Posted on by Mary Shafer

Two of my fellow contributors to Almost Perfect were interviewed this week, and I want to share these great audiocasts with you!

Cheryl Caruolo, who wrote about a friend’s special relationship with Krieg, a special German Shepherd, appeared on November 14th’s episode of “The Booth.” This unique show describes itself as “”Imagine sitting in bar next to a booth with 4-5 guys chatting away about anything & everything, and once in a while a friend or two stops by to hang out.” The show features Keith “Sinista1” Hayes, Czman and Ken “Diesel” Diesenhof, and is heard on WXBR 1460 AM out of their Brockton studios 20 miles south of Boston, Mass.

Yeah, you have to get through a bit of frat boy-type stuff first, but the hosts are gracious and interested, and it’s worth the wait to hear Cheryl talk about her involvement in our little project. Check it out!

Vicki Tiernan wrote about her life with Ruby, an irrepressible LabraDobe mix who lost the use of her back legs to a degenerative muscle disease. She was interviewed on Nov. 18th by host Joanne Greene on the Good Dog! podcast. Scroll down to the Nov. 18 entry, and click on “Inspirational Dogs with Disabilities” for almost 13 minutes of interesting and informative entertainment.

Both authors give good ear: They’re poised, eloquent, and passionate about their subjects.


Almost Perfect: The book

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Okay, time for a little shameless self-promotion. After all, my new book was the reason I started this blog, and I want to make sure you all know about it.

Almost Perfect: Disabled Pets and the People Who Love Them just came out in October from Enspirio House, an imprint of Word Forge Books. This publisher has several different imprints covering many different subject areas, but Enspirio House covers mind/body/spirit topics — the perfect place for this fantastic collection of 11 essays by veteran authors and fresh new voices from three countries.

The book’s doing well — even got picked up by Target stores online — and I can’t say I’m surprised. These stories have a power all their own, and once you read one, you’ll be hooked, because you’ll recognize the truth behind every moving tale.

In a world that reveres perfection and disdains anything less, most of us realize that nothing—and no one—can truly measure up. Yet, when it comes to choosing companion animals, most folks won’t settle for less.

These stories are about those animals who—through birth or injury—have been rendered less than perfect, and the humans who found love enough to welcome them into their hearts and homes. Almost Perfect allows you to share the immeasurable rewards those people have found.

Learn what courage really is from Colbi, a blind Alaskan Husky, as he trades a hellish life in a puppy mill for the challenges of farm living. Be inspired by Ruby, the irrepressible Labrador-Doberman mix who adapts to a devastating muscle-eating disease by learning to truly “roll with the punches.” Follow Cagney, the paraplegic rat, who struggles along with his human “mom” through her Master’s thesis. Be inspired by the joy and grace with which Tux, a handsome black-and-white cat, navigates a life of almost complete paralysis. Root for tiny, blind Idgie to beat the mean streets of Philadelphia and the death sentence of feline leukemia.

Allow yourself to believe once again in the power of the positive, as you read about how loving and caring for “less-than-perfect” pets helps their human counterparts appreciate what it means to be fully alive.

This 128-page book is manageable even in today’s hectic schedules, allowing you to read a bit at a time as you find a few moments here and there. It’s a refreshing dip into what really matters in life when you feel surrounded–and maybe overwhelmed–by everything else. At $12.95, it makes an affordable gift for the animal lover in your life (even if it’s you!).

Sometimes you find the purr, sometimes she finds you!

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Following my last post, this one seems appropriate: a very different kind of story about war in the Gulf, and a tiny purr that just wouldn’t die. Take one hot desert, mix in one new family and a litter of abandoned kittens, and…well, you’ll see.

Bless Ginger for posting Susan Dart’s story, Heart of a Lion.

Ideas About Companion Animals

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Since the published goal of this blog is to explore how we view companion animals (specifically, disabled ones), I feel this post is germane:

Are you aware that it is the policy of the American military to leave behind any and all animals that have been “adopted” by fighting forces in an occupied region? Despite the fact that these animals provide sometimes the only emotional solace our troops can find, when it’s time for the troops to ship out, dogs, cats and other critters are left behind like so much debris, to fend for themselves.
Anyone who shares their lives with companion animals know how much suffering this must cause, for both the animals and those who have grown to love and depend on them. Maybe in the past, this harsh policy was required. But today, with modern vaccines and modern transportation modes, it’s a barbaric hangover from another time.

As proven by the shift in policy of the American Red Cross to FINALLY provide shelter for companion animals after the thousands of needless deaths caused when pet owners wouldn’t abandon their beloved critters to evacuate for Hurricane Katrina, it’s time for a new vision of what decency and humanity mean.

Please take a few moments to let the American military know how you feel about this issue by signing the Care2 petition. You’ll be glad you did.

On a related note, there’s a great organization whose sole mission is caring for the pets of soldiers who get shipped out. While they’re away doing their duty, Guardian Angels become foster caregivers for their companion animals until Mom or Dad come home.

You gotta love Homer!

Posted on by Mary Shafer

Gwen Cooper blogs about her blind cat, Homer, at What a fantastic little guy, what a great story, and what a great mom he has!

Gwen reports she’s just sold her story of Homer to Bantam Dell, so let’s all watch for that book when it comes out. She’s got us on her list, so when she lets me know, I’ll let you know it’s available.

Meanwhile, why not check out her blog yourself and get to know Gwen and Homer a little better?