Monday, December 21, 2009

Interview with Angus, proud owner of romance author Sandy Nicks

Give a warm welcome to Angus, proud owner of romance author Sandy Nicks. Angus is here to talk to us a little bit about Sandy and her books, especially her latest one just released by Vanilla Heart Publishing, titled Falling for Autumn. Sandy is the editor and founder of the site, Cool Stuff 4 Writers, which was nominated by Writer's Digest as one of the Best 101 Websites for Writers in 2009! Way to go, Sandy!

Welcome to Pets & Their Authors, Angus! You must be proud of your Sandy. Tell us, how did you come to live with her?

It was Fate! Well, I believe it was Fate that intervened because I was born in 2007 to parents who couldn’t keep me and whose human owner didn’t want me. They seemed rather eager to find me a home and placed an ad in the paper. Luckily, Sandy read it and she and my dad came and adopted me.

I was only seven weeks old at the time, but I remember the ride home like it was yesterday. I felt sad and confused, but Sandy hugged me and assured me everything was going to be all right. I cried the first few nights until Sandy finally let me sleep in her bed. Yeah, I looked at her with my sad brown eyes and totally got over on her. I’m happy to report that I still sleep in her bed even though I take up the majority of it – I’ve grown a lot since then!

What? She lets you in bed? I'm not even allowed upstairs! You live with other pets. What makes you think you're your mom's favorite?

We have a house full! I have three canine sisters, two feline sisters and three feline brothers. I’m the alpha male of the household and enjoy playing with my sisters and chasing all the kitties. I would never hurt them, but it is fun and shows them I’m the boss.

I know I’m my mom’s favorite because she’s always hugging and kissing me. I mean, she does the same to the others, but I always get in between them. Plus, I’m always with her. If I wasn’t her favorite, I wouldn’t be the one on the couch when she’s reading, by her desk when she’s writing, and on the bed when she’s sleeping. It’s like she wants me with her all the time.

I have to admit, I’m the cutest of all my siblings. I’m the only one who can smile and crinkle their brow to make it look like I know what she’s thinking. Since I’m the biggest dog in the house, I believe she also favors me because I remind her of her beloved Jake who passed away in 2004. She really loved him and even dedicated her book to him. My mom has a soft spot for big dogs.

I like the part about making them all feel like you're the boss. Good work, Angus. So your mom writes romantic comedies. Tell us about her book and what makes it funny!

Falling for Autumn is the first book in the Sisters for All Seasons trilogy. Crazy Days of Summer and A New Trend for Spring will be out in 2010. She also has a time travel romance, Circle of Eternity, that will be available in February 2010. That one is funny, too!

There are a lot of things that make Falling for Autumn funny. While Autumn is trying to rebuild her life, her mom is always offering cosmic advice and insisting Autumn get an aura cleansing. Then there’s Jack who is attracted to Autumn, but he’s hiding from a hitman and doesn’t want to put Autumn in jeopardy. This leads to a series of comedic events. In addition to the characters being funny, the way Autumn handles her mom, shady boss and her attraction to Jack, is handled in a humorous way that most people can relate to.

Reflected in all my mom’s books is her belief that love and a sense of humor go hand-in-hand.

I also find it funny when my mom talks to her mom on the phone. She whines like a little baby, then prentends she's the boss around the house. What a phoney! Are there dogs in your mom's book?

Yes! The main character, Autumn, has a dog named Buddy. Autumn’s mom, Daisy, also works at a no-kill animal shelter where quite a few scenes take place. One of the shelter dogs, a Lhaso Apso named Delilah, plays a major role at the end of the story, but I’m not allowed to give it away. Delilah is based on my sister, Emma.

Sounds like my kind of book! How does Sandy go about promoting her novel?

She has a web site:, and uses Twitter and Facebook to keep readers and friends informed about appearances and upcoming books. She also does book signings and interviews.

My dad and human siblings leave postcards everywhere they go which has really helped with sales in our community. Sandy’s publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishing, does a lot of promotion for their authors like book trailers and author pages on their web site:

I also want to mention that my mom is a participating author in a program called Operation Ebook Drop. Authors in this program donate their books in Ebook format to soldiers who are stationed in the Middle East. It’s a small but great way to show our support!

Vanilla, huh? The name names me kind of hungry. Hey, that's great--what Sandy is doing to support the troops! But to go back to her writing... Is she disciplined? Does she have any crazy author quirks?

I believe if she didn’t have deadlines, she wouldn’t be as disciplined. She loves to write, but without those deadlines, she’d probably spend more time playing with me and taking me for car rides.

Quirks? Where should I begin – Woof! I won’t embarrass her too much, but she does do some weird things. She loves sticky notes and has them all over her desk with notes on her work-in-progress. Her desk is sacred. She has candles, a rock garden, a jar of candy, Celtic crosses, and other doo-dads. No one is allowed to touch anything, but the cats do a great job of knocking stuff over. I always laugh when they get yelled at.

She also has a vision board above her desk that’s filled with inspirational sayings and pictures. She believes in visualization. She thinks that that if you see it and say it every day, all that you dream of will come to fruition. Believe it or not, some of the things have come true! She’s still waiting for the Mustang though. I think she’ll be dreaming about that car for a long time.

She loves to listen to music while she writes and sometimes I’m forced to listen to her sing. It’s painful, but I love her all the same. There are times when I think she’s singing, but she’s actually reading her work out loud. That might be her weirdest quirk, but I hear a lot of writers do the same thing. I also hear a lot of writers have pets. Is that a quirk? LOL.

Sounds way too much like my mom--with all her index cards stuck to her closet door and her daily affirmations! So, what do you do while she writes and ignores you?

I don’t let her ignore me. I always let my presence be known. When mom writes, I’m either sleeping by her chair or lying on the arm of the couch next to her desk. I’m always within an arm’s reach so she can pet me when she’s having a hard time with a scene or needs to rest her eyes.

I do the same, Angus. Feels great, doesn't it? I love to lick mommy's feet. Where is Sandy's book available?

Mom’s books are available in both print and ebook formats. You can find both formats on Amazon/Kindle,, Smashwords, All Romance, Sony and Omnilit. You can also order the print edition from your local bookstore.

Leave us with some canine wisdom.

Hmm…don’t ever play, nap, laugh, sing, bark, love your humans and fellow animals, or believe in yourself in moderation. Life is short, especially when one year is equivalent to seven, so make sure you live it to the fullest!

Thanks for this opportunity, Amigo! My mom and I love your web site and enjoy reading about the other pets and their authors!

Thanks for stopping by this side of the woods, Angus! Let us know when Sandy's second book comes out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Listen, people: Buzz's human dad communicates with pets!

I have a special treat for all my readers today. A fascinating and important interview for humans and pets of all kinds. My guest today is Buzz and he's here to talk about his human dad, Tim Link, who happens to be an animal communicator. Tim has been featured in many national newspapers, radio and TV. He helps people speak with their pets and even helps in the case of lost pets. I'm sure you'll enjoy the interview!

Buzz shares his home with his blind brother, Woody. See the photo on your right? Buzz is the doggy sitting on the right, and Woody is the one sitting on the left.

Thanks for stopping by this side of the woods, Buzz. To start with, tell us how you came to live with Tim.

About 6 years ago, my brother, Woody, and I were rescued from the county shelter by a rescue organization. Once we were washed and groomed and checked out by the vet, our pictures and profiles were posted on That’s where I was spotted by my mom, Kim. She sent the information to Tim, our dad, and they came to visit us. I immediately curled up and went to sleep in my mom’s lap. Woody took to dad immediately. After that, mom and dad took us to our new home where we’ve happily lived since.

You lucky doggies. That's great to hear! So tell us, what's it like living with a TV personality like Tim? He's been in about a zillion of newspapers, radio stations and TV channels.

I really don’t pay too much attention to this unless a TV appearance requires dad and mom to travel away from home. Then I miss them but, they always bring Bubby (a.k.a. Woody) and me a special toy or treat when they come home.

(He doesn't pay attention??? Yeah, right!) You also live with Woody. Are you good pals?

Woody and I are the best of friends. We’re brothers from the same litter. So, we’ve always been together. My brother lost his sight suddenly this year, so I help him get around without bumping into things. He does pretty well for himself most of the time, unless I get him too excited (e.g. barking at someone at the front door).

Oh, sorry about Woody! I can't imagine life without sight. He's really lucky to have you. But to go back to Tim, I have to tell you, Dude, I'm intrigued. I hear Tim is an animal communicator. What's that, exactly?

An animal communicator is someone who is able to communicate with any animal on a deeper, more intuitive level. This is great unless you’ve just done something that you shouldn’t. He always knows who did it.

Hmm. I'm not sure I'd like to meet your dad, then. He would know right away who stole the candy cane from the Christmas tree... and he would tell my mom! Can he help people who have lost their pets?

He helps to reunite a lot of pets with their families. He first communicates with the lost pet to find out if they are still alive and whether they want to come home to or not. If they are alive and want to come home, he then asks the animal for additional information that can help with their return. He also uses map dowsing in combination with animal communication to assist in locating lost animals. Dowsing has existed in various forms for thousands of years. In modern times, dowsing has been used to detect water for wells, mineral deposits and archaeological artifacts hidden in the earth. Using a map, this same practice can be used to determine the general location of the lost animal.

That is amazing! What services does Tim provide?

In addition to lost pet consultations, dad’s services include consultations to help with health and behavior concerns, Reiki energy healing sessions and consultations that assist families in dealing with the loss of a pet.

And now he also has written a book! Tell us how that came about and where the book is available.

When dad works with someone’s pet, he takes notes about the pet, what was communicated and the pet’s picture. When one of the journals was completely filled, my mom suggested that dad share the experiences with others through a book. It can be purchased through dad’s web site,, or through any major bookstore or online bookstore (, Barnes & Noble, Borders, IndieBound, etc.). Dad’s book also comes in electronic format and can be viewed through any of the electronic readers or on a computer.

Does Tim have a website and blog?

He has both. Dad’s web site is The blog can be viewed through the web site at:

Is there a newsletter people can subscribe to?

Yes. Dad distributes a monthly newsletter. You can subscribe to it from his web site at:

What do you love most about living with Tim?

I love that he loves all of us (Woody, the rabbit, the turtle, the 8 finches and 4 fish tanks full of fish) all so much and takes really good care of us. He is the best dad ever! Plus, it also helps that if we need or want something, we can tell him and he can hear us.

Between you and me here, what can I do to communicate better with my mom? Sometimes she doesn't understand that I want pumpkin pie and not that dry old kibble!

When your mom is spending time with you, have her ask you a question verbally and then you give her the answer (telepathically, of course). Ask her to trust what she is receiving from you. The more she trusts what she receives, the more the ability to hear you will grow.

Leave us with some canine wisdom, Buzz!

I’d like to share one thought with all the people out there. That thought is for them to open their hearts and talk to the animals in their life. Trust me. They won’t hesitate to tell you exactly what is going on.

Listen to this guy--he knows what he's saying!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Interview with Gandalf the White and Dumbledore, owners of Sylvia Engdahl

My guests today are two very special cats, Gandalf the White and Dumbledore (I wonder where she got the names from...). They're special because they live with a very special lady named Sylvia Engdahl. Sylvia has published many, many science fiction books (believe me, the list is long, just visit her website if you don't believe me!) With all those books, I doubt she has any time for these two feline critters... but I guess she finds a way, because they LOVE her! Follow Sylvia on Twitter and Facebook.

Read on to find out why...

Hey, Dudes. Welcome to my blog. So, how did you come to live with Sylvia?

We were six months old and were living in a nice resale shop that also serves as a temporary home for cats rescued from the pound by a group called the Shelter Animal Resource Alliance. We had lived with one of the volunteers until we were old enough to go there, so we were very eager to get into a forever home with a person of our own. When our mom, Sylvia, came in looking for a cat, I got right up on her shoulder and purred, so she couldn't put me down. They said I was part Siamese because I have blue eyes and dark orange markings on my face and ears, and Sylvia was afraid I might prove too talkative to fit into her quiet life -- but I had bever done any loud talking in the shop so she took me home anyway (and later I proved not to be Siamese, as the white fur on my back turned orange and I developed some orange tiger stripes on my sides). Mom didn't want me to be lonesome while she was busy, so she chose my brother to some along. She didn't like the names we had at the shelter so she named us after two wise wizards: Gandalf the White and Dumbledore.

Do you two get along?

We get along fine! We are brothers, at least Sylvia was told we are, though she has never been quite sure since we aren't anything alike. We were together as kittens in the pound and have never been separated. We still wrestle and chase each other sometimes even though we are 7 years old, but it's all in fun. We're too big now to fit in Mom's lap together so we take turns -- when one of us comes and looks wistfully at the lap, the occupant gets right down. Mom says it must be telepathy.

What's it like living with an an author? Is she one of those egotistical ones?

It's nice because she is home all the time and gives us nearly as much attention as we demand -- though at times her mind does appear to be on her work instead of on us, which we do our best to discourage. I, Gandalf, am particularly happy that there aren't any other people in the house because when somebody, even a familiar neighbor, knocks on the door, I go under the bed. Mom says this is strange because I saw a lot of people in the shop I came from and I wasn't shy then. My brother Dumbledore, on the other hand, would like to see more action around here. He wishes we were allowed to go outdoors.

What type of books does she write?

Sylvia says her novels have to be called science fiction because they are set in the distant future on other worlds, but she is unhappy with that label because it often means that people not looking for science fiction don't discover them. On the whole they are liked better by readers who don't read much science fiction -- or have not read any at all -- than by dedicated sci-fi fans. No background in science fiction is needed to enjoy them.

In the past, the novels she wrote were for Young Adults -- that is, for teens. One of them, Enchantress from the Stars, was a Newbery Honor book and won other awards. But although her YA books have been republished in the 21st century, it has been a long time since she did any writing for teens. Her recent novels are just for adults.

Of all her books, which one is your favorite?

We don't really know much about her YA novels, as they were written long before we were born. So our favorites are the two adult novels she wrote while we were around to help: Stewards of the Flame and its sequel Promise of the Flame.

Does your author mom have a website?

Yes, she has two of them. The main one,, is mostly about her Young Adult novels, her life (there's one page about us), and her advocacy of space colonization. The other one,, is about her adult novels and has a video trailer plus lots of review quotes and information about the controversial topics dealt with in the book. Whichever site you visit first, there are links to the other, so you won't get lost.

Is she disciplined? What does she do all day?

She works at the computer all the time she's awake except for an hour or so watching television and a couple hours just before bedtime when she holds us and attempts to read. She says this is not a matter of being disciplined because she has physical problems that keep her from going anywhere. Usually she is not writing; her main work is editing nonfiction books for high schools, which is what she does to support herself and us.

Does she ignore you while she writes?

We don't give her a chance to ignore unless we're asleep -- if she tries to, we keep bumping against the back of her desk chair. For some reason even though says she enjoys having us with her, she is upset when one of us insists on being in her lap while she's trying to work. She says there isn't room for a 22-pound cat between her and the computer keyboard and when near a deadline she can't afford lose much time. Occasionally she even gets cross and pushes us off, although we really don't see why, since often she seems able to reach over with one hand and type with two fingers. She says it would be better if we sat with her while she's watching television, which we absolutely refuse to do; neither one of us likes the noise from the television and besides, we don't like the way it competes with us for attention.

Where are her books available?

They are all available at and at Sylvia's websites, and Enchantress from the Stars is also available in bookstores.

What do you like most about Sylvia?

She loves us and says we're her family. What more can we say?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Interview with Amigo!

Who chose your name and what does it mean?

Choosing my name was a tough decision for the family, so they discussed the issue until late into the night. My human brother wanted to name me Homer, after The Simpsons. Finally, my genius Dad said, 'Amigo.' It flows well, it's short, and it symbolizes what doggies are all about: A man's best friend.

Where do you live?

I hang out with my human family in Belgium.

Why do you blog? You're a dog.

Why let that stop me? I have special paws--very special indeed! I can't go into detail here. Suffice to say it has to do with my having worked for the CIA two years ago. Besides, my hunger for fame goes beyond opposable thumbs.

I hear you're writing a book. What makes you think you can be an author?

The same thing that made Madonna think she can be one.

What are your favorite pastimes?

Napping, eating. Napping, eating. Napping, eating.

What are your favorite foods?

Junk food of all kinds. Pizza, burgers and doner are right at the top.

Any bad habits?

I love licking feet, the smellier and sweatier, the more delectable. The best is when my human brother comes home from football. He takes his shoes and socks off and... Oh well, I call them: 'Fresh out of the oven."

How do you treat your human siblings?

I don't get away with bothering my big brother anymore. With my little sister, it's another matter. If there's no adult looking, I'll push her around and even snap at her. I'll go as far as stealing her food (blueberry muffins, especially!) if I can manage to get close enough.

What if your family get another dog? Would you welcome him or her with love and affection?

What do you think I am--stupid?

How do you handle fame?

We're best friends.

Any last words of canine wisdom?

Okay, but this is a secret: Don't get fooled by my brilliant, witty personality and gorgeous, drop-dead good looks... inside, I'm a still a little puppy at heart, who loves his human family more than anything else in the world... even more than junk food (well, or at least close to it).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review: Baron Thinks Dogs Are People Too, by Laurie Dean

My mom reviewed this dog book so I thought I'd share it with you... Woof!

Baron Thinks Dogs Are People Too

By Laurie Dean

Illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier

Big Tent Books

ISBN: 978-1-60131-035-4

Children’s Picture Book

Hardcover, 24 pages

Baron Thinks Dogs Are People Too is a cute picture book about a little dog, Baron, who, in spite of living with a loving family, feels lonely at times because he thinks he doesn’t have a best friend. Not only he has a friend, but it was staring him in the face all along!

Of course, until he ‘finds’ this friend, he goes through a series of adventures, like going to school and learning to be a good little dog. After all, even loving dogs must learn to control all that boundless energy!

The loud, brightly-colored cartoonish illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier are a blast on the page, amusing and eye-catching to young eyes. If your child loves dogs, he or she will enjoy this lighthearted story about friendship.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Meet Boboko and Laptop, proud owners of fantasy author Alma Alexander

My guests this week are Laptop and Boboko, proud owners of fantasy author Alma Alexander. Alma writes the exciting Worldweaver series! Read on to find out what's it like living with a fantasy author and what these cats' names have done to their self esteem...

Laptop, since you claim to have twice the brains of your brother Boboko, I'll begin with you. Tell us, how did you two came to live at Alma's household?

She doesn't think I know this, but I do - they wanted two cats, and two of my siblings were grey striped tabbies and she originally wanted at least one of those. But both were spoken for by the time she came to look for us, and it was me who joined Boboko in the household in the end. Boboko, by the way, was ALWAYS first choice - but he's all beauty and no brains and I'm comfortable in my own place. For instance, it is only I who sleep with Alma under the covers, not the Fluffy Prince. So there.

Boboko, are Laptop's claims true? Or is this some annoying feline femi
nist phase she's going through?

Er, what she says. What's "phase"? Or "Feminist"?... Ooooh, look, shiny toy. 'Scuse me...

What is it like living with a fantasy author?

Laptop: A cat is all about truth and integrity...

Boboko: I thought those were dogs...

Laptop: ....never mind him. He never left kittenhood. As I was saying. A cat is all about truth and integrity, and our Mom, well, tells lies for a living.

Boboko: They're pretty lies.

Laptop: Well, that's neither here nor...

Boboko: And they keep us in kibble. That's true enough.

How did Alma come up with your names and what has that done to your self esteem?

Boboko: There was a cat called Boboko in Charles de Lint's book "Mulengro" which Mom thought w
as the quintessential cat - and she wanted to call a cat of her own by that name, just because. I don't remotely resemble the Boboko in the book, but I like to think that *I* am her yardstick for the name now, and not that other cat who did nothing other than inspire it...

Laptop: And I was named by Dad, because Mom got to name the Fluffy Prince. Let me tell you we get some weird looks. Laptop? A cat called Laptop? But you know what? it kinda fits, now. And it lends itself to twisting. Apparently Mom thinks I"m a chatty cathy because now and
then I get called Yaptop...

Boboko and Laptop: Of course, we have our REAL names. Which she has no clue about.
That's okay, she's only human, she isn't supposed to. We love her


So Laptop, tell us a little about your mom's books and her writing habits? Is she one of those self centered, egotistical authors?

Nah. If anything, th
e opposite. It takes the concerted effort of all three of us (Dad, me, Fluffy Prince himself) to keep up her self esteem when it comes to her writing. I keep on thinking that if only she'd start writing about CATS I could do a lot more with this.

Boboko, which one of Alma's books is your favorite? Are there any cats in her books?

Well, there's a nook on the shelf of the hardcover "Jin Shei" edition where it's good to nap, so I guess those... and I'm told that there was a cat in that book, an important cat.... ooooh, shiny toy, look!

Who does Alma love the most between you two?

Laptop: There are times I think she ONLY loves FLuffy Prince. But then, in the evenings, she lets me curl up next to her and we hold paws for hours - and there's the fact that she and I are bedmates, especially in the winter, when it's nice and warm under the covers with her. And she worries so when there's something wrong with either or both of us, or when we squabble. She loves us both. We both love her.

Boboko: I know I was a Chosen One. I know that all I ever have to do is ask and what I want is usually given to me. She indulges me shamelessly; I nap inside her oversized red sweater in winter and curl up comfortably against her belly for hours and she would rather die of hunger and thirst than move and disturb me before I'm ready to wake up. She fusses with me when I demand it. She gives me treats. Yes, she loves me. Oh yeah, and she loves my sister, too, She'll make a point of fussing us both if we're in the same range of reach, But she's mine. Mine, mine, mine. MINE.

Tell us something weird about Alma nobody knows.

She can lucid dream. She can control the dreams, sometimes. We know this because we are cats and we can go freely into her dreams when she falls asleep at night.

Sometimes, she even dreams about us.

We make sure of it.

Thanks, kitties!!!

Laptop: (preening) Most welcome, I'm sure.

Boboko: Anything else we can... oooooooh! shiny toy! Scuse me!

Laptop: (quiet sigh) did you know we have our own website? go to adn click on "cats" to see our portraits...

Thank you, Kitties!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Interview with Sparkles, the Fire Safety Dog, proud owner of Dayna Hilton

Woof! I'm excited to have as my guest this week a very special dog: Sparkles. Together with Dayna, her human writer mom who also happens to be a fire fighter, Sparkles does lots of school visits and teaches children about fire safety. That's why she's known as the Fire Safety Dog! She's been all over the country and all over the news. I'm sooooo jealous!

Hey, Sparkles, thanks for dropping by this side of the woods, girl! How did you come to live with Dayna?

Well, that’s a really interesting story. I was living in a house with 62 other dogs and was really miserable! Can you imagine living in a house with 62 other dogs? It was so crowded and I wanted to get out of there so bad!

Thank goodness I was rescued and taken to the animal shelter. From there, the folks at the Dalmatian Assistance League of Tulsa took me and my dal pals to foster homes for awhile. Boy, was it ever nice to be around people that wanted to take good care of me!

One day, my foster parents told me that I was going to meet somebody really special. I was so excited that my tail wouldn’t stop wagging! They knew that I needed to be with someone who really cared about me since they told me that I was a special dog. What does “special” mean?

Anyway, I met Dayna and I fell in love with her right away! She talked so sweet to me and gave me lots of hugs. She sealed the deal when she rubbed my tummy! I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about that day! Best day of my life, I tell ya!

During the ride to Arkansas, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to live with my new family. That was in 2003, and I am still the happiest dog on the face of the planet! Those other icky days are now long gone and I am now doing what I was born to do, being a fire safety dog!

I hear she's a firefighter and together you teach children fire safety. How cool is that! How did that come about?

At first, I didn’t know Dayna was a firefighter. Heck, I didn’t even know what a firefighter was! When I got to her house, I saw all of her gear that she wears to keep her safe from fire. She told me all about being a firefighter and how she loved helping people. And, after meeting all of the firefighters at Johnson County RFD #1, I knew I wanted to help keep people safe too!

One day (now this is REALLY funny!), mom asked me to crawl low. What mom didn’t know is that I already knew how to crawl low. I crawled low the first time that she asked me to and she was so excited that she started jumping up and down all over the place! How funny is that? She took a video of me, but what I needed to do was take a video of HER! She looked so silly, but I could tell that she was happy, so I tried really hard not to laugh.

Then, Mom and I drove three hours round trip for eight weeks while I took a basic obedience class. Heck, I could have done the course in three weeks, but I just wanted to make sure that mom got her money’s worth! : )

I still needed more training to become a full fledged fire safety dog and mom was lucky to meet Kari who was taking classes at the local university and who also happened to be a professional dog trainer. BONUS!!!! Oh boy, was mom super happy about that! Kari spent time with me teaching me all sorts of cool things and I became educated in the ways of a fire safety dog.

One day, Mom put a shiny gold badge with my name on it on my work vest, and I was officially a fire safety dog for her fire department. Another very special day!

So tell us about Dayna's book!

If I have heard this story once, I have heard it a MILLION times! Mom tells it all the time! But, for you Amigo, I will share the story. : )

Mom always wanted to write a children’s book, but she didn’t’ know what she wanted to write about. One day, as she was putting on my red work vest… BAM!!!!!!!! The idea for the book hit her like a bolt of lightening! All I was doing was wagging my tail in excitement to go to work and see the kids, and next thing I knew, she’s writing a book, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, a story about me and my love for helping teach fire safety!

Now this next part is kinda funny, but it stressed mom out, so maybe it’s not so funny (sorry mom!). I’ve never told this story before, and I promised you a scoop, so here goes!

Mom and I were selected to be in a video by Oklahoma State University’s Fire Protection Publication’s to help other fire safety educators. Mom and I were known for having a really good fire safety reading program and they said that they needed a children’s fire safety book FAST. Mom, being the quick thinker that she was, said, “I have a book, but it’s raw and it’s not finished yet.” Do you know that mom finished her book in two days and read the book for the very first time in front of a kindergarten class and a camera crew? No pressure! Me, I had a ball and loved her book! I just sat there with my tail wagging and knew that we had something special.

Mom also has a Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog audio book. What’s really cool about the audio book is that it was made by three generations of firefighters: my Grandpa Glenn, my mom, and my brother, Michael. Spanner (my sister dal, also a rescue) and I also got to participate. The audio book even has cool sound effects, like the sound of a fire truck! So much fun!

How do you teach kids about fire safety? Don't they get distracted by wanting to pet you?

Mom’s really clever! She hides me while she and the firefighters talk about fire safety. That way, the children really listen to the important fire safety messages! It’s really important that the children know and understand the importance of fire safety. I help her, hmmmm, what’s that she calls it? Oh ya, I help her “reinforce” the fire safety message.

To reinforce the “Get low and go” fire safety message, I get in my bed and pretend to be asleep. When I hear, “Beep, beep, beep!”, I know it’s the sound of the smoke alarm and that it is telling me to “Get out! Get out!” I get out of bed and crawl low and go to my meeting place, which is a mailbox

Speaking of meeting places, where’s your meeting place, Amigo? I hope you have one! It’s important that you have one so that your family can meet there if there’s a fire. That way, the firefighters will know that everyone is safe and they won’t have to risk there lives to go find you if they don’t have to.

Anyway, since I am hidden most of the time, the children don’t get distracted, but when I come out, that’s a whole different story all together! Mom shares with them that if they sit still and listen, that each of them will get to pet me and get a special Sparkles’ sticker! That usually does the trick and you could hear a pin drop!

What's the most important fire safety tip you'd give to kids?

I have so many fire safety tips, but the one that is most important is that everyone has working smoke alarms. Test your smoke alarms once a month and change your batteries twice a year!

When you hear the sound of a smoke alarm, it is telling you to “Get out! Get out!” Get low to the ground (the air is cleaner and cooler there) and crawl low on your hands and knees and go to your meeting place. Your meeting place can be a tree, a fence, or even a mailbox, just like my meeting place!

Make an escape map with your family and practice your home escape drill at least two times a year. You can even include your pets! Firefighter Dayna and I want everyone to be safe!

How can parents and educators learn more about your work?

I have an awesome fire safety website for kids, parents and educators ( What’s cool about this site is that there are fire safety tips, videos, coloring pages and all sorts of free downloadable stuff on there! You can even see that video of me crawling low for the first time!

Looking for a fire safety blog? I have that too (! And don’t forget my twitter page ( and Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog Facebook page ( If you sign up on my Facebook page as a fan, we have drawings to win a copy of my, I mean, Firefighter Dayna’s book!

Another exciting project that I just started is helping my good friends, Wendy and her dog Cappy, on their A Dog’s Voyage Around the World blog. I’m Cappy’s fire safety friend and travel with him on his voyage, helping keep everyone safe (

I’m also sharing really cool fire and other safety tips on Wendy’s Animal Talk Blog ( Mom just got through writing a post about people making an emergency disaster kit for their pets. How cool is that? And, I better mention mom’s blog too ( You can follow mom and me as we spread fire safety all over the country!

Mom loves it when people put our fire safety links on their webpages and blogs. If you want to help us spread the fire safety message, please link to us! Here is a page with most of our links!

That would make me and my mom so happy, and, you would be helping us keep people fire safe!

Are there more books in the works?

Mom’s next book is called, Sparkles Goes to Boston. Last year, mom and I spent three weeks taking pictures of our friends, Firefighter Jim Peltier, Chief John Mauro, and all of their friends at the Southborough Fire Department, which is just outside of Boston. Did we ever have big fun taking pictures for our book! We hope the book will come out in the spring.

I also heard mom and her friend Wendy on the phone the other day and they are already sharing ideas for their next two books. Mom has at least six more fire safety books about me in her head! Makes me wish that I had thumbs so that I could help her write!

What the best part of living with a fire fighter author?

Hmmmmm. The best part? That’s a tough one!

The best part of living with a firefighter author is when we hear good news. In February we heard that our book helped save the lives of two children and their families ( Mom was so happy that day when she found out! It makes all of that hard work that we do worth it. We are so thankful that the two families are safe and it makes us want to work even harder!

Are your doggy friends jealous of your stardom? How do you handle fame?

Gotta admit it, being on FOX and Friends ( and on PBS KIDS Sprout on Demand and the Sprout webpage ( is way cool cause it’s a great way to share the fire safety message!

Being mentioned on the floor of Congress ( and at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing ( was also pretty cool, but we keep things in check. My dog friends aren’t jealous cause they know that we are helping keep people safe and they really like that!

How do I handle fame? To me, it’s not about being famous, it’s about keeping children and their caregivers fire safe. For me and mom, it’s our job. : )

Thanks, Sparkles! You're doing an important job, girl!