Pets are part of the family!  That is what I want everyone to take away from my children’s book, “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover.”  When you adopt a pet, you adopt a best friend and family member for the life of that animal.

Like us humans, dogs and cats come in all shapes, sizes, colors and personalities, so it’s important to consider your lifestyle before adopting so that you choose a pet who will fit in nicely.  If you don’t have a lot of time to spend brushing your cat, a Ragdoll may not be the best breed for you.  If your dog will be left home alone for endless hours in an apartment, you’d do best to select a dog that doesn’t bay and howl like a Beagle.  Puppies and kittens are precious, but they require ’round-the-clock feedings, house-breaking, socialization and training.  Learning basic breed traits and tuning into each animal’s unique attributes is imperative for a happy home life for you and the pet you adopt!  Training and nurturing can make a world of difference, but if you don’t exercise an active dog, you’re setting him up to fail as a good member of the family.  When animals fail because humans do not take the time to teach them manners, provide sufficient exercise or spend quality time socializing and stimulating them, the animal becomes the victim ending up at a Shelter or worse.

Animals are our teachers.  From them we learn to live in the moment, take time to daydream, stay curious, be true to who we are, not worry about what is to come and so much more.   Animals take time to play and recharge their souls.  They don’t hold a grudge nor do they judge others based on the color of their fur or the roof over their head. I often think of the dog who has had a leg amputated and he makes do like he’s not missing a thing.  He doesn’t carry the baggage of worrying other animals are going to think he’s inadequate — he just lives! Animals find ways to contentment and peace, and we’d do well to learn from them.

Have you ever had a dog look you in the eye with adoration like you were the most amazing creature ever?  I have, and although I try not to let it go to my head LOL, it is an incredible feeling, to be loved so unconditionally, without judgment!

Sure two-legged and four-legged, we all judge to some degree —

“Is it going to be chilly?  I better bring a jacket.”

“If I don’t do my homework, mom is going to be mad.”

“If I give her my big brown eyes and wag my fluffy tail, I’m sure to get a treat.”

This kind of judging however, helps us make good decisions.  The kind that does not hurts our fellow man and animal kind as we base our opinions on superficial criteria.  Psychologists say that people often dislike in others those traits they themselves possess.  It’s unfortunate that we fault others for being like us, or even worse…for being different!  Has anyone ever rolled their eyes at you because of the outfit you wore?  Some people think that those of us with blonde hair aren’t the brightest; that senior citizens are grumpy and can’t work computers; that people who don’t speak the same language they do are stupid.  They are wrong, and so are the people who cringe at the sight of a large dog or mention of a specific breed; who think black coated pets are bad luck or who won’t adopt a senior dog or cat thinking he isn’t as cute as a puppy or kitten.

Senior pets have so much love to give and deserve to live out their golden years loved.  Black coated animals are just as playful and lovable and all breeds can be amazing if they are in turn nurtured and treated with kindness.

Through the eyes of fictional characters (drawn by my good friend and fellow dog mom Lili Chin), my goal with “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” is to entertain while making even the most jaded of us take notice of any indiscretions we may show in the unfair judging of an individual, two-legged or four-legged, based solely on the way they appear to our eyes and misguided opinions.  Being a long-time rescuer, Pet First-Aid & CPR Instructor, Dog Mom to Seniors and Animal Care Teacher to teens, I try to open people’s eyes to all we can do to make our pets live longer, happier, healthier lives, and I hope readers (whether they are 0 or 99) will see just how much pets do for us too.  My heart beats dog, so it is my wish that all who learn of Mary-Alice and her other adventures yet to come, will embrace what adoption is all about…making sure every pet becomes a fur-ever part of the famil


and also check out the sequel, “Start Off on the Right Paw.”  The third installment will hit shelves Fall 2018!


And please catch my VLOG on this topic at