1/20/14, Puppy Love

Hi Everyone,

I hope your year is off to a good start. It’s been freezing in the East and Mid-West, and sounds like a tough way to start the year!! I hope it warms up soon!!!

I was so touched by most of the responses to my book about our family dogs over the years, “Pure Joy”, that I wanted to share some of the responses with you, and reach out to some of the people who wrote to me. There is something about dogs that always touches our hearts!! Hence, the book!!!
Congratulations to Michele Rush (proud Mom of Gypsy and Sophie, two adorable Yorkies) who just got Sally Sue, a one pound Yorkie—who was inspired to get a third one after she read the book. Michele says that Gypsy and Sophie are ‘adjusting to the new baby’. I know what that’s like, as you know I got a new little Chihuahua 3 months ago, and it was a lot easier bringing home one of my many babies, than a baby Chihuahua. Minnie, my 2 year old 2 lb Chihuahua, was NOT happy about the new arrival, and they snarled, growled, and chased each other for the first two months, and have finally settled down. Although Minnie is NOT amused when ‘Baby Blue Angel’ climbs into her favorite bed, or runs off with one of her toys. (I’m sure Minnie thinks of her as Baby Blue Monster—the puppy is full of spunk and chases Minnie all the time, wanting to play. Minnie is much more ladylike than Blue!!!) They all do adjust eventually, but it was a little crazy for the first two months. But Bravo for you, Michele, I’m sure that Sally Sue will be ‘pure joy’, for you, and good for you for reaching out and making room in your heart and home for another one!!!
And Cathy Hiderbrandt told me about her adorable miniature red piebald dachshund Genie, who is the center of her life and her husband’s. I know what that is like. (Minnie owns me….and for now Baby Blue just runs me around….my bedroom looks like a battleground of toys. It’s like having a 2 year old child again!!)  Thank you, Cathy, for all your kind words, and Minnie sends you a kiss too.

And thank you to Jossie (Gramsbear) for writing to me about Wicket, a peekapoo. She says he is in Heaven now, but Jossie is a puppy lover, so I hope you find a new puppy to love soon!!
Sue Clarke lost her beloved Shaina, a 5 lb Chih a poo last January, but she is starting to think about getting another one. I hope you do soon!!! It’s amazing how they win our hearts no matter how much we loved the ones we lost. I hope you find a new puppy soon!!!
Valerie Boynton has Fergie and Gidget (one is a purebred Yorkie, the other a Yorkie/Cairn Terrier mix). We have a Gidget too, my daughter Vanessa’s little Yorkie is called Gidget (that’s her photo as a puppy at the beginning of the first chapter of the book). Your two girls sound adorable, and I’m so happy you love the book.

I got one email from the dog herself. Her name is Katie Begonia, and she is a Shih Tzu/Bichon. She is brown and looks like an Ewok (so do my miniature Brussels Griffons!!), and she says she is a diva!! (impressive self knowledge!!), and she has reverse sneezing episodes too!! Her mom is Lori Dawson, and she says that she loves going to the vet, and Katie Begonia says she considers going to the vet a social affair. (Minnie hid under the couch when I told her that. Minnie is terrified at the vet and shakes like a leaf in my arms!!)

And thank you also to Beth Nigro who wrote to say she loved the book, but didn’t mention her dogs.
I got so many wonderful letters from so many people, that I wanted to address at least some of them here. Thank you all for your wonderful responses to the book!!

In all fairness, I also got two very angry letters from readers, both of whom were very unhappy and disapproving that I have gotten dogs at the one pet store I know and trust, and where my family and I have gotten dogs since I was a child. I don’t trust most pet stores, but I know this one well, and have had wonderful dogs from them. And obviously, as a dog lover, I don’t approve of puppy mills. Both ladies who were unhappy with me felt I should get my dogs from rescue organizations. I think they are wonderful to do the work they do, and some homes can really welcome a rescue dog successfully and give them a happy life. And I’ve had one rescue dog myself, the Basset Hound I mentioned in the book. But many rescue dogs are adults, and have been mistreated by previous owners, and have ‘issues’ and special needs, and with a family of nine children, and a busy household, a dog who may have ‘issues’ never seemed right for us. But there is no question, there are many, many ways to acquire a dog: rescue organizations, the ASPCA, pet hospitals, adoption organizations, breeders, and a pet store, if you know they’re reliable, or even from a friend (some people even find an abandoned dog in the street, and take the lucky dog home to love them and give them a new home). I believe you will find the right way for you, and all are valid options to find a dog that you love!!! (One of the two people who wrote harsh letters to me was outraged that I had given dogs to 4 friends in my lifetime, and to my children. But all 4 friends cherish those dogs, and they were a huge success, and my children were wonderful dog owners as children, and still are as adults. We LOVE our dogs!!)

So thank you for writing to me. And I wish you and the dogs you love a new year full of Pure Joy—-and maybe a new puppy!!!

love, danielle

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5 Comments so far
  1. Valerie Boynton January 21, 2014 5:41 am

    Hi, again, Ms. Steel, Although my 2 little dogs were not purchased from a Pet Store, I found them in private homes where the conditions were unbelievable! “Gidget” had so may fleas it was amazing how she survived it & her ear’s were just filthy, black! Our other dog, “Fergie” was a Purebred but, also in horrible backyard conditions. When I picked her up, she wrapped her front paws around my neck, for dear life & wasn’t going to let me go home without her! So, I feel I took these two, loving, adorable dogs & gave them a forever home. I would do it again,if the time arises & a dog needs me. Respectfully, Valerie Boynton

  2. Sue Clarke January 21, 2014 4:32 pm

    Dear Danielle,
    Thank you so much for all of the updates from your fans. It is so nice to read their stories. I have to say that when I wrote to you about the loss of Shaina, one year ago yesterday. I wanted to tell you that your book got me thinking about about a new puppy. I’m happy to say that on Black Friday I brought Pippin home. (Some people bring home electronics, I brought home a sweet little Yorkie) She is quite a Pip too. There is always something in her mouth and I spend most of the day running around the house chasing after her trying to get it out. Thank goodness she doesn’t mind my fingers in there either. Looking forward to reading more of your blog. I was sorry to see Pure Joy end. This blog is a great way to keep the pages turning.
    Sue Clarke

  3. Sherry Craig January 23, 2014 8:51 pm

    Hello Ms. Steel, I have’t bought “Pure Joy” yet but having a dog in our house gives me such joy that I am dreading when my 12 year old German Shepherd goes into doggy heaven. We have always had at least one dog in our household throughout my whole life to date. I am dreading when my dog dies as I am not sure how I will be able to care for a puppy. My parents, who lived next door, would babysit when my husband and I would go to work. They have both passed away and being a recent paraplegic, I don’t see how I will be able to care for a puppy (potty training especially) when it takes me at least an hour to get washed, dressed and out of my bed in the morning.

    Which brings me to the real reason for this post …
    I recently bought and read “Winners”, after a colleagues recommendation and I read it from cover to cover in a day!  

    You hit so close to home, you had me crying.  I am also a paraplegic but not from a skiing accident but have been laid up with a sprained shoulder from falling while trying out adapted skiing!!  I don’t know how Lily was able to hop into the equipment and not fall after her first try but she was also a better skier than I was before my accident. I fell probably 50 times on my first and only run before spraining my right shoulder on the last fall and have been laid up for the last month and counting. Kissing my first adapted ski season goodbye probably.

    You also hit home and made me realize how blessed I was during my 5 months in rehab because I had family, colleagues and friends visit almost daily not to mention my wonderful husband who helped me through this difficult time this last year and a half. 

    I wish I had a multi-million dollar family member because I tell you I would create a local “Journey Forward” –an exercise based program designed to assist those with Spinal Cord Injuries, which is in Boston, in a heart beat.  I went there for one month last summer and they helped me improve my core muscles and strength, they also had another outlook or vision that the rehab centre didn’t. (and that was HOPE). They just wanted me autonomous and back at work. I heard about Journey Forward after reading an article about a tetraplegic who never gave up hope and started walking again after going to “Project Walk” in Carlsbad, California for 3-4 years.

    Thanks for a truly wonderful book reminding me of how blessed I am to be alive!

    Sherry Craig

  4. Irene Seiger February 18, 2014 3:25 pm

    I just finished your book “Pure Joy”! I enjoyed a lot. I have had several dogs over the years and never truely fell in love with one until Max came into our life! He is an American Bulldog/Boxer mix. He is all white except his left eye and right ear which are black. He weighs about 120 pounds and thinks he is a lap dog! We got Max when he was five weeks old in September of 2011. When we brought him home, he could fit in the palm of my hand! My youngest daughter and I fell in love with him immediately! He loves everyone he meets! He is the biggest most loveable dog I’ve ever seen! Max is our baby!

  5. Renee Forbes March 6, 2014 10:12 pm

    Dear Ms. Steel, I just finished “Pure Joy” and I loved it. I have been a fan for so many years and have read so many of your books but I had no idea that you had such a passion for dogs. I love them so much, I have owned and fostered many dogs through the years and I currently have 5. I have three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Rusty 13, Riot 12 and Briar Rose 7 and two Chinese Crested’s, Charlotte 7 and Chloe 6. I currently have one foster, a lovely Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Penny and I have fostered many others over the years that are now living happily ever after in their forever homes. Dog’s are such a joy, they love so unconditionally and are such a blessing, I don’t know what my life would be like without them. Thank you for your wonderful book “Pure Joy” and enjoy beautiful little Minnie and Blue.