kinds of drugs and its side effects

WMDHM: The Shameless Book Promotion Phase

The reason I initially created a dog blog was to establish my expertise as the author of a book about dogs.  It soon became clear that, although fun, being a dog fashion correspondent might not be the best route to that goal. So I began writing about more substantive topics and, as the publication date approached, went into less subtle book promotion mode.

So why would I want to read about your book promotion now, even as part of your blog’s first birthday celebration, you may be asking yourself.

Because it involved two of the funniest things on my blog, I would answer.

First, the contest to come up with book titles that would bore a dog, based on those that appear on the cover of AM I BORING MY DOG (click on the image, below, to read the titles). Some random examples of the responses I got included:

A Good Bone is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Cavalier

A Tail of Two Shih Tzus by Charles What-the-Dickens

Hairy Plotter and the Sorcerer’s Bone by J.K. Howling

Lord of the Fleas by William Golden

Slouching Towards Veterinarian by Joan Piddle-on

To read the rest, go here.

Then there are the video book promos. Yes, you can always see the final one on this blog, but the five leading up to it are really funny too (and very short).

And if you’re so inspired, do vote in my poll:

[poll id=”3″]

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I heart Dog Star Daily

And Dog Star Daily hearts me  — or at least my book — back.

Co-created by the renowned Dr. Ian Dunbar and Kelly Gorman Dunbar, the site is home to some of the world’s top dog training and behavior experts, including Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Patricia McConnell, and Suzanne Clothier, as well as such up-and-comers (and, okay, Twitter pals) Eric Goebelbecker (@DogSpelledFwd;, Nicole S. Silvers (@SilverSkyk9; and Erica Young (@WorkThatDog).

So imagine my delight to find the following in the February 2010 Monthly Woof newsletter:

Edie Jarolim’s new book, “Am I Boring My Dog” addresses all sorts of questions about choosing and living with a dog. But this is no ordinary dry, informational dog book. The humorous and conversational tone makes this the most palatable dog book in ages. It’s an excellent book. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. “Am I Boring My Dog” is extremely thorough and covers an interesting and unique array of questions that pop up when one gets a dog for the first time. Questions I’ve never seen addressed anywhere else. This book is a must-have resource for anyone contemplating getting a dog, all first-time dog owners, dog professions, and every dog-lover in general; really it’s a book for anyone who wants to do the very best for their dog.

Read the rest of the review and newsletter here.

And yes, I saved this post for Valentine’s Day. What better occasion for a love fest?

Speaking of which, since you’re already here, why not take my Valentine’s Day poll?

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And the contest winner is…

This was tough. Really tough. I was wowed by the thoroughness of many of the comments — not to mention the graciousness of all of them. Not a single person said anything mean about me or Frankie that I had to remove. In fact, you were all wonderfully encouraging about my writing (Frankie’s adorableness was a given).

I knew the picture issue would come up.  So this is an explanation, not an excuse. I’ve mentioned the camera curse before  (see Our Doggies, Ourselves). Sure enough, in keeping with the curse tradition, my camera was stolen (along with my laptop and a bunch of other things. But still…).  I did buy a new one, finally, and you all inspired me to take it out on the trail yesterday to practice. I didn’t get a good picture of Frankie, who rarely moves far enough away from me when we’re outside to get a full body view, but I was able to capture a handsome fox terrier who belongs to Jim, one of the trail regulars.

Frankie's acquaintance, Chuy

Frankie's acquaintance, Chuy

So I promise, more pictures.

I once had a Twitter button but it fell off and I don’t remember how to sew it back on.

Okay, I’m procrastinating. Like I said, it was really tough to choose a winner, and I thank you all for your contributions. It came down to three finalists, Rebecca, Pat Steer, and GoPetFriendly, listed here in the order in which they submitted their comments. They were all immensely useful in their specificity about technical issues. But I finally chose Pat — yes, you can call me Edie, and I’ll call you Pat — because:

  • I liked her referral to another site that described the pain of the process of revamping a blog.
  • She was the first one to help me make the connection that putting a Twitter feed on my blog functioned as a substitute for blogging every day. I’d always thought it was redundant, and a bit of overkill — do my blog readers really have to know what I thought about the ending of Dexter? — but suddenly that little “click” went off: Ah, more content on my blog without having to blog. That’s a good thing. It does mean I’ll have to be more conscious about my tweeting, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either.
  • She has just finished three — count ’em, three! — blog revamps and really needs a bit of humor in her life, which I hope Am I Boring My Dog will provide (Oh Favorite Niece  — a.k.a. Only Niece Who Reads My Blog —  is that still too much of a plug?)

Incidentally, I just checked out Pat’s revamped Dog Trainer’s Log site, which I linked to with her name, above. It looks amazing, so she is also an inspiration. Hmm… How about I let you use Pimp My Blog for a ProBlogger discussion, Pat, and I use the same WordPress theme as you used?

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I’m the answer to Cesar Millan? Why, thanks!

[originally posted November 27th, 2009]

It’s Black Friday, and in the spirit of unbridled commerce, I figured I’d shamelessly promote my new book, Am I Boring My Dog? Why buy a copy, you ask? Because you will be showing your advocacy for positive, dog friendly training and learning how to keep adopted dogs from being returned to the pound.

Hey, I didn’t make those claims. Tim Vanderpool, the reviewer at the Tucson Weekly says:

While Millan’s approach has landed him gobs of press, the take-home message remains troubling: Must all dog owners manhandle their peaceful pooches into submission?

My answer? Skip the trendy Millan, and pick up a copy of Am I Boring My Dog? And 99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew. Authored by pet specialist and longtime Tucsonan Edie Jarolim, this smart and funny book replaces hype with refreshing common sense. Don’t be deceived by its airy, entertaining tone; Jarolim is serious about dogs, and her book is, too. It’s a mark of her skill that you come away with more doggie knowledge than you’d bargained for, all expertly tucked among the chuckles.


This clever, concise book…should be mandatory reading for anyone planning to adopt a pooch and keep it off the adoption line.

To read the rest of the review, click here. And while you’re on the Weekly’s site, don’t miss the same writer’s excellent — if grim — cover story on Pima Animal Care Center.

It’s odd: As far as I know, the reviewer has never looked at my blog and in any case would have turned in the review before my Make Fun of Dog Dominance Theory Day post. And I never mention Cesar Millan by name in my book. Must be something in the air…

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Werewolves, Whisperers, and Mensches

[originally posted November 6, 2009]

Far be it from me to suggest I don’t love plain old good reviews of Am I Boring My Dog; I do. But sometimes a write up comes along that teaches me something new about what I wrote, putting it into a larger context that hadn’t occurred to me. That was the case with Diane Schmidt’s “Be a Mensch and a Good Dog Owner,” on the Albuquerque Judaism Examiner site; it first appeared in the Gallup Independent on October 31. She starts off by saying:

Secretly guilt-ridden that you could never achieve the successes of Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer? Chagrined and embarrassed by your dog’s behaviors in public? Unsure if you are even worthy of canine affection? If you have been guiltily suffering in silence, look out Cesar, because there’s a new book for dog-owners from Alpha Books, publishers of the Complete Idiot’s Guides, that should spawn a whole new line of how-to books: how-to-not-feel-guilty books. It’s definitely for those of us raised on Dr. Spock. Yes, that’s us, a whole generation raised by guilty mothers who could never spank us and now we aren’t quite sure how to manage the “I’m your pack-leader” alpha dominance business with our furry friends, who by the way are not furry children; children actually are, in fact, hair-challenged dogs, as we learn in ‘Am I Boring My Dog?’ by Edie Jarolim.

Jarolim is originally from Brooklyn, where, according to her introduction, she says Lassie wasn’t exactly down at the corner deli begging for pastrami hand-outs. She has lived in Tucson now for over 15 years and she got a dog, Frankie. She wants you to know that a lot of folks who grew up in New York City and surrounds were not allowed to have dogs, and while she doesn’t mention it, we’ve also noticed some never really learned to drive, either. Nevertheless, New Yorkers get it in their heads to move out west; they eventually get houses with yards and cowboy boots and they get dogs, but some things can never change, such as feeling guilty about everything.

Naturally I’m thrilled to be considered an antidote to Cesar Millan — who, by the way, I never mention in my book; I just advocate positive or “dog-friendly” training methods. I was even more pleased to learn that, after reading my book, Schmidt decided to substitute a halter for the choke collar (you’ll have to read the rest of the review to learn about that).

Teddy harnessed text arabic

But what got me thinking was the allusion to the book as part of the zeitgeist of a generation raised on Dr. Spock (also Mr. Spock, but that’s another story). Why wouldn’t the progeny of non-spankers have problems with physical punishment? Choking dogs doesn’t come naturally to us — and that’s a good thing.

It got better, thanks to one of those serendipitous (woo woo?) events. I didn’t get a copy of the original print edition of the review until yesterday, when I discovered that it ran opposite the comic pages. This made me very happy, because everyone — yes, I include myself — looks at the comics. And then I started browsing that page, and stopped short. What are the odds that the following strip by Dana Summers should have appeared opposite the review?

bound and gagged

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Rabbiting around

My mother always told me to keep a low profile, not to put myself forward. (Why she believed that is a whole other story that I won’t go into here. Like my blog subtitle says, this is a “guilt free zone.”) That might be good advice for social occasions — everyone loves a good listener — but it really doesn’t cut it when it comes to selling books.

Yesterday I rationalized that a review from the point of view of a dog was too clever not to share. Today, I have the excuse that this stellar write up comes from Phyllis O’Beollain, a woman who diapers her special needs rabbit (okay, so I’m not above pushing those guilt buttons) in addition to being the Small Pets Examiner in Dayton, Ohio.

Rabbit bookends

Rabbit bookends

Among the things she says about AM I BORING MY DOG:

The author, Edie Jarolim, is now my idol. She achieves what I strive for – sharing practical information and education in a humorous fashion. Having earned her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University, Ms. Jarolim felt she was finally qualified to be a dog owner.

This is a book for everyone. If you have a dog, this is the book for you. If you have ever seen a dog, this is the book for you, if only for the humor. If you are busy beyond all reason, as I am, this book is divided into small quick-read segments, each numbered for easy reference.

A pet psychic once told me that I was Frankie’s goddess, but no human ever claimed me as her idol. I would like to say I’m embarrassed but, hell, if I can’t have wealth, I’ll take adulation.

Thank you, Phyllis. You are now my favorite Examiner.

To read the rest of the review, click here.

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Meet my latest book reviewer: What a dog!

I’m afraid I don’t have time right now to get into a thorough discussion of how — and under what circumstances — dog is a pejorative term. I trust that everyone who reads this blog is aware that, ignoring any linguistic conventions, I consider being compared to a canine the ultimate compliment.

So I was thrilled when I discovered that the latest reviewer of my new book, AM I BORING MY DOG, was in fact a dog.

Meet Tucker the Wonder Dog, who shares a home with Kath Usitalo, one of the winners of my What Books Would Bore Your Dog contest (if you need a good laugh, check out the entries).

tucker-frankie-book_4756Tucker writes:

There’s lots of useful stuff in this book, like tips on health, from minor ailments (see note above about eating just about anything) to serious stuff like Frankie’s diabetes, baths (NO!) and how to play (YES!).

And on every page Frankie and Edie manage to tickle our funny bones (bones?!).

If you have a dog or are thinking about getting one run (run? I’m ready!) and buy this book! Neither you or your dog will be bored.

For the rest of the review, see The Great Lakes Gazette blog.

Incidentally, the timing for this review couldn’t be better, as I’m gearing up to start a new contest, one that involves pictures rather than words and goes back to this blog’s original dog dressing mandate.

Stay tuned.

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Celebrating 5770

I’ve been thinking about sacrilege lately, about the repercussions of bucking religious tradition. It’s a bit of a puzzlement because the religion I grew up with, Judaism, doesn’t offer a clearly defined vision of the sinners’ afterlife. The fact that I had to google the term for the Jewish hell, Gehenna, to get a definition — and correct spelling — shows how vague a concept it is.

Wikipedia says, “According to Jewish teachings, hell is not entirely physical; rather, it can be compared to a very intense feeling of shame.” That sounds about right: Part existential torment created by other people, a la Sartre (as in “you’re killing your mother by [fill in the activity]”); part Woody Allen cliche, a world where we worry about who, including our dogs, we’re boring.

I bring up Judaism and its discontents because tonight is the start of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah — year 5770 according to a lunar calendar as arcane as Gehenna. It’s also the occasion of  the first book signing and talk for Am I Boring My Dog, a two-part event at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. So it’s occurred to me that, if there was a hell, I would likely be consigned to it by those who believe in the strict observance of religious rituals.

How many minnies do you need for a minyan? Picture from

How many minnies do you need for a minyan? Picture from

No question: The Old Testament deity is a stickler for details — no mixing milk and meat, for example, or even certain fabrics  — and much given to “thou shalt not” dictates. And an entire other book, the Talmud, was devoted to discussing  what the first book meant. I come from a long tradition of parsers and hair splitters.

So I hesitated about scheduling my big event on that date, not because I’m observant (or even a believer) but because I didn’t want to seem disrespectful to those who are. But then I realized that I no longer have any patience for sticklerism. One religion’s deity says no fish on Friday, another’s dictates no work on Saturday, a third’s abjures equality for women (oh wait, that’s all of them).  Would an all-powerful spirit really sweat the details?

My much blogged about best friend, Clare, is flying in for the book signing. Most of the other friends  I wrote about in my book, several of them Jewish, will be there. Dogs, including Frankie, are welcome. 10% of the proceeds from book sales and from a raffle will go to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Good deeds, good friends, and good dogs (all dogs are good; some are just misunderstood). I can’t think of a better way, one more respectful of true values, to usher in a new year.

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Contest winners, book reviewers, storytellers

First, the contest. The people have spoken! The final two winners of the What Books Would Bore Your Dog? contest are:

Bone Free by Joy Catamson, submitted by Kath Usitalo


Mastering the Art of French Poodles by Julia Styled, submitted by Ellen Perlman.

Congratulations, Kath and Ellen! As soon as I have copies of Am I Boring My Dog to send you, I’ll be in touch for your contact information. Those who want to see all the astoundingly clever entries should go to the original contest blog post; the other winners are noted in  posts after that.

As it happens, I know 5 out of the 7 winners personally, three from my former life as a travel writer, one from my graduate school days (see the “Books” and “Academic Manque” sections of I say this in the interests of full disclosure. And to provide credibility and context for the fact that I do not, repeat, do not, know dog trainer Eric Goebelbecker, who posted this amazing video review of my book on his Dog Spelled Forward site and on Amazon.

It’s true, I did mention on Twitter that I would be his love slave, but I said that after I saw the review. And since he lives in New Jersey and I’m in Tucson, his wife — and Frankie — can rest assured that I was just being hyperbolic, as I often am.

Finally, I am spending good parts of today talking to myself aloud in a more formal fashion than I ordinarily do because tomorrow evening Frankie and I are going to take part in the Odyssey Storytelling series at the historic Hotel Congress in Tucson. It’s Silver Linings: The Gratitude Show and I’m going to be telling the story of how Frankie’s diabetes led me to write a dog book. But don’t expect uplift — or optimism — from me on a regular basis. Bah humbug.

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Frankie speaks!

My friend Karyn, greyhound rescuer, foodie, and generally fun person, asked me if she could interview Frankie because he is the inspiration for my new book, Am I Boring My Dog (and because I suspect she often prefers speaking to dogs over speaking to humans). I usually try to shield him from publicity — see my September 3 post — but Karyn’s Greyhound Injury Fund site is the perfect place for any pup to find his voice. Here are  her two particular pals, the late, great Painter (who is in my book) and diva dog Lily.

Painter, celebrating his 12th birthday

Painter, celebrating his 12th birthday

Carmen Mirandog, photo by Diana Hansen

Carmen Mirandog, photo by Diana Hansen

And here’s an excerpt from Frankie’s interview:

KZ: Please tell me a little bit about your life before you came to Edie Jarolim’s house.

Frankie: I don’t like to talk about that. It’s hard to imagine how the people I was with could have abandoned me after I spent five years with them. I’m adorable — let’s face it — and housebroken. Not to mention extremely bright. What could I possibly have done so wrong as to make my people leave me to fend for myself on the streets of Tucson?

For the rest, go to Inspirations: Am I Boring My Dog? Book

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