Posts Tagged 'American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Anima'

Hanni and Bobbie: Two Award-Winning Guide Dogs

Hanni and Bobbie share this honor.Last Friday Bark Magazine sent me the link to a story in the Daily Telegraph about a blind Border Collie who has his own guide dog.

Black and white hound Clyde is totally blind and relies on his partner and fellow collie Bonnie to guide him everywhere.

She stays inches from Clyde’s side while guiding him on walks or to food or water, and lets him rest his head on her haunches whenever he becomes disorientated.

The blog editor at Bark wondered if I had anything interesting to say about the story. “If so,” she wrote, “would you be willing to write a guest blog for us about it?”

I was tempted to write something about training Hanni to let me rest my head on her haunches when I become “disorientated,” but I resisted. The post I ended up writing is titled Guide Dogs for Cats and Dogs? and was published on their web site this morning. A few paragraphs from the Bark blog post :

I’ve heard a number of stories about dogs acting as guides for blind animals. One news story—about a dog who guided a blind cat to safety after Hurricane Katrina—was even made into a children’s book.

I learned about Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival at the ASPCA Henry Bergh Childrens Book Award ceremony last month. Named in honor of ASPCA founder Henry Bergh, the award honors books that “promote the humane ethic of compassion and respect for all living things.”

Unable to resist an opportunity for shameless self-promotion, at this point in the Bark blog I point out that my own children’s book won a Henry Bergh children’s Book award in 2008.

As difficult as it was to give up our crown, Hanni and I were thrilled to learn we’d be handing it over to the likes of Two Bobbies.

The post goes on to describe the newest Henry Bergh book award winner:

During Hurricane Katrina, evacuating New Orleans residents were forced to leave their pets behind. Bobbi the dog was initially chained to keep her safe, but after her owners failed to return, she had to break free. For months, Bobbi wandered the city’s ravaged streets, dragging her chain behind her, followed by her feline companion, Bob Cat. After months of hunger and struggle, the two Bobbies were finally rescued by a construction worker helping to rebuild the city. When he brought them to a shelter, volunteers made an amazing discovery about the devoted friends—Bob Cat was actually blind! He had survived the aftermath of the storm by following the sound Bobbi’s chain made as she dragged it along the ground.

You can

Doing a Trade Show? Bring a Dog Along!

Who could resist a face like Hanni’s?!

A suggestion to anyone trying to lure conventioneers to your trade show booth: Perch yourself at a table between a beautiful dog and a gaggle of enthusiastic women. People will rush over to meet you.

That’s how it worked at the American Library Association convention this week, anyway. My publisher, Blue Marlin Publications, generously donated 80 copies of Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound for me to give away there, and I signed books for librarians who visited the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) booth on Sunday, and then again at the booth for the Illinois chapter of the Society of  Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) on Tuesday morning. Hanni’s pawprint was rubber-stamped into each copy, too, and a flyer titled ”Hanni and Beth Love to Travel” was slipped into each book. The flyers gave librarians details on what Hanni and I do during author visits to schools and libraries. Librarians flocked to see Hanni, and the women working both booths were so helpful that I didn’t have to lift a finger. Except to sign books, of course.

Our time at the ASPCA booth on Sunday was especially entertaining — so many people came up to tell the staff how much they love the ASPCA, how they weep when they see the ASPCA commercial with singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan, how they got their own cat/dog/rabbit at a humane shelter, how they named that animal {FILL IN BLANK HERE} and how much they love {FILL IN BLANK HERE}. The staff member would listen appreciatively, then ask, would you like a signed book?” She’d point to our book cover, and then to me. Saving the best for last, the staff member would finally point down at Hanni, nodding off comfortably on the carpet. “We’re asking for a ten dollar donation for each book,” the staff member would say. “The donations will go to PAWS Chicago and Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society.” How could they resist?!

Signing books at the ASPCA booth.

Signing books at the ASPCA booth.

In my one hour time slot at ASPCA, I signed, brailled and rubber-stamped between 15 and 25 books. My publisher was delighted – this meant that their book donation had resulted in somewhere between $150 and $250 going to those humane associations.

Our time slot at the Illinois SCBWI booth on Tuesday was two hours long, the very last two hours of the entire convention. I was afraid everyone there would be sick of books by then! But I was wrong — the time slot turned out to be perfect. There was such a vacuum at that time –no other authors signing, no sessions going on — that Hanni and I were a major draw. Librarians actually stood in line to meet Hanni and have their copies of Safe & Sound signed. Thank goodness my friend Colleen and the SCBWI-Illinois staff were there to help — I was busy the entire two hours, signing books for librarians from the Bronx, Atlanta, New Jersey, even Hawaii! I had time to talk with each librarian one on one, which is what I enjoy most about doing book signings: I love meeting new people. And from a book promoter’s point of view, being last on the docket might have been the best time slot of all. The encounters librarians had with me might have been the very last (and hopefully, the most memorable) one they had with an author during the entire ALA convention.

Lucky Dog

Book CoverHenry Bergh Award stampWow. So many wonderful things happened while Hanni and I were in Anaheim to accept the Henry Bergh children’s book award from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) — it’d take an award-winning writer to sum it up in one blog post. Hey. Wait. I am an award-winning writer now! I oughta be able to condense this great weekend into 500 words, right? Let me give it a try. Sunday morning started with a fundraiser for the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority in Downey, CA. We’d do presentations there and sign books. Proceeds would go to the shelter.
 
The drive there took us speeding down one of those famous California eight-lane freeways. We were close to our destination when our driver (Kristen Limbert, the Coordinator for Humane Education at the ASPCA) saw a dog crossing the road. “I’ve gotta stop,” she said, merging through deadly traffic to pull over to the side, open her window and make kissy noises. The puppy was understandably confused by all the traffic, but somehow needled his way right into Kristen’s arms. Now, that was one lucky dog. What were the odds of an ASPCA van crossing his path, headed directly to the local Animal shelter?! He had no tags, so was dubbed Henry — for the book award, of course! Hanni stayed calm for the entire ordeal, and Kristen vowed that if no one adopts Henry by the end of the week, she’ll take him home.

Beth and her sister Cheryl at the American Library Association conference

My sister Cheryl and I--and Hanni, of course--at the American Library Association conference

After the shelter event Hanni and I joined my sisters Marilee and Cheryl at the American Library Association (ALA) convention center. Marilee had come from Orlando to join me; Cheryl had flown in from Seattle. We visited the Independent Book Publishers Association Booth to make sure the copy of Safe & Sound displayed there was front and center, then did the same at the ASPCA booth. After that, it was time for the ALA World Championship book cart precision drill team competition. From a blog post on LibGig:

What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of such a thing? What is a Book Cart Drill Team? Well, you know what a drill team is, right? And you know what a book cart is, right? Well put them together and you get the single most nerdcore sporting event ever. Presiding over the festivities were Mo Willems and Jon Scieszka. They entertained the crowd, conducted interviews and provided color commentary while the judges tallied their scores…

There were pinwheels, there were catch and release routines, carts were spun on one wheel. Librarians surfed on carts, did splits on carts, wore sequins and lab coats, and the singing was amazing!

I was not a judge, but the Bibliofiles book cart drill team from the Austin Public Library was my favorite. If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you already know how much Hanni and I love Austin. A lot was made of the drill team’s headgear (books that spun!) and I thought it was cool that the team learned sign language, donned white gloves, and interpreted their soundtrack to us. But what really sold me on the Bibliofiles was their grand finale– they rolled out a big banner of a famous Helen Keller quote: “Literature is my Utopia.” It was written in print, and in Braille. They took silver in the competition, and Marilee found a video on YouTube of their performance –check it out!

On Monday we went to an author presentation, signed up for contests, picked up free pencils, post-it notes, books and catalogs at exhibits, fronted Safe & Sound where necessary, then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the ASPCA/Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award ceremony. I slipped on my Lana Turner dress, Cheryl wore sequins, Marilee fluffed my hair and lent me her jewelry. Hanni stood proud as she guided me into the Anaheim Hilton for the event. True to form – I mean, Flo Finke didn’t raise no fools — we were the first to arrive at the party, and the last to leave. Yikes! I’m over 500 words already! I’m sure you are just on the edge of your seat, though, waiting for details of the award ceremony — guess you’ll just have to stay tuned for my next post!


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