...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ten Things you May not Know About Libby Speaks

by John Sheirer

Writer and photographer John Sheirer has coauthored a book with his dog Libby called Libby Speaks: The Wit and Wisdom of the World's Wisest Dog. Here are ten fun facts about the book.

1. Libby is a Border Terrier. The breed originated on the border between England and Scotland, hence the name.

2. A portion of the proceeds from Libby Speaks goes directly to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, a fantastic animal shelter near Libby's home in Western Massachusetts. John and his wife Betsy got Libby from a terrific local Border Terrier breeder, but they have always been big supporters of the work Dakin does for the community. Libby recognizes how fortunate she is to have a happy forever home, and she wants to help other pets who are less fortunate than she is. For more information on Dakin, visit http://www.dpvhs.org.

3. Libby's best friend is named Bella, a Golden Doodle who appears with Libby in many of the book's photos. Bella is a year older than Libby and sort of Libby's niece. Bella lives with Danielle and Mike, John and Betsy's wonderful daughter and son-in-law. Bella is the first dog that Libby met outside of her immediate family. Their first meeting wasn't what we might call "good." Bella took one look at the new four-pound puppy and barked right in her face! Fortunately, the two happy dogs got past their initial meeting and became fast and permanent friends.

4. Libby likes to make appearances when John does photo shows and public events for the book. As you might imagine, Libby is very well behaved and far more popular than her photographer/coauthor.

5. Libby was preceded in her home by another Border Terrier named Daisy. Daisy was featured in one of John's earlier books, Loop Year: 365 Days on the Trail. That book recounts John's experiences hiking the exact same two-mile trail every day for a year. Daisy accompanied John's on many of his daily hikes and is featured prominently in the book. She lived happily to the age of 16 and passed away about a year before Libby came along. After having such a wonderful experience with Daisy, John and Betsy didn't even consider another breed. Daisy is also featured on the back cover of John's book of short stories, One Bite. The photo shows her reading a book, much like the photo of Libby on the front cover of Libby Speaks.

Daisy, reading

6. Nearly all of the photographs in Libby Speaks were taken with a simple point-and-shoot Canon Powershot. Libby is a great subject, and John is a self-taught photographer who had to make only a few minor lighting and color adjustment in photoshop to bring out Libby's beautiful features.

7. Libby admits that she isn't really the "world's wisest dog." As she says in the book's introduction, "The truth is that everybody is wise in one way or another. You are, and I am too, your parents, the twins who live down the street, your cousin Baxter from Nebraska, your teachers, the runny babbits with their bouncy white tails--even cats and squirrels when they let me get close enough to have a conversation."

8. One of Libby's favorite toys is an old, discarded rubber mini-football that she found in the woods near her home. She knows that it's an "outside" toy, so she usually leaves it somewhere near the door and picks it up the next time she goes out. She sometimes leaves it way down the street, but she always remembers where it is and goes straight toward it on her next walk. Hmmm … maybe she is the world's wisest dog after all!

9. Four new books featuring wonderful photos of Libby are in the works:
  • a book about Libby's deep love for her favorite natural toy that grows on trees called I Like Sticks, set for publication this fall
  • a children's book called Libby's ABCs
  • a collection of poems that feature SAT-level vocabulary words called Little Dog, Big Words
  • and, of course, the sequel to her first book, Libby Speaks, Volume 2: More Wit and Wisdom from the World's Wisest Dog

10. Did Libby really write Libby Speaks? You'll have to read it to find out!


John Sheirer is the coauthor and photographer of the book, Libby Speaks: The Wit and Wisdom of the World's Wisest Dog, as well as several previous books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. He lives with his wonderful wife Betsy in Northampton, Massachusetts and is a full-time faculty member teaching English and Communication at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut. Libby and John welcome everyone to visit Libby's Facebook page for news about their lives and writing careers. John can also be found at his homepage.

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