Archive for January, 2015

Website down

Friends: My website is under construction for two weeks (bigger and better). Therefore, The Bog, The Legend of Man’s Best Friend,photo(43) cannot be purchased from that site. In the meantime please go to Amazon:
http://tinyurl.com/lujua7h to purchase. Thanks, John

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The most difficult dogs to train…

My next blog, coming soon, The Most Difficult Dogs To Train. You might be surprised at who gets picked! I’ll announce it here. Stay tuned.IMG_1832

My life with dogs, take 3-3

Friends: I have decided to share with you My Life With Dogs. The Blogs taken from my book, 14000 Dogs Later, may be one page at a time, or more. I don’t want to dump too much on you at a time. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to make comments here, or on my Face Book or Twitter account. Best, John
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/johnprestonsmith
Twitter: @PrestonBooksCarley n Raven
The Prophecy of Canine, or, how it all began…I think
“…in an ultimate test, Canine had to prove his friendship and dedication to his man-friend by giving his life in the most dastardly of circumstances…fire.”

I cannot verify that the following tale is true. On the surface it seems highly improbable, questions man’s individuality as the only soul-owner, and may border on lunacy. If, on the other hand, you have personally encountered the blessings of this creature, if you have been touched by God’s most compassionate hand, if this creation has entered your life, then for you, the improbable has become a reality. Read on, my friend, this story is for you.

Although it is impossible to identify the exact year, 1000 BC seems likely. At that time the animal kingdom realized that Man was God’s creature of choice and that the only way of becoming a part of the eternal plan was through an alliance with this two-footed being. And so the Commune of All summoned a representative of every species. All would be given the opportunity to present their case as to why they should be chosen to approach the Almighty, asking to be the one to stand equal to Man.

“I am king of the jungle,” said Lion. “It is I that should approach the Powerful One. I will demand to be Man’s earthly companion.”

“And how would you present our case?” asked Wolf.

Said Lion, “I will show my power with a roar never before heard.”

“But that sound was given you by the Powerful One. That will only strike fear into the heart of the one we want to befriend.”

Rhino, that thick-skinned beast of the wild spoke next. “Who could withstand the menace of my charge? I will challenge the Powerful One.”

“Challenge, you say.” Wolf shook his head. “That is not the approach we seek.”

“He will shrink at the sight of my commanding tusks, the stomp of my massive feet, and the wail of my voice,” said elephant.

“Not so,” said wolf.

Then, for the next seven hours, animals of each species demanded to be heard.

Many, satisfied with their stead in life, defended why they should not be chosen to appear before The Commander of All. “I’m okay, I’m okay,” said these.

Many demanded, based on their singular supremacy, such as the Lion, Bull Elephant, Rhino, and Baboon, that a Committee of Power should represent all others.

Those remaining could see both sides and could make no decision what-so-ever.

Finally, one alone remained.

“How speak you?” asked wolf.

Canine walked forward, his head lowered by the weight of his thoughts, his body arched in frustration, his tail submissively dragging the ground. He stood before the assembly, slowly gathering his thoughts before he spoke. “Has not The Powerful One chosen Man as the ruler of the earth world?”

“That is true,” responded wolf.

“Then, we are not looking to replace Man.”

“That too is true.”

“Rather, we are looking for a place at the side of Man,” Canine offered, meekly.

The Commune of All quieted. And as each could, reasoned that Canine spoke what they all felt but had not been able to voice.

“What is it that you would do?” asked wolf.

“What is it that you would have me do?” asked Canine.

And then, throughout the night, Canine listened to his friends in order to prepare to approach the Holder of All Power.

More humbly than when he had first spoke, the Lion said to Canine, “I offer to share with you the goodness of my strength.”

The Lamb offered meekness.

The giraffe offered surveillance.

The deer offered submissiveness.

The sparrow offered kindness.

The cat offered indecision…it was the best he could tender.

Many others spoke as well.

Canine listened to his friends, humbly accepting what each had to offer.

When morning came, everyone exhausted, slept…except Canine. He wandered the forest, lost in reflection, wondering at his difficulty. “What is the matter with me?” he asked the trees and grass and wind. “Who am I to approach the Lord God? Why would He listen to me? Why would Man listen to me? What is it that I really have to offer that Man needs? I cannot offer wealth, material goods, or success? I can only offer friendship, and loyalty, and dedication…things that Man can get from other Men.”

“Maybe Man is in need of you as much as you are of him?” said Tree.

“But why would Man have need of animals?” replied Canine.

“Did you not just mention friendship, and loyalty, and dedication?” said Flower.

“But his friends…?” questioned Canine.

“Man’s friends are not always friends. They are not always loyal. Their allegiance at times is weak,” said Wind. “You are the true representative of all species of animals, the true definition of friend. How could the maker of trees, and flowers, and wind not listen? And since He made of you what you are, since He is the Knower of All Things, maybe at this very moment, He is anxiously awaiting your knock at the door of the Great Mansion.”

As Wind had been speaking, Canine’s stature grew. The double coat of hair covering his body glistened as if freshly oiled. His ears stood erect, his chest expanded, his tail straightened, its tip barely touching the grass of Mother Earth. His proud figure offered strength, confidence, and humility.

He returned to the Commune of All…as all had awaited his return.

“If the Maker of all Things will grant me an audience, I will represent each of you as best I can,” he said. “Further,” he continued as he surveyed the kingdom of animals, “are we in agreement to support, without question, the decision of our King?”

There were no dissenters.

“Thank you,” said Canine. Then, nothing left to say, he left the forest, his friends, and his home, setting out on a journey that would forever affect the future of both canine and human alike.

Stories abound regarding the meeting of Canine and his Maker. Some say God tested Canine with such commands as “fetch” and “speak” and “sit” and “stay.” Further, it is said, that Canine had to survive without food and water, had to endure cold and rain, was caged, chained, and physically abused. Finally, in an ultimate test, Canine had to prove his friendship and dedication to man by giving his life in the most dastardly of circumstances, by fire.

Therefore, it was not Canine that returned to the forest of the Commune of All. Rather, it was an Angel of the Lord. “Canine has been chosen,” the Angel said. “He has proved himself beyond all doubt. It is he that is to help Man through the difficulties of life. He came to the Maker, however, buoyed by each of your gifts. And because of that Community Offering I bring you these words from your Maker. He thanks you and promises to watch over you, even unto the smallest of his feathered friends. And secondly, it is your love of one another that has touched your Maker. And so, your brother Canine returns to you.”

With that said the Angel faded, as did the aura of light that had enveloped him.

The quiet of the moment froze all. No one breathed, nor moved, nor blinked.

And then, what seemed far in the distance was a Call of the Wild. And as it grew stronger, carried by wind whipping through the trees, every animal joined in a cacophony of sound whose beauty surely carried to the ear of the Lord.

And when Canine burst from the forest floor and into the midst of his animal friends there was, it is said, a celebration beyond imagination.

But than again, maybe it’s just a story!

I support the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital in Huntington, W V through the proceeds from: The Bog, The Legend of Man’s Best Friend. At Amazon.com:  http://tinyurl.com/lujua7h Please volunteer!

I’m leavin’

As soon as the weather breaks…I’m leavin”!IMG_0490

Kirkus Book Review, The Bog, The Legend of Man’s Best Friend

KIRKUS REVIEW

A short, sweet novel from Smith (Murder on the Trap, 2011, etc.) about the mysterious relationship between man and beast.

When Bill hears the cries of a wounded dog coming from a dark, swampy area of his rural property, he feels compelled to help. In doing so, he sets off a chain of mystical events in which the animals of the bog start behaving very oddly indeed. Oddest of all, Bill hears a wolf speak to him. Initially inclined to deny the experience, Bill is lured back to the bog by his longing to understand the true nature of dogs: is it possible they could speak with humans? Do they have souls? The rest of the book revolves around Bill’s attempts to answer these questions, with Christian themes shaping the narrative. Bill, who is particularly disturbed by the Bible’s apparent claim that dogs cannot go to heaven, struggles to reconcile Christian teachings with his belief that dogs are “a species that was personally selected by God to watch over us.” Bill’s musings are folksy and conversational, sprinkled with homespun wisdom: “Expectations are like the edge of a mountain we force ourselves to walk to…not knowing until we get there whether we’ll take that extra step or not.” Such asides and digressions drag the narrative down at times, taking readers out of the action at crucial moments. The plot itself is straightforward and never builds much tension; the story’s momentum is derived more from Bill’s internal spiritual journey than from his experiences out in the bog. That journey, though, is sincere and thoughtful. Bill’s love of dogs and other animals is affectingly immense; he even suggests an amendment to the Bible to provide for the afterlives of dogs. Animal lovers concerned with the same Christian dilemmas will be especially drawn to Bill’s story, but any reader may find bits of inspiration. “How,” Bill asks, “would your world…be affected if, upon waking tomorrow morning, there were no dogs in the world?” It’s a question that will speak to many, and Smith’s book is a worthwhile meditation on its answer.

A passionate ode to dogs and their people, with little plot and lots of heart.

Sore shins?

During the Middle Ages, Europeans used powdered wolf liver to ease the pain of childbirth and would tie a wolf’s right front paw around a sore throat to reduce the swelling. Dried wolf meat was also eaten as a remedy for sore shins. (Random Facts)two wolves

The Akita

The Akita is one of the most challenging dogs to own. Some insurance companies have even characterized it as the #1 “bad dog” and may even raise an Akita owner’s homeowner insurance costs…what do you think?Akita