Book Review and Book Tour: Dog-Ma, The Zen of Slobber

Dog-Ma, The Zen of Slobber. As a dog lover you probably identify with that title and if you don’t, you’re at least likely to identify with one of the canine cast of characters in this super-packed book. Author Barbara Boswell Brunner’s book definitely targets dog owners by weaving amusing anecdotes of the life she and her husband, Ray, shared with numerous canine companions over the course of their courtship and marriage. Nine dogs of their own and many canine friends grace the pages of this book, each portrayed as a person in his or her own right. The book is full of laughter and tears as Boswell Brunner shares her dogs’ antics and sadly the heartaches of some. To me it is in these tender moments that Boswell Brunner’s writing is not only at its most poignant, but also at its best. Yes, she knows how to weave an amusing tale – who will forget her dobie's tampon ear supports, Cooper’s toy Horton emitting its endless chatter, her Turbo strolling an upscale neighborhood with a goat? These are wonderful, funny stories, but when Boswell Brunner turns to the sensitive her writing truly moves me.  I love her homage to Madison – “She saw the silver lining in every bad situation. Madison was an optimist. Madison was loved.” Beautiful.

No doubt readers will have their favorite characters – mine was Cooper and I would recommend this book just to hear about his antics with his stuffed toy, Horton, which called to mind my own dog, Vader. Other readers will certainly find their pets amidst these pages. My primary disappointment with the book is that Boswell Brunner didn’t take us deeper into her own life. Yes, we are privy to the couple's moves and career evolution and she offers us glimpses into deeper fare such as her cancer and a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s, but she doesn’t dwell there long and I think the story would have been richer if she had. I have a feeling Boswell Brunner is a good enough writer to go there if she wants to, to fill out the details of her own life with as much heart, humor and soul as she brought to the dogs. I think in a second book, she should try doing just that. Still, there is much here and enough plain old good dog stories to make any dog lover smile.




For dog lovers everywhere.......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. This book will inspire you with the couple's unstinting love, devotion, and respect for dogs as family members. You'll be glad to include it in your treasured collection of great dog books.

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!”

About Barbara Boswell Brunner barbaraboswellbrunnerBarbara 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.  

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