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  • Jan Flynn

What’s Better Than a Dog Story?

101 dog stories, on sale now!

image courtesy Simon & Schuster Publishing and Zilker Media

It’s fun to share good news

You’ve seen and probably read at least one of the 250-plus Chicken Soup for the Soul books that have been published since the first one was released in 1993. And now my stories appear in one!

Started by motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, in response to demand from their audiences, the Chicken Soup for the Soul concept was based on the idea that people can help one another by sharing their stories.

They put together 101 of their favorite true-life tales they’d gathered and put them in a book. It sold like hotcakes, and a franchise was born. In addition to books, the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand has expanded into online forums, apps, a YouTube channel, TV, film, and — pet foods.

It’s a feel-good success story. I’m happy to be along for the ride, because who of us can’t use some feel-good these days?

After all, what’s more guaranteed to lift the spirits or pluck the heartstrings than a good, real-life dog story?

In this latest edition, I authored two of the stories

In keeping with the Chicken Soup for the Soul, both stories are accounts of real-life experiences I’ve had with beloved dogs. Both of these dogs have since gone on to that great dog park in the sky — Dylan long ago, the gentlemanly golden retriever who was so eager to please us that he not only brought us the newspaper, but all our neighbors’ newspapers as well, and Molly, who coached me out of many a funk and for whom my husband and I still mourn, having had to bid her a final goodbye four months ago.

Molly, 2007 – 2022: good dog, even if she did steal that bone. Photo by author

I’ve checked out the other 99 stories in the collection, and they’re all either funny, heartwarming, inspiring, or some combination thereof. Many of them will make a dog lovers’ eyes misty, so I recommend having a hankie nearby. But it’ll be feel-good mist, I promise.

And maybe the best part is, they’re all true. No shaggy dog stories here, although some of the dogs portrayed are confirmed furballs.

For a writer, having work published by a major publishing house (in this case, Simon & Schuster) is a lovely affirmation. And being in an anthology is somewhat like singing in a chorus rather than performing solo: you share the spotlight as well as the creative energy of all those voices. Nice.

Better yet: all proceeds go to American Humane

Yes, the authors get paid for their work — up front, another very nice thing that Chicken Soup for the Soul does. So my promoting the book is because I think you should read it. Give a copy to your dog-loving friends. Keep a copy in your spare bedroom for guests. Another one on your nightstand for those times you can’t sleep and need something soothing and life-affirming to read.

Every copy sold helps support an organization that is effectively the Red Cross for animals. Their website reads:

We are first to serve, wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security. Through our innovative leadership initiatives – from our “No Animals Were Harmed®” program in Hollywood to broad-based farm and conservation animal welfare certifications, to rapid response rescue and care across the country – American Humane sets the gold standard as the most visionary and effective animal welfare organization in the

So not only am I happy to be in this book, I’m happy to promote it. And I’m doing my level best, including a live interview today at noon (Mountain Time) on Boise State Public Radio’s Idaho Matters.

And I’m doing book signings!

If you happen to be in southern Idaho this week, here’s something to add to your calendar. I’ll be signing copies — and giving out homemade dog treats — at our beloved independent bookstore, Rediscovered Books. I’ll be at their downtown Boise location, 180 N. 8th Street, on Thursday, 1/26 from 4:00 – 5:30PM, and at their downtown Caldwell store at 802 Arthur Street, on Saturday, 1/28 from 1:00 – 2:30PM.

image courtesy Rediscovered Books website

As a friend of mine says, life’s better with a dog

After a respectable number of years of life that have been enriched by sharing them with dogs, I agree. While my husband and I are still dog-bereft, we operate with the faith that when the time is right, another dog will appear in our lives, one that needs us almost as much as we need them.

It’s nice to think that life could hold more dog stories, as yet untold, for us. Until then, I’m delighted to have the memories of two very good dogs, Dylan and Molly, shared in this book.

I hope you read it, and I hope it makes you feel good.

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