Book Feature/Give-Away: Reporting for Duty, Profiling Disabled Veterans and Their Service Dogs, By Tracy Libby

FROM DAKOTA’S DEN: Due to conflicting personal issues/time constraints, we were unable to finish reading Reporting for Duty at the time we were scheduled to do a review.  Reporting for Duty has been featured numerous times in the pet blogging circuit as well. As a result, we have chosen to do a BOOK FEATURE rather than a “review.”  The information we are sharing in this “feature”  was sent to us by the publisher. It is our pleasure to share this touching, informative and gorgeous book with you. It is one you will want to keep on your coffee table for your pleasure and that of your guests.  Don’t miss a chance to win a copy at the end of this post. There will be THREE winners and the give-away is open world-wide.

Reporting for Duty Cover Don Burk courtesy Florida Times Union

Reporting for Duty Cover Don Burk courtesy Florida Times Union

A Portion of the Proceeds Will Be Donated to Veterans Moving Forward

Reporting for Duty,  is a new book by award-winning author and photographer Tracy Libby, who profiles 15 disabled veterans from WWII, Vietnam, both Iraq wars and Afghanistan.  The comprehensive book details how these brave military men and women who served our country are overcoming obstacles with the help of their service dogs, some of which saved their lives.


In writing Reporting for Duty, Libby sought out veterans with a wide range of physical and emotional challenges with one thing in common: a skilled, reliable and loyal service dog by their side.  It features how the dogs are selected, trained and socialized before being matched with their veteran partners and a background on assistance dogs, guide dogs, PTSD dogs and emotional-support dogs, as well as the history of canine-assisted therapy.

Reporting for Duty Page 6 Page 6 Shelley Castle Photography

Reporting for Duty Page 6 Page 6 Shelley Castle Photography


The book also covers the many service-dog training organizations and the dedicated people who are determined to help those who fought for our nation regain their mobility and independence.


According to a RAND Corporation September 2014 study, more than 540,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD and/or depression, and more than 260,000 veterans have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)—and these numbers do not count the veterans from other wars, from peacetime service, or with other physical injuries, illnesses, or diseases that could benefit from service dogs. 


We decided to publish Reporting for Duty to emphasize the urgent and desperate need that our veterans have for service dogs and the importance that needs to be placed on supporting them,” said Christopher Reggio, general manager, I-5 Press.  “We hope that these 15 powerful stories of hope and empowerment will inspire others to get involved and give back to those who served our country.”


Chief Master Sgt. Richard Simonsen hugs his service dog, Yoko, while on a walk. Simonsen lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he endured on a deployment to Afghanistan and the service dog helps him with his daily activities. PTSD can occur after one has been through a traumatic event.

Chief Master Sgt. Richard Simonsen hugs his service dog, Yoko, while on a walk. Simonsen lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he endured on a deployment to Afghanistan and the service dog helps him with his daily activities. PTSD can occur after one has been through a traumatic event. Reporting for Duty Photo on page 8 taken by Senior Airman Christina Brownlow courtesy United States Airforce


Reporting for Duty includes the following sections:

  • PTSD, TBI and MST
  • Prison Puppy Programs
  • Guide Dogs
  • Therapy Dogs in History
  • Combat and Operational Stress-Control Dogs
  • Canine Co-therapists
  • From Shelter to Service
  • How Dogs Read Us
Kai, a service dog, lays on the lap of Staff Sgt. August O'Niell during an Air Force wounded, ill or injured warrior sitting volleyball practice at the Joint Base Andrews West Fitness Center, Nov. 18. O'Niell, a pararescueman, was wounded in July 2011 during a deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson) Reporting for Duty page 208 Mat Hayward Shutterstock

Kai, a service dog, lays on the lap of Staff Sgt. August O’Niell during an Air Force wounded, ill or injured warrior sitting volleyball practice at the Joint Base Andrews West Fitness Center, Nov. 18. O’Niell, a pararescueman, was wounded in July 2011 during a deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson) Reporting for Duty page 208 Mat Hayward Shutterstock

Reporting for Duty brings to light the valiant veterans and first responders who are brave enough to seek help and no longer hide but become visible in society again as they make remarkable progress in their recoveries,” said Karen Jeffries, commander, US Navy, retired, co-founder and president emeritus, Veterans Moving Forward, Inc.

Reporting for Duty by Tracy Libby is available  wherever books are sold.

About the Author
Tracy Libby
is an award-winning writer and photographer whose work has won multiple awards from the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers (APDW). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon and has been writing about pet care for more than two decades. Her articles have appeared in mainstream magazines, including Dog Fancy, Modern Dog, Dog World, Puppies USA, Dogs USA, and the AKC Gazette, as well as online for Embrace Pet Insurance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, five cats, and five Australian Shepherds. She has been involved in the sport of dogs for nearly three decades, exhibiting her Aussies in agility, conformation and obedience.

Reporting for Duty
by Tracy Libby
Hardcover with Jacket
Pages: 240
9 ¼ X 10 ¼ inches
More than 190 full-color photographs
$29.95/$37.50 CAN
ISBN:  978-1-62008-198-3
EAN: 978-1-62008-198-3-52995
UPC: 7-31360-88198-4



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About Veterans Moving Forward

Veterans Moving Forward is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operating mainly in the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing therapy and service dogs at no cost to physically and mentally challenged veterans of the US Armed Forces. VMF is unique in its model by providing canine support and a full range of services (from dealing with post-traumatic stress to adjusting to loss of limbs or immobility) to meet the dramatic unfulfilled needs of our nation’s deserving veterans of any branch of the American military from any generation, campaign, or peacetime service. These disabilities may have been acquired either during military service to our country or through an accident or illness incurred in private life following that service.


About I-5 Press
A division of I-5 Publishing, I-5 Press publishes beautifully illustrated, high-quality trade and gift books in categories such as dog, horse, reptile, pet care, farm and rural lifestyle and transportation. For more information, visit I-5 Press on Facebook at

101 Doggy Dilemmas by Tony Cruse Book Review-Give-Away

“Your dog should cause you to smile

at least once a day!”

Dakota makes me smile TONS of times per day and I am sure that your dog(s) do too! We all love our dogs, right? When they are at their best and most obedient and loving, life couldn’t be better, The doggy kisses, the look of love that emanates from their eyes, their cuddly natures. But, like people, sometimes those we love most behave in ways in which we think they have lost their minds . We often stop and wonder:

“Why does my dog do that?”

Today, I am happy to present  a book to you that just might give you some of the answers you are looking for!

101 Doggy Dilemmas Cover

I know, there are tons of articles, blogs and books that answer some of the same questions, but this book is written in a way that will enable you to get your answers without wading through a ton of scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Based on the questions expert dog trainer Tony Cruse has been asked in his hundreds of dog training consultations and on his many radio appearances, this practical book provides a host of answers & advice to help you understand your canine companion better.

When Dakota first became a part of our family in 2007, I had never had any pets other than cats, (other than when my family had a Boxer when I was a little girl. I was so young, that nothing that my parents did to work on her exuberant behavior was absorbed into my undeveloped pea brain). Even as an adult, not being as dog attuned as many of my readers, there were things that Dakota did (and still does), that left me bewildered and baffled.

From Tony Cruse:

“I wanted to create a definitive book about those confusing dog behaviours that was simple, clear-cut and entertaining alongside its value as a reference text, I quickly learned that most owners have hundreds of questions about why their dogs do certain things, so I decided to compile the most common into something I could share with the world.”

“Dogs are much more complex, thoughtful and compassionate creatures than most think, and I really feel that this book showcases the depth of their personalities. I hope it helps owners understand, interact with and ultimately grow closer to their dogs – while giving each animal an opportunity to finally have his or her voice heard!”

101 Doggy Dilemmas is arranged by easy-to-find topics. You will discover the reasons behind many of your dogs behaviors that make you want to tear your hair out. Some of the behaviors that I needed answers to and tips to prevent, (and found!) were:

Why does my dog bark at the postman?

Why does my dog steal shoes? 

Why does my dog pull on the lead?

Why does my dog chase cars?

Why does my dog howl when I’m not there?

(Note about the  howling question above. Dakota does not do this, but there were two other dogs who used to live in our building that did this for HOURS on end. It became extremely annoying and troublesome.)

Why does my dog lick me all the time? This one is a personal fave. A self-professed “cat person”, (ok folks,  I LOVE my dog and other dogs, but I will confess, sometimes they are just too “in my face” for me. It Doesn’t make me love my dog any less, I’m just keeping it real here!) By reading the “why” I learned that:

Our soft skin has a salty taste that our dogs may like. It also usually gets a reaction which maybe as subtle as a laugh. This reaction encourages the licking next time. And so the dog’s routine greeting becomes a happy licking-fest. It is also thought that licking is a pacifying action, often seen when puppies lick their mothers’ mouths. 

This was something I had never known! In reference to this question, and all 100 other questions in 101 Doggy Dilemmas, you will have an explanation, followed by Tony’s “Quick Tips” to help change/re-direct the unwanted behavior. All of the tips are humane, loving and caring.

So what is the solution to the above behavior? You will have to read the book to find out.

A sampling of other  questions that are included:

Why does my dog cower from people trying to pet him?

Why does my dog bark at other dogs?

Why does my dog follow me everywhere? 

The last question I am going to post will be of interest to many readers who blog or need to photograph their dogs for other reasons: Why does my dog not like his photograph taken?  I often read the blogs of many bloggers whom I admire and I marvel at the incredible photos that are consistently taken that show posing dogs, dogs in different scenarios with props, training photos, etc., and I think, “Why does this not work for me?” Well, in reference to myself there are TONS of reasons as to why, but in 101 Doggy Dilemmas, Tony Cruse offered some logical tips that just might change things around! I know many of you already know these tips, but for those who are still baffled about how to get your dog to cooperate during photo sessions, there IS hope!

I give 101 Doggy Dilemmas a resounding 4-paws and 2-human hands raised high with a few barks thrown in for good measure!




Visit the official website for 101 Doggy Dilemmas

GIVE-AWAY!!!!  TWO OF MY READERS WHO ARE 18 AND OVER AND WHO RESIDE ANYWHERE IN THE USA AND EUROPE!  will each win a copy of 101 Doggy Dilemmas!! (An approx $12 value).  Entering is easy-peasy!!! Just enter on the rafflecopter below and be sure to complete the MANDATORY requirement! Good luck!!

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Tony is full-time dog trainer who also advises on a variety of canine behaviours. He writes for various magazines and appears frequently on a number of radio stations. He writes in a simple and clear style which appeals to pet dog owners in these busy times. Visit Tony’s website here.


In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away. I was sent a copy of 101 Doggy Dilemmas in exchange for my always honest review.





Book Review/Give-Away: SIT! STAY! SPEAK! by Annie England Noblin

FROM THE PUBLISHER: People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her. Ever determined, Addie is set out to unravel a secret among this curious town, even if that means confronting some big names.



But most surprising of all, she has a dog. Not any dog, but Felix–a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back to living, laughing, and loving once more.

A touching novel of friendships, memories and quirky southern charm, fans of Alice Sebold and new readers alike will be transfixed by Noblin’s writing, and inspired by her real life rescue stories.

FROM DAKOTA’S DEN: SIT! STAY! SPEAK! exposes the sad reality of breed discrimination and dog-fighting vividly and for me, in a realistic and disturbing way. Disturbing because these archaic practices are still prevalent throughout our country.

“Author Noblin was compelled to write her novel after spending a year teaching in the Delta of Arkansas. She worked in animal rescue there during the same time the animal control facility was shut down due to city budgets. This act resulted in releasing all of the stray dogs into the national forest, which added to the issue of stray animals in the city. A few concerned citizens began a Humane Society, and Annie joined in and never looked back. It was the first time she worked with severely abused animals and there are so many animals that Annie will never forget working in her ten plus years of rescue.”


Annie England Noblin is an obvious dog lover which is what I loved most about SIT! STAY! SPEAK! I was less enthused with the main characters (Addie and Jasper), for me, they weren’t overly likable, that is my opinion and many might disagree. I found much of what took place between Addie and Jasper (and there is some lusty stuff in here!), to be a bit unrealistic, (could that be because I am in a much different stage of life than many who will read this book?  I viewed some of Addie’s actions with Jasper  as being foolish, you will have to read the book to see if you agree).

I do agree that Annie’s “portrayal of life in this part of the United States as seen through the eyes of an outsider gives an authentic take on small town southern culture–and a place where outsiders are few and far between.”

SPECIAL BONUS: There are tons of delicious regional foods mentioned in SIT! STAY! SPEAK! and the recipes can be found in the back of the book. I am looking forward to trying a number of them.

DAKOTA’S DEN FINAL THOUGHTS: If I zero in on the fact that there is an obvious love of dogs (specifically Pit Bulls), in SIT! STAY! SPEAK!  and a deep appreciation for the customs of this part of the country (and for antique buildings/furniture), I feel it is a worthwhile read. It definitely DID capture my interest. Will you find some parts of the book disturbing and difficult to read? YES. Are some important issues brought to light in reference to dogs, dog fighting/breed discrimination? YES. Are Addie and Jasper’s personalities dry and boring? (and their relationship somewhat unrealistic?), YES…but don’t let my opinion about them deter you from purchasing this book, pick up a copy and decide for yourself. PURCHASE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and four rescued bulldogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English full-time for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. 

GIVE-AWAY! The publisher has generously offered to give away THREE COPIES of SIT! STAY! SPEAK! by Annie England Noblin, to my readers who are 18 and over and who reside in the U.S. (A $14.99 value). Entering is super easy! Just enter on the Rafflecopter below!

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In full disclosure:I was sent a complimentary copy of SIT! STAY! SPEAK! in exchange for my always honest review.

Book Review/Give-Away: House Trained, A Novel by Jackie Bouchard

It is with great joy that today I am featuring the THIRD novel by Author Jackie Bouchard:

Click to visit Jackie's Author website!

Click to visit Jackie’s Author website!

I have been eagerly awaiting this novel because I am a HUGE fan of Jackie’s writing. I have had the pleasure of reviewing both books that preceded House Trained (if you click on the titles below they will take you to my reviews of each):

What the Dog Ate

Rescue Me, Maybe

When I reviewed What the Dog Ate, I had mentioned I felt as if I had just shared some “girl” time with a friend, I felt the same way when I read House Trained.

Jackie Bouchard has a talent for creating leading characters that, well, I would LOVE to be friends with.  The leading characters are believable, often possess a dry sense of humor, they are likable and slightly flawed, just as we all are. Jackie’s writing style is casual, the conversations between characters flow, and her description of each and every character who is prominent in House Trained (as well as all of her books), feel as if they ALL exist. I can visualize them perfectly in my mind.

I sat down to begin reading House Trained the night after the unthinkable happened in Paris, (ironically Paris was a favorite city of Alex and Barry the leading characters in House Trained):

“I have a vintage travel trunk at the end of the bed, and a stack of old leather suitcases-my favorite thing in the room-forms a nightstand. A replica of the Eiffel Tower sits on the corner of the desk, and silver frames, filled with black-and-white photos of our tenth-anniversary Parisian getaway, stand out on the white shelving.”

—-and to be honest, I was so sad, that I wasn’t in the mood to read.

House Trained turned out to be EXACTLY what I needed. Light, but not “light” in a simpleton sense, just light enough to escape for two nights and  escape the horrors taking place in the world around me. Like What the Dog Ate and Rescue Me, Maybe, House Trained is another book where I grabbed my comforter, my coffee, a bag of chocolate covered almonds, and just nestled into the welcoming arm of my couch, ready to meet some new friends.

When I read the first sentence:

“This morning I overheard my husband talking to his penis”, I smiled and said to myself,Ohhhh, THIS is gonna be GOOD!!!!” I was sooo right!

FROM THE PUBLISHER:Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep…with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She desperately needs peace and quiet to get her business back on track before Barry finds out she’s spent most of their savings. Meanwhile, the arrival of the girls stirs up old insecurities, and Alex can’t help but worry that Barry’s ex will make an entrance too. With her tidy life a distant memory, will Alex be able to learn from her dog the true meaning of love and acceptance?
From bestselling author Jackie Bouchard comes a humorous and heartwarming look at how life creates opportunities to love in surprising ways.

There are so many things that I love about Jackie’s writing. One of them being that I can’t immediately figure out what is going to happen next, as I can with many other books. Often what I think is going to take place, doesn’t, and what DOES, is so much better than what I would have thought would have happened!

Let’s not forget dogs….

Jackie’s love for dogs and her vast knowledge of them is obvious in all of her books. She takes the best qualities of our canine pals  and makes us mere humans wish we could be more like them. House Trained DOES feature a dog, but the book isn’t just about a dog. It is about the complex  relationships that those who are a part of the dog’s life, are going through each and every day.

House Trained resonated with me on a personal level as well, I am also “childless” (I do have two grown stepchildren), and some of Alex’s secret feelings about her husband’s newly discovered daughter and granddaughter are feelings that hit close to home for me as well. Throughout the book Alex states numerous times why dogs are so much easier and better than raising kids, and to help her cope with the discomfort of having a baby around, she would  summon her comfort zone in her mind…dogs…comparing dog behavior to that of babies:

“Babies. In terms of exploring their world, they’re a lot like dogs at this age, using their mouths to experience new things.”

but at one point her opinion changed and was stated in a laugh-out-loud funny way:

“Hmmm. This is one way babies are better than dogs–easier to dry off when they’re sopping wet. But with a dog, guidance counseling” only involves a leash.”

What makes Jackie Bouchard’s writing unique, in my opinion is, that many authors who write about dogs, merely write about DOGS. They have a marvelous understanding of DOGS but their understanding (or inclusion of), interesting HUMAN characters falls short. Jackie Bouchard not only has a superb understanding of dogs, but she understands HUMANS, (the  quirks that couples have that nearly every couple can relate to, the quirks that  make us want to peek into their world, voyeurs that we are!). The insecurities that women of all ages have, but that are  normally only shared with our close friends. Everything from our looks to our jobs, our homes, sometimes those that appear to “have it all together” are the biggest “messes” of all. Regardless of the “messes” that many of us are, and create in our lives, Jackie Bouchard GETS that our canine companions remain the most loving, accepting, and judgement-free of all. Jackie Bouchard GETS PEOPLE AND DOGS. She GETS how they think and feel and writes in a way that will resonate with all of us.

YOU want to make some new friends, don’t you?

RUN!! Don’t walk, to get this one…NOW!

House Trained would make the PERFECT gift for a sister, Aunt, Mom, dear friend, dog lover….you get the idea! You can purchase House Trained:

On Amazon (e-book, paperback or audiobook)
On B&N (only paperback or audio)
On Jackie’s website
On Jackie’s  blog

Photo "stolen" from Jackie's website! Click to visit!

Photo “stolen” from Jackie’s website! Click to visit!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Bouchard, a USA Today bestselling author, writes what she calls Fido-friendly fiction:humorous and heartwarming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives. Bouchard has lived in Canada and Bermuda and now lives in San Diego with her husband and dog. 

YOU CAN ALSO ENTER OUR GIVE-AWAY!! Jackie is offering one of our readers who is 18 and over and who resides in the U.S. and/or Canada the chance to win a copy of House Trained! Entering is easy! Just enter on the Rafflecopter below!

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In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away. I was sent a copy of House Trained in exchange for my honest review.


Book Review and Give-Away:All Dogs Go to Kevin: Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn’t Learn in Veterinary School) by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

It is a distinct honor to present to you today, a book, that the second I saw the cover, wait, let me correct that, the second I heard the book had been WRITTEN, I KNEW not only was I dying to read it, I KNEW it was going to be superb. Such is the case with:

All dogs go to kevin cover

FROM THE PUBLISHERALL DOGS GO TO KEVIN is a humorous and touching portrait of a veterinarian, her beloved dogs, and the lessons they impart to her along the way.

You can’t always count on people, but you can always count on your dog. No one knows that better than veterinarian Jessica Vogelsang, who with the help of three dogs, is buoyed through adolescence, veterinary school, and the early years of motherhood. Taffy, the fearsome Lhasa; Emmett, an amiable Golden; and Kekoa, the neurotic senior Labrador, are always by her side, offering lessons in empathy and understanding for all the oddballs and misfits who come through the vet clinic doors. Also beside her is Kevin, a human friend who lives with the joie de vivre most people only dream of having. But when tragedy strikes, Jessica is reminded that the animals we love give more than they take.

FROM DAKOTA’S DEN: For me, the heart of All Dogs Go to Kevin,  the essence of this touching memoir, can be found on the first page:

To the misfits, the miscreants, the

misunderstood, the freaks and geeks and socially

inept, and the dogs who love them.

 I have had the honor of meeting Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, aka, “Dr.V.” at numerous blogging/pet-oriented events, (the latest, encounter took place just a few days ago at an event in New York City). Call it serendipity, but the FIRST person  I saw when I entered the hotel lobby, was “Dr.V.”  Each time I have had the pleasure of seeing, (for purposes of this review), “Jessica”, I was  always in awe of her poise, her “model-good-looks”, and her smarts. Dr.Jessica Vogelsang is one brilliant, warm and witty, “tell-it-like-it-is” type of a woman, with a talent for writing  that many in her field, are not blessed to have.
I first became aware of Jessica’s writing prowess when I began following her blog: Pawcurious  and I would think, “this woman HAS it ALL, she is confident, gorgeous, brilliant, I bet there was never an awkward bone in her body.” You know, the kind of woman who lesser women love to hate. The kind of woman who the words “freak”, “geek”, “misunderstood” and “nerd” would NEVER be used to describe her. Boy did I think wrong.

In All Dogs Go to Kevin I got to meet a side of Jessica that I never knew existed. I got to meet the  self-described awkward child who preferred the company of books and her Grandfather to people. The child who had a vocabulary well beyond her years, who did NOT know at an early age that she would become a Veterinarian. In her pre-teen years she was terrorized by “Mouth Breather Dan.” She had  “no understanding of how to stick up for myself. I hid behind by Coke-bottle glasses and buried my nose in my dog-eared Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, willing him to just go away.”

For me, All Dogs Go to Kevin is a book of many layers. You know the feeling, you sit down to eat a delicious layer cake, each layer has a different and mouth-watering filling. You take a bite of the first layer, you savor it, you continue on, and each layer is more delicious than the one that came before. That is the effect that All Dogs Go to Kevin had on me.
Not only was Jessica a self-professed “misfit”, “geek” and “nerd”, but each of the three dogs that were in her life at different times, were also, in their own way, “misfits”, “geeks” and “nerds.”  Jessica’s three dogs; “Dog the First”:Taffy (who “pooped rainbows”),  “Dog the Second”: Emmett, the “miscreant” who was owner-surrendered and rescued by Jessica,  and who though she didn’t know it at the time, “was the best dog I would ever have.”  “Dog the Third”: Kekoa,  who had separation anxiety to beat the band, who pooped in a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, who “went to Kevin”, (you will have to read the book for that explanation, I do not want to give anything away), all of these dogs had a significant influence on the person that Jessica is today.
One of the most significant “takes” for me from All Dogs Go to Kevin was that it humanized Veterinarians. My husband and I are blessed to have an unusually close and open relationship with our Vet. He has been an Angel in our lives numerous times, we view him as family. When I babble incessantly in his office or on the phone, he is always completely attentive. He has a conservative, non-alarmist approach with the care of our pets. It would never dawn on me that many of the mistakes and mishaps that have happened to me would EVER happen to him. In All Dogs Go to Kevin I learned how HARD it is to become a Vet, how mistreated and taken for granted they often are, how they DON’T have all of the answers, even with their own pets, and how HARD it is for THEM to let their own beloved pets  go. I learned how deeply they love their own pets and ours,  and the patience and dedication they have every day, even when presented with the most difficult of clients. As a client, we often forget that our Veterinarians are HUMAN, just like us. They weren’t born Vets, they worked hard to become one.
Dr.Jessica Vogelsang leaves us with this most poignant bit of advice when speaking of a special person in her life (and the individual’s name in the title, “Kevin”), and the pets that she has had, “I can honor them by striving just a little more to live like they did:with joy, unabashed and open, reminding myself and others that our flaws do not make us less, but ever more worthy of being loved, just the way we are.”

author photo credited to Paul Barnett

ABOUT DR.JESSICA VOGELSANG: she is a veterinarian, mother, and big-time dog person. She worked in small animal medicine before settling into her current practice providing in-home hospice care for dogs and cats. She is the founder of the website,  and her writing has been featured on Yahoo! and CNN, and in Ladies’ Home Journal, People, Outside magazine, and USA Today. Dr. Vogelsang lives in San Diego with her family.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 14, 2015)
  • Editor: Emily Griffin
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455554936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455554935
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
GIVE-AWAY! Dr.Vogelsang has generously offered one of our readers who is 18 and over and resides in the U.S. or Canada the chance to win a copy for themselves. Entering is easy, just enter on the rafflecopter below. There is ONE mandatory entry. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away and the fact that I know Dr.Jessica Vogelsang in no way influenced my positive review. I ALWAYS give my honest opinion.

Book Review/Give-Away: The Returns 2:Showstoppers by M.K. Clinton

The Returns are back!!!! As was the case in Book 1 The Returns by M.K. Clinton, The Returns 2 Showstoppers is  just as  brilliantly clever,  raucously funny,  sensitive and loving  as the first book.   Showstoppers may be read as a stand-alone book, but it is strongly recommended to begin with the first in the series, The Returns by M.K. Clinton.

Both of The Returns books were  influenced by M.K.’s dogs and cats that had come before, as well as some who she currently shares her life with.  As M.K. has mentioned, without the pets she had shared her life with and loved before, neither of The Returns books would be possible.

showstoppers cover

*Selected as an Indie Book of the Day award winner
2014 Gold medal winner AUTHORSdb Cover Contest ~ Humor



From the Publisher: The Returns, whose human lives were mistakenly cut short, found themselves being returned to Earth in the bodies of some of the funniest dogs in creation! Now, they have a new case to sink their teeth into and this time they enjoy a bite of The Big Apple. Your favorite fun-loving, junk food eating, crime fighting canines are once again partnered with FBI Agent Aiden Davenport. Someone is stealing the world’s top show dogs and the boys go undercover to sniff out the criminals. Along with their rookie Guardian Angel,  a couple of wise cracking cats, and some new recruits, the crooks don’t stand a chance.

show stoppers central park lake

Enjoy the laughter and adventure as the gang takes you on a thrilling journey from the quaint French Quarter of New Orleans to the exciting crowds of Times Square in New York City.

Author M.K. Clinton excels in creating characters that have zany senses of humor, her depiction of “Westie” Pierre and his flamboyant, over-the-top personality before, during and after he  “struts his stuff”  at the dog show was hilariously funny and had me thinking of Carson Kressley (whom I loved), from the old Queer Eye series, (which I was a HUGE fan of!)

M.K.  is adept at writing books that have a moral without being overly saccharine sweet. I have had the privilege of meeting M.K. in person and it is no wonder that her characters are warm, witty, sensitive and loving, those are the exact characteristics that she possesses as well.

A quote of M.K.’s that is prevalent throughout both of The Returns books and is now famous is:

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”—M.K. Clinton

show stoppers modern dog quote

The quote is so perfect that it was featured in the 2015 Spring Issue of Modern Dog magazine!! It was also featured in Natural Muscle magazine in their May edition.

Another point that is unique about The Returns series is how M.K. often refers to various dishes, snacks, and treats that are native to  her local Louisiana cuisine. Being an avid foodie, reading the many references to food throughout book books had me wanting to eat constant snacks and might be the reason I gained some weight this week!

I  give The Returns 2 Showstoppers a resounding 4-paws up!!

Available on Amazon



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: M.K. CLINTON: By her own admission is  a GRITSGirl Raised In The South. She has been married to her best friend for over 31 years. She has two grown children. Her other “children” include a four-legged hairy child, Bentley, who is trapped in the body of a Bassett Hound.  For the time being, she has her  grand-dog Pierre, the Westie staying with her. Her family enjoys playing, making each other laugh, and spending time together. They are also HUGE LSU Football fans. M.K. has a blog:Barking from the Bayou where she shares  funny stories, important dog information, product reviews, and dog care tips.

GIVE-AWAY!!! M.K. has generously offered ONE of my readers the chance to win a copy of  BOTH of the  Returns books!! (Winner will receive The Returns AND Showstoppers!!) You must be 18 and over to enter and you must reside in the U.S. Entering is easy! Just enter on the Rafflecopter below, there is only ONE MANDATORY ENTRY REQUIREMENT!! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





In full disclosure: I received no compensation for this review/give-away. I received a copy of The Returns 2:Showstoppers in exchange for my always honest review.