I started telling my first Alaskan Malamute, Boo Boo, stories when we were lazing about one day.
I made them up as I went based on how Boo responded. If he started falling asleep, I stirred him up by saying, “bone!” or “treat”. If he was rapt with attention I’d say, “good boy!”.
It was a lot of fun. His head tilts and funny faces made me laugh. It made me feel closer to him somehow, maybe because we were paying close attention to one another for a few minutes.
I noticed that using words he knew – dog, toy, treat, bone, cat and so on piqued his interest.
I also noticed he was tuning into my emotions as I told the story; happy, pensive, thoughtful, excited and this seemed satisfying to him.
I wondered, would other dogs and their people have as much fun as we were having telling stories? I decided to write stories for dogs based on what I’d learned with Boo.
I’ve since been reading these stories to Boo and later, Bubba Bear, for years. My daughter found my Tales for Dogs books published by Rodale in 2003 on the bookshelf when she was five years old and started reading those stories to Bubba.
The collection of dog stories in this book are unabashed, quirky tales written in such a way you’ll feel free to make them better and ad-lib them to suit and your dog. Each story takes just a few minutes to read.
The first time your dog won’t know what’s going on. But next time they’ll remember how good the first time felt and things progress from there.
Having Story Time and making it regular has unexpected rewards. It’s funny that no matter how easy we find it to talk to our dog, sometimes we run out of things to say.
There are also those times we can’t find the words to say to our beloved dog when, for instance, they might be frightened, injured or not feeling well. Having been in this situation myself, I’ve written a few stories, like Sick Dog, for example, in the hope of supporting you in finding the words you want to say.
Remembering your dog’s pleasure at listening to you tell them a story brings memories to cherish in the future. I know because it’s that way for me.
For your dog Story Time represents a collection of moments of bliss when they’re not expected to do anything at all except bask in feeling deeply connected to you.
And at any time your dog feels stress, reading a story that’s familiar to them; that they associate with quiet times with you when all was well, can be wonderfully soothing.
I hope you and your dog get as much pleasure, love and fun from Stories for My Dog as my dogs and I have enjoyed creating them.