Saturday, December 29, 2007

Books for Animal Lovers of All Ages - OR ARE THEY?

I had an interesting experience the other day. A well known columnist and radio host wanted to interview me about my new book, The Shelter Dog. I was looking forward to talking about the challenges shelter animals, especially older ones, face when it comes to finding a forever home.

I was well-prepared for the interview, but sadly it didn’t go very far. The interviewer began by telling me my books were for children – young children - while I know them to be for that child-like part that resides in each of us, regardless of age. After that the energy for the interview just seemed to disappear, and it was soon over.

My first book, For Every Dog An Angel, was written in 1995 – with heavenly intervention! It may have been divinely inspired, but the words still came through me – from that innocent part, deep down inside, that believes dogs DO fly through the stars, and cats DO float by in whipped cream clouds.

Over the past 10 years I have spoken with many animal lovers who see the world like I do. These are the people who have been touched by my words and illustrations, who buy my new books unseen because they believe they’ll be uplifted and inspired… transported to another place and time where miracles REALLY CAN HAPPEN.

I write my books because the words come spilling out of my heart, the illustrations dance in my dreams, and one way or another they MUST be put down onto paper.

To all the people who’ve taken the time to let me know they enjoyed one of my books…a heartfelt thank you! I will look for you in future books, swirling among the words and flying through the star-filled illustrations, grateful for the chance to see the world…if only for a few moments…through the innocent eyes of a child.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

From all of us at Lighthearted Press...

Happy holidays to you and your four-legged friends...and may these magical days be overflowing with love, joy, and of course...FUR!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Book Signing Event at Local Animal Shelter

For all you animal lovers in the Portland, OR area…

Come join me this Saturday 12/15/07, from 12:00 – 2:00 pm, for a special event at the Multnomah County Animal Shelter in Troutdale, Oregon.

Anyone who adopts an animal will be able to choose a free book from our titles: For Every Dog An Angel, For Every Cat An Angel, Old Dog & the Christmas Wish, and our brand new book, The Shelter Dog.

We are also offering a very special purchase price for anyone who wants to buy books for themselves or to give as gifts.

The best news is all proceeds go to the shelter!

If you are looking for some last minute holiday gifts for the animal lovers on your list, I hope you'll think about coming to the shelter on Saturday. Here's the location:

Multnomah County Animal Shelter
1700 W Columbia River Hwy
Troutdale, OR 97060(503)988-7387

Hope to see you on Saturday!


Monday, December 10, 2007

But How Will Santa Get Down the Fireplace?

There are many special moments in life. Sometimes, if you're really lucky, you get to witness one of those moments...and your camera is close at hand.

I was able to capture a very special moment when I found Dickens - one of my beloved kitties - staring intently at the fireplace. Dickens is...umm...big boned. So I know exactly what he was thinking in this picture.

"I've been a REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD BOY this year!!! So please oh please oh please oh PLEASE don't let this stupid fire keep Santa from coming down the fireplace and filling my stocking with kibble!"

Special note to Dickens: Santa has informed me the kibble will be there, but it will be for overweight...sorry, big boned...cats.



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bringing Jake Home

Where has the time gone? Was it really 12 years ago this week that I walked into Multnomah County Animal Shelter, here in Oregon, wondering if there was a dog waiting there to adopt me?

I walked down the corridor, surrounded by a symphony of barking. “Pick ME!” “Choose ME!” “Please take ME home!”

In the middle of all that sound was the most handsome dog I had ever seen. He sat completely still. I walked over and looked into his soulful eyes. I could feel our hearts reach out and touch each other.

“Please pick me,” I whispered to this magnificent creature.

And that is how Jake came into my life
. It was amazing that he had been there for 2 days, and no one had adopted him. I filled out all the paperwork, but I would have to wait three more days before I could bring him home…just in case someone was looking for him.

I went back the next day, needing to know he was still there. “It’s ok,” I told him, as he watched me walk away. “Just two more days.” I kept calling the shelter, wanting to verify that he was still available.

Finally the day came, and I drove like a crazy person to pick him up. We put the leash on him, and the door was opened. It was like being strapped to a 747 airplane – he launched himself down the hall and out the front door, dragging me behind him.

There is a picture in my book, For Every Dog An Angel, of a woman leaving the animal shelter with her new dog companion. That is me – the only difference is the woman in the picture is standing firmly on the ground – but I was flying!

It will always be one of the best days of my life



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Remembering a Beloved Mother

Some of you may know that last year my mother lost her long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Even though I knew this journey was coming to an end, it didn't make the loss any easier. There is just something heartbreaking about losing one's mother.

Shortly after mom’s passing, I learned that Darlene Arden, journalist, lecturer and author of several books for dog lovers, had also lost her mom. In honor of her mother, and their shared love for dogs, Darlene worked with the Canine Health Foundation to create the Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies.

As a certified animal behavior consultant,
Darlene has focused her writing on helping people identify and eliminate unwanted behaviors in their animal companions. She knows her mom would approve of the fund that was created in her name.

“She was the most loving, giving, caring person I’ve ever met,” Darlene said, seen here in this picture with her mother.

I know her mom is smiling, and is sending motherly love and comfort down from the heavens. If there is a beauty salon up there in the starry skies, perhaps our moms have met and are sitting under celestial hair dryers, sharing stories of their daughters. I hope so....

You can learn more about Darlene Arden's work and the special fund she has created for her mother by visiting her website


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Adopting an Older Dog

There is something very special about older dogs.

They seem to live in a state of perfect love and joy, oblivious to the gray hairs on their muzzle and the cloudiness in their eyes. They are in the game until the very end…at least, some of them are.

Not all older dogs are fortunate enough to be in a loving home, safe and cared for. Many of them sit in animal shelters, waiting for their forever families to find them.

One such dog is Jackson, who spends his time at the TLC Canine Center in Newell, Iowa. Jackson is a wonderful old boy….totally deaf…only a few teeth left…but he has made a heart connection with Pauline Larsen, the center’s director. Pauline writes a newspaper column called Paw Prints. She captured the heartbreak so many older critters experience in the following poem, which appeared in her column “One by One They Passed Him By.”

One by one, they pass me by. “Too old” “Too worn” “Too broken” they sigh.
“Way past his time, we want a puppy who will run and play”
They shake their heads slowly and go on their way.
A little old man, arthritic and sore; it seems I’m not wanted anymore.
I once had a home; I once had a bed, a place that was warm and where I was fed.
Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail. Who wants a dog so old and so frail?
My family decided I didn’t belong; they wanted a pup, was that so wrong?
Whatever excuse they made in their head can’t justify how they left me for dead.
Now I sit here day after day, while the young ones get adopted away.
TLC loves me, gives me food and a bed, and a pillow for my poor tired head.
We snuggle and play and they say, someone will come and take me away.
I would promise to return all the love I can give, to someone, as long as I live.
Please don’t pass me by.

Pauline Larsen
TLC Canine Center
Newell, Iowa

If you are looking to invite a new dog into your life, be sure to visit your local animal shelter. If you see an older pup who captures your heart, I hope you’ll think about bringing that critter home!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Job Wanted - Will Work for Food

Employee Spotlight

We really weren't looking to hire any new employees. But there he was, outside our door, with the saddest pair of eyes I had ever seen. It was clear what they were saying: Job Wanted – Will Work for Food.

So we took him in, and sent him over to Human Resources. He told us his name was Dickens. After filling out the paperwork, it was determined he had an interest in boxes, bubble wrap and packaging peanuts. He was assigned to the packing department.

Turns out he had other ideas for those boxes. And we thought they were only good for books!



Thursday, October 18, 2007

I left my Colorado!

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Oregon for 30 years!

What many people don’t know is that when I left New York City in 1977, with all my worldly belongings in two little duffel bags, I didn’t know where I was going to wind up. I spent some time with friends in Tucson, then hopped a bus heading north. I was ticketed to Montana, but somewhere between Tucson and Denver my ticket was stolen.

So my new destination became Colorado. I landed in Boulder, and immediately fell in love with the Rocky Mountains! I would have loved to make my home there, but for one reason or another I wound up at the Denver Airport, holding a map of the United States in my hands.

“Where should I go?” I asked the ticket agent. She said she heard Oregon was nice, so I chose the biggest city – Portland – and bought a ticket. I flew into town on June 1st, and had no idea I would never leave this city. The Rose Festival was going on, and within a few weeks the Blazers would be the NBA champs. This was a very happy city!

But a large part of my heart has always remained in those Rocky Mountains. With the writing of my books, I would meet many Rocky Mountain animal lovers, too, and would have the privilege of getting to know some of the dedicated people working on behalf of animals in need.

Good Samaritan Pet Center is one such organization. These people help to provide “shelter alternatives” for homeless animals, working with a network of foster parents until permanent forever homes can be found. I had the pleasure of meeting Beth Springer and Carol Vogel several years ago. They are wonderful, committed people, and the animals who find their way to Beth and Carol are fortunate indeed.

If you live in the Denver area and are looking to bring a new animal companion into your life, you might want to contact Good Samaritan And while you’re there, be sure to look up at the top of those magnificent Rocky Mountains and make a wish….just for me!


Monday, September 17, 2007

Two Special Angels

Over the years, visitors to my website have told me how much they enjoy reading the “story behind the story” for each of my books. I can understand that. When I’m moved by a book, or movie, or piece of music, I like to dig a little deeper and see if the artist or creator will share what it was that inspired them.

A large part of the pleasure I’ve had in creating the Lighthearted Press website has been working with my fabulous website designer, Ken Klages That he is skilled and supportive goes without saying. What you probably don’t know is that Ken and his wife, Kathy, run an animal rescue organization in California called Small Dog Rescue

Kathy and Ken visit shelters in California and Mexico, bringing home dogs that have not been claimed or adopted. Their small group of dedicated volunteers works to find good homes for each of the loving little critters who have found their way to these wonderful people.

My new book, The Shelter Dog, is dedicated to all the wonderful animals waiting in shelters for their forever families to find them. It is also dedicated to the special people who are devoted to helping animals in need. They are truly angels…just like Ken and Kathy.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

What Happened to Summer?

Anyone who knows me well knows I do not like summer! I was born in New York City in January, during a blizzard, and I think that’s where my lifelong attachment to cooler weather began. Every year, I have to keep from crying during the 4th of July holiday, for I know that blistering heat is just around the corner and it will probably last into early September.

So you can understand my joy over the recent weather changes here in Oregon - summer just went away. High temperatures have been in the 60s and low 70s. I even used the heat in my car the other day!

Needless to say, I’ve been a happy camper. No hot, sunny days, with Mother Nature daring me to come out and do something involving a barbecue or a volleyball. In fact, I found the weather so inspiring, I was able to complete my new book, The Shelter Dog, which is now in the hands of the printer.

When I look around at the temperatures in many parts of the country, I feel terribly fortunate to be here in Oregon. I realize I may be in the minority here, but that’s ok. In fact, I think I’ll go put on some socks, pour some tea and watch a Christmas movie – just to keep this good mood going!

Stay cool,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

25 Years Ago Today

Twenty five years ago today, six puppies were born in the bathroom of the old home I used to live in. They were all precious, but there was something special about one of them. She was covered in dark, fluffy fur, and she seemed to be oblivious to the rest of the world….and I mean that in a good way!

I named her Martha, and she and her mom became doggies three and four in our home. It would be impossible to capture Martha’s spirit in words. There was an ethereal quality to this wondrous creature. She seemed to belong to another world, always listening to voices I would never be able to hear.

I still remember a magical dream I had about Martha. I was looking out the bedroom window, and there she was, standing straight up on her hind legs, dancing in the moonlight with a flock of flamingos!

Martha would spend the next 13 ½ years with me, until the moment she took her last breath, cradled in my arms. It was the overwhelming devastation I felt from her loss that would lead to the creation of my first book, For Every Dog An Angel. There is a page in that book that shows a dancing dog, high on a hill with its guardian angel. That was my Martha.

Happiest of birthdays, my dear girl….


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Has it really been a year?

The photos are all around me…on my desk, on the piano, on the wall in my home, on my computer…everyone I look I still see Jake’s beautiful, smiling face.

Has it really been a year since I had to say goodbye to this magnificent creature? That’s what the calendar says, but in my heart it feels like we just parted ways yesterday, so he could continue his journey through the stars.

This past week I’ve had several dreams about a pack of dogs who have carved out a stone cave – like wolves in a den – only it is attached to the back of my home. I see them through the window. There are dogs of all shapes and sizes. When I go out there, a black dog detaches himself from the pack and comes over to say hello. He (I know it is a HE) is very friendly and happy to see me.

Perhaps this is some heavenly place
, and the black dog is Jake. Or maybe that dog represents all the wonderful dogs I have shared my life with.

Or maybe…just maybe….this is some alternate reality where another “Chris” lives with her dogs, and they are showing themselves to me so I will know that my connection to DOG is still as strong as ever.

All I know is I was deeply comforted by those dreams.

Keep flying through those stars, dear Jake…but never forget you are welcome to visit anytime.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

O'Malley & the Elf

Poor O'Malley. Apparently that pesky elf just gets under his skin, so he spends part of each day barking at it!

O'Malley is the beloved animal companion of Ruth Phillips, a wonderful woman who lives in Georgia. She tells me O'Malley has been learning to walk up and down the stairs, a feat that is often followed by a nap. Hey, it's hard work!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New book coming soon - "The Shelter Dog"

Hi all,

It's done! Well, almost done.....

The Shelter Dog, my new book for animal lovers, is written and illustrated, going along on the journey all books take before they wind up in a reader’s hands.

I have to confess, I was a little nervous when I began the artwork for this project. This would be the first book I would illustrate without my dog, Jake, under my feet as I painted. The thought of dabbling with the paints without him nearby felt a little lonely.

Dear Jake – he surely was watching over me as I put pencil to paper and begin to draw the rough sketches. I always send a prayer to the heavens, asking the spirits to touch the bristles of my brush with love…..and magic! That magic presented itself in many ways, often coming in the form of one of my four kitties, who danced around the artwork and walked through the paint trays, sending psychic messages when an illustration needed more work or a brighter color.

The Shelter Dog will be available later in 2007….I can’t wait to share it with everyone!


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pictures from Animal Lovers

Dear friends,

I’ve said it before – animal lovers are the best people! Over the years, many of them have sent pictures of their special furry companions. While some of these critters are still with their people, many of them are now flying through the heavenly skies.

It’s easy to see how much Carol Vogel is enjoying this moment with her two beloved rescue dogs, Cookie and Sunny. Carol works with the Good Samaritan Pet Center in Denver, CO. Working with a network of foster parents, this organization provides “shelter alternatives” for homeless animals until permanent homes can be found. If you are in the Denver area be sure to get in touch with them -

There are so many shelter animals who are waiting for their forever families to find them. If you are looking to bring some love….and fur…into your life, please visit your nearest animal shelter.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

And the winner is....

No, I’m not referring to The Oscars. Now that I’ve created all this space, I was curious to see what wondrous idea would step up and present itself to me, eager to become part of my life.

Would it be a dog? A person - preferably a landscaper with deck repair connections? A new product to offer to the animal lovers who enjoy our books?

I’m excited to say that the winner is…a new book! Over the years, many people have suggested I write something about the wonderful animals who wait in shelters for someone to rescue them. All of my critters have been rescued – many from shelters, one from a shipyard and another from running on the train tracks.

Then there are my four magical kitties. Jake found them in the yard 9 years ago, when they were 3 weeks old. Sometimes it’s hard to believe the furballs have been with me that long. Other times I can’t imagine there was EVER a time the kitties weren’t in my life, keeping me inspired and entertained.

So there it is - a new book about shelter animals is going through the birthing process.

Will keep you updated…


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Making Space

And so the New Year begins. It was only a few months ago I stood with my arms open, gazing into the starry skies, hoping the universe would send a new dog companion to heal my hurting heart.

The thought that I might be “Dogless in Portland” seemed inconceivable to me. Yet, here I am, welcoming 2007 with my four fabulous cats, lots of book ideas, a commitment to learn some sophisticated software.....but no dog.

I am hearing a voice telling me I need space.

“OK,” I ask, “for what?”

“Ah, that’s for you to discover,” I’m told.

There are times I wish the voice would be a bit more specific. I usually get a book story (with no title) or a book title (and only a partial story outline.)

But in my heart I know the voice is right...I do need space. I have spent most of my time on this planet cramming my life with people, experiences, thoughts, things......packing it in so tight that with every step I took I’d crash into something....or someone.

Now there are a lot more holes in my world. In the past that would have felt very out of balance to me, but I find myself redefining what “balance” really means. I sense these spaces are brimming with possibilities.

It’s a little scary, but the truth is.....I LIKE it!