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One of my books is accidentally free today because I’m lazy in Honor of Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.

So apparently, I have this whole free book thing going from Saturday, May 30 until Monday, May 2.

When I set up this promotion, I thought my next book about my dog as pandemic therapist would be ready for release. Only… it isn’t quite ready. (And by that I mean not at all.) But when have I let a detail like that stop me? So with absolutely zero fanfare, please grab your free copy of Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home And The Dog Dies. Tell your family, your friends, and random strangers to snap up your free copy. But hurry, because I come to my senses it all ends on Monday, May 2.


Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming book, O My Dog! Travels With My Pandemic Therapist.

Different Therapeutic Approaches: Cats Or Dogs?

Cats are like smart, well-groomed therapists. They seem to listen to you, but actually they’re reading email and pretending to take notes. They purr as if they like you, but you’re pretty sure they’re tweeting their own therapists about how lame you are, and wondering how soon they can scratch or bite or maybe give their privates a good clean.


Dogs are the kind of therapists who want to be your friend, hang on your every word, recite dumb self-affirmation mantras, are absolutely delighted when you wake them up in the middle of the night, and really, really love the way your crotch smells. Every time.

Before I got married, my pets were always cats, and thus virtually rubbish as therapists. I just thought of cats as the semi-useless decor items single women keep around the place, like the oven or your roommate’s boyfriend.* The cats’ main functions were to keep feet warm in winter, knock things off tables, and throw up.

*⇒NOTE: The oven mainly functioned as a good place to store sweaters, while roommates’ boyfriends were only useful for going out to collect the take-out orders—for which they never paid, of course—on cold days.


My own cats were the kind of therapists who cost a boatload of money, never got me any closer to being cured, but who I could at least blame for my life decisions. 

My cats were world-class advocates of aversion therapy. For example, Puff, our college apartment cat, was a command vomiter. If you did anything to offend him (petting him, not petting him, breathing on a day that ends in “y”…), you’d find a hairball (or worse) on your pillow.

Then there was our post-college apartment cat, Buster, who was deaf, epileptic, and given to spending long stretches of time with her head up a lampshade. My roommate’s boyfriend was convinced Buster was faking deafness, because if you even started to open a can of tuna, she would be at your feet. The boyfriend took to sneaking up on Buster in the middle of the night and banging pan lids together above her head. The cat didn’t flinch, but we did when the police summoned by the neighbors arrived. We never again questioned Buster’s loss of hearing (or my roommate’s eviction of her soon-to-be ex).

The truth is, of course, it really doesn’t matter if your therapy-cat is deaf or not. Cats might tolerate you for your tuna tin-opening opposable thumbs, but that doesn’t mean they would alter their schedule for you, put your needs first, or even come when you call (unless you have tuna). It’s just not in their therapy contract.

Sadly, my early days as cat-staff came to an end when my son proved allergic to my kitty therapist du jour. We found a good home for her, but my daughters thought I’d gotten rid of the wrong member of the family. They took to standing next to their brother, sneezing violently and telling me to send him to live on the farm.

But wait—there’s MORE! Free Online Game In Honor of Shelter Pet Day!

Solitared has released an all-dog version of their seductively addictive free online game just in time for Shelter Pet Day. Click here to play.

I’m so lucky. Some of the most amazing shelter dogs and cats ever have adopted me. In honor of all of them: Cournot, Duopoly, Tasha, Lucy, Laptop, Serapina, Puck, and our two brand new shelter kitties, Clary and Greyson (who do NOT approve of me going into any room without them), I’d like to encourage all of you to check out the wonderful pets waiting in shelters for their forever homes. Love is waiting, and apparently it doesn’t want you to ever again go into your own bathroom alone.