“The Owl and I Looked at Each Other for Awhile, and Then I Got Up and Wrote ‘It’s About a Dog.'”

This week Who Chains You Books—publishing titles by and for animal activists and rescuers— put out our first new book since going public with the company in July. Check out our first five titles and more about us on our website at http://whochainsyou.com.

maggie with lad and andy in courtyardIt’s About a Dog author Maggie Couch shared with us a little about her personal life, as well as what motivated her to write the book. We hope you’ll enjoy this look into one of our authors and then pick up her book in paperback or on Kindle for your collection.

Hello, dear people.

My name is Maggie Couch, and I love dogs, I wrote a book about a dog, and here’s what led to it.

I had a full and fulfilling life as a social worker and ESL teacher living in Massachusetts, New York City, Connecticut, Barcelona, and Colorado. Life was grand, and there was no room in it for an animal companion. Growing up, our family didn’t have dogs or cats—though I marveled at the deep, loving, almost spiritual connection I saw between my father and any dog he met along the way.

In 1991, I became very sick with Fibromyalgia, a condition then known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The fatigue was crippling and the cognitive mist was overwhelming. Life as I knew it was over. I was left with no definition, no sense of self. I became lonely and frightened, living in poverty and isolation.

One day my dear doctor suggested I adopt a dog to help motivate me to become more physically active. I went to a high-kill animal shelter and asked if they had any particularly needy dogs who were on death row. I was introduced to a small, one year-old terrier mix who had lived his life neglected on the end of a short chain. He was emaciated and terrified. I didn’t feel the deep spiritual connection I had witnessed in my father, but I named the dog Doxology and took him home. He saved my life. The first night we were together, I told him he was to sleep in his little bed on the floor, not in my bed. Dox kept jumping up on my bed; I kept putting him back on the floor on his bed. Over and over it happened, and finally I gave in. Dox slept in the crook of my knees every night for the next 15 years.

I tried to do volunteer work, but the unpredictability of my symptoms did not allow it. One day, I read an article about fostering shelter dogs. That was 20 years and 114 foster dogs ago.   I have collages in my bedroom with photos of all the dogs (and cats) who were in our home over the years, and every night I say goodnight and tell them I love them, even though many have long-since died. I believe those who have died are in a far better place and will never know hunger or cold or chains or loneliness ever again.

Currently, my two dogs and one cat live in Aurora, Colorado where we foster all sorts of dogs and cats in a topsy-turvy but happy home.

lad-andy

Laddie front, Andy back

Laddie is the patriarch dog. He was a feral mixed-breed dog found in the woods and spared death row by the kindly staff at Adams County Animal Control who saw in his frightened eyes a gentle and kind soul. I visited him in his kennel at the shelter for seven straight days before he let me touch him. He stayed glued to the back of the kennel and would not make eye contact. That was eight years ago, and Laddie is now happy and trusting.

Andy is a miniature Australian shepherd who was purchased from a breeder (don’t get me started!). When Andy got to his new home, he peed on the floor (the audacity!) and was immediately confined to a small crate for three years. Andy is clingy and barky and insecure, but I think he knows he is safe and well-loved.

toby

Toby, a stray rescued by the author

Toby was a stray neighborhood cat whom I trapped and took to be neutered, courtesy of the Denver Dumb Friends League. He recuperated in a bedroom in the house. When he was healthy, I took Toby outside. He walked around the house, jumped the fence, and came right back into the house through the dog door. We didn’t adopt Toby; Toby adopted us, and he is a delight. We keep welcoming foster dogs into our home, and life is good.

aboutadogcover-loMany years ago, one night I was having difficulty sleeping. I looked out the window and saw a large owl in a tree in my back yard. The owl and I just looked at each other for awhile, and I got up and wrote the book “It’s About a Dog.” I rewrote it a gazillion times and then tried to find an illustrator, had no luck, and put the pages up on a shelf where they gathered dust.

The wonderful animal activist Tamira Thayne decided to publish the book, and here we are today! Tamira and I both believe that if even one dog is released from a chain in a yard and given a loving home, then It’s About a Dog will have been a huge success.

Thank you so much for reading my story and its background, for caring, and for sharing.

—Maggie Couch, author of It’s About a Dog

It’s About a Dog is available at the following outlets:

To buy on Amazon in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Its-About-Dog-Maggie-Couch/dp/1536961051/

To buy on Kindle or read as part of Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/Its-About-Dog-Maggie-Couch-ebook/dp/B01JZZSBG0/

To buy on our createspace site and donate $1 to Unchained Melodies: https://www.createspace.com/6483118

Who Chains You Books offers special pricing on all our books to nonprofits who would like to sell them to educate and raise funds for their work for the animals. To inquire further and order your books, drop us an e-mail at info@whochainsyou.com.

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Fulfilling a Six Year Promise with New Book Release: “It’s About A Dog,” Out Now

As Who Chains You Publisher Tamira Thayne tells us in our last blog post, with the release of It’s About A Dog, she finally gets to fulfill a promise she made to author Maggie Couch six years ago. Here’s the story, in case you missed it:

maggie with lad and andy in courtyard

I first ‘met’ author Maggie Couch online in 2010, when she sent me (at Dogs Deserve Better) her children’s story with this note: “Will you please consider the attached children’s story I wrote for DDB?  I believe it is a good and powerful story and would make an excellent illustrated book for children.  I do not know of any illustrator and do not know how to proceed to submit the story to a publisher.

Instead of having the story sit lonely in a desk drawer, I would like to donate it to DDB and hope that someone in your organization will see merit in it and perhaps get it published so it may make a difference and compel children to act kindly toward dogs.

aboutadogcover-lo

It’s About a Dog is now available. See below for details.

The story is narrated by a kind, wise owl who observes from his perch high in a tree.  The dog is a typical DDB type of throw-away backyard dog on a chain.  I worked hard on this story and believe that with good illustrations, it really could make a difference to dogs like the dear one in the story.”

At the time I told Maggie that YES, I’d love to print her book (with her getting a share of sales, of course!), but we had just begun putting out Rocky Shepheard’s A Doggie Hero is Born first edition, and it would be awhile before I got to hers. She was excited, and assured me she’d wait.

Unfortunately, her time never came while I was with Dogs Deserve Better. The next year we ended up buying Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, and to say the next four years were a wild ride would be putting it mildly. I never got back to doing ANY kind of publishing after Rocky’s book.

During that time, though, I often thought of Maggie, and my promise to her to put out her book. I had failed in that promise.

When I decided to start Who Chains You Publishing, my first act was tracking down Maggie to see if she was still seeking a publisher for her book; if so, would she forgive me for not following through and allow me to publish her book now?

I found her, and she was delighted! She wrote, “Tami, I am so happy you have written to me.  I would love it dearly if you were able to get the book illustrated and published.  Thank you so much for liking my story.  If YOU like it, then I am honored indeed.

I so hope the book will be published and read by at least one child or adult who will be moved by it, moved to become an activist and fight for those dear, trusting, sentient beings who cannot speak for themselves.”

And so, without further ado, we are proud to release our first ‘brand-new’ children’s title for 2016: It’s About A Dog.

aboutadogcover-loSynopsis:

Oliver the Owl isn’t used to caring about dogs. To Oliver’s way of thinking, dogs can’t be trusted. They eat birds, after all.

But then a black dog-with some white spots-ends up living under the tree he calls home; Oliver discovers he can’t ignore, can’t forget, and can’t fly away from the plight of his fellow being. Will the neglected and chained black dog ever receive the happy ending Oliver believes he deserves?

Oliver narrates the dog’s tale from a new and unique perspective, sure to touch the hearts of all who read It’s About a Dog.

To purchase the book, and help make Maggie’s dream of advocating for chained dogs through her writing come true, visit these links: Buy on Amazon for only $12.97 | Buy on Kindle for only $4.97 or Read through Kindle Unlimited | Buy from Createspace for only $12.97 and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

Publication Date: Aug 07 2016
ISBN/EAN13: 1536961051 / 9781536961058
Page Count: 24
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8.5″ x 11″
Language: English
Color: Full Color
Related Categories: Juvenile Fiction / Animals / Dogs

 Author Bio:

Over the past 20 years, Maggie Couch has fostered more than 100 homeless dogs, in Connecticut and in Colorado. She has loved every one of them, and carries them in her heart always. An animal rights activist, Maggie has participated in demonstrations against circuses, zoos, dog racing, marine life “entertainment,”  puppy mills and stores, cat declawing, dog tethering, and other horrific practices which hurt our trusting, loyal and loving friends. She hopes that someday very soon there will be no dogs in this world who wait for love in lonely desperation, as did the dog in this story. She hopes that, instead, all dogs will be cherished, protected, and loved, also as was the dog in the story. She lives in Colorado with her two elderly adopted dogs and a neighborhood stray cat who adopted them all and rules their happy home.

Thank you for supporting our work for the animals with your purchases. Who Chains You Publishing cares about the plight of the animals, and supports the activists and rescuers who take a stand for their rights. We are a niche, independent publisher
catering to the needs of animal advocates. Visit our website at www.whochainsyou.com to view our current book listings and submit query letters or learn how you can be featured in one of our upcoming books.

Why I want to Publish Books by Animal Activists and Rescuers

tamijewelonyxloThis week I will publish my first new book since going live with Who Chains You Publishing last month. I feel simply giddy with excitement!

Yes, I’m excited for me (because it’s FUN!), but I’m even MORE excited for my author, who’s waited six long years for me to fulfill my promise to her.

Before opening shop I reworked four of the books I’d published while CEO of Dogs Deserve Better into second editions, giving them updated titles, covers, and interiors. If you’ve never read these books, I hope you’ll consider adding these newest editions to your collection.

I enjoyed bringing these titles up to date, but in the last week I got to experience the real joy I’ve been seeking—helping authors in the animal rights and rescue movements feel heard, validated, and supported in their written expressions for the animals.

maggie with lad and andy in courtyard

I first ‘met’ author Maggie Couch online in 2010, when she sent me (at Dogs Deserve Better) her children’s story with this note: “Will you please consider the attached children’s story I wrote for DDB?  I believe it is a good and powerful story and would make an excellent illustrated book for children.  I do not know of any illustrator and do not know how to proceed to submit the story to a publisher.

Instead of having the story sit lonely in a desk drawer, I would like to donate it to DDB and hope that someone in your organization will see merit in it and perhaps get it published so it may make a difference and compel children to act kindly toward dogs.

aboutadogcover-lo

It’s About a Dog will be out this week.

The story is narrated by a kind, wise owl who observes from his perch high in a tree.  The dog is a typical DDB type of throw-away backyard dog on a chain.  I worked hard on this story and believe that with good illustrations, it really could make a difference to dogs like the dear one in the story.”

At the time I told Maggie that YES, I’d love to print her book (with her getting a share of sales, of course!), but we had just begun putting out Rocky Shepheard’s A Doggie Hero is Born first edition, and it would be awhile before I got to hers. She was excited, and assured me she’d wait.

Unfortunately, her time never came while I was with Dogs Deserve Better. The next year we ended up buying Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, and to say the next four years were a wild ride would be putting it mildly. I never got back to doing ANY kind of publishing after Rocky’s book.

During that time, though, I often thought of Maggie, and my promise to her to put out her book. I had failed in that promise.

When I decided to start Who Chains You Publishing, my first act was tracking down Maggie to see if she was still seeking a publisher for her book; if so, would she forgive me for not following through and allow me to publish her book now?

I found her, and she was delighted! She wrote, “Tami, I am so happy you have written to me.  I would love it dearly if you were able to get the book illustrated and published.  Thank you so much for liking my story.  If YOU like it, then I am honored indeed.

I so hope the book will be published and read by at least one child or adult who will be moved by it, moved to become an activist and fight for those dear, trusting, sentient beings who cannot speak for themselves.”

And so, in just a few short days, I will finally be able to fulfill my promise to Maggie— and she can fulfill the promise she made to the chained dogs to speak on their behalf.

[Update, the book is now available. To buy, visit these links for paperback or Kindle/KindleUnlimited options. Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue]

And that fills my heart.

I have a 25 year history in graphic design and publishing; when I left Dogs Deserve Better, I pondered how I could still serve the movement even if I’m no longer on the front lines.

One of the many things I learned from leading Dogs Deserve Better is that you need to work with your strengths. When I put people in positions that suited them, they thrived; but when I put people in positions that went against their inborn strengths they failed.

My strengths are a willingness to take a strong stand against cruelty, and an ability to design and publish books and marketing materials. It only makes sense for me to combine those two strengths to serve the movement that I love.

People like Maggie in our movement want to contribute. They want to raise their voices on behalf of the animals, and they want to be heard. I can help with that.

There are animal cruelty cases I’ve seen in the past few years that are just book-worthy, and these activists stories and struggles will never be published by a mainstream publisher. BUT I WILL DO IT. I will publish your books.

I will support those currently on the front lines by putting out their stories about the unbelievable cruelty they themselves have faced for standing for the animals.

I will support those on the front lines by putting out books that I know can help them. Books that confront the bullies, (and hopefully give US a laugh at their expense, finally); books that help activists and rescuers do our jobs; books that combine all our short stories on any relevant topic into one coherent publication.

To make our collective voices heard, I need your input.

Be part of the solution, and raise the roof for the animals. I have so many ideas for titles that will help all activists and rescuers, but I need your stories to bring them to fruition.

Here are the topics I’m seeking your input for—AND I’m open to your ideas:

Funny Rescue Stories
Activist Arrest Stories
Bullies of Animal Rescue
Your Biggest Regret in Rescue
Crazy Beeyotches of Animal Rescue
Your Biggest Sacrifice for the Animals
Attacked by your Rescue Animal
Rescue: The River of Deceit
Staying Positive in a World Full of Pain
Your Best Vegan Recipe
Are You Just “Too Sensitive?”
My Favorite Rescue of All Time
Dog Chaining Douches
Am I Vegan Enough?
Vegan/Vegetarian Pretenders
I Won a Law for the Animals

I hope if you’ve been embroiled in a lawsuit or court case surrounding your work for the animals, or you’ve been on the front lines and suffering for the animals, you will write a book about it, and bring it to me so I can help you get it out into the world.

No valid publisher charges an author to be published. If Who Chains You publishes your book, there is never any upfront cost to you. We either make money together or don’t make money together, but either way we will get your story out into the world.

To submit either a short story for a compilation topic, OR submit your book for consideration, visit our website at http://www.whochainsyou.com/submissions.html.

The animals need our voices—we can raise them, make a difference, and leave footprints for future generations. Together.

Thank you!

2ndprotest5

—Tamira Ci Thayne, Publisher, Who Chains You Books

http://www.whochainsyou.com