My name is Hector Ramirez, and among other things I’m an unabashed dog lover. So when I heard that Godine was publishing the upcoming memoir All My Dogs: A Life by Bill Henderson (he founded the Pushcart Press, one of the most influential publishers in the country), I jumped at the chance to read it. Great book, but was it a bad call to read it so soon after leaving my beautiful German Shepherd back in Los Angeles to live in Providence, RI for the summer? Probably. But aside from the fact that it made me miss my dog like crazy, I did enjoy the book immensely: it’s a charming memoir about family, individuality, spirituality, and the way dogs help us bring all of that stuff together. Reader be warned, however — it is also a book about coping with the loss of these wonderful friends. It’s a tearjerker to say the very least, but I think Henderson really gets it right in this memoir by insisting that dogs are remarkably good at helping us move on. It’s a simple formula really: they understand what it is we need most, and then they give it to us, in a way that is the very definition of selfless, unconditional love.
As for my own dog, Penny became a part of the Ramirez family on July 17, 2010, and right away she started changing us all for the better. It’s kind of hard not to be affected by this little fur ball just by looking at her, but we quickly discovered that she is as affectionate as she is adorable, and that once you become her friend, she is fiercer in her companionship than any person you’ll ever meet. Dogs have this way of bringing out the best in people no matter what, and we were no exception. It turns out our pack was incomplete all along, and we didn’t even know it. On the car ride back to our house, with Penny asleep in my lap, I wondered how we ever got on without her.
But showing off my amazing dog was only part of my motivation for writing this blog post. A big part, I admit, but the other reason is a bit more exciting. I get to announce the Official David R. Godine All My Dogs Giveaway! Yay!
How does one become eligible to win a free copy of this wonderful book, you ask? Well I’m glad you did. First I should mention that the giveaway only applies to those of you who have or have had a dog in your life. That’s right folks — we’re having a cute-dog-picture showdown. Email us a picture of yourself with your dog(s), along with a short message (which could be just about anything really, from a favorite memory of you and your dog to a simple note about what makes him or her special), and you’re in! It’s that simple. Our email address is email@example.com, and if you could write “All My Dogs Giveaway” in the subject heading that would be swell.
Be sure to send those pictures and stories in! I’ll go ahead and kick things off with a recent picture of Penny (setting the bar very, very high). The contest begins right … wait for it … now, and it ends on September 15th. We’re giving away two copies of this book, so be sure to check the blog on the 15th to see if you’ve won one!