Share the love of reading

Parker gives a tongue's up for the community library at Salty's

Parker gives a tongue's up for the community library at Salty's

Love reading?  Love animal books and tales? Love sharing a good book? 

Pop in to Salty’s Pet Supply (4039 N Mississippi Ave, Ste 104, Portland) and check out the latest (and cutest!) little neighborhood lending library. 

In partnership with Spot, Salty’s library features everything pet!  All sorts of animal-related books including fiction and non-fiction, training manuals, educational volumes, and humorous reads, picture books and just for fun.

Enjoy a great read and return it for others to enjoy. If you have books you’ve taken delight in – spread the joy to someone else!  Drop them off at Salty’s during business hours.   

Do you love telling others about a great read? 

Spot is accepting book reviews to publish in future issues for any of the books from the library. 

It’s easy!

Send 400 words (or so) to

Include your name (and a photo if you like!), the book title, book publisher, and year published.

If you would like a copy of the magazine in which your book review appears, please include your mailing address!

Book reviews are published as space is available. Sending your book review and/or photo to indicates your consent to have one or both published in Spot Magazine.

Rojo The Perfectly Imperfect Llama

Rojo The Perfectly Imperfect Llama     

by Shannon Joy; Illustrated by Theresa Johnson    

This simple, beautifully told and illustrated story of Rojo the Llama, is about the handsome redheaded man about town who is loved by so many in the Northwest. A member of Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas, Rojo was a “perfectly" beautiful baby — who won a blue ribbon at his first county fair. By the following year, however, his body had grown — imperfectly according to judges — and his show career was over.

That is where the real magic began…

Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas therapy teams serve Portland and Vancouver areas, providing volunteer and reduced-cost visitation into children’s hospitals, senior communities, rehab facilities and schools.

Since 2007, the teams have completed over 1,000 therapeutic visits, and made appearances at countless private and community events — often supporting efforts to raise funds foranimals and people in need.  

Sweet Rojo is ranked the #1 “Beyond the Showring” PR llama in the world, according to the International Llama Registry, and has been featured in books, on television, Huffpost Live, “O, the Oprah Magazine” and more.

Rojo the Perfectly Imperfect Llama is as special as Rojo himself, and a book to treasure or give as gifts that you can be sure will be loved by recipients of all ages. It is available on Amazon, at specialty farm and animal giftshops, and book stores everywhere. 

Learn more at: or by searching Rojo the Perfectly Imperfect Llama.  

Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her pups, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Bobbie the Wonder Dog  

Written by Tricia Brown, illustrated by Cary Porter 

The story of Bobbie, who hailed from Silverton, Oregon in the ‘20s, has been told and retold countless times. In family homes, newspapers, books and more.

While the story is true, it only feels right to begin: Once upon a time . . .

There was a puppy named Bobbie, who at six weeks of age was selected by Frank and Elizabeth Brazier of Silverton to become part of their family and working farm. The Scotch Collie with the bobbed tail (hence his name), was a natural “heeler,” herding cows, horses, and even cats and people.

In his first months of life he was “hurt on the job”— first by a horse who didn’t appreciate Bobbie’s efforts, and then by a tractor, which accidentally ran over his leg. As was his nature, he healed quickly and returned to work straightaway.

In time the family decided to sell the farm and open a restaurant in town. They sold Bobbie to the new owners, thinking Bobbie would be happiest remaining on the farm. They learned differently though, when Bobbie showed up at the restaurant soon after.

At first agreeing to an arrangement where Bobbie spent weekdays at the farm and weekends in town, Bobbie soon made it known that he preferred his original family. They bought him back — for three times what they’d sold him for.

In August 1923, the family embarked on a cross-country vacation to visit family. Not wanting to reveal all here, suffice it to say that while Frank refueled in Indiana, Bobbie was chased by a pack of wild dogs. The family looked and lingered, placed an ad in the paper, but eventually had to return home without their beloved pet.

The family was heartbroken, but picked up their lives, as people must. Then, on February 15, exactly six months after becoming lost, Bobbie limped into downtown Silverton, to the shock, amazement and immeasurable joy of his family.

 The story spread, in town, throughout Oregon, and finally across the country. Letters to the family arrived, piecing together Bobbie’s incredible journey. Letter writers talked of trying to keep him, many saying he would accept a meal or a night’s stay, but would always move on.

The recurring line in this sweetly written and illustrated book will always ring true: Bobbie was unstoppable.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog — recommended for readers 4-8 years but a joy for readers of any age — is available wherever books are sold (Alaska Northwest Books, Graphic Arts Books, Westwinds Press). The book launched at the annual Silverton Oregon “Bobbie” Pet Parade in May.

Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her 4-pack, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.

Dog Years: Faithful Friends, Then & Now

Dog Years: Faithful Friends, Then & Now by Amanda Jones

Dachshunds Short and Long was Amanda Jones’ third book of portraits, printed in 2005. I have a signed copy. Amanda actually knows my pack, having done two sessions in the past decade. I cherish the photos she’s taken, which adorn the walls of my home.

Jones’ latest book, Dog Years: Faithful Friends, Then & Now, captures dogs’ lifespans and their amazing journeys through photos of her clients’ dogs, spanning from puppyhood to late life.

My favorite images, in two series, are of Amanda’s own dog Lily, a Dachshund — one at three months, the other at 15 years. I have a special place in my heart for this breed, but more than that, these photos tell of a long, happy journey.

Each series of photos in Dog Years includes stories about the dogs and their humans. Some dogs started life in puppy mills, while others were strays that wandered into their human’s lives.  

“Lily was my first dog and we had her for almost 16 years,” says Jones. “She went through so much with us during that time. When she passed away, I knew I had to create a memorial for this special girl, so I pulled out the negatives from past portrait sessions and laid out four of the images in an age-progressive line. The result was an incredible visual narration of her life.  I am so pleased that so many people are enjoying these series of aging dogs!”

More about Amanda Jones at

As a Certified Vet Tech, longtime PR veteran and content marketing expert, Christy Caplan brings her unique understanding of social and digital media to connect dog lovers to brands both on and offline. She lives with three hounds – two Doxies and a Beagle/Basset Hound mix, who constantly teach her about life and companionship.Follow Christy at

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. 


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

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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.