Pet First Aid (Cats & Dogs) for Kids

Pet First Aid (Cats & Dogs) for Kids 

by Denise Fleck and Sandrina Lee

Pet First Aid is a great read for any child or young adult.  It details practical knowledge about many potential emergencies, as well as less serious medical situations pets may encounter, including allergic reactions, choking, fractures, frostbite, seizure and poisoning.   

The book outlines basic steps in clear, concise language.  The detailed photographs in this attractive, 36-page reference guide will help prepare children to help identify issues and assess what steps may need to be taken.   

Children and parents may enjoy reading the book together to learn important skills like administering CPR and rescue breathing.  Reading this book also may also help kids develop empathy for animals as they consider things that can affect an animal’s health or well-being. 


Kickstarter From PDX Boy, 5, and Mom Aims To Inspire in Kids a Love of Dogs and Books; Join Them at NW Pet Fair April 12-13

Lisa and Michael Cohn

Lisa and Michael Cohn

Teachers say a 5-year-old Portland boy who engages in book discussions with kids globally via Skype in the classroom inspires their students to read and write.

But the students have also inspired the Portland boy, Michael Cohn, and his mom, Lisa Cohn, who are the authors of the award-winning kids' dog book,  “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence.” In a Kickstarter project launched April 8, the mom-son team aims to raise $4,000 to self-publish their next kids’ dog book and hopefully instill in kids a love of dogs and books.

In Portland, kids from the Opal School and the Emerson School have helped generate dog book ideas. Lisa and Michael will be discussing their Kickstarter project at the Northwest Pet Fair April 12 and 13, at the Portland Expo Center.

“In our Kickstarter project, we want to thank these enthusiastic young writers and dog lovers and give them a voice,” said Lisa Cohn. “We also hope that the project will inspire young readers and writers.”

In the Kickstarter, “These Students Deserve This Kids’ Dog Book,” the Cohns will include in the book’s acknowledgements the names of all the children they’ve worked with. They will also ensure the classes receive copies of the new book. The students are located in the US, Ireland, Australia, India and elsewhere.

During their presentation, Lisa and Michael tell students that grief over the loss of their dog, Lucy, spawned “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence.”   To keep Lucy alive in their hearts, their book features a wise but mischievous Golden Retriever, Lucy, who instills confidence in a group of young soccer players.

Lisa Cohn encourages the kids to embrace writing and other art forms to express grief.

The press is invited to take part in one of Lisa and Michael’s Skype in the classroom presentations in April in Portland, New York City, St. Louis, and the Washington, D.C. area. The press can take part in person or via Skype.  (See dates below).

The authors’ first book, “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence,” received a Mom’s Choice Silver Award and a 2013 USA Best Books Award.

Watch the Kickstarter video and see the project here:

During their Skype presentations, Lisa and Michael share with classes, via Skype, their experiences writing and publishing their book. In addition, the authors ask kids for ideas for their next book—an activity that students say they love, especially when energetic Michael is present to brainstorm with them. 

“Michael, I like how you are so energetic. And how you are so funny,” wrote one student in a package of letters snail-mailed to the authors by the teacher.

“Our tiny 6-student school will never be the same! Today reluctant boy writers who I could barely get to pick up a pencil wrote a little book. I was thrilled,” wrote Jasmine Shannon, teaching principal, Tipperary Station School in Australia. after a Skype lesson with Lisa and Michael. “Michael was great to come and visit…he did a superstar job!”

Watch a clip from a class here during which Michael brainstorms with 5th Graders:

“We never expected the death of our dear Lucy to take us on such an adventure, leading us to speak via Skype with kids from all over the world,” said Lisa Cohn. “ In our Kickstarter project, we want to thank the students for all their wonderful ideas, letters, emails, blog posts and enthusiasm.”

Lisa added, “None of this could happen without Skype in the classroom, which has connected us with kids globally.”

People who back the Kickstarter project have the opportunity to take part in the authors’ s book project. For example, for a pledge of $850, the authors and illustrator will include a character in the book who looks like the backer—or his or her child.

Teachers can sign up for Skype in the classroom presentation here:

 For more information, visit or contact Lisa Cohn, 503-577-0504 or

Join These Skype in the classroom Lessons (via Skype or in person). We’re in Portland, Oregon, where you’re welcome to join us, and the students will be in these locations. Email us at for more dates and locations: 

11 am Pacific April 10, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, 1901 East Jefferson St. Rockville, MD 

11:30 am Pacific, April 11, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School 

9:30 am Pacific, April 14, Reed Elementary School, 9060 Ladue Rd., St. Louis, MO. 

11:30 am Pacific April 16, Reed Elementary School, 9060 Ladue Rd., St. Louis, MO. 

10 am Pacific April 21, North Brunswick Public Schools, North Brunswick, NJ


Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover by Denise Fleck, Illustrations by Lili Chin   

About three times as many households get new pets each year as the number of pets waiting for homes in shelters.  Don't Judge a Book by its Cover goes a ways toward explaining that sad phenomenon.  It is heartwarming, and might just help sway the tide from shopping to adopting! 

As someone who works in an animal shelter, I couldn't help but find some of the ideas simplistic, such as “the shelter dog looks dirty, take him home and give him a bath — now he looks great!” or “older dogs don't chew things up.”  But as it’s a book intended for children and young adults this may be the way to teach a new generation that adopting rather than buying from someone who may be adding to the dog/cat overpopulation problem is a priceless gift for the dog and the adopter. 

The book also highlights giving senior and sometimes “less adoptable” dogs a home.  The protagonist, a young girl, [spoiler alert!] does not buy the adorable puppy she had in mind, but with the guidance of her parents adopts an older black dog who’d been getting overlooked.  Of course the big lesson here is don’t judge a dog by its appearance, and don’t predetermine that you can’t find the dog who’ll fit your family in a shelter — go look! 

My favorite feature of this book is the explanation pages in the appendix that delve into “Black Dog Syndrome,” great traits of older dogs, and breed discrimination.  If every child in America read this book, shelter workers like myself would be talking with an informed, insightful group of adopters in the future. 

The illustrations, which are pop-art/cartoon style, are very fun and appeal for the younger crowd.  The lessons of the book and the altruistic quality make it fantastic read for shaping the values and attitudes of today’s youth.  If you’re looking for a gift for a young person that will keep on giving this may be it!  

Megan Mahan lives in Eugene with her boyfriend, Jacob, their adopted yellow Lab Maddie, many saltwater fish, and two miniature Silver Appleyard ducks, Louie and Olive. 

Raising My Furry Children


Raising My Furry Children by Tracy Ahrens

Many of us consider our pets “furry children.”  Given the opportunity, most of us could fill a book with musings of their characteristics, quirks, mishaps, and hysterical antics.  Tracy Ahrens has done just that, sharing moments — from the hilarious to the heart wrenching — of the lives of her first pets:  Speckles, a Brittany Spaniel; and her cats C.D., Desdemona, Joan of Arc, and Captain Jack Sparrow. 

What began as short diary entries to commemorate funny or touching events in her pets’ lives evolved into a collection of newspaper columns, and finally culminated in Raising My Furry Children 

Ahrens’s affectionate stories celebrate the bond between animals and humans while accentuating the lessons of patience, trust and respect, as well as the limitless joy they bestow while being our listeners, observers and counselors in life. 

Steve Dale, host of two nationally syndicated shows (Steve Dale’s Pet World and and author of a twice weekly newspaper column contributes a guest story of his dog Chaser, who he says changed his life. 

An accomplished artist, Ahrens creates beautiful graphite pet portraits, 48 of which are featured.  Proceeds from Furry Children support the American Brittany Rescue and American Humane Association. 

Both tender and funny, Ahrens’s flowing narratives will have you smiling and laughing, fretting and crying, and nodding in agreement as stories hit home for those who share our lives with beloved furry ones of our own. 

Learn more about Tracy at 


Vonnie Harris is a freelance writer, and operator of Pet Stop Pit Stop pet sitting services in SW Washington.  She resides in Vancouver with Jessie (a yellow Lab), Pedro & Lorali (parrots), three chickens, and memories of Jake, her heart dog who recently passed on.  Vonnie is “the face of Spot” at many Portland-area pet-related events, and the voice of Spot in social media outlets.

From grief to great adventure

Kid Book Reviews.JPG

Everyone handles loss their own way.  Lisa Cohn and her 5-year-old son, Michael, coped with losing their 6-year-old Golden, Lucy, by getting busy.  They started “Michael’s Dog Blog,” creating fun kid-and-dog how-to videos, authored a just-released children’s book, and more.

"What began as an attempt to overcome our grief has morphed into a mission to instill in kids a love of dogs and dog books," says Lisa Cohn. 

Their children's book, "Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence," illustrated by Portland artist Heather Nichols, is about a wise but mischievous Golden Retriever who teaches a boys’ team about sportsmanship, and instills confidence in the players. 

Michael’s Dog Blog provides kids with fun dog facts, kids’ dog book reviews, and advice about raising dogs from a kid’s point of view.  Cohn says her son comes up with most of the ideas, including vlogs on subjects like “How to Identify a Dog Having a Bad Day,” and “What to Do when Your Dog Barks While You're Taking a Bath.”  Based in Portland, OR, some videos and vlogs feature local animal experts.  Michael’s reputation as a reviewer of dog books “has gotten attention,” says his mom, an award-winning author herself.  “Authors have been sending him books to review, and he has a big stack to go through!” 

Lisa and Michael plan to visit schools to talk to young kids about how and why they wrote their book and how much they've learned doing their blog.  See Michael’s Dog Blog at  Contact Lisa Cohn at Check out Michael’s videos at or  

A Mutts Treasury: Bonk

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A Mutts Treasury:  Bonk (2012)

by Patrick McDonnell

Our favorite cartoonist, the creator of the Mutts comic strip, Patrick McDonnell brings us a year’s worth of strips — in color from Sunday strips and black and white from weekdays. 

The creative and socially-conscious vignettes come alive with the unique pop art of this beloved artist. 

If you aren’t familiar with Mutts, it features the daily adventures of a sweet mutt named Earl and a kitty named Mooch, who has a distinctive speaking style:  “I think I schmight have a flea.” 

McDonnell’s style is unique and heartwarming, and also powerful in its ability to nail the heart of serious matters such as homeless pets and environmental concerns.  “Bonk” will make a great gift for the friend who loves to laugh and cares about animals, animal advocacy and mother earth.

Get better acquainted with McDonnell in the Spot archives — he is featured in the November 2012 issue.  Click here to read.


My Little Boy in Furry Pants


My Little Boy in Furry Pants by Chery Esau

Illustrations by Laura Ross-Paul (cover) and Summer Ketchum (interior)

This is a book of truth and honesty.  It is about beings who totally love each other and whose hearts are open to one another completely.”  So reads the Foreword in Chery Esau’s My Little Boy in Furry Pants, a slim, beautifully illustrated book, with a palpable heartbeat of the love that clearly fueled its creation.  Love crosses all boundaries,” the Foreword continues, There is no limit to the extent that Love and Spirit can transcend.”

This sweet, simple, lyrical tale takes us through several seasons with the Esau family, during which beloved companions arrive . . . and depart, chronicling funny quirks, endearing ways and moments of surprise, discovery and . . . the many everyday blessings of being a family. 

Author Chery Esau, a wife, registered nurse and devoted dog mom, resides in Portland, OR.  One of those people who, in even brief conversation, touches those she connects with in ways long remembered, Chery is a gentle yet powerfully spiritual being.  Her bio reads in part, Chery feels that if you look closely into an animal’s eyes, you will see the eyes of Creator looking back.  Animals are a true work of God’s finest and purest gift of art and love to humanity.” 


 * * *

Chery Esau with husband Tony

Chery Esau with husband Tony

Find My Little Boy in Furry Pants:

New Renaissance Books
Waldorf School, Milwaukie, Or.
Parkrose Naturopathic Clinic, 503-252-4358

101 Essential Tips: You need to Raise a Happy, Healthy, Safe Dog

101 Essential Tips: You need to Raise a Happy, Healthy, Safe Dog  by Jason Nicholas, BVetMed

Author Jason Nicholas, BVetMed, emergency room and general practice veterinarian known as “The Preventive Vet,” has written a fun, sharp, info-packed little book “dedicated to the dogs who enrich our lives,” dealing with everyday concerns in life with dog, from behavioral and digestive problems to poisonings, illnesses, traumatic accidents, and a variety of preventable issues and emergencies that “all-too-commonly affect puppies” and dogs of all ages.

A gem in the Northwest professional pet community, Nicholas is passionate about teaching and helping families with dogs live happy, healthy, safe lives.  Widely respected and loved, Nicholas is an accomplished veterinarian, entrepreneur, on-camera spokesman, marketer, and now . . . author.  He is donating 5% of the book’s proceeds to deserving pet charities every three months, something he says he’s “really proud of and excited for :-)”

101 Essential Tips has spot-on tidbits that take on common issues, illustrated with clever, fun and funny illustrations by Chuck Gonzales.  A worthy read for any pet parent, 101 Essential Tips belongs in every veterinary lobby, school library, pet store and shelter, and is the perfect gift for new puppy or dog parents.  If you love and live with dogs, read and share this book! 

Jason Nicholas, BVetMed

Jason Nicholas, BVetMed

Find 101 Essential Tips:

New Seasons

Various Vet Clinics