This week’s column is a liddle different: I was assigned to attend an Author Event at the Vero Beach Book Center. No Woof.
“Why?” you ask. Cuz the author is a dog: Tucker Cameron. He’s a ghost writer for his Dad, W. Bruce Cameron. Tucker’s written a buncha dog books. The most famous is “A Dog’s Purpose,” which you probly heard of. The New York Times (a paper like ours, but a liddle bigger) had it on the Bestseller List for 7 Dog Years, and it’s also a hit (4-hankie) movie.
“The story’s VERY inspirational. It’s about this loveable, devoted dog who wants to know his Purpose in Life, an finds it by being reincarnated (yep, I Googled) as different dogs, with different humans, over 50 human years. Along the way, he learns, and shares, Life’s Greatest Lessons, such as ‘true love never dies,’ and ‘our real friends are always there for us, if we know where to look.’”
There were lots of humans at the Book Center, grown-ups an kids; an Road Runner, a rescue Shih Tzu from the HALO shelter. While Tucker’s Dad was talkin’ to the humans, I was ushered back to The Special Room Behind the Bookshelves to innerview Tucker. I felt Very Important, an a liddle nervous. I know we’re fellow writers, but still …
Tucker was middle-size; creamy/gold; free-style hair-do. Very cordial. Trotted right up for the Wag-n-Sniff. “Hey there, Bonz! Glad you could make it. I’m Tucker Cameron. It’s a pleasure.”
“Likewise! You’re my first author! I really appreciate your time!”
“Not a problem. I’ll start yappin’ an you just jump in with questions. Hows that?”
“First off, I’ll just say I am of suspect DNA – possibly terrier with one or two scoops of poodle. Me an my newborn siblings were heartlessly stuffed in a box an dropped off outside the Denver animal shelter. It was cold an we were still blind as bats. (That harrowing start became the inspiration for my novel, ‘The Dogs of Christmas.’ But I digress.) Anyway, my future human sister Georgia Lee runs another, no-kill shelter in Denver an, thank Lassie, she scooped us up and saved our lives. You see, being newborn, we still needed Mommy Milk, and there was a mother pooch at her shelter who’d just weaned her own puppies an had extra, so she shared with us. After all this time, I still remember how warm an soft she was, an how she snuggled us an licked us like we were her very own puppies. And how we all fell asleep with happy tummies. She took care of us ’til we were ready to find Forever Families.
“Well, Georgia Lee has this amazing gift for matching pooches with humans and, somehow, she knew me an her Dad would be a perfect match. Even though he was in California at the time (we’re bi-coastal), she said ‘no problem!’ and delivered me to him and Mom (Mom is Cathryn Michon).
“We all survived ‘Puppy Training in a High Rise,’ and I’ve been in charge of the house ever since. Once in a while, there are small differences, but Dad always comes around. For example, one day he ree-lized he’d been paying more for my food than his. So he went out an got The Dry Stuff. THE DRY STUFF! Well, the first time I stuck my nose in the dish I’m like, ‘What the fluff is THIS?’ An he’s like, ‘Why didn’t you TELL me you could TALK before?’ An I’m like, ‘There’s never been a problem before.’ So that was that.
“My Dad REALLY loves dogs. Here’s how he described meeting his first dog. ‘I was probably 8 years old, playing in the back yard, when my dad opened the gate and in rushed a 9-week-old Labrador puppy. I fell to my knees and spread my arms and that dog leaped into them as if we had loved each other our whole lives.”
“Woof! I see what you mean.” I was moved.
“Dad kept on lovin’ dogs, an he was also comPELLED to tell stories. He’s been a writer his whole life and he’s written a buncha of non-dog books, too. He’s really hilarious, for a human. He writes stuff like, ‘How could you not adore an animal who senses when your day is not going well and tries to cheer you up by dumping a sodden tennis ball in your lap?’
“So when did you ree-lize YOU’RE a writer, too?”
“Being around Dad all the time, I started thinkin’ like him. An he started thinkin’ like me. I come up with cool story ideas an share ’em with him. We’ve written a lotta books for grown-ups an liddle humans: ‘A Dog’s Journey,’ ‘The Dogs of Christmas,’ ‘A Dog’s Way Home,’ ‘Max’s Story,’ ‘Ellie’s Story,’ ‘Molly’s Story’ an lots more. I’m happy I had a paw in makin’ Dad the success he is today. My favorite book is ‘A Dog’s Purpose.’ It really gives humans a look into how we dogs think.
“On the road, Dad’s the one who gives these presentations, cuz there’s usually more humans than dogs attending. Plus, he’s way better at signing books. I tend to smudge ’em.”
“What was it like, makin’ the MOO-vie?”
“Totally PAWSOME! Mom’s a screenwriter, and, of course, me an Dad wrote the book, so we were out in Hollywood a lot. It was aMAZing. We worked with the producer, director and the human and dog actors. I had to keep reminding Dad that we were there to work, cuz he kept tumbling around with the dogs. I even had a role in the movie myself,” he added casually.
“Yep. I had a walk-on in one of the dog park scenes. An I was READY! Hey, you know Hollywood. You gotta be on top of your game every single second.”
I didn’t, but I nodded. He lowered his voice.
“I’m really 8 years old, but I SAY I’m 6. I think I can pull it off, don’t you?”
“Oh, absoLUTEly. You look MARvelous!”
Heading home, I was thinking that we, as fellow dogs, should always remember: “Every dog happens for a reason.”
Till next time,