Category Archives: books

Pound For Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life


We always love it when we get a chance to read about how dogs help people, and the book Pound For Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life certainly fits the bill!

I was really excited to share the book with you dear readers, and here is an excerpt so you can get a feeling for the story. It’s a story that is hopeful, inspirational, and perfect for anyone who loves animals.

Excerpt from Pound For Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life
By Shannon Kopp

One morning at six o’clock, a few months after adopting a terrier-poodle puppy, I pulled myself out of bed in an attempt to meditate. I decided that sitting up on my yoga mat was too much effort, so I got into child’s pose, kneeling and lowering my head to the mat. I stretched my arms out in front of me while my meditation music om’d in the background.

After two minutes, which felt more like two hours, a fluffy presence leapt over my arm. My boyfriend usually kept Bella in the bedroom while I meditated, but I’d left the door open a crack, and she had nuzzled her way out, her paws so light on the floor that I didn’t hear her coming.

When I opened my eyes and lifted my head from the mat, Bella stood a few inches from my nose, in between my outstretched arms. In her mouth, she held a green frog toy by one leg.

“Bella, I’m meditating!” I said, but with a smile, because dear God was she cute! Five months old, four pounds, and not even a foot tall. Her coat of brownish black puppy fur was just starting to fade to creamy apricot.

Bella whipped her beloved frog so close to me that it hit my nose. Then, just in case I hadn’t gotten the obvious memo that she wanted to play, she put her butt up, paws forward, and shook the frog between her teeth.

The meditation music changed to soft ocean sounds, and Bella blinked up at me with her chestnut eyes, pleading in all her adorableness for a game of tug-of-war.

Pound for Pound, a story of healing and hope, and dogs.

I couldn’t resist her. I grabbed a frog leg between my pointer finger and my thumb and gave it a little pull. Bella pulled back, letting out the most pathetic groan, which I think was meant to be a growl. Her tiny tail whipped back and forth, and I thought to myself, I couldn’t love you more if I tried.

Our connection was wordless and relatively new, but I was already crazy about her. I loved every little thing she did. The time she leapt into a pond after a duck and kept going after him as though there was no difference between land and water. The way she assumed everything I had was hers, my glass of water, my food, my pillow, my socks, and never questioning whether she deserved it.

I loved how when I blew on her face, she gave the most pissed-off look and batted her dainty paw at my mouth. I loved how to everyone’s shock, she thought “the cone of shame” was a fabulous accessory and wagged her tail when we slipped it over her head (this may be because I dressed her up on a regular basis). I loved how everything fascinated her, even dust.

I loved how after I gave Bella too much turkey and then my boyfriend gave her too much salami, which caused an awful bout of pancreatitis, she didn’t cuss out her mortified parents for feeding her too many treats. Instead, upon our return from a vet visit we couldn’t really afford, she went straight to a warm patch of sunlight on the carpet. She didn’t resent or complain. Right away, she got back to the business of basking in the warmth of the present moment.

I also loved how seriously she took the game of tug-of-war, as though she were some ferocious lion, and which Bella and I played that morning for almost ten minutes. I probably smiled the entire time, and when the timer on my phone went off to mark the end of the meditation, Bella’s head tilted to the side. The sound startled me, too. We were still playing, and I’d completely forgotten that I was supposed to be meditating. Then again, if the point of meditation is to bring us to the present moment, maybe I was still doing what I was supposed to do.

© 2016 Excerpt from Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life by Shannon Kopp Courtesy of William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Author Bio
Shannon Kopp, author of Pound for Pound, is a writer, eating disorder survivor, and animal welfare advocate. She has worked and volunteered at various animal shelters throughout San Diego and Los Angeles, where shelter dogs helped her to discover a healthier, more joyful way of living. Her mission is to help every shelter dog find a loving home, and to raise awareness about eating disorders and animal welfare issues.

For more information visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

We give it four paws up! Shannon does a wonderful job explaining what it is like to go through a tough an eating disorder and trying to heal from it. Of course, dogs play a central role to her healing. This is a great read for anyone who wants to understand what it might be like for those who suffer from eating disorders, or other mental health issues. Even though the subject is heavier, Shannon does a great job of sharing both the dark and the light, and it is a hopeful and uplifting story because of it.

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Dillie the Deer (and a giveaway)

DillietheDeerDo you love charming stories? What about charming stories that involve a deer? If you said yes to either of these questions, Dillie the Deer is for you! Be sure to read to the bottom of the post too for your chance to win a copy.

Dillie the Deer is a celebration of the bonds between people and animals. Dillie, a three-day-old, blind, dying fawn came to veterinarian Melanie in 2004 when a kind farmer brought her in. Melanie wasn’t sure that Dillie could survive, but she did! Not only did she survive, but she became a member of the family.

The cute deer enjoys all the perks that other pets in the household do. She even learned how to open cabinets, climb stairs, and even turns the lights on and off! There is even a webcam to catch all the antics on Dillie’s website! That’s right friends, she has her own website. She has even been on National Geographic.

Dillie the deer also fills a special role in Melanie’s life when Melanie is diagnosed with cancer. The bonds between the two just show how special animals can be in our lives.

A truly charming book, one that any animal lover would enjoy reading. I enjoyed reading about this unlikely family member, and quickly became a Dillie fan. It’s also a story about a dedicated vet and the animals that she cares for. There is a lot about friendship and love in the story as well. You might want some tissues handy for some parts.

Enter to win a copy of Dillie the Deer. Use the entry form below, this is open to all countries.

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Dog Medicine; How My Dog Saved Me From Myself

In this touching memoir Julie Barton shares how powerful puppy love can be. Dog Medicine, shares the power of the human animal bond, as Julie recalls the darkest point in her life. A year out of college, she was struggling in the depths of depression, nothing seemed to be working and she wasn’t getting better.

Nothing reached her until the day she decided to do one hopeful thing: adopt a Golden Retriever puppy she named Bunker. That decision would change everything for the better.

The way Julie describes what it is like to be in the depths of depression is amazing. It really brings to life the hopelessness, and describes it in a way I had never heard before. If for nothing else, reading this memoir could help others understand an often misunderstood condition. But it’s not just a story about depression, it’s a story about hope, love, and yes, a dog.

Bunker became Julie’s medicine, just by being a dog really. Dogs have this wonderful way of accepting us just how we are. I love when she describes it: “So I decided to be as sad with Bunker as I needed to be, because he didn’t care. He accepted me. He didn’t need me to be happy… He didn’t judge me, he simply saw me.”

I think that is why we love our dogs so much, they just let us be us, flaws and all, and the love never stops. The book is a real testament to the power of pets, any animal lover would enjoy reading it. Watch the book trailer below, and of course, if you want your own copy of Dog Medicine you can pre-order now. The book releases on November 10th!

Dog Medicine, How My Dog Saved Me From Myself from Julie Barton on Vimeo.

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The MUTTS Winter Diaries

We were compensated to share about this adorable new book, but as always, we only share things we think our readers will love. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a fun giveaway!

The MUTTS Winter Diaries

The treasured characters in the MUTTS comics have a special charm to kids and adults of all ages. The friendship, warmth, and humor between characters that are seemingly unlikely matches create a special dynamic that will warm your heart. The graphic novel style collection of the MUTTS diaries introduces some of the cast members through a variety of their most popular comic strips.

With winter on the way, there could not have been a better time to open up this book, so I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of The Mutts Winter Diaries, the second Mutts collection for kids! If you are a fan of MUTTS, you will love this collection. It, of course, has all of our favorite characters – Shtinky Puddin’, Sourpuss, Guard Dog, Bip and Bop, and even Crabby. The strips that McDonnell uses for this collection are quirky and thought provoking, perfect for inspiring children to care for animals and their environment.

The MUTTS comic

Patrick McDonnell created the comic strip MUTTS, which now appears in over 700 newspapers in 20 countries. MUTTS has been described by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz as “One of the best comic strips of all time.” McDonnell has received numerous awards for this strip, including the National Cartoonists Society’s highest honor, The Reuben, for Cartoonist of the Year.

MUTTS also won awards for its environmental and animal advocacy: two Genesis Awards from The Ark Trust, The HSUS Hollywood Genesis Award for Ongoing Commitment, the PETA Humanitarian Award, and a Sierra Club award, all for good reason. We love the awareness the author brings to shelter animals and animals that are tied up outdoors. It is such a great life lesson and the MUTTS diaries make it an easy transition into teaching our kids about how to treat animals.

McDonnell’s website,, promotes his animal- and earth-friendly philosophy. Consistent with McDonnell’s concern for the environment, all of the MUTTS books are printed on recycled paper. So not only do you get a great, heart-warming book, but you get to feel great about it too!

We think that you will love The Mutts Winter Diaries as much as we did, and we want to give you a chance to get your very own copy of the book, as well as a special Comics sleepshirt. To coincide with the release of the new book, The Mutts Winter Diaries, Richard Leeds International has designed a cozy nightshirt to give you the sweetest of dreams.


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