Barbara’s vivid and dramatic stories, told with a wicked sense of humor, will make you laugh out loud. She definitely gets what living with rescued dogs (nine of them!) is all about.
When Barbara meets her future husband, Ray, it is love-and dog-at first sight. Over the course of thirty-two years, seventeen relocations and nine dogs, their mutual love of dogs guides them on their unconventional path. The love that Barbara and Ray get in return is literally lifesaving, with one dog attacking a lethal intruder and another discovering Barbara’s cancer. Her own survival story underscores the story of how her dogs become survivors themselves.
Each new dog adds its own dynamic to the family, sometimes upending it. From Turbo (whose Spock-like ears may have provided super powers), Barbara learns about the will to live; Lexington demonstrates incredible patience and an inexplicable love of golf; Madison teaches that laughter is truly the best medicine and that the whole “nine lives thing” is not reserved just for cats; Morgan should be sainted for tolerating Izzy, who is as cute as she is bad. Barbara is certain that somewhere in doggie heaven there is a poster that says “If you are sick, injured or in need of really expensive medical care, FIND THESE HUMANS!”
Throughout 2012 and 2013, Dog-Ma has been on the Bestseller lists of Kindle, Amazon and Goodreads aswell as being named as a finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the animal/pet category and presented with a medal at the Harvard Club in New York City – May 2013.
You can read what I thought of the book in my dog-ma the zen of slobber review.
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It is everywhere. The stark white walls shimmer with droplets like a Jackson Pollock painting. My hand pulses with pain as I struggle to separate the combatants, one collar in each outstretched hand. Rivulets of red run down my arm and I am unsure if it belongs to me. I cannot, I must not fixate on it. My heart pounds until I am sure it will escape my chest; each beat pronounced and strong. My predicament is clear: let go of one and the other will perish. I must hang on and wait for calm to prevail. Breathe deeply. Show control. No, TAKE control. I try convincing myself this will all be over soon. I cannot scream; it would only exacerbate their fury.
Time slows as though the clocks have momentarily stopped. With each breath, the pain of my hand surges through my body. Morgan shakes her head and dots of red splatter onto the floor. The soft white fur surrounding Izzy’s mouth is stained with a cocktail of gore. Her blue-clouded eyes sparkle as she gazes blankly in an undetermined direction. She cannot see her intended adversary, having been robbed of vision a year earlier. Her snarls are guided by her nose; her anger guided by fear.
As my muscles strain to maintain the distance between the combatants, I hope for a reprieve. I struggle to control one hundred and twenty pounds in one hand and twenty pounds in the other, tenacity compensating for the smaller stature. Deep claret tones slowly ooze through her long white, wiry fur. I can already see her eye beginning to swell shut, like a prize-fighter on a losing day. Morgan is dripping blood. Izzy’s tooth has ripped a gash in the tender velvety lining of her ear. She shakes her head to ease the pain. If I wasn’t so damned pissed off I could appreciate the artistry of the spatter, with flow and movement as intricate as any piece of MOMA artwork.
“Leave it!” booms from around the corner. Ray extricates Izzy from my hand, gently coaxing her to settle down. Izzy’s maniacal temper has not eased, evidenced by her continued struggle for freedom. Izzy has only one mission: kill or be killed. It does not matter that the Rottweiler is six times larger or has jaws that could crush bone. She must prevail. Failure is not an option. She is a terrier.
Ray has a soothing effect. Izzy feels safe in her human dad’s arms.
They have much in common: determination, stubbornness and moxie: two peas in a pod. Where they differ is in temper. Izzy has no control over hers. When the anger switch flips in her tiny little brain, no one can turn it off. She is focused to a fault, her tantrums often triggered by the fear of her sightless world.
Morgan sighs. She is ready to be released. She quiets easily and quickly. She is a gentle giant, not a fighter. She bites only to defend herself. If her intent were to eliminate her assailant, it would happen in one quick snap of her jaw. She cannot understand why this monster was brought into our peaceful home. We were a happy family until Izzy appeared. She is the Anti-Christ. She is pure evil. Our home has become a salient battleground with opponents always vigilant, wary of the other, waiting for the first sign of war.
Finally, the opponents are separated, sent to their respective corners. Equanimity has settled in, not like a comforting blanket, but a static-filled one; on edge and ready to snap at the first sign of friction. I wonder how our family became ensnared in this violence. It wasn’t always this way.
There was a time when our home was a sanctuary of Zen-like calm, a respite from our hectic professional world. We rescued abused and abandoned animals, provided them with comforting shelter and loving care. Yet, here I sit on the kitchen floor, assessing the multitude of damage, wondering where we failed.
This is where it begins……
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About the Author
Award Winning Author, Barbara Brunner grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her parents, sister and always a dog, or two or three. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from a small women’s college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Meeting her husband in Washington, DC, they continued together on a journey as self-proclaimed dog addicts. In the ensuing years, she founded three successful businesses in the Pacific Northwest and is a prolific fundraiser for breast cancer research. She and her husband are retired and now reside in Southwest Florida with two dogs and copious amounts of dog fur. She is currently working on indulging her well known flip flop addiction.
Barbara is available for book readings, autographing and speaking engagements and may be scheduled for your book or dog event.
“My inspiration for writing this book was driven by pure emotion and my desire to invite the reader to step into the journey of my utterly insane true-life stories.” – Barbara Boswell Brunner, Author, dog-ma