I’d like to preface this by stating, as a dog lover, I truly appreciate what Bo is doing with his enjoyable and fun-to-read book. It’s dedicated to shelter workers, rescue groups, and animal welfare proponents, and 10% of the proceeds are donated to help homeless dogs and cats. Bo’s also giving away a free copy of his book at his website: www.badtothebonememoir.com.
Below you’ll see Bo’s YouTube video (which is a hoot!) and after the interview I’ve posted Chapter 1 of his book which I hope you’ll read – a great way to brighten your day!
Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Bo. You’re the first dog we’ve interviewed and this is one interview I’ve really looked forward to. Tell us about your book, Bad to the Bone, Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger.
First, let me say, I’m honored to be the first dog to be interviewed on Dames of Dialogue. Bad To The Bone is a memoir written through the eyes of man’s best friend, the family dog. That’s me, Bo.
My book focuses on how I—and two seemingly normal people—wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world while creating a lifelong bond in the process. All the stories are true and will leave dog lovers laughing out loud. The only tears you will shed are tears of laughter.
I’ve dedicated my book to all the rescue and shelter workers who make this world a better place, one animal at a time. I donate 10% of my proceeds to help homeless dogs…and cats.
Before you were a novelist, you were a doggie blogger. Can you provide the url for your blog? When did you start blogging and why?
My blog is Boknowsonline.com. I started blogging in July 2007. While reading the news on a daily basis, I like to keep current; I noticed there was so much sad animal news out there. I thought it would be nice if there was a place for people to come and read something funny. I introduce a ridiculous story from my perspective and then excerpt the relevant parts. My specialty is any wacky story with an animal angle. As long as the protagonist in the story can’t speak a human language (parrots get a pass) and they’ve caused trouble or embarrassment for humans, I’ll cover them.
You’ve gotten some really great reviews for your book. Any particular ones special to you?
I especially like the reviews where the reader writes the book made them laugh out loud. That’s exactly why I wrote the book, to make people laugh at the crazy antics that happen when you have a dog in your life. Hopefully, the book will give you a little break from the seriousness of what’s happening in the world and remind you of the special bond between pet and owner.
One of my favorites, besides yours, is by a reader named Sarah. It starts off ‘The best book I’ve read all year.’ Let’s just hope she’s read more than one.
Your book is dedicated to shelter workers, rescue groups and animal welfare proponents, calling them “unsung heroes”. I agree. As a former shelter dog (and I have to state here, they do make the best pets!), what advice would you give to those (of the two-legged variety) wanting to adopt?
First off, anyone and everyone who is involved in helping to rescue dogs (and all animals) get a big bark out from me. I dedicated my book to them because they are truly the unsung heroes for the voiceless among us. I can’t thank them enough for all they do!!
For potential owners, the best words of wisdom I can share is to make sure you get a pup that fits into your lifestyle. If you’re lazy, get some dog like me. If you live in an apartment, get a tiny pup. If you’re aloof and like animals pooping in your house, get a cat.
Every dog has the potential to change a human’s life, given the opportunity. One lonely, frightened dog sitting in cage staring back at you in a shelter can make a bigger difference in your life than you would ever expect.
I got a kick out of the sweet couple who adopted you and all they went through. How do they feel about your success as an author?
I don’t know about my success as an author, but thank you. I think I’ll know I made it when I’m up there with Marley and Enzo. My folks are proud of my determination, and that as a young pup I learned to never accept the word ‘no’. It’s not always easy being a writer in a fur suit, but I learned the only one that can set limits on you, is you. If you believe in something, go for it. Regardless of species or breed.
As of the time the book was published, you were 1 for 433 in the ongoing squirrel chase (poor Rocky). Is that status quo or has it changed?
Unfortunately, no. And lately, the only thing I’ve caught is a cold.
Since you’ve broken ground for other dogs, what advice would you give for a dog just starting out in this field?
Do it as a hobby and have fun with it…all else is gravy.
Describe a typical writing day for you.
I get up, have breakfast, write between 10 am-noon, and then nap. Repeat for lunch and dinner, minus the writing.
What’s your favorite snack?
Peanut Butter. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a Kong, smothered on one of my daily pills, or fed to me on a spoon. Anything that hides a tasty treat is a winner in my book…maybe that’s why I like the kitty litter box so much.
What’s your favorite pastime?
Since I’m about 107 in people years, it would have to be napping and being waited on hand and paw.
Which do you prefer, being a Yankee dog or a Southern dog?
Well, I was born a Yankee dog, so that’s what I’ll always be at heart. But you can’t beat southern cooking. Who wouldn’t like everything, including their dog food, fried?
Chapter 1: Of All The Gin Joints In All The World…
We met back in the early ‘90’s, December of ’92 to be exact. I just had a major blowout with my first, somewhat dysfunctional family and decided that it was best for all if I just left. My foster dad gave me a ride to nowhere and before I knew it, I was at a boarding house in upstate New York. The place was great, warm with plenty of company, and their cheesy poof biscuits were to die for. On the downside, it was loud and smelly, not unlike me.
Even a lowly pug could smell her coming from miles away. It was Monday, as I recall, and the bells on the door jingled to announce her arrival. She was a beautiful blonde with a quick smile and a determined look. We’d seen this type before; they usually left with one of the pure bred puppies, but something was different about this one. My instincts told me that any canine would be darn lucky to go home with a girl like her, so I made it my top priority to be that hound.
She wandered back to where we lived. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed about the condition of the place. Some of my cage mates were not very clean and some even took to pooping where they ate. My next cage neighbor’s lack of etiquette was particularly noteworthy as he took to eating kitty snickers (that’s slang for cat poo in the big house) openly. Sure they taste good, but you’re not getting adopted if you’re seen eating one.
As she came closer to my humble accommodations, I tried everything I could to grab her attention. When she finally got to me I made direct eye contact with her, tilted my oversized cranium at a 45 degree angle and gave her my trademark ‘BoPawÔ’ reach.
I could see instantly she wanted me. Needed me. Had to have me. Hey who wouldn’t?
She reached out and petted me with her finely manicured nails. She was clearly enjoying our encounter. How easy these humans are to manipulate, I thought. Her hands were refreshingly cool and her smell put me in a state of delight. I was in love. I could tell she loved me too.
After a few gushing, “He’s so cute!” comments, she, gave me one last look and proceeded on to Pumpkin’s cage.
Realizing I was still sitting there with a half-cocked head and a paw in the air, I felt my muzzle glow red hot under my furry face as the other dogs chuckled with delight. Hey lady, we just made a connection. You can’t move on. Our story ends here if you keep going. But that’s exactly what she did. By the time I regained my bearings, she had moved through the room, out the door and out of my life.
My hope for a better life was gone as quickly as it had come. The brief glimpse of a finer existence with a loving, caring human was replaced with the stark reality that I may spend the rest of my life at this boarding house. What was once a fun and refreshing place became a dark and daunting cave.
I admit this brush with love, and the subsequent loss of it, had me thinking of ending things in this world. I had heard the stories of the different ways to get to rainbow bridge, but I knew that if I were going to get there, there was only one canine to whom I could turn.
His given name was Charlemagne Brutus the IV, but he was better known in the big house as the Candyman. His studded dog collar betrayed an otherwise noble and tame appearance. He was well-connected, and his lifestyle was proof of that. C’man slept on the best blankets, drank from the shiniest bowls and rarely took to begging for human food.
I approached Candyman during exercise time in the yard. While the other dogs were working on their begging routines, he let on to me that he had a shipment of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate candy bars on the way. For the right price he would let me have them. I knew, as did he, chocolate will kill a canine quicker than a game of “chase the cat” in traffic. Yeah, that quickly.
Death by chocolate, as it is commonly referred to in the restaurant business, was only two Hershey bars away for me. Once ingested, I would soon be patrolling the pearly gates of heaven, looking, of course, for a place to dig out. Paradise awaited me.
But the price was steep; a greenie and a peanut butter filled Kong for the candy bars. I had no money and I was unemployed, so I resigned myself to the situation at hand. At least death would come seven times faster than it does for others on this lonely, desolate planet.
I lowered my already slouched body onto the well worn blanket covering the cage’s tin floor. Surely there was another way out of this situation.
I lay there, thinking about my options. Maybe during exercise time I could climb the fence and escape? I would be free again. The trouble was the shelter workers were on high alert ever since Hairy Houdini, the border-collie mix, escaped last month. Maybe I could steal the German Shepherd’ treats. Surely, once Ruger found out, he’d give me the business end of a chewy shiv. Hmmm, that sounds a little too painful.
Maybe if I . . .
I laid there for hours, searching for a solution. When I finally fell asleep, the perfect escape was still out of my paws’ grasp.
When I awoke, an angel was standing over me. The very same blonde angel that had visited me earlier in the day. Next to her was a very handsome young man. So handsome you might think he was gay, but let me assure the reader he is not. He looked at me and said, “He’s cute. Let’s get him.”
“I want you to look at this one over here too,” the angel countered.
What? Another dog? She’s betraying me all over again. It was Christmas season, and I felt just like a Douglas Fir being picked up, manhandled, and then tossed aside in favor of a bigger, better tree.
Fortunately the man had his wits about him “No, I like this one, he’s so dopey looking. We don’t need to look at any of the others. He’s the one.” I didn’t much care for his attitude but his decision-making capability was flawless.
The attendant, known as Nurse Ratchet by the inmates, lingered nearby. She was eager to get rid of me after my failed attempt at unionizing the locals to get better victuals. “Would you like to take him out for a walk, just to make sure you like him?” she offered, knowing full well that once prospective parents take a dog for a ‘test’ walk, they will adopt the pet 98% of the time.
Once outside, I made a beeline for my potential owner’s car. It was easy to pick out; my sense of smell is incredible. In a show of respect I immediately peed on the front driver’s side tire. The couple tried to fawn all over me, but I ignored them. Once you have them this far, you show them you don’t want them and they’ll want you more.
Remember, don’t hate the player; hate the game.
The ploy worked like a charm; while they informed Ratchet they wanted me, I pranced back toward my former home to pack my belongings.
“Not so fast my friend,” Ratchet cackled, “We need to make sure you get all your required shots before we can release you to these fine folks.”
What do you mean I can’t leave yet? What a shot in the nads, which by the way were already gone. My new parents were told to come pick me up later in the week.
As they went to put me back in my cage, I abandoned my “good boy” act and did my best to stop this course of action. I sat down and refused to move, forcing two, it might have been three, of the staff’s goons to drag me across the floor and into lockdown. As they dragged me away, I got one last look at my new owners, who stared at the commotion with shocked looks that said, “What have we gotten ourselves into?”
It’s a look they would share many times in our future together.
Excerpted from BAD TO THE BONE by BO HOEFINGER Copyright © 2009 by Horst Hoefinger. Excerpted by permission.All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.