks for Independent Authors and Publishers) distributes to: Barnes and Noble (a Fortune 500 company, the largest retail bookseller in the United States), Kobo (Canadian company which sells e-books, e-readers and tablet computers), Amazon (but you’re here already so you can opt out for this one retailer), Apple, Inktera (selling the most popular e-book titles, formerly Page Foundry), Baker & Taylor Blio, Baker-Taylor Axis360, Library Direct, OverDrive, Scribd (digital library and e-book, audio-book and comic suetail, Yuzu, Tolino, Odilo, Gardners Library.

Create a FREE Smashwords account then edit your Smashwords Author page. There is even an interview that you can do there and, voila, you’ll have your very own Author Interview on your Smashwords Author Page. For FREE!

Have a look at my Smashwords Author Page.

Step 2.Format your manuscript for Smashwords as they have their own formatting requirements. You can download the Smashwords Style Guide for FREE.

Be patient and follow their requirements to the letter and soon enough you will be able to upload your eBook on Smashwords too.

Step 3.Now you will need a book cover. Smashwords does not provide a free book cover template.

 

  1. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

HOW TO create your own book cover for FREE, all by yourself.

This is your last push. You’ve come so far, you can do it. And you can do it in Paint! Remember, you want to design a book cover that looks good as a thumbnail, the way it would look on a webpage.

Step 1.Find a background picture that suits your book genre. Look at Unsplash, FREE high-resolution photos, as they have amazing pictures.

Step 2.Open the picture in Paint and include Title and Author Name only. This is important as what appears on your Smashwords Book Cover has to match 100% the info you include under title and author when you upload your eBook file.

Step 3.Save your cover. Follow the Smashwords Style Guide’s requirements for cover size. To edit your pictures you can download IrfanView for FREE.

Step 4.Upload work and cover onto Smashwords and patiently wait for their confirmation emails. You want to hear from them that your book made it into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. If they tell you there are things to be fixed, then fix them and upload again.

You can now upload your new book cover onto Amazon too, to keep your eBook’s appearance uniform on the internet.

 

  1. “Nothing great ever came that easy.”

Pricing your eBook.

Again, less is more. Books between $2.99 to $5.99 bring the most profits due to higher sales. Search similar books to yours to get an idea.

 

  1. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

HOW TO MARKET your eBook for FREE.

Step 1.Marketing your book means creating awareness. This will require all the social platforms you’re on. You can create your own book promos by using pictures and text.

Step 2.Remember, Twitter and Facebook are great platforms to establish connections with like-minded authors and learn from them; they hardly sell your books. But you could land a few author interviews here, hosted on other author’s blogs – which will increase your exposure as an author, thus increasing your chances to sell more books.

Step 3.Use your blog. Write about what you like or what you know. It will create awareness about you, the Author.

Well done, now you’re a published eBook author!

by Patricia Furstenberg

REMEMBER: bookmark this page and return often to check for new updates as self-publishing and marketing are continuous activities.

This article was first published as a Guest Post on O.D.BookReviews on 15 October 2016.

Great dog characters in books for readers of all ages

Fiction books whose four-legged characters left memorable paw-prints on readers – of ALL AGES

I have vivid recollections of growing up reading a lime-green book about a Dachshund named Fridolin, “a happy story for children”, written by German author Franz Caspar. It was a heart-warming story about a little dog with a brave heart.

Fridolin by Franz Caspar
Fridolin by Franz Caspar

Later on, just when I thought I know everything there is to know about my favorite author, I discovered Agatha Christie’s “Dumb Witness: A Hercule Poirot Mystery”. I don’t know if it was the intelligence of Bob, the wire fox terrier, his never-ending attachment towards his mistress… or the surprisingly warm-heated side Hercule Poirot revealed in this detective novel.

Bob and Hercule Poirot in the movie adaptation of Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie
Bob and Hercule Poirot in the movie adaptation of Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie

What is certain is that whenever I read this book my faith in the human race’s love and understanding towards animals is restored.

Stories passed on to generations

New generation, new interests, but the same passion for… classics. My daughter introduced me to Timmy, George’s mongrel from “The Famous Five” by Enid Blyton.

Timmy’s a much loved dog, especially by his owner, and he gets to save the children from terrible fates.

My son preferred Scamper, Peter and Janet’s dog, loyal to the “Secret Seven”, also by Enid Blyton. Scamper loves all children. Good to know you’ve got a wagging tail always there for you.

Without Fridolin or Bob, Timmy, Scamper or Little Tail, adventures wouldn’t be the same and clothes would remain much cleaner – but at a cost of many smiles and giggles.

Inspirational dogs

I don’t know where Little Tail came from. I suppose I should know, since I wrote about him in “Happy Friends”. I guess he just grew in my heart, his story spinning out of the lives of all the dogs I loved throughout my life.

Little Tail is pretty much a do-er and a dream-er; a dog of contrasts. He’s small in size, but has the courage of a lion. He’s curious, yet cautious as he won’t easily venture outside his comfort zone. He’s a dreamer, fantasizing about things he doesn’t know, yet treasuring the old book’s advice.

But above all Little Tail from “Happy Friends” by South African author Patricia Furstenberg is a devoted friend, his adventures being filled with smiles, friends and…  ice-cream flavored clouds!

Happy Friends eBook cover
Happy Friends, Happy Friends: 12 Animal Stories of Friendship and Adventure, One Happy Ending

by Patricia Furstenberg

This article was initially written for mypuppuclub.net and posted on 16 August 2016.

Dogs and the paw-prints they leave on the pages of our lives

“My dog can move mountains!”

That’s what I should have said each time our Rottweilers dug out the back yard! Instead, I moaned and complained about exposed roots and destroyed lawn.

Too late now; sadly they both passed away. But what they did left behind, except for a refashioned garden landscape, are fond memories.

Our dogs were do-ers

All dogs are. In a small or a big way they reshape our lives; always for the better.

Take Jock from “Jock of the Bushveld” by South African author Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick

Based on a real life friendship between a man and the bull terrier pup he rescued from drowning for being the runt of the litter. The story takes place at the end of the 19th century, on the backdrop of the gold mining era.

Jock grows up to become a fearless but well behaved dog, loyal to his master. Filled with authentic hunting stories the author’s love for his dog Jock transpires on every page, their genuine friendship standing out on the backdrop of a South African version of the American Wild West.

A subtle lesson

Other real life dogs made it into stories too and with a great purpose: to teach young readers empathy, how to become responsible pet owners and to hook them onto books.

Astro from “Astro’s Adventures” by Australian author Susan Day, a real dog in flesh and… shaggy fur

Astro’s companions into adventure and righteousness are also real. Susan Day’s collection of animals’ adventures, although fictional, gives you that warm feeling of justice been done. The small and the weak have been saved, the villains have received their punishment and our heroes walk into the sunset… wagging their tails.

Having Australia as a starting point, each book takes you on a fun and adventurous trip to a different location around the world.

PlayStation and Wii forgotten but story book finished and lesson learned, this is how you wish your child to end a busy day.

by Patricia Furstenberg

This article was initially written for mypuppuclub.net and posted on 9 August 2016 http://www.mypuppyclub.net/dogs-paw-prints-leave-pages-lives/

And the Oscar goes to…

Tonight, I’m attending The Oscars. Front row seats. Imagine all the glitz and glamour!

I’m especially looking forward to “The Honorary Award”. This special award is given for lifetime achievements, outstanding contributions and services to the Academy.

Only that tonight it won’t be about the big boys. So often other performances get overlooked.

Did you know that no animal has ever won an Academy Award? Is it because they woof their lines and don’t sweat the small stuff? No.

Dogs are not eligible to receive an Oscar Award.

Think of a movie in which a dog’s performance has made a long-lasting paw-pression on you. There’s a whole pack chasing through my mind!

Is it Max the English Bulldog from the TV drama “Jake and the Fatman”? It was Buford the Bulldog who played the role of Max. Did you know that Max sired a son named Taker who appeared in the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond”? Like father like son.

Or perhaps your heart skipped for joy watching the numerous movies with Benji, the mix breed who took over the silver screen in the 70’s and the 80’s? Did you know that the first dog to play Benji was a shelter dog named Higgins? He appeared in other television series and lived to be 17 years old.

Any dog deserves a second chance.

The electronic dog from “C.H.O.M.P.S.” was the first to make me wonder “what if?”

For a long time afterwards the child in me dreamed of owning a furry dog with beady eyes and superpowers.

Guess what, my dream came true! Over the years, each one of my dogs possessed superpowers… only I knew about! Tara could read minds and go from couch potato to 35 mph in under 1 sec if Mom was busy in the kitchen. Gina could tell the time, especially the garbage day and the minute when the refuge truck would dive into our street. Athos had… stage presence. He just had to show up and the street would magically empty itself of pedestrians.

Fast-forward 20 years and…

Never fear, UNDERDOG is here!!

A movie my family and I thoroughly enjoyed. Who can resist the charm of Leo, the lemon talking beagle who, every so often, gets it wrong?

What stayed with us this time was the unforgettable line delivered by Shoeshine / Underdog: “Give the dog your food!” You can watch it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cotqLSAbC6M

I’m not psychic, but so many times throughout my life I could swear I heard my dog speaking the exact same words. While I was chewing something… anything!

I remember my darling Tara, siting by my feet in the quiet kitchen while clear, distinct drops suddenly began to fall at regular intervals. Letting out a loud sigh I visualized my father in an attempt to fix the kitchen tap once again, his tools all over the counter.

But Tara’s mirroring sigh compelled me to observe her while taking another bite of my fruit. She was quick to evade my eyes, but, alas, I had spotted the source of the leak, the real one. My dog, a huge fan of apples, was drooling. I bend towards her and this time she held my gaze with her… innocent eyes, delivering the award-winning line: “Give the dog your food!”

So tonight’s Oscar for best performance will go to… (drum role) OUR DOGS!

For their role in guarding the yard against… pigeons, from their shady spot underneath the lemon tree. Always captivating the audience!

And for acting like a pack of starving animals (even though they’ve been just fed) only because you are eating something. What commitment!

Oh, and for delivering killer lines even at the wee hours of the morning. Talking about dedication!

* Thundering Applause *

by Patricia Furstenberg

Written for mypuppyclub.net and published on 25 September and 2nd October 2016 http://www.mypuppyclub.net/oscar-goes-dog/