Thursday, July 12, 2012

Charlie: A Love Story Blog Tour with Author Interview & Giveaway

Charlie: A Love Story tells of the beautiful love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and the author, Barbara Lampert. It takes place in Malibu, California. When Charlie turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became mostly about Charlie.

Charlie: A Love Story is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story as well.

Charlie was Barbara’s loyal confidante and best friend. He was indomitable, had a zest for life and an uncanny emotional intelligence. As Barbara says in her book:

“Charlie’s a big dog, not just physically but in every way. He has a big heart, a big smile, lots of courage, a big appetite, and a great, big, generous spirit. Charlie’s the emotional core of our family, the most solid being I have ever known, and wise beyond his years. Charlie and me. It’s a great love affair, a once-in-a-lifetime connection.”

Charlie: A Love Story is about devotion, joy, loss, and renewal, about never giving up or giving in. But mostly it’s about an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary relationship.

l. Please tell us about your book in twenty-five words or less.

First I want to thank you for hosting me on your site. I appreciate that!

Charlie: A Love Story, told in journal form, is about my indomitable, joyful, and wise Golden Retriever Charlie and our extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime relationship.                             

2. What inspired you to write this book?

It’s not a “what” that inspired me but a “who.” Without a doubt, it was Charlie who is the inspiration behind my book.

Let me tell you how this came about. I was busy landscaping my property on almost an acre in Malibu, California. I took on this job voluntarily because it needed to be done and because I’m an avid gardener. I started keeping a gardening journal which helped me keep track of what I’d done, what needed to be done, plants I’d bought and what they needed, and so on. When Charlie turned eleven years old, he began having some health problems. Periodically, I would write in my journal about what was going on with him. Soon I found myself writing more and more about Charlie and less and less about the garden, even though I continued to landscape.

Charlie and I had always been extremely close, and while I love all dogs, mine and everyone else’s, Charlie and I had a special relationship. Besides always being so close – he’d bonded with me as a puppy – we seemed to understand one another. And so when he started having some health issues, I became very concerned. I found that writing about him helped me so much – I could be close to him in another way, I could hear myself think on paper, I could express all that I was feeling in the quiet of my yellow legal pad.

But there was something more about Charlie that really grabbed my attention and compelled me to write about him. The way he faced his life’s challenges was astounding. Nothing seemed to get him down. He was afraid of nothing. He would come out of one medical situation after another with what appeared to be a smile on his face. He seemed to feel safe and secure in the world, no matter what was going on. He exuded confidence and calmness. No matter what he was going through, he seemed to put everyone around him at ease. I was just amazed at his character. As Fran Lewis said in Goodreads, “Charlie had a special glow, energy, strength that most of us wish we had in times of illness, strife and stress. He truly lived his life to the fullest.”

Yes he showed some of these signs early on, but it wasn’t until he began having these health issues that the extent of his true character became evident. It was at this time that our attachment grew even closer. I knew how limited our time was, and I needed to write about him more than ever. Now I’m so happy that his story is out in the world for others to see and that his very stellar character may be a model and a comfort for others.

3. What are your thoughts about using pets in therapy?

If a pet is happy being a therapy pet, and the person receiving the therapy is comfortable having a pet around, then I think using that pet in therapy is an excellent idea for both the pet and the person receiving the therapy.

How wonderful it must be for a person in a hospital setting or a nursing home to be visited by a dog who loves being with them, who will sit quietly with them, who will give them affection and receive affection from them, who will accept being petted. It seems that dogs who make good therapy dogs can really tune in to what a person needs. How good that must feel to that person. Some of these people, particularly in nursing homes, have no visitors, no family, no one to touch them or be touched by them, no one to connect with. I can only imagine how good it must feel to be regularly visited, even if only briefly, by a tail-wagging, joyful dog.

4. Any memory comes to mind of you and Charlie that you would like to share?

When I think of Charlie, I smile, almost always. He had a great sense of humor and I think liked making people laugh, me in particular. He would do the same funny things over and over, and when I would laugh, as I always did, he would look at me with what I thought was a smile on his face, a look of satisfaction that said, in effect, I achieved my goal.  For example, there were times I would be lying on the floor with my legs bent, to relieve my back, and he would come over, lie across me, actually pin me down – he weighed over one hundred pounds most of his life – and I’d be laughing so hard that, even if I’d wanted, I couldn’t get up. And there would be that grin on his face.

Charlie was a good therapy dog for me, but he wouldn’t have made a good therapy dog for others. He was too attached to me. Lucky me!

5. Are you working on a new book? If so can you tell us anything about it?

I have some ideas for another book, but right now I’m so busy with this one, since it just came out. I’m thinking about a gardening book, since this is another passion of mine, although a distant runner-up to dogs. I’m not a disciplined every-day writer. I write only when I need to. A topic has to grab me. For me, that’s the only way it would work.

Thank you again! I enjoyed being here and connecting with you and your readers about the book that poured out of my heart.

Barbara Lampert is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in relationships. She’s been in private practice in Brentwood, California for over twenty years. She considers her work a calling and loves what she does. She has a doctorate in medical sociology and two master’s degrees – one in psychology and one in sociology.

Barbara has adored dogs her whole life. They’re her passion! She considers them the magic on the planet. Barbara has had dogs most of her life and hopes to have at least one by her side always. She notes that for a lot of people, their dogs are their best friends. She loves helping people know that’s ok – that a soul-satisfying relationship may be found with any being and needs to be treasured.

Besides her love of dogs, Barbara is an avid gardener and finds herself gardening in much of her spare time. She sees her garden as a work of art. She loves being in nature – the miracle of growth, the ever-changing landscape, its beauty.

Today Barbara lives happily in Malibu, California with her husband David (married twenty-eight years!) and their six-year-old Golden Retriever, Harry.

Barbara hopes that Charlie: A Love Story will be a tribute not only to a magnificent dog but to all dogs everywhere.

Tribute Book Tours

One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of Charlie: A Love Story

*Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter

*Winner has 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be selected. Prize shipped direct from sponsor. Contest ends July 26, 2012.
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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today!
    My best to you and your readers!

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me today!
    My best to you and your readers!

  3. Wendy, thanks for allowing Barbara to stop by and talk about Charlie :)

  4. this is some thing really awsome keep iu up
    check this one

  5. sweet love critters dogs cats an birds

  6. So happy for a second chance. I won this book on a different blog and never received it. I sent e-mails and left a comment for the blogger but she never responded. All I wanted was to read this wonderful book.


  7. Followed on GFC …as Paul T / Pauline T(Paul Tran…pls use emscout9 at hotmail dot com instead of gmail to contact me)

  8. Thanks very much, Wendy and Barbara. This is great!


The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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