Huck is a page-turning, heart-stopping story about resilience, the kindness of strangers, and determination. It is a story about hope, a story the reader will neither put down nor forget. Huck is the true story of a family’s desperate search for their eight month old, nine pound puppy lost in the wild. It is a harrowing adventure story. It is a love story. Read More »
Janet Elder’s Blog
October 10, 2010
August 8, 2010
July 7, 2010
The Dachshund’s affectionate
He wants to wed with you:
Lie down to sleep,
And he’s in bed with you.
Sit in a chair,
You break his heart.
May 5, 2010
Some friendships feel destined. I started wondering today if it isn’t that way with people and their dogs too. How do people get matched with their dogs? As far as I know, there is no match.com for people and dogs. You don’t meet dogs in the workplace. I suppose friends can set you up with a dog. Lots of people seem to have stumbled into adopting their dog. That is where I think fate has a hand.
The other day my husband, Rich, was talking to a woman in the park who three years ago found a dog walking the streets of a small Long Island town. The woman took the dog to her house and tracked down the dog’s owners. The owners told the Good Samaritan they were in the midst of a divorce and if she wanted, she should keep the dog. It’s hard to imagine people ditching their dog like that. Don’t we think of them as part of the family? And I would have thought at least one of them would have wanted the dog to help get through the divorce. (Sounds to me like the dog was better off without them.)
A woman I know, Shelia, recently inherited a miniature dachshund named Sugar from a family who had left Sugar in her care while they spent six months traveling through Europe. When they returned, they decided Sugar was too much of a responsibility and made it too hard for them to take off and spend months at a time abroad. It was a good thing really because after six months Sugar and Shelia had become inseparable. Shelia had gone so far as to sneak Sugar once into a Broadway play. Talk about devotion! That was pretty daring. I wonder what would have happened if Sugar had barked.
Although we live in New York City, Huck came to us from a woman who lives in Florida, all because Michael fell in love with Huck’s half-brother, Rocket, who lives with a family in our building. Another of those meant-to-be people-dog friendships. And once we had him, it became impossible for us to imagine life without him.
April 4, 2010
I wish Huck had come to live with us before I was diagnosed with breast cancer instead of after the treatments were over. I could have used his sweet gazes, affectionate nuzzling, tireless loyalty, and all his other quiet, welcome, warm comforts when I was stumbling through chemotherapy and radiation and trying to keep the demons at bay.
But waiting for Huck through the long months of treatments gave everyone in my family, especially my then 12-year-old son, Michael, something extraordinary to think about. It was a lot more fun talking about where Huck would sleep than when I was going to go bald. In our waiting for Huck, and after he arrived, Huck became a true symbol of life.
I know people who have gotten dogs for all kinds of reasons. We got Huck originally to satisfy my son’s endless longing. (Michael tells people it only took him seven years of begging to get a dog.) I wish it had not taken me so long to understand how important that need was. And I had no idea what a life-affirming blessing it was going to be for us all
What made you get your dog? Has your dog ever helped you through a particularly difficult time in life? Tell me your story. And send me your dog’s picture. firstname.lastname@example.org
April 4, 2010
I did. It turned out to be a harrowing yet life affirming adventure. Strangers opened their hearts to me, my husband Rich, and our son Michael as we searched for our lost puppy, Huck, missing in the foothills of a mountainous region, where dangers of all kinds —- from wild animals to swamps — were lurking. I’ve written all about it in my book, Huck, which will be published September 28, 2010.
Writing Huck inspired me to start this blog, a place where others can tell their own lost dog stories (cats and birds too). If your dog is still lost, maybe you will meet a community of strangers here who will help you find your dog. If your dog has been found, your story will inspire others.
Anyone who has ever counted a dog among the members of their household knows that even the most well-trained dog, the most loyal pal, still has a mind of his or her own and might one day decide to explore the world beyond the confines of the backyard. Lost forever or happily reunited, a runaway dog is a heart-sinking experience.
Our little Huck was only eight months old and weighed only nine pounds when he ran away in a densely wooded area where bears and coyotes and birds of prey were known to stalk. In our frantic search for him, my family and I were constantly surprised by the generosity of the people we met. We learned important lessons about family, community, hope, and the enormous kindness of strangers.
Our story is an incredible tale, one that I still can’t believe myself. I’ll talk more about it in my next postings, (and I hope you’ll read the full story in Huck).
Right now, please tell us your lost pet story, past or present. And if your pet is still lost, let’s see if we can start a community of people that can help.
Write to me. I want to hear about what happened to you! Leave a comment or email email@example.com.
“This story takes place in the most familiar places – a doctor’s office, a family’s kitchen, a suburban high school, and the woods out back. It’s a modern-day myth that happened to be true. It’s a story in which wonderful things occurred because people believed in themselves and in each other. It’s a story about the power of love to change our world.”
— Caroline Kennedy
“Janet Elder’s wonderful story of Huck reminds us that the best stories about dogs are really about people or, in this case, community. Few things in America these days can bring people together more than a shared love of dogs. Dogs enter our lives for all kinds of reasons, and Huck entered Janet Elder’s life for one of the most important. This is a wonderful story, gripping and heartwaming. And I can’t say I’ve ever read a dog story with a more meaningful or uplifting ending. You are likely to cry some happy tears.”
— Jon Katz
“This dog story made me feel good about people, families, and New Jersey.”
— Roy Blount Jr.
“Janet Elder and her family fell in love with their dog Huck…you’ll fall in love with them. A wonderful, inspiring book.”
— Deirdre Imus
“Puppies have always been better than people. Now comes a book where a puppy makes people better people. Pet it, feed it, even read it. You'll love it---and become a better person.”
— Dan Jenkins sportswriter/novelist
“A story of how healing the love of a pet can be and of faith that good things can still happen when people pull together – a true, feel-good read.”
— Patricia Cornwell author of the Scarpetta series and dog lover
“Huck is the Dewey of the canine world. The dog is a delight-- even my cat Norton would have been charmed (after a hiss or two) -- and the book itself is lovely and inspiring. I rate it 5 barks.”
— Peter Gethers author of The Cat Who Went to Paris and The Cat Who’ll Live Forever