Categories
Book Reviews

The Prehistoric Dog Ump and His Motley Crew

This blog is primarily about Leonbergers and our late Leonberger Bronco as well as the book I wrote about him and his dog friends. However, sometimes I review other Leonberger books and other great books. This time I am reviewing Laws of Nature, the second book in the Dawn of Humanity series – July 3rd, 2021, by Jacqui Murray. This paperback is 307 pages, 978-1942101604, item weight 14.6 ounces pounds, dimensions 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches. You can buy it from, for example, Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as a paperback or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $15.99 on Amazon.

Not only is this book great Historical Fiction but it was released July 3rd on my best friend’s birthday. I am talking about Bronco, or Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, our late Leonberger. The pre-historic canine in this book, Ump reminds me of Bronco. I feel there is a special connection. Reading this book was a great joy. I wrote a review on Amazon, which can be found here (Lucy, Ump and their motley crew survive in brutal pre-historic times), as well as on my social media. Here I am presenting a reworked version of the same review. From now on I will be focusing on her next book “Natural Selection” in her Dawn of Humanity series. I recommend that you read all three books. Who knows what will come next?

Photo of the front cover of the book Laws of Nature by Jacqui Murray. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the book.
Front cover of the book Laws of Nature by Jacqui Murray. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the book.

Lucy, Ump and their motley crew survive in brutal pre-historic times

The story follows Lucy, a Homo Habilis woman who lived 1.8 million years ago, her tribe, and her canine companion Ump. Lucy’s tribe is attacked by a tribe of Homo Erectus, and we follow them as they migrate across Africa. They have to fight for their survival in various ways, finding food, finding shelter, fighting off saber tooth tigers, other dangerous animals as well as hostile tribes. Fortunately, Lucy is a special kind of pre-historic woman, a healer, a hunter, clever and wise.

I know a little bit about human pre-history, but I am not an expert. However, I find the author’s depictions of life in the early Quaternary quite believable and fascinating. Like Jean M Auel before her, Jaqui Murray has done her research. At the beginning of the book, she is explaining the background, the groups, what the various animals are, etc. This helps readers understand what is going on. It is especially helpful to readers who did not read the first book, Born in a Treacherous Time. I also highly recommend this book.

I was especially intrigued by Ump. Ump is a large pre-historic canine who became one of Lucy’s companions. Ump is friendly, he is brave, and he is very loving and protective of Lucy and her group. Ump is able to communicate with the hominids using body language in  a manner that reminds me of how dogs do that today. It is amazing how much you can say using body language and how this translates across species boundaries. I see this with my dogs today. If you pay attention there’s so much a dog can tell you.

Ump reminded me of our late Leonberger Bronco. Like Ump Bronco was friendly, brave, protective and he loved his family. Like Ump he saved the lives of fellow family members a few times, and he chased off threating people. Like Ump he was a good communicator using body language, growls, grunts and barks, and like Ump he was in tune with the feelings of his family. Reading about Ump and other canines in this book was a joy.

Another thing I think the book makes clear is that even though diversity makes communication more challenging it makes for a stronger group. A group that is homogenous might be great for defense temporarily, but to venture out, to seek new pastures, to survive the unfamiliar you need diversity; and thus, we have Lucy’s and Ump’s diverse group. Ump’s canine skills, Boah’s special skills with traveling through the canopy, and the skills of the different hominid races and their experiences, all within Lucy’s small group allow them to survive challenges beyond what you can expect to be bearable.

This book is full of action-packed adventure. The stories are not only thrilling but imaginative, captivating, and full of surprises. This book feature some quite unexpected and surprising but credible plot twists towards the end. I love it when story lines are coming together in surprising but logical ways that you do not expect. The book also introduces some new characters, one of them “Wild”, which was, well quite wild to say the least. I highly recommend this book, but now I will focus on her next book “Natural Selection”.

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Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

This is an image of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is an image of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is an image showing the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Bronco's Adventures

Dogs Who Hate Mailmen

Our Leonberger Bronco (Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle) barked at mailmen but he did not hate them. He got along well with them when he met them. His sibling Baylor the Labrador was a different story. Even though Baylor was a friendly and sweet dog he was not friendly towards mailmen. Baylor stood in the window, he saw the mailman come, mess with our mailbox, and as Baylor barked frenetically, the mailman fled in his white squarish looking get a way car with blue letters. It happened every day! Baylor might have thought that he saved our lives every day.

Close up photo of Baylor our Labrador
Close up photo of Baylor our Labrador

I have an interesting fun fact about one of the prominent characters in the Leonberger community, Robert Beutelspacher. He was the Zuchtbuchführer (breed registrar) and later President of the DCLH (Deutsche Club für Leonberger Hunde), and was the one got the meticulous recording of Leonbergers started. Robert Beutelspacher was also a mailman and he had to deal with attacking dogs in his line of work. Hopefully no Leonbergers. He helped advertise a spray that harmlessly deterred attacking dogs, a pioneering product.

Photo of Baylor left (Labrador, or Labrador mix) and Baby right (German Shepherd).
Baylor (Labrador, or Labrador mix) and Baby (German Shepherd).
Photo of Bronco, at three months old at the time the photo above was taken. He wouldn’t sit still with Baylor and Baby, so he got his own photo.
Bronco, three months old at the time the photo above was taken. He wouldn’t sit still with Baylor and Baby, so he got his own photo.

Below is a snippet from my book. Baylor went after a mailman, and it could have ended in disaster.

Well . . . Baylor wasn’t always friendly. There was one exception to his affability: the mailman, his only enemy. Baylor must have considered the daily act of putting mail in our mailbox a sign of aggression. Every time the mailman came, Baylor barked loudly and threateningly. Perhaps he thought he was saving us from grave potential danger.

One day while the mailman’s truck was stopped in front of our mailbox, I opened the front door—I don’t remember why. Like a bolt out of the blue, Baylor ran through the opening and charged the truck. I did not expect this to happen at all. The window of the truck was open, and, to my astonishment, Baylor jumped inside. I expected certain disaster to unfold before my eyes—injuries, expensive lawsuits, prison: maybe we would be banned from receiving mail ever again. This time it wasn’t the pit-bull-owning woman who was ashamed: it was I. (note: this is referring to another unrelated incident when we were attacked by an unleashed dog).

In a panic, I dashed toward the truck. But just as fast as he had jumped into it, Baylor jumped back out. He looked confused. He slowly walked back toward me, completely calm, and I realized that there was no one in the truck. Then I saw the mailman standing at my next-door neighbor’s house ringing the doorbell. Baylor hadn’t noticed him, and he hadn’t noticed Baylor. I quickly and carefully approached Baylor, grabbed his collar, and took him inside. No one but I had seen what had happened. No one but I knew how close we were to disaster.

I learned a lesson that day that I will never forget. I also developed an immense respect for letter carriers and the sacrifice they make every day to bring us mail.

Photo of Baylor our Labrador
Baylor our Labrador

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Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

This is an image of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is an image of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is an image showing the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Book Reviews

Cover Reveal for Secrets in the Blood by Unity Hayes

As mentioned before sometimes I make posts not directly related to Leonberger dogs and today I am making a cover reveal posts for a young and talented author by the name Unity Hayes.

Photo of Kymber Hawke alias Unity Hayes
Unity Hayes

Unity is the author of Secrets in the Blood (mystery/romance – August 1, 2013). She has been writing since the age of 15 and has always dreamed of telling stories through the craft of writing. Unity is a Registered Nurse that enjoys small town living, antiquing, and spending time with her family.

Image of the cover for the book Secrets of the Blood.
Cover for the book Secrets in the Blood.

Secrets have been buried in a steel town for many years, but someone is about to blow the lid off them and rock this little town. Cassidy loves her life just the way it is. But when mysterious and good looking West arrives, her world is turned upside-down. West carries the secrets of the steel town. Cassidy is attracted to the stranger but a relationship seems impossible as West’s accusations make him appear crazy and bodies start to pile up. No one wants to believe West; can Cassidy let her feelings go and trust him? Who is the killer? How many bodies will pile up before the biggest secret of all is revealed?

Prologue:

The bedroom was dark except for the muted yellow glow from the hall table lamp. Although subdued, the light was bright enough to stab through the partially open doorway like a spear. It cast a pie-shaped beam just inside on the thick blue carpeting. But the rest of the room remained dim and sinister as if the light had been swallowed by it.

Thump.

The wind howled mercilessly as fat raindrops spattered against the second story window.

Eight-year-old Kenton turned restlessly in his bed, his pillow falling to the floor with a gentle thud. Somewhere, deep within the bowels of the cavernous house, a woman moaned.

Or perhaps it was only the wind again.

Thump. Thump.

Kenton awoke with a start, sitting up suddenly and rubbing the sleep from his blinking brown eyes. Had he heard something? He kicked frantically at the bedcovers, his thin legs hopelessly entangled in them during his brief and fitful sleep.

Thump.

It was louder, closer. How many times had his child’s imagination conjured up images of monsters in that house? That colossal, hulking ogre of a house. He feared that one day he would disappear; be swallowed up and forever lost in the startling noises it made at night and the menacing shadows present in every corner.

He wanted his mother. She would smile at him and tell him there were no monsters. She would look in his closet and under the bed and tousle his curly brown hair playfully as she tucked him back into bed. She would sit with him until his breathing became even and steady and she knew for certain that he was asleep again.

Finally freed of his bedding, Kenton peered through the ominous shadows at his younger brother’s bed. Shane wasn’t there. Kenton rubbed his eyes again as if that would make Shane reappear. Dropping his bare feet to the floor, he padded cautiously to the door. The door that would either lead him to his mother…or to the terrible noise he had heard.

He wiped his sweaty palms on his pajama pants and waited a moment before pushing the six panel oak door open the rest of the way. The door squeaked lightly on its hinges, but the sound seemed to reverberate through the entire estate like an endless echo. He stood in the open doorway as if frozen, not wanting to look into the corridor. Waiting. Listening. The feeling of dread began to build in him, rolling in his stomach and threatening to explode out of his mouth into a terrified scream.

He hesitated for what seemed to be hours, and then stepped into the soft light of the immense hallway like a dead person would step toward the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. With cold sweaty beads trickling down hisback, he couldn’t shake the eerie feeling creeping over his flesh. He shuddered.

Walking a few feet down, again out of the light but toward his mother’s room, Kenton breathed a soft sigh when he saw Shane. The four-year-old was seated on the floor at the edge of the balcony, completely unmoving, even at Kenton’s approach. His feet, as his older brother’s, were bare, his bony legs dangling through the spindle railing. As if entranced, his black-as-pitch eyes stared oddly downward into the dark, marble floored foyer below.

A chill from an unknown source prickled the hairs on the back of Kenton’s neck. Something was dreadfully wrong. Silently, his stomach tensing into a knot, he sat beside the younger boy and squinted into the murkiness beyond the balcony. He could see nothing except the faint shape of the mahogany fern stand by the powder room door. The bulky fern, barely discernible, looked to Kenton like a crazy octopus, arms waving, ready to eat them if they ventured downstairs. He looked anxiously at his brother again. Shane seemed mesmerized, watching fixedly as if he could actually se something.

Kenton tried to follow the intense stare. There was no sound now. No light. No movement in the foyer. Only silence. A frightening silence that chilled his blood.

“Momma’s gone,” Shane whispered so softly, Kenton wondered if he’d actually heard the small boy speak at all.

“What?” Kenton whispered back fiercely, his emotions completely unraveling by Shane’s disturbing stare into the blackness below them. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the railing and strained once again, hoping to see what so steadfastly held his brother’s attention.

Slowly, his pale face a mask of deep shock and horror, his onyx eyes glittering in the hall light, Shane turned to face Kenton. “Momma’s gone. Daddy killed her.”

Image of the cover for the book Secrets of the blood. Click on the image to the Amazon page for the book.
Secrets in the blood. Click on the image to the Amazon page for the book.

You can find her book here

Categories
Bronco's Adventures

Our Pug Daisy is Now 14 Years Old

Yesterday was Daisy’s 14th birthday. We did not get around to celebrating it until today. Without our Leonberger Bronco it might never have come to pass. That’s because he saved her life from an attacking unleashed German Shepherd a few years ago. Bronco got in between him and his little sister Daisy. In the process he got bit in the leg where he had just had surgery, but he saved her life, and here we are.

Photo of our Pug Daisy with her princess crown and Happy Birthday Cookie.
It is Daisy’s 14th birthday. Look at her princess crown.
Photo of our Pug Daisy and her brother Rollo a mini-Australian Shepherd. They are sharing the Happy Birthday Cookie.
Daisy and Rollo (mini-Australian Shepherd). It is Daisy’s 14th birthday.
Another photo of our Pug Daisy and her brother Rollo a mini-Australian Shepherd. They are sharing the Happy Birthday Cookie.
Daisy and Rollo. It is Daisy’s 14th birthday.
Photo of Daisy our pug from four years ago when she had her 10th birthday. We had our Leonberger Bronco then and he is right next to her. They had hot dogs back then.
Daisy’s 10th birthday, four years ago. Bronco our Leonberger is celebrating with her. This was before we had Rollo.

Below is a snippet from the book that is about Daisy. I should add that at the time we did not have Rollo, but we had another small dog, Ryu, a Japanese Chin who loved both Bronco and Daisy.

All our children were allowed to choose a dog when they were growing up—but only when they were old enough to understand that it’s a big responsibility. Jacob picked Bronco, Rachel picked Ryu, and David, our middle child, picked Daisy, a pug. However, our dogs were never just birthday presents. We made sure everyone understood that getting a dog is a years-long commitment that cannot be reversed. We needed to make sure we could give each dog a good life before we would consider making this commitment.

Photo of Daisy when she was younger. She has her tongue out. For Daisy, it’s tongue-out Tuesday every day.
For Daisy, it’s tongue-out Tuesday every day.

Daisy arrived the year after we got Ryu. Like Ryu, she was purchased at Petland (not good, see book). Daisy is now thirteen years old and in good health at the time of this writing. She’s an easygoing, funny dog with an unusually long tongue, and everyone loves her, dogs as well as people. When it comes to being liked, she doesn’t have to try—she’s a natural. Ryu and Daisy would become best friends, but they also got along well with our other dogs. Daisy loved to follow Ryu around, and together they often trailed Bronco wherever he went. Pugs are not very energetic or fast, but they have easygoing and cheerful personalities. When the other dogs were being annoying, she liked to hide under chairs and tables to avoid getting involved.

Daisy is a bit of couch potato—a very sweet couch potato. She sits on the sofa most of the day, watching TV or looking out the window. She barks at dogs on TV or passersby outside, but other than that she doesn’t move much. She likes to snuggle, sit in your lap, and sleep with her head resting on your leg or arm. What with our beds, the dog beds, the sofas, and our backyard, she sure has a lot of places to relax. The only thing missing is her glass of wine.

Photo of Daisy hanging on the sofa looking exhausted.
Daisy rests after an exhausting day on the bed and sofa, not quite finished doing nothing.

Ryu used to get jealous when other dogs gave Daisy attention, or so it seemed. For example, he would become hostile to any dog in the dog park who began playing with Daisy. What can I say? She’s Miss Congeniality.

Daisy is the only dog I’ve met who really enjoys sunbathing. Our backyard isn’t exactly Playa Grande, but she frequently goes outside and lies down on her back. While our other dogs easily get too hot outside, she just soaks up the sun.

Daisy our pub sunbathing on the pavement.
When it’s hot outside, Daisy loves to sunbathe.
Daisy our pug sitting in front of a heating vent.
When it’s cold, she sits in front of the heating vents.

Other than following Ryu out on an adventure a couple of times and running out to say hello to Lily, a pug mix who used to live across the street, Daisy will not wander off. On the few occasions she did, we just called her back. She likes being home; she likes the couch and the safety of our house. And while our other dogs sometimes ignored our commands, Daisy never does. Another thing that’s different about her is that she doesn’t like cheese.

Ryu, too, loved the security of the house. In fact every time we made preparations to travel, he and Daisy seemed to sense it. As soon as we so much as took out our suitcases, they knew what was going on. You could see it in their faces and in the way they behaved. They were a bit sad.

One time, as we were packing our bags, we turned around and saw the scene I captured in the photo on below. How would you interpret this? Was it a protest? Did they want to come with us? Maybe both.

Our Japanese Chin Ryu and our Pug Daisy sitting in our red suitcase. It looks like they are protesting.
Ryu and Daisy didn’t want us to leave for our trip.

In what may have been a sign of anxiety during our absence, we once came home from a brief family outing and Daisy greeted us at the front door with a tissue box over her head. While we had been gone, she had somehow gotten her head stuck in it and couldn’t get it off. She was still running around barking. We laughed because it was such a funny sight, but she probably didn’t enjoy the experience. We removed it quickly.

Photo of our pug Daisy with a tissue box over her head
We still don’t know how Daisy managed this feat.

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Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

Image showing the front cover of the book The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from 13 years with a Leonberger.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
Image of the back cover of the book The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from 13 years with a Leonberger.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
Image showing the endorsements for the book The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from 13 years with a Leonberger.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Bronco's Adventures

The Day My Leonberger Was Laughing At Me

Does dog humor exist? Well, this article featuring Leonbergers claim that it likely does. Dogs think it is funny to be a bit mischievous and they special sounds while doing it. You can call it dog laughter. Well, if that is the case, then our Leonberger Bronco laughed on several occasions, for example the time he escaped the leash and had me chasing him around the neighborhood (see story below).

Regarding dog laughter, I am also wondering about Rollo, our mini-Australian Shepherd. He loves lying on his back and getting a belly rub. While you are doing it, he is kicking all four of his legs while turning his head back and forth with his mouth open. It looks like he is laughing, like a giggling baby getting tickled.

A couple of times, Bronco took advantage of the fact that the snap hook on his leash would come loose and detach from his collar. One day this became a big problem. Bronco ran off, and I chased him—across the street, across people’s lawns, across the street again, and back over neighboring lawns. When he ran in circles, I ran in circles right behind him, yelling at him. He would stop and wait for me, and then as soon as I got close, he would start running again. I even jumped to catch him a few times. But he dashed off both times, and I just landed flat on my belly.

Bronco had a lot of fun doing this. I imagined him laughing at me, and I got angry. Dogs can’t laugh, of course, but his tail was wagging in excitement, and it was obviously a game to him—a dangerous game.

Photo of our Leonberger Bronco when he was a gangly teenager.
Bronco as a teenager young and gangly.

So, I asked him, “Do you want to be lost? Bad things happen to dogs who get lost.” I don’t know how much of that he understood, but I had to tell him the truth. Then I turned around and started walking home. I figured I’d never catch him, so it was better for me to go back and get help. (It was 2008, and I didn’t have a cell phone.) Naturally, I worried that Bronco would get hit by a car. I was also worried about the damage an energetic 130-pound adolescent dog could do to the neighborhood.

As I stomped off, I turned around to look at Bronco. He stood still, around a hundred yards away, staring back at me. He seemed confused. I continued walking. After a while, I heard the soft slapping of big paws on the road behind me, accompanied by some distinctly noisy breathing. Then I saw Bronco walking next to me, so I carefully snapped the leash back onto his collar. He let me do it without protest. He was finished playing games. We walked home calmly, and the next day I bought a new and better leash.

A photo of our Leonberger Bronco hiding in the bushes.
Try finding me daddy.

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Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

This is an image of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle".
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is and image showing the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle".
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This an image of the endorsements for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Bronco's Adventures

Rollo From Baby Jail to Four Years Old

Today it is Rollo’s 4th birthday. Our late Leonberger Bronco welcomed him into our family when Rollo was just a 9-week-old puppy. Rollo is a mini-Australian Shepherd. They became very good friends and Bronco was very patient with the rambunctious puppy who climbed all over him and played with his tail, even hung in it. Well, we no longer have Bronco, but we have Rollo and his 14-year-old pug sister.

This is a photo of our mini-Australian Shepherd Rollo. It is his birthday so he has a birthday hat on. Rollo did not like the hat, so he took it off right away.
Rollo did not like the hat, so he took it off right away.
Photo of our pug Daisy left and our mini-Australian Shepherd Rollo (right). It is Rollo’s 4th birthday.
Rollo and Daisy. It is Rollo’s 4th birthday.
Edited photo of Rollo our mini-Australian Shepherd. He has a hat on, a steak, and candles. It is Rollo’s 4th birthday.
Rollo’s 4th birthday.
Photo of Bronco our Leonberger welcoming Rollo to our house. Bronco is very big. Rollo is very small.
Bronco our Leonberger welcoming Rollo to our house.
Photo of our mini-Australian Shepherd Rollo when he was just a puppy.
When Rollo was just a puppy.
This is another photo from when Rollo was just a puppy.
Another photo from when Rollo was just a puppy.
Photo of our mini-Australian Shepherd playing with a ball.
Rollo playing with a ball.

Next, I am including a little snippet from the book. This snippet is about Rollo.

Rollo often pushed his luck with Bronco—climbing all over him, sitting on him, and stealing his possessions. Bronco was very patient and protective of little Rollo, but we were afraid he would lose patience with him one day when we were not present. Therefore, we put Rollo in a playpen whenever we left the house.

Photo of our mini-Australian Shepherd Rollo playing with our Leonberger Bronco’s tail. When he was a puppy he even hung and swung in it. Naturally, we stopped it as soon as we saw it.
Rollo often played with our Leonberger Bronco’s tail. When he was a puppy he even hung and swung in it. Naturally, we stopped it as soon as we saw it.

The playpen had a door that swung open and could be locked. Soon he learned to go through the door on his own when we asked him to. We would say, “Rollo, playpen,” and he would march right in. We made sure that the playpen contained water and toys and that the door was locked behind him. Of course, we didn’t leave him there too long. Experts recommend a maximum of two hours when the puppy is two months old and a maximum of three hours when the puppy is three months old. Even when Rollo was older than that, we never left him in the playpen longer than four hours.

Rollo’s relationship with his playpen was interesting. When Daisy tried to walk in, Rollo would get angry. The playpen was Rollo’s, and no one else could enter. It was his little house within a house. Sometimes he would walk in even if we didn’t ask him to, and he would just sit there for a while, as if he needed some alone time.

Photo of Rollo in his playpen called Baby-Jail. When Rollo was in his playpen, we were sure he would be safe in case Bronco decided he had had enough of his younger sibling’s antics. To read more about Rollo click on the photo.
This is the baby jail. When Rollo was in his playpen, we were sure he would be safe in case Bronco decided he had had enough of his younger sibling’s antics. To read more about Rollo click on the photo.

Our son David’s girlfriend, Meranda, came up with a great name for Rollo’s playpen: baby jail. So that’s what we called it, and Rollo seemed to like it. When we told Rollo, “Rollo, baby jail,” he would march right in, just as he did when we called it a playpen. Even though he didn’t seem to mind it, he was always eager to come back out when we got home. He would stand on his hind legs, jump up and down, and bark. Then we would rush to greet him and lift him out of his baby jail.

To read more about Rollo click here.

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.

Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

This is a photo of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is a photo of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is an image showing the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Leonbergers

My Leonberger and Me

I updated my “About Me” page and made a 20 second video for an upcoming Indie-author day. I am also turning my updated “About Me” into a post:

Welcome to my website! My name is Thomas Wikman. I am a retired software / robotics engineer with a background in physics—but this blog is primarily about Leonbergers, an unusual and fascinating dog breed that is known for its size, affectionate nature, and intelligence.

I know a lot about Leonbergers because my family was lucky enough to live with one for thirteen years. His name was Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle—but we called him “Bronco” for short.

Photo of our Leonberger Bronco and me. He was an extremely affectionate dog.
Bronco our Leonberger was an extremely affectionate dog.

Bronco wasn’t our only dog, but our world wouldn’t have been the same without him. For instance, he once saved the life of our pug by fending off an attack from another dog. He probably saved our Labrador’s life, too, by sniffing out an impending insulin shock before it happened. Then there was the time he scared off a trespasser who’d been terrorizing my wife and other women in the neighborhood.

My 20 second video presentation for Indie-author day.

Bronco is no longer with us, but even in his passing he was distinctive. Leonbergers tend to live less than nine years—but Bronco came very close to reaching his thirteenth birthday. In fact, he received an award for longevity called the “Grey Muzzle Award.”  We already knew he was a special dog, but we sent his DNA to two labs for research anyway.

Image showing the back cover of the book The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle.
Back cover of The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, which was released on July 3rd, 2022. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the book.

As for me: in addition to being a dog lover, I am a craft beer enthusiast and brewer, an amateur astronomer, a student of French, and an avid reader. From time to time, I may write about these or other subjects here, in addition to writing about dogs. I live in Dallas, Texas, but I am originally from Sweden. I am married to Claudia, and we have three children: Jacob, David, and Rachel.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy!

Categories
Book Reviews

The Hay Bale Better Horror Than the Books of Blood

This blog is primarily about Leonbergers and Leonberger books but on rare occasion I write a review for a book or story that I find to be exceptional and therefore want to promote. Yesterday I read a horror story on my kindle that I found to be unprecedented and therefore I want to promote it. Incidentally, strange things happened today, which tells me this is going to be an interesting Halloween. The Hay Bale Kindle Edition by Priscilla Bettis is a short story that cost $0.99 or nothing if you have Kindle Unlimited, which I don’t. However, one dollar is quite frankly almost nothing. It is 42 pages, was released in January 2022 and the ASIN number is B09P4PJQLT.

Cover image of The Hale Bale by Priscilla Bettis a very creepy story. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the Kindle story.
The Hay Bale is a creepy short horror story that is better than any short horror story I’ve ever read. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the Kindle story.

Horror is not the literary category I primarily focus on, but I do like horror, and I’ve read a significant amount of horror literature including some classic horror, Stephen King’s books and several of Clive Barker’s books, such as Hell bound Heart and Mister. B Gone. I especially loved Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, which are collections of his short stories. I and my son are also inscribed into Dracula’s or Vlad III (Vlad the Impaler’s) family of protectors, which happened in a ceremony led by Dracula’s monk at the Snagov monastery in Romania. Therefore, horror is not a literary category that is foreign to me. It should be noted that the ceremony was a tourist ploy. We are not really vampires.

Photo of Books of blood, which was a large collection of short horror stories that really impressed me. Despite that fact “The Hay Bale” is the best short horror story I’ve ever read.
Books of blood was a large collection of short horror stories that really impressed me. Despite that fact “The Hay Bale” is the best short horror story I’ve ever read.

A few decades ago, Stephen King said of Clive Barker;  I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker. Considering that “The Hay Bale” is the best short horror story I’ve ever read and assuming Priscilla Bettis will continue writing great short horror stories I would like to say, “I have seen the future of horror and her name is Priscilla Bettis”.

The Hay Bale is creepy, disturbing, scary and odd. The main character Claire is a Microbiologist. She is separated from her ex-husband Dan, who seems to have emotionally abused her. She has also suffered several miscarriages and is unable to adopt due to her emotional state. To get away for a while she rents a home in rural Virginia for the summer. The setting is a bit “children of the corn” like, perhaps “midsommar” like, whilst the story development reminded me of some of the stories in the Books of Blood.

What Claire experiences is both creepy and bizarre but unlike many of Clive Barker’s stories it’s not too adult, which I personally appreciate. It also makes the story readable by both adults as well as teenagers. The story is fast paced, unsettling, atmospheric, and it’s full of creepy imagery. I read the story while drinking two Halloween themed Texas beers, which I almost forgot to drink because I couldn’t take my eyes of the Kindle. I should add that Priscilla has her own unique style. She is not a Clive Barker clone. I am very much looking forward to more of her stories.

Photo of Kindle displaying the “The Hay Bale” plus a Halloween Themed Pumpkin Ale called Rumpy.
Me reading the “The Hay Bale” and drinking a Halloween Themed Pumpkin Ale.
Photo of the Kindle showing the last page of "The Hay Bale" and a Halloween Themed Stout.
Finished reading the “The Hay Bale” and drinking a Halloween Stout.

I should mention that following my Amazon review for the story and me posting about it in a dozen beer groups with around 30,000 members something strange happened. It is possible someone played a prank on us. This afternoon my daughter and I saw a horror movie and then we sat outside in the backyard and discussed it, Dracula and this story. That’s when she noticed that there was an old rusty medieval axe in our backyard. Someone must have placed it into our fenced in backyard today. But who? The strange Axe is included in the photo below. Where is this axe coming from? Any suggestions?

Photo of rusty medieval axe, a Kindle and a Pumpkin Ale called Rumpy. After posting my review for “The Hay Bale” and talking about it on Facebook and Instagram a strange medieval looking rusty axe mysteriously appeared in our backyard. Is someone playing a prank on us?
After posting my review for “The Hay Bale” and talking about it on Facebook and Instagram a strange medieval looking rusty axe mysteriously appeared in our backyard. Is someone playing a prank on us?

Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

Image of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com page for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
Image of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
Image of the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Leonbergers

Support the Leonberger Health Foundation International

Purebred large dog breeds tend to have shorter life spans compared to most other dogs and they have more health issues. However, Leonbergers are  fortunate compared to other large breeds, especially those bred in North America, primarily for three reasons:

  • The Leonberger breed standard does not call for traits that can be detrimental to health.
  • The precise and restrictive breeding regulations of the Leonberger Club of America (LCA) and other Leonberger clubs.
  • The work of the Leonberger Health Foundation International or LHFI, have resulted in Leonbergers being relatively free of inherited illnesses compared to other large dog breeds in America.

Today I received my first payment for the sale of my book from Amazon (for the month of July) and I donated all proceeds to the Leonberger Health Foundation International like I said I would. Regardless of whether you get my book or not you can donate to LHFI. It is one of my favorite charities. LHFI “facilitate the solicitation and distribution of donations given to support health related breed-specific research.” The LHFI also administers a program that collects DNA samples from Leonbergers to share with universities and research institutions.

Among the organization’s achievements are the eradication of Addison’s disease among Leonbergers, the raising of nearly half a million dollars for research into conditions that affect canine health, including osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, glaucoma, cardiac diseases, thyroid diseases, and neurological disorders. Another notable achievement is the fact that since 2011, no Leonbergers with two copies of the LPN1 gene mutation, which causes Leonberger polyneuropathy, have been recorded in LHFI’s biobank (featuring 9,000 Leonbergers). Its research also supports healthful longevity and aging as well as population diversity.

One happy event for our family was when Bronco received his Grey Muzzle Award, which is an award given for longevity by LHFI. LHFI bestows the award on any Leonberger who has reached the age of twelve. To find out more about the Grey Muzzle Award click here. To see the 2019–2020 awardees video featuring Bronco click here.

Photo of Bronco receiving his grey muzzle award. Claudia is holding the award.
Bronco receiving his grey muzzle award.
Photo of the Grey Muzzle Award certificate from the Leonberger Health Foundation International.
Grey Muzzle Award certificate from the Leonberger Health Foundation International.
Photo of the Grey Muzzle Award from the Leonberger Health Foundation International.
The Grey Muzzle Award from the Leonberger Health Foundation International.

I can add that when Bronco passed away, we sent his DNA to the University of Minnesota to be used in research. This was facilitated by the LHFI.

Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

Photo of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
Photo of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
Image showing the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to go to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to go to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

Categories
Photos

Leonbergers On Postage Stamps

Today I received a nice gift from a couple of friends, six stamps from Grenada and Grenadines featuring six dogs, a Leonberger (upper left side), a Newfoundland dog (upper right side), a boxer (mid-left), a St. Bernard (mid-right), a silky terrier (lower left side), and a miniature schnauzer (lower right side). I was very happy receive this gift, especially since one of the dogs is a Leonberger. FYI: The Grenadines is a chain of small islands that lie on a line between the larger islands of Saint Vincent and Grenada in the Lesser Antilles.

Postage stamps from Grenada and Grenadines featuring dogs including a Leonberger.
Stamps from Grenada and Grenadines featuring dogs including a Leonberger.

Out of curiosity I decided to search the internet and I found that not only are stamps featuring dogs common but stamps featuring Leonbergers are common as well. I found Leonberger stamps from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Congo, Niger, Monaco, Malawi, and Christmas Island. Below I am showing a few of them.

Image of postage stamp from Monaco featuring Leonberger and Newfoundland dog.
Stamp from Monaco featuring Leonberger and Newfoundland dog.
Image of postage stamp from Malawi featuring Leonberger.
Stamp from Malawi featuring Leonberger.
Image of postage stamp from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Congo, Niger and country I can’t make out featuring Leonbergers.
Stamp from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Congo, Niger and country I can’t make out featuring Leonbergers.

When I was a kid, I collected stamps from around the world, but I stopped doing it and I gave away all my stamps. As of today, I have a reawakened interest in collecting stamps, Leonberger stamps.

Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

Image of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
Image of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
Image of the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR