Media Release: 14 April 2016
Is your pup fighting to feel better? Your dog's skin problems, ear infections, bowel issues, obesity, seizures, and bladder issues can often be treated by changing the type of ingredients, calories, or moisture in your dog's diet.
The Dog Diet Answer Book helps dog owners better understand their dog's dietary needs and what ingredients to feed them. With this practical guide, veterinarian Greg Martinez helps you: Diagnose common health problems; Decipher ingredient labels; Feed your dog beneficial nutrients; Identify common allergens; Understand the difference between types of dog foods and diets; Make home-cooked meals and treats for your dog; Decide when to purchase high-quality commercial dog food or add healthy human food, oils, raw food, or home cooking to your pet's diet and much more!
The Dog Diet Answer Book
Author: Greg Martinez, DVM
Format: Softbound, 192 Pages
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Size: 7 x 9
Published: May 1, 2016
ARE WE SMART ENOUGH
HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?
by Frans de Waal
“A remarkable book by a remarkable scientist. Drawing on a growing body of research including his own, de Waal shows that animals, from elephants and chimpanzees to the lowly invertebrates, are not only smarter than we thought but also engaged in forms of thought we have only begun to understand.”
—Edward O. Wilson,
University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
“ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? will completely change your perception of the abilities of animals. This book takes the reader on the fascinating journey of discovery into the world of animal problem-solving.”
author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human
“So, are we ‘smart enough to know how smart animals are?’ The question will occur to you many times as you read Frans de Waal’s remarkable distillations of science in this astonishingly broad-spectrum book. I guarantee one thing: readers come away a lot smarter. As this book shows, we are here on Planet Earth with plenty of intelligent company.”
author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
A fascinating history of the study of animal behavior and cognition from a world-renowned expert, ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? [W. W. Norton & Company; April 25, 2016; $27.95 hardcover] reflects author Frans de Waal’s deep love for animals as well as his dedication to forwarding his field of study. With anecdotes and humor, de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, relates the story of his own career and surveys an enormous variety of animal intelligence, which he places on a spectrum that also includes human intelligence—putting to rest any lingering doubts that the era of behaviorism is over.
From ravens to wasps, elephants to whales, spiders to octopuses, de Waal explores the yin-yang relationship between studying captive animals and observing them in the wild, outlining the advantages and limitations to both. He reviews key theories and methodologies, giving generous and widespread credit to the scientists who came before him while also discussing the problematic attitudes that he and his contemporaries are still unraveling. Many of the controversies in the field center around one question: How unique is human consciousness in the animal kingdom? Winding through topics like language, culture, politics, and problem solving, de Waal asks us to measure animal cognition not against human cognition but alongside it.
Imagine a world that didn’t rely on an individual’s ability to recognize other individuals. Imagine that a trunk means for elephant cognition what a grasping hand means for ours. De Waal builds up to the idea that for scientists to truly chart animal cognition, they must stop measuring animals’ success at a presented task against human success at that same task and accept that animals are experts at what is required for survival in their own natural environments.
Full of compassion for humans and animals alike, ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?depicts aspects of animal behavior few people witness, and leads the reader to contemplate not only the definition of humanity but why we seek—or fear finding—humanity in nature.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Frans de Waal has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of The Bonobo and the Atheist, among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta.
TITLE: ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?
AUTHOR: Frans de Waal
PUBLICATION DATE: April 25, 2016
PRICE: $27.95 hardcover
Heel … Sit … Stay … Now LISTEN!
New Book Examines How Imitating Canine Communication Behaviors Can Yield Fantastic Relationships for Life and Career
Listen Like a Dog:
And Make Your Mark on the World
By Jeff Lazarus
“Listen Like a Dog offers a totally fresh perspective on attaining success in our personal
and professional relationship….Take the lead from your dog and reap the rewards.
--Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series;
creator of The Success Principles series
“Jeff Lazarus has given us a roadmap to living a happier and more productive life with
this invaluable book…. Your canine companion seriously has much to teach you about
how to become a better listener!”
--Dr. Marty Becker, New York Times bestselling author
In a world where everyone is barking but no one is listening, Listen Like a Dog reveals that the real antidote to our communication “faux paws” can be learned from observing our canine companions. Dogs don’t interrupt us, finish our sentences, offer advice, try to top our stories or text us instead of talking to us. Dogs pay extremely close attention by studying facial expressions, observing body language, watching eye movements and listening to our voice patterns. Although they don’t understand our verbal language, dogs listen with their entire being. Brimming with lighthearted humor, LISTEN LIKE A DOG: And Make Your Mark on the World by Jeff Lazarus (Publication: April 25, 2016; Health Communications, Inc.; Self-help & Psychology; ISBN:13-978075318986; Paperback; $15.95) teaches the reader how TRUE listening is the magic ingredient that forges real connections with others – whether it’s a marriage/intimate relationship, with co-workers, friends or family.
Written by the bestselling author of Dogtology: Live Bark Believe, which celebrates the relationship between dogs and humans, Mr. Lazarus guides the reader in LISTEN LIKE A DOG to recognizing ideal canine behaviors that can lead to enormous advantages in a person’s personal life and in business.
A recent study by a Cornell University sociologist revealed that we have fully one-third fewer real friends than we did before the social networking boom. Today, we have more shallow connections with others; our communications are expanding horizontally but shrinking vertically. We are trading quality for quantity and real for virtual. Is anyone really listening?
In Listen Like a Dog, the reader will learn that true listening can enhance every relationship in a person’s life. People want good listeners in their inner circle, they want to do business with them, they trust them, and will share critical information with them. This means the person who masters this skill has enormous advantages, both in business and personal life. Each chapter in Listen Like a Dog focuses on human behavior and compares that with different aspects of canine behavior with light-hearted humor and laugh-out-loud observations. Readers will learn:
- Violating the Leash Laws: the 11 most egregious mistakes we make when we THINK we are communicating
- Sniff Around: the importance of casual communications
- The Power of the Paws (Pause): how to recognize the many benefits of silence
- Heel, Sit, and Stay: how changing your own behavior can win over others
- Happiness is a Warm Pup: the importance of being genuine and compassionate
- And so much more …
About the Author:
Jeff Lazarus is a Health Science consultant with one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, serving as a scientific liaison to physicians, academicians, and health educators. He earned a BA in speech communications, with an emphasis in interpersonal and organizational communications, from Cal State University, Long Beach, and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He has taught public speaking at the university level and conducted numerous workshops on listening, presentation skills, and customer engagement. Jeff’s love for dogs is portrayed in his 2015 release, Dogtology, a whimsical exploration of humankind’s fanatical devotion to dogs. He resides in Orange County, Ca.
Listen Like a Dog: And Make Your Mark on the World
by Jeff Lazarus
Health Communications, Inc. (HCI)
Publication date: April 25, 2016;
Paperback and eBook; 264 pages, $15.95
In what promises to become a Moneyball for dog lovers ― for both breed devotees and adoption advocates alike ― The Dog Merchants is the first book to explain the complex and often surprisingly similar business practices that extend from the American Kennel Club to local shelters, from Westminster champions to dog auctions.
This incredible feat of investigative journalism is the latest from Kim Kavin, author of Little Boy Blue, and in The Dog Merchants she reveals the complex network behind the $11-billion-a-year business of selling dogs. Without judging dog lovers of any stripe, Kavin makes it clear that money spent among these dog merchants has real-world effects on people and canines. She reveals how dog merchants create markets for dogs, often in defiance of the usual rules of supply and demand. She takes an investigative approach and meets breeders and rescuers at all levels, shedding much-needed light on an industry that most people don't even realize is an industry.
Kavin’s goal is to advance the conversation about how all dogs are treated, from puppy mills to high-kill shelters. She shows that a great deal can be improved by understanding the business practices behind selling dogs of all kinds. Instead of pitting rescue and purebred people against each other, The Dog Merchants shows how all dog lovers can come together, with one voice as consumers, on behalf of all our beloved companions.
“Essential reading for all dog lovers, this balanced work will become the standard on this topic.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“A hard-hitting exploration of the idea of ‘dogs as a product.’ A scathing indictment of an industry run amok; belongs on every pet lover's bookshelf.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A devastatingly clear-cut exposé. That Kavin manages to accomplish so much without tugging too hard on readers’ emotions is only one of the surprises in this megaton bomb.”—Booklist
“Those who are breeding and raising dogs responsibly will find validation in their endeavors―and consumers seeking to buy or adopt dogs will benefit from the information Kavin has gathered as they make their decisions.” —Publishers Weekly
“Kavin looks at every aspect of the dog market. One chapter examines the AKC, and the good and the bad it has caused throughout the years. It was interesting to read how fanciers of Border Collies reacted to the decision by the AKC to start accepting the breed into the organization’s rolls. It is not what you might expect. It’s quite simple —don’t buy a dog until you read this book!”—Feather and Quill
Birding Gets Up Close and Personal
From attention-grabbing mating displays to musical songs, vibrant color patterns and intricate nesting behaviors, it’s easy to see why a recent USDA Forest Service National Survey on Recreation and the Environment found that 85 million Americans are fascinated by birds. They attend classes, enter competitions, join clubs, invest in expensive gear, post on social media, and, of course, spend hours behind a pair of binoculars.
Did You Know?
But for all this work, even experienced birders may never see the intimate lives of the species they observe. And popular birding literature focuses more on helping birders add to their life lists than on showing what makes each species unique: the sometimes endearing, sometimes peculiar, often astonishing details that make up their daily lives. Until now. With Into the Nest, birding experts Laura Erickson and Marie Read present beautiful, close-up photographs and text that capture each dramatic and spectacular stage of the family lives of birds, from courtship through mating, nest construction, egg-laying, parenting on the nest, nestling, feeding time, and, finally, the first triumphant flight of the fledglings.
With its careful documentation of life stages of common birds and its never-before-seen shots, Into the Nest offers a unique perspective on a popular American pastime. Now beginning birders and seasoned experts alike can experience the private lives of their favorite species — from the dramatic “sky dances” of courting Bald Eagles to the gentle berry exchanges between Cedar Waxwing parents, from Downy Woodpecker chicks developing inside their tree cavity to a Warbler feeding a Cowbird chick twice her size.
Laura Erickson is the author of seven bird books and has served as an editor of BirdScope magazine and a columnist and contributing editor for BirdWatching magazine, as well as a contributor to the All About Birds website. She recently won the American Birding Association’s prestigious Roger Tory Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
Marie Read is the author of three books, and her photographs and articles have been featured in magazines including BirdWatching, Birds & Blooms, Bird Watcher’s Digest, and National Geographic. She lives in Freeville, New York.
Into the Nest
Laura Erickson and Marie Read
Storey Publishing, April 2015
208 pages; 9 ¾" x 8 ½"
Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout
$16.95 Paper; ISBN 978-1-61212-229-8
Joel Silverman has trained animals for Hollywood films, TV, amusement parks, and he now devotes his forty years of professional experience to helping thousands of pet owners train their dogs.
Joel has worked behind the scenes on lots of shows and films, but he’s best known for Good Dog U—his top-rated Animal Planet series that ran from 1999 to 2009. Joel has also authored three books to share his expertise: What Color Is Your Dog?®, Take 2 – Training Solutions for Rescued Dogs, and Bond With Your Heart; Train With Your Brain®.
Joel’s first step has absolutely nothing to do with training—it’s developing a great relationship with your pet. If this is something you personally have not done, you really need to take a few steps back and simply get to know your dog. Spend 20 to 30 days learning your dog’s likes and dislikes.
Joel believes that if you have taken the time to create that bond, you have ensured your dog’s trust and laid a great foundation for your dogs’ training too. Because of that strong relationship, your dog will want nothing more than to please you, and that drive will motivate him in ways you can build on by knowing his likes and dislikes. This is a great way to start a fun and exciting training program!
In more recent years, Joel has stressed individualizing training that caters to dog’s personalities. All dogs are different, and in so many cases dog owners fall into the trap of a one-size-fits-all approach to dog training. Since dogs have such varied personalities, Joel believes they should be trained according to their individual make up. He has created a color scheme to represent dogs’ basic personality types. This helps pet owners characterize their dog to simplify and personalize training. The What Color is Your Dog?® model is easy for the owner to figure out, and makes training easier for the dog too. Joel’s book will help you assign your dog a color that represents the dog’s personality and helps you to understand your dog better. You can then use the color-specific techniques Joel suggests to give you and your dog the most effective and enjoyable training experience possible.
For the past 35+ years, Joel has gotten a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of teaching literally thousands of people about dog training and responsible pet ownership. Whether through his TV series, his books, or his videos—no matter how someone learned Joel’s methods, his biggest reward is someone coming up to him and saying, “thank you for making training easy and fun.”
Most pet owners want the best for their cherished friends. Sometimes, however, the nature of those relationships can upended, and getting back on track can be confusing and difficult. Here, Robert Berkelhammer provides an overview of what constitutes healthy pet family relationships and how pet parents can access services that will facilitate better communication, behavior, and all-around care.
In Pet Care Givers and Families (Rowman & Littlefield), Robert outlines the kinds of work pet care companies can offer and guides readers to getting the best possible level of professional caretaking to achieve behavioral changes in their pets. Dog playgroups, dog walking, pet sitting, and other services are described in terms of how families can work with providers to accommodate their animal and family needs.
Although focused mostly on dogs, the book also addresses the needs and services available for cats and birds. No pet owners will want to be without this book when deciding on a pet care arrangement that suits the family’s needs.
In an interview, Robert can discuss:
- The importance of a healthy hierarchy
- The benefits of dog behavior modification playgroups
- What makes up a sound pet sitting environment
- Tips on communicating with pet professionals
- Transitions in the life of a pet
- Pets mourning the loss of other pets
- Dog walking and handling tips
ABOUT ROBERT BERKELHAMMER: Robert Berkelhammer, Med, known as The Pet Pro and The Posture Guy, is the son of a veterinarian and has worked in pet care since 2007. He has been the Daily Assistant Manager of a dog behavior modification play-group from 2011 to 2015. Additionally, he is a pet sitter, dog walker, and cat and bird visitor. For twenty years he maintained a holistic private practice integrating muscle therapy with yoga science. Robert is currently developing a corrective posture walking class and creating a video series on healthy occupational posture for blue-collar workers, parents and most professionals. Robert studied at the Kantor Family Institute and is a state-certified guidance counselor.
A beautifully illustrated collection exploring the delightful diversity of dogs
By Ann DeVito
From DOG LOVE:
“Being in the present moment is the way of dogs—Pets teach love and compassion.”
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
“All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog.”
“A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden
From Schnauzers to Chihuahuas, Mastiffs to Maltipoos, crime-sniffing Blood Hounds to chic Bichons, dogs have charmed humans across the world for centuries with their lovable quirks and appealing personalities. Published in time for the 140th Annual Westminster Dog Show, February 15-16, DOG LOVE (Penguin Books Original; Hardcover; On-Sale: February 2, 2016; 9780143107835; $18.00) is a beautiful and engaging collection of artwork and visual typography that explores the delightful diversity of dogs.
Graphic artist and avowed dog lover Ann DeVito brings man’s best friend and their personalities to life with this collection of vibrant illustrations and snappy descriptions that pay loving homage to pups from all walks of life—no pun intended—from sophisticated, recognized breeds to lovable mutts and everything in between.
- The American Humane Association reported—after the first Benji movie was released—more than 1 million dogs were adopted from shelters across the country. Powerful awareness and publicity generated by one mutt!
- Humans use 12 million olfactory receptor cells to smell, dogs use 1 billion—Bloodhounds use 4 billion!
- MYTH—Greyhounds wear muzzles because they are mean. FACT—Greyhounds wear muzzles while racing to protect themselves from injury during the excitement of a chase.
- Despite their regal air, ancient history, and over-the-top hairdos, Poodles are not snobs. They were bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. In France, they are called caniches, meaning “duck dogs.”
- Notable Dachshund Owners: Andy Warhol owned two Dachshund puppies, Archie and Amos. Pablo Picasso had a Dachshund muse named Lump.
DeVito would draw daily with her two children. DOG LOVE evolved by drawing the different breeds from The Complete Dog Book, and her children’s love of dogs. Her distinctively bold, whimsical art combined with fun facts and famous quotes results in an elegant book that will delight dog lovers of all kinds.
By Ann DeVito
A Penguin Books Original ▪ Hardcover
On-sale: February 2, 2016 ▪9780143107835 ▪ $18.00
Penguin Random House (http://global.penguinrandomhouse.com/) is the world’s most global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin, with the parent companies owning 53% and 47%, respectively. Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa, and Penguin’s trade publishing activity in Asia and Brazil; DK worldwide; and Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial’s Spanish-language companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.
FAST INTO THE NIGHT
A Woman, Her Dogs, and their Journey
North on the Iditarod Trail
by Debbie Clarke Moderow
At age forty-seven, a mother of two, Debbie Moderow was not your average musher in the
Iditarod, but that’s where she found herself when, less than 200 miles from the finish line, her
dogs decided they were done running.
FAST INTO THE NIGHT (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2, 1016) is the gripping
story of Moderow’s journeys along the Iditarod trail with her team of spunky huskies: Taiga and
Su, Piney and Creek, Nacho and Zeppy, Juliet and the headstrong leader, Kanga. The first failed
attempt crushed Moderow’s confidence, but after reconnecting with her dogs she returns and
ventures again to Nome, pushing through injuries, hallucinations, epic storms, flipped sleds, and
clashing personalities, both human and canine. And she prevails.
Part adventure, part love story, part inquiry into the mystery of the connection between humans
and dogs, FAST INTO THE NIGHT is an exquisitely written memoir of a woman, her dogs,
and what can happen when someone puts herself in that place between daring and doubt—and
DEBBIE CLARKE MODEROW, originally from Connecticut, went to Alaska in 1979 for a
mountain-climbing expedition and met her husband, Mark. For the Moderows, dog mushing has
always been a family affair. Debbie ran the Iditarod in 2003 and 2005, completing the latter in 13
days, 19 hours, 10 minutes, and 32 seconds. In 2013 Debbie graduated from Pacific Lutheran
University’s Rainier Writing Workshop with an MFA in creative writing.
Debbie is available for interviews and her tour will take her to Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis,
Boston, Burlington (VT), and of course all over Alaska.
What does an average reader or “armchair adventurer” need to know about the Iditarod?
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race starts every year on the first weekend in March. Mushers and their sixteendog
teams leave Willow, a little north of Anchorage, and travel 1,000 miles, day and night, across the state of
Alaska to Nome. The race passes through 22 checkpoints along the way, where mushers have sent food and
supplies before the race. There are also veterinarians at each checkpoint, who assist watching over the dogs.
You grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. Can you describe the unlikely trajectory, from east coast
suburbia to Alaska’s Iditarod Trail?
I must admit, on the surface of things, it seems unlikely that my childhood in Greenwich would have led me
to this life in Alaska. But from the youngest age, I’ve always been a winter person—and a dog person. Those
two traits tend to override logistical circumstances.
Looking back, my Iditarod journey was a logical outgrowth of my parents’ adventurous spirit. My mother
was an aviator in the thirties, and actually flew her plane under the Brooklyn Bridge. My father, as well as
Mom, lived for outdoor adventure. I grew up fly fishing in upstate New York, skiing in Vermont, riding
horses in Wyoming, and simply exploring the woods behind our house with Dad’s hunting dogs traipsing
alongside me. Once I visited Wyoming I knew that one day I’d move west. Looking back, it’s easy to connect
the dots from Connecticut west to the Rockies, and north to Alaska’s Iditarod Trail.
How did your life with sled dogs actually begin?
It began when my husband Mark and I adopted our first husky, a retired Iditarod sled dog named Salt. The
moment Salt walked through our door, our lives changed forever.
At the time our children Andy and Hannah were 5 and 6 years old, and I had recently suffered a series of midpregnancy
miscarriages. First Salt drew me out of my grief; his insistent adventurous spirit re-ignited my
own. Then, in a matter of a few years, he mentored our young family, and a few young pups, about the joys of
the dog sledding trail.
So your mushing life began as a family effort?
Yes, it did. We hadn’t had Salt for more than a week or two when the kids borrowed a harness and sled so he
could pull them around our yard. A few months later, we acquired two puppies with the idea of having a tiny
team. Then Mark came home from work one night and announced he’d signed the kids up for the one and two
dog junior races the following day. So began the real fun of the Salty Dog Kennel.
During the next ten years our dogs were first and foremost for Andy and Hannah. From junior races to
weekends camping with our dogs, from training runs after school to building sleds way past everyone’s
bedtime, we all enjoyed the family kennel.
When Andy and Hannah were 7 and 8 they wanted to run in the two and three dog races—so we added some
puppies into the mix and there were five dogs living in our backyard. When they turned 11 and 12, they
needed a five and a seven-dog team. By the time they left for college, both bid a tearful farewell to the
family’s 20-dog team. I shed my own tears: the prospect of the empty nest looked pretty bleak. That’s when I
decided to run Iditarod.
What breed are Iditarod sled dogs?
Our dogs, like most in the sport, are Alaskan Huskies—a
working-dog blend of huskies and hounds developed over
many generations to be well-suited for winter travel. Because
these dogs are mutts, they vary in size and temperament. Ours
are smaller than some, ranging from 35-55 pounds. They are
all different colors. Some have brown eyes, a few blue. Some
ears stand up, others flop over.
Our particular dogs are sensitive and playful. Training them
requires patience and positive reinforcement.
Because Alaskan Huskies are not inbred, they live particularly
long and healthy lives. Most of our dogs enjoy running as 12
year olds. Many live to see at least 14-16 years.
What draws you to adventures with sled dogs?
My relationship with the dogs is the inspiration for our
adventures. Running a dog team is shared effort; your
connection with the beating hearts on the line defines every
twist and turn of the trail.
My dogs know everything about me. From them I cannot hide a bad mood, growing anxiety, or fatigue. In
turn, I know them intimately—how Tiger holds her tail tells me much about her attitude. When Gouda’s ears
go down, I know he needs an extra snack. To collaborate with their honest, steady hearts brings out the best in
me; in connecting my sensibilities to theirs I’ve learned much about them—as well as what it means to be
What are the qualities necessary to be a successful musher?
Both canine and human members of an Iditarod team need to enjoy and train to perform as winter endurance
athletes. When I took on the Iditarod challenge, I was highly motivated to be the best I could be—to hold up
my end of the bargain for the dogs. I trained at the gym, altered my eating and hydrating habits, learned to
cope with extreme sleep deprivation. Tending to my own nutrition and fitness was a key ingredient of our
While preparations are extremely important, long distance mushing is a calling—an obsessive and irresistible
desire to spend long miles with incredible canine companions on a challenging and invigorating wilderness
Describe your experience on the trail, as a female musher.
This is a question I’m asked often. The truth is
that I don’t think of myself as a female musher,
I consider myself a musher. Men and women
compete on a gender-blind basis in our sport, so
I take that for granted.
Of course every individual brings strengths and
weaknesses to the trail. At 5’2” and 125 pounds,
I have a weight advantage—and a relative
disadvantage in arm strength. That said, my
ability to work intuitively with individual dogs
might result from years of mothering. On the
other hand, some have argued that my first
incomplete race might have benefitted from my
husband’s more matter-of-fact approach. But I
don’t really see a “matter-of-fact” manner as
Bottom line is that each individual musher, regardless of gender, brings his or her own advantages and
disadvantages to the trail. During a 1,000 mile journey, one’s strengths and weaknesses are magnified.
There’s no hiding from them. You have draw on your particular talents and muddle through the rest.
What is the running-life of a sled dog? At what age do they first run in harness and how old do they
We first put our pups in harness around nine months. Because their joints are still developing, during their
first season we make sure to take them on very short and slow runs. We pair them with older dogs in order to
settle them on the line with good mentors. It is not until the following season that they train as full members
of the team.
On their very first outing in harness, our pups almost always pull like they’ve been on the line for a lifetime.
Just like a Labrador puppy seems to know how to swim as soon as she bounds into water.
Our older dogs usually run with the team until they are at least 12. Of course every dog is different. There are
11 and 12 year olds who thrive running Iditarod. They key with the golden oldies, as we call them, is to run
them slowly. They are perfect trainers for the up and coming generation.
How cold does it get on the trail? How do the dogs respond and how do you?
I’ve run in temperatures from negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees above zero. The dogs deal with
the cold far easier than humans do. Alaskan Huskies are a “double-coated northern” breed; because they live
outside in the winter, they acclimatize early in the season. For additional protection from the wind, we dress
them in insulated jackets. For a few thinner-coated dogs, I have special jackets trimmed with wolverine. One
houndy boy even wears a hat. Sled dogs far prefer temperatures down to negative 20 degrees over anything
warmer than twenty above.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your dogs?
During Iditarod, my dogs and I navigated 1,000 miles of wilderness trail, during which we were challenged
by weather and trail conditions we’d never experienced before. I think it’s fair to say that both my huskies
and I wrestled with opposing passions of daring and doubt.
Because sled dogs insist on living in the present, they are graced with a nimble and resilient spirit. This
strength of theirs is, for the most part, infectious. As long as I tapped into their happy focus, our shared miles
were relatively carefree.
Like any marathon journey, Iditarod miles are long and not always pretty. On a few occasions my dogs and I
suffered a momentary disconnect with one another—affecting our ability to move on. But in the end, we regained
our shared momentum.
To complete—together—such a long and complicated journey, was to contend with the messy nature of
success. As in everything in life, some miles were “better” than others; looking back several of our stumbles
could have been prevented, others were random twists of misfortune.
It was gratifying beyond any measure to cross beneath the burled arch in Nome. Not because of simply
getting there, but in having persevered to become the best team my dogs and I could be. Maybe the joy of
reaching our planned destination gave me a chance to glimpse what truly matters: that giving something your
very best effort is far more meaningful than any prize. The happy ending of my story is a gift to share—but
more important lessons can be found along those windy miles short of the finish line in Nome.
It all started with one retired Iditarod dog. Beware: If
you decide to adopt a sled dog, your life could change
You’ll never need another doorbell. Greeting visitors is
a specialty of our huskies—they are people-focused
dogs who live for meeting humans.
A dog team is a canine community. Among those dogs
living outside your window are close friends, lovers,
antagonists. Elders, students, and young rascals. Lead
singers, and those who can’t carry a tune.
If yours is a family dog team, your children will sob
uncontrollably leaving for college—saying goodbye to their dogs.
Everyone will ask you how you remember all 26 names, and you want to ask
them if they could ever forget the names of their closest friends.
You will buy dog food by the ton, and know the caloric value of one pound of
kibble as well as the Omega 3:6 fat balance in various oils.
You will consider the length of their toenails far more than your own.
Love songs on the radio will no longer remind you of an old boyfriend; instead
you’ll think of your lead dog.
Your definition of a romantic anniversary present is a new sled, handmade by
your husband. Or maybe better: the perfect new shovel for scooping the dog yard.
If you decide to write a book about Iditarod, it will take you forever. You’ll
outlive the dog-stars in your story. To have their ashes on the shelf next to your
writing desk will give you the determination to throw out one more draft and try
The Gregorian calendar no longer matters after you sign up for Iditarod. It’s all
about miles per month, the rookie meeting in early December, and your
appointment with the Iditarod Trail on the first Saturday of March.
Sometime near the start of the race you’ll realize you forgot to schedule all your
personal medical appointments—but your dogs have just had full physicals,
bloodwork, and EKGs.
On race day the prospect of 1,000 wilderness miles will reduce you to tears, but at
the sound of “5...4...3...2...1...go,” it’s just you, your dogs and the trail underfoot.
Everything is right in your world.
After the first week on the trail, when you travel at all times of the day, you
realize that you never understood the cycle of day and night before.
Who knew that two hours of sleep is a wonderful luxury?
Who also knew that sleeping fully clothed on a dirty plywood floor is also a
After several days on the trail you acclimatize to the cold and do chores
barehanded at 10 degrees.
Six weeks after the race you will still sit upright in bed at 2:00 AM and wonder if
you overslept when should have been leaving the checkpoint.
When the race is over you will put each of your dogs in a crate to fly home ahead
of you. It’s the worst thing ever—to explain to them that you have to stay for a
boring finisher’s banquet, and that you’ll see them “day after tomorrow.”
You will experience mixed emotions when you reach the finish line. The journey
of a lifetime has come to an end, but the real challenge comes readjusting to life
off the trail when it’s no longer just you and your dogs.
Blue and Holloman art gallery, 2/6
Barnes & Noble, 2/7
Iditarod Week, 2/29-3/6
Anchorage Museum, 3/4
Third Place Books, 2/15 (Lake Forest Park)
Village Books, 2/16 (Bellingham)
Powell's City of Books, 2/17
Common Good Books, 2/21
Harvard Book Store, 2/22 (Cambridge)
Jabberwocky, 2/23 (Newburyport)
Northshire, 2/26 (Manchester Center)
Fireside Books, 3/1
Coronado City Library, 4/5
Carlsbad City Library, 4/7
Bash Dibra is a big, ebullient man with a warm smile, a gentle manner, and a lifelong affinity for dogs. When he was only three years old and fled with his family from Albania to a refugee camp in Yugoslavia, he made friends with the attack dogs that guarded the compound. Later, as the family traveled through Europe, Bash was able to work with master dog trainers, and he continued his work when he came to the United States. Then came the opportunity to raise and train a wolf, and through this experience Bash developed his unique methods of dog training.
Bash & Friends.jpgAs author of six best-selling books on responsible pet ownership, training and the proper treatment of animals in the entertainment industry, Bash Dibra sets the industry standard of service to celebrities and their pets as well as to pets who are celebrities in their own right. Mr. Dibra has trained the pets of countless celebrities, including Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathleen Turner, Mariah Carey, Joan Rivers, Kim Bassinger and Alec Baldwin. His own pets are celebrities themselves, featured in motion pictures, television commercials and print ads.
Bash has appeared on countless TV shows promoting responsible pet ownership, and he works diligently behind the scenes for animal welfare and to promote animals in service to mankind. Bash credits his incredible way with dogs to his beloved wolf, Mariah, who taught him so much, and who was the official symbol of the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.