What inspired you to write the book? It was an amazing moment, actually. I can still remember it vividly. I was driving Hola around pretty aimlessly one day not knowing how I was going to get my life together, and I ran across an event in Madison Square Park in Manhattan called Responsible Dog Ownership Day. We went and it was there I found out about the Canine Good Citizen award.
That became our goal: to pass that test. I remember getting tears in my eyes thinking how impossible it seemed. The book grew out of that moment.
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It became the story of our journey toward the Canine Good Citizen. Does it have a happy ending? Of course it does. In fact, that was my intention from the beginning—to write a happy dog book. I was determined to make this one funny and optimistic. Is it a true story? Everything in the book happened.
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What one thing do you want people to take away from the book? Set goals—goals that seem impossible. Hola and I are never going to get asked to compete in the National Obedience Invitational. But focusing on the Canine Good Citizen helped us get organized. We knew what we needed to do, and got going. It opens up. You describe your alcoholism and recovery.
Was that a difficult topic to write about? Only in the sense that people who know me would be reading it, and I worried how they would react. I just had to write it totally uncensored and hope for the best. You say your Bernese mountain dog, Hola, helped you stop drinking. She helped me to get less selfish. It was a tremendous gift, actually.
Her being such a terrible dog was a gift. Focusing on another living being all those months, supposedly to fix her problems, let me get outside of my own head. And Hola is just really great company. I was a bad owner. Hola really is the star of the book. What is she like? About eighty pounds now, so a smaller Bernese.
She stops traffic—literally, people stop and get out of their cars to look at her. She loves people. Like I said, her joy is infectious. You try a lot of different dog training methods. Which one worked the best? We did them all. We started at a club out in White Plains that did all positive training, mostly through treats.
We went to a very famous week-long camp in Virginia, where we were the worst team there. How did Hola react to you being more assertive? Basically, we had some adjustment issues as she figured out things were changing in our relationship.
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Most dogs are. She just needed me to be a whole lot more competent as number one.
She needed to trust me to be consistent and clear. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. What was that like? I was head writer for the show for a few years before business school. It was a lot of research. Video directors. Both your previous memoirs were sold to Hollywood. There are reasonable people who would have euthanized her for the way she treated Gloria, and to those people I have no response.
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Of course it is. And were they so wrong? Where was the man, after all? She left us. She is utterly uncontroversial. I still believe she is some kind of genius, but she has reservations. As snow continues to swallow the obedience club, I hand back the CGC forms in triplicate. AKC registration number—yes. Age—almost six now, an old lady in Bernese mountain dog time. Preferably using a food lure. She has no business out there on the mat. Burned out as a TV writer, I went back to business school and got a job as a management consultant, working out of hotel rooms in cities far, far away, and one night I went into the mini-bar for a Diet Pepsi and thought, Well, nothing livens up a Diet Pepsi like some Captain Morgan, correct?
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So I took out the bottle and unscrewed the cap. I see now the difference between sobriety and abstinence is like the difference between marriage and pornography. To her credit, Gloria stayed with me through my bottom, stayed with Hola and me as we began our own Incredible Journey of mutual rehabilitation, then went off on a journey of her own. To this day, I understand. Somehow I thought succeeding in the impossible task of winning our four-legged demon child a Canine Good Citizen rating would make us both family friendly again.
Not Therapy Dog? Use the buckle collar. Are you ready? I was BORN ready! So we enter the ring. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Meet Hola. About the Author. Show More. Average Review.