by author of Dog-Ma, the zen of slobber, Barbara Boswell Brunner
am frequently asked what inspired my choice for the cover of Dog-Ma – a
elegantly posed Doberman in what appears to be a contemplative
silhouette; looking out over an ocean sunset. I imagine it is a question
authors are asked often. Most may say it is the cover my publisher
chose or it is the design my graphic artist recommended. In
my case it is neither. I did not have a graphic artist select a photo
for me or conduct a photo shoot to get “just the right shot”. Being
self-published, I did not have to struggle with a publisher who had a
different vision, perhaps, than I did for the cover. I knew I needed to
use this photo for many years, even before I started writing the book. Our
first dog as a couple was Kashi, a Doberman who was as much a child to
us as our own human daughter. We adopted her when she was just a few
weeks old. She travelled everywhere with us and was a true member of our
family. We even managed to take her to Disneyland!
lived a very active life and even as she aged, she still looked like an
adolescent dog, not an oldster. She never had a grey hair on her muzzle
and always stayed clear-eyed, thin and toned. Dobermans generally live
between ten and twelve years and as Kashi aged, we felt blessed to still
have her at the age of fifteen.
seemingly overnight, Kashi started to slow down. She was having trouble
getting around, she slept a lot and we knew her life was probably
coming to an end. A routine visit to the vet uncovered lung cancer as
the cause for her sudden decline. We were devastated and knew we needed
to do something special for her if she had only a short time to live –
two weeks was the prognosis handed to us.
had always loved the beach and we had not been in many years, since
moving inland to Nashville, TN. We packed her up in the car and drove
all day, arriving on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in the early
evening. Though she was unable to easily walk from her bed to her bowl,
she sniffed the salty air, leapt out of the car and raced toward the
sound of the crashing waves. She was home.
cover shot for the book was taken the following afternoon, after a long
day of jumping and biting waves, bodysurfing and chasing birds.
Exhausted, Kashi sat at the water’s edge, looking out at the breaking
waves, seemingly trying to soak in every last little bit of the beach.
It was as though she knew this would be her last moment in the sand. In
the split second that the camera shutter snapped, I knew it was the
photo of her that would be our most treasured.
I got to the point of developing a book cover, I knew I needed to
incorporate this shot. I worked with a graphic artist whose own love of
animals made it easy for him to understand my attachment to this photo.
Where many authors will make the title of the book or their own name
large and central, I wanted this photo to be the star. I think it has
had the exact effect I desired.
readers first see the book, they comment on the photo, usually with a
“great shot” or “I love dogs” comment. Then they read the title and
laugh hysterically at the possibility that anyone could think that
slobber has any Zen-like qualities. When I hear that, I know I have
accomplished my mission.
do you think of a book cover where the title or author’s name is not
large and the main focus? I would love to hear your comments.
You can join my Twitter feed @barbarabrunner or my Facebook Author Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/authorbarbarabrunner
About Barbara Boswell 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.
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.
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!”
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