Monday, January 18, 2016

week #2 - Dog Day Afternoons


There aren’t supposed to be dogs on the beach (except in the case of service dogs.)

But they come in droves in the morning and evening. On leash. Off leash. Greeting each other with a sniff.

There is something so satisfying seeing a dog run free on a beach. (I’m not encouraging it; I’m simply making an observation. ) It brings out their feral side - the part of a dog that just is without us having to push anything on them. Not a bright red rubber chew toy. Not a prize-winning haircut. And certainly not a dog stroller.

Here are my two rescue dogs, Dingo (1 1/2 years old) and Reba (12 years old).

Over eleven years ago, I began writing the dog column for the Los Feliz Ledger. It was a way for me to become involved in my local community at the time as well as learn more about the puppy I had recently adopted from the South Los Angeles animal shelter.

Somewhere along the line, I wrote a column about the K-9Connections program in Santa Monica, which planted the seeds for a novel that would later bloom into my second young adult novel, Strays, published in May 2015.

Strays deals with a teenage girl with anger management issues who is sentenced to a summer rehabilitating aggressive dogs. It follows the evolution of her relationship with a pit bull named Roman and traces the symbiotic nature of the friendship they develop.

It feels only natural then that my first event at the Annenberg involve dogs.

 Please join me Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 6:30 pm for Animal and Human Partnerships: On the Page and in the Real World.

See below for the event description:

Stories featuring the human-animal bond are well represented in literature. What makes these stories so compelling? How do they play out in real life? Join three members of the community as they discuss the educational and social impact when dogs are paired with people facing challenges. Jennifer Caloyeras is the author of the novel, Strays, which explores a girl with anger management issues who is sentenced to a summer rehabilitating aggressive dogs. Dr. Bidhan Roy is a professor at Cal State Los Angeles and a volunteer at Paws for Life and WordsUncaged where he teaches inmates at Lancaster Maximum Security Prison. In this program, both students and inmates hone their writing skills and work with training rescue dogs. Juliet Beynon serves as Project Director at k-9 connection, an OPCC project based in Santa Monica, where teens get a chance to break through life barriers by training and bonding with homeless dogs. 

Click here to register for this event.

I am thrilled to announce that Strays was nominated for a Dog Writers Association of America DWAA Pat Santi Memorial Friends of Rescue award! I looking forward to being in a room full of dog writers at the awards ceremony in New York.  

And please remember, I will be holding my first office hours on Monday, January 25th from 11-2 in my artist in residency office in the Marion Davies beach house. Stuck on what to write? Bring me a short paragraph about how you were united with your rescue dog! We can go over it together and then I will feature it on my "Meet the Dogs" section of my blog. I'd be more than happy to look at any other writing or discuss a project during my office hours.

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