adopt a new friend and get a free ticket: childsplay teams up with the arizona animal welfare league

I love a win-win situation, don't you? 

This past year, I became a Childsplay Mom2Mom Blogger, which means I have the opportunity to take my children to professional live theater productions, then write reviews both from my perspective and my littles' viewpoint. They ask me to review their animal-related productions, and we most recently saw The Velveteen Rabbit, which was a wonderful experience for the whole family. We're gearing up to see Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle next weekend. The show's main character is a stray dog...right up our alley! The Childsplay web site describes the show:

When a stray dog appears on the doorstep, it's love at first sight for 6-year-old Cory, and the last straw for Grandma Autumn. Life hasn't been easy lately for either of these two, facing absent parents and lost homes. But in a delightfully surprising story filled with humor and heart, Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle remindes us love makes almost anything possible, even in hard times.

Childsplay has teamed up with the Arizona Animal Welfare Leage for a unique offer. During the month of March, if you adopt a dog from the Arizona Animal Welfare League, your family will receive one free ticket to see Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle. How amazing is that? You get to bring home a new friend, and you get to see an awesome show!

If you live in the Phoenix area and are planning to adopt a new dog soon, please take advantage of this special offer and join our family next weekend for what is sure to be a fantastic production!

living with canine addison's disease: kermit's story, part one (the adoption)

I have not yet mentioned our dog, Kermit, who passed away in September of 2011. I think I've avoided it for several reasons, but the bottom line is, it's just hard. Kermit was a spirited sweet pea of a dog. He looked funky and acted like a fool sometimes, but he was loved so very much.

Kermit came to us in December of 2002 at about six months of age. My friend, Maureen, called: "Kristen, I know you guys are looking to adopt a dog, and I found one! He was wandering the neighborhood, and I've put up signs and gone door-to-door. I've asked all the vets. The kids want to keep him really bad. They already named him 'Piggy,' but we can't have another dog. Todd will kill me. I want to keep him, too, but Todd really will kill me. I swear. But if you take him, then you can bring him over for visits and we can still see him..."

"Oh, wow," I stalled. "Okay, we'll come check him out."

"Come today," she urged. 

"Uh, okay. I'm pretty sure we can be there in a few hours. Will that work?"

"EEEEeeeeek! I can't wait for you to see him! I already took him to the vet, and he's healthy and fixed and everything. Just a little skinny. But he's all good." Then there was a pause. "I have to warn you, though. He's kind of...odd looking." 

That was all I needed to hear. As far as looks go in a dog, the funkier the better!

Brenenn drove us over to Maureen's house, and I was already committed in my mind to bringing home our first "baby" since we'd been married. My head was spinning and my mouth followed suit. I speculated about what he looked like and what he would be like, how B would love having a dog, and where to go to purchase the definitive collar. Brennen rolled his eyes.

We were both a little nervous when we arrived at Maureen's. I figured we could hardly say no, even if we wanted to.

We walked in, and Maureen grabbed my arm. "C'mon! He's in the back yard with Lizzie." Maureen had a gorgeous home on the cliffs of Southern California, so her view from the back yard was nothing but ocean. Gorgeous. This became the backdrop for our first encounter with Kermit. There he was, a brownish long-bodied ratish-looking bow-legged giant-eared possible canine. He didn't run to greet us because he was busy getting busy with Lizzie, a giant black pit bull. "He likes big black women," Maureen said, pointing out the obvious in her usual uncensored way.

Brennen cracked up. "Oh my God," was all I could utter. 

"Piiiiiiiiigyyyyyyyy!" Maureen squealed affectionately. Thankfully, he was easily called-off of Lizzie, who was ever-tolerant. Kermit came bounding over, his long body bobbing like a see-saw. He panted with a curly tongue and his giant ears flopped around. Their permanent state was one up, one down. "Isn't he funny?" Maureen asked.

"Yes, he is," I agreed, giggling. "He's hilarious!" Kermit (Piggy) kissed us and wiggled around, and then went back to Lizzie. 

"Poor Lizzie," Maureen sympathized with her dog. I did, too. Kermit was relentless. 

"We'll take him, right, honey?" I turned to Brennen.

"Do we have a choice?" A rhetorical question, really.

"You can change his name," Maureen said. "The kids just called him Piggy. Whatever!" 

We rode home with our new dog on my lap. We decided "Kermit" would be the perfect offbeat name for the guy, but kept "Piggy" as his middle name. Kermit Piggy entered our family. 

...and immediately lifted his leg on the couch...

So for the first few months of his life, he thought his name was "OUTSIDE!" 

Kermit Piggy at approximately one year of age, a few months after he came into our lives. 

Kermit Piggy at approximately one year of age, a few months after he came into our lives. 

"dog-ma: the zen of slobber" should be your next read

When the weather turns cold, there is nothing more pleasurable than curling up by the fire with a good book. Make it a book about dogs, and I'm in heaven. Barbara Brunner's "Dog-ma: The Zen of Slobber" was my latest read, and it did not disappoint.

Brunner lets us know her dogs in true Larry McMurtry fashion, allowing her readers to know them and love them, no matter their antics, then making us feel her heart-wrenching pain as they inevitably leave her side. She paints an equally vivid picture of the settings in which her family has their adventures as she and her husband, Ray, move their pack from place to place. 

If you're a dog lover, you won't be able to put this one down. Be prepared to laugh and love with Brunner and her revolving door of canine family members. 


Barbara's vivid and dramatic stories, told with a wicked sense of humor, will make you laugh out loud. She definitely gets what living with rescued dogs (nine of them!) is all about. 

When Barbara meets her future husband, Ray, it is love-and dog-at first sight. Over the course of thirty-two years, seventeen relocations and nine dogs, their mutual love of dogs guides them on their unconventional path. The love that Barbara and Ray get in return is literally lifesaving, with one dog attacking a lethal intruder and another discovering Barbara’s cancer. Her own survival story underscores the story of how her dogs become survivors themselves. 

Each new dog adds its own dynamic to the family, sometimes upending it. From Turbo (whose Spock-like ears may have provided super powers), Barbara learns about the will to live; Lexington demonstrates incredible patience and an inexplicable love of golf; Madison teaches that laughter is truly the best medicine and that the whole “nine lives thing” is not reserved just for cats; Morgan should be sainted for tolerating Izzy, who is as cute as she is bad. Barbara is certain that somewhere in doggie heaven there is a poster that says “If you are sick, injured or in need of really expensive medical care, FIND THESE HUMANS!”

Throughout 2012 and 2013, Dog-Ma has been on the Bestseller lists of Kindle, Amazon and Goodreads as well as being named as a finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the animal/pet category and presented with a medal at the Harvard Club in New York City - May 2013.
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About the Author
Award Winning Author, Barbara Brunner grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her parents, sister and always a dog, or two or three. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from a small women's college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Meeting her husband in Washington, DC, they continued together on a journey as self-proclaimed dog addicts. In the ensuing years, she founded three successful businesses in the Pacific Northwest and is a prolific fundraiser for breast cancer research. She and her husband are retired and now reside in Southwest Florida with two dogs and copious amounts of dog fur. She is currently working on indulging her well known flip flop addiction.

Barbara is available for book readings, autographing and speaking engagements and may be scheduled for your book or dog event. 
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"My inspiration for writing this book was driven by pure emotion and my desire to invite the reader to step into the journey of my utterly insane true-life stories."
– Barbara Boswell Brunner, Author, dog-ma

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.