28.9.16

Wordy Wednesday with Stanley the Border Terrier

Today the blog has gone to the dogs, literally - I'm handing over to Fizz who is gong to interview Stanley...more will be revealed but you may have seen me mention Stanley, dog and author, back in this post...

Hello it is I Fizz, I am small and full of excitement, partly because I'm interviewing a famous dog author and partly because excited is the natural state of being a puppy! Something Stanly know about only too well...

Hey Stanley - tell us about your book!


Dear Fizz
Nice to hear from you.
Why did I write the book ? you ask.



I'm sure you're right when you say there are better things to be doing than writing a book, and I never really intended to write one. It all came about by chance, really, when I was just a pup and went to the local park for the first time with my people, Colin and Monica.

I was really nervous, as you can imagine, but as luck would have it I came across another young Border Terrier there called Clementina. We got on really well as, I was pleased to note, did my folks with her folks , Jan and Hughie. (It's really good when humans get on, don't you think ? It makes walks much more fun because they can keep themselves amused while we get on with the serious business of chasing each other around and fetching balls and what have you. And have you noticed that happily they never get involved in humping each other on the grass unlike some of our canine pals, I'm embarrassed to say.)

Border Terrier in Bracken
Stanley
Anyway, later that day Jan texted Colin just to swap contact details and he and I wrote a bit of a letter back. Jan, who is a retired English teacher, was very impressed with the humour in our letter, as was Hughie and his friends in the pub, and they asked us to write some more - so we did.

Now we weren't convinced that there would be that many things in a new puppy's life to write about, but boy were we wrong ! Every week we'd come across something that we wanted to share and we'd write to Clementina to tell her about it. (You ask if Colin does the actual writing, but it was a joint effort really, with me providing the copy and him typing it up.)

We wrote the last letter on the eve of my first birthday and so the book is a collection of my experiences in my first year of life; it took about nine months to write.

Answering some more of your questions, Kibble or wet food ?
Food wise, I started out on kibble but now have some cooked chicken as well. We did consider raw food at one stage but my pair were a bit concerned about how to store it without risking catching some people called Sam and Ella, whoever they are.

Have I ever bitten anyone ?
Well I have to hold my paws up, Fizz, and confess that I did bite someone once, but in my defence, the unlucky chap was holding his dog at the time and it was the nasty mutt I was trying to get my teeth into. But that was when I was going through my adolescence and Monica did a couple of weeks of special training with me to make sure I got out of that rather dangerous habit.

What do my folks do, other than looking after me ?
Colin and Monica are now retired. She used to be a model animator making things like 'Postman Pat' and 'Bob the Builder.' Colin's job was far more boring, that of a business consultant looking after companies that were in trouble. I have heard that he is a frustrated academic actually, but left that early career when he was recruited into the world of commerce in his twenties.

What do they do other than look after me ?
Monica is a great reader, with lots of favourite authors including Graham Green and Jennie Diski Colin is a football fan and an amateur historian. He reads lots of history books but his favourite fiction writer is PG Woodhouse.

Border terrier running
Will there be another book ?
Colin is currently working on a book on the history of the mediaeval village of Cartmel where we have a cottage, and between us we're working on another book, probably a collection of my letters in my new role as an agony uncle for dogs, Dear Stanley, which is starting on the website www.stanleysuniverse.com. Dogs can send their questions or problems to me at stanley@stanleysuniverse.com, or on Stanley's Universe Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/stanleysuniverse/

Who did the pictures in the book ?
That was Bill Mather, an artist, animator and music video maker,and a pal of Monica's from her animation days. She just happened to be staying with him and his wife (and me) and mentioned the book that Colin and I were writing. The next day he started to doodle some ideas and eventually did lots of pictures that are sprinkled through the book, and did the cover drawings; great, aren't they !

What should people consider before they get a dog ?
Now having children maybe easy, but having a dog is far harder. But before they have either, people need to think through how their lives will change when their new addition arrives, and how they will cope with those changes over the fifteen or twenty years when their kids or dogs will rely on them. And that's every day, every month, work days, holidays, in sickness and health.so think it through, folks.

And as for the best breed, I love to play with spaniels personally, but Colin harps back to when he was a lad and his family had a Heinz 57 mongrel, a mix of lots of breeds - very healthy they are, apparently. But all dogs are great, aren't they !

Anyway, you can read the press reviews of Dear Clementina at the publisher's website.
On that site you can buy the book, or Ebook, and see lots of readers' reviews, including ones from Amazon and Goodreads. It's been really well received by dog lovers all over the world, from Canada to the Philippines, and Australia to Germany.

So cheers, Fizz -take care and look after those folks of yours ; I'm not sure that people not safe out on their own, you know.
Stanley

Thanks to Stanley and his long suffering humans for taking part in Wordy Wednesday. Don't forget to like my Facebook page and pop over to Twitter for a chat too.