When There’s A Dog in Your Life

I was honored to be asked to write an essay for the 20th anniversary of Inside Chappaqua Magazine by the founder and publisher Grace Bennett. I wrote about the bond between me and my owner Ronni Diamondstein and how a dog can enrich your life.

You can read it online here. https://www.theinsidepress.com/when-theres-a-dog-in-your-life/

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Exciting News!

Proud to announce Ronni Diamondstein’s Debut Picture Book!

From Publishers Marketplace, January 17, 2023:

Children’s: Picture Book Non-fiction

Ronni Diamondstein’s debut JACKIE AND THE BOOKS SHE LOVED, about former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s love of reading, starting at an early age and lasting well into adulthood and her career, illustrated by Bats Langley, to Nicole Frail at Sky Pony Press, in a nice deal, for publication in November 2023, by Lary Rosenblatt and Barbara Stewart at 22MediaWorks for the author (world).#author photo credit: Randi Childs Photography

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Maggie Mae’s Book Blog: “Dominic” by William Steig

“Dominic” by William Steig

“Dominic” by William Steig is one of my favorite books. My owner has been reading it to me since I was a puppy because it is one of her favorite books. Dominic is a little bored with his neighborhood so he sets out on an adventure. He packs his collection of hats and his piccolo and heads out wherever the world may take him. Dominic encounters members of the Doomsday Gang and deftly foils their attempt to rob him. He meets new friends along the way who tell him of their less-fortunate meetings with these villains. They ask the heroic dog for help, but can one dog along take down the Doomsday gang? You’ll have to read it to find out. It’s a story about life great for people of all ages. My owner, Ronni Diamondstein who is a children’s librarian gives it to adults as well as children. 

Dominic is a great dog. He is my hero. I hope everyone will read this terrific book.

I am especially happy to share this book today because November 14th is the author William Steig’s birthday. He would have been 114 this year.

Maggie Mae reading Dominic

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Maggie Mae’s Book Blog: “Always” by Alison McGhee and Pascal Lemaitre

“Always” by Alison McGhee and Pascal Lemaitre

I love books about dogs and their humans and this is one of my very favorites. “Always” by Alison McGhee and Pascal Lemaitre is about the unconditional love and all the things a dog will do for his human. The bond between a beloved dog and a child is very deep. A dog will go to the ends of the Earth to protect his dear friend. A poignant story about friendship, loyalty and best of all love. With sweet illustrations and simple text, it’s a delight to read over and over again. Which is what I do!

Maggie Mae reading “Always”

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Maggie Mae Book Blog: “How to Talk to Your Dog ” by Jean Craighead George

How to Talk to Your Dog by Jean Craighead George

This has to be the first book I review because talking to your dog is so important and I was lucky enough to interview the author and Newbery Award Medalist, Jean Craighead George for one of my Maggie Mae Pup Reporter columns in Inside Chappaqua magazine.

In How to Talk to Your Dog Jean Craighead George writes “No one will ever love you as much as your dog does.” That is very true and I hope my owner knows that. In the book humans can find out what their dog is saying and how to talk back to us dogs. George explains what all the sounds we make mean and what the wag of our tail tells you. She tells you how to say hello to us and how to say, “I’m the boss.” She knows that we really think we are the boss, and she will show you how to show us that you are our leader.

Jean George loved her dog Qimmiq and you can tell by the way she wrote the book. Her dog Qimmiq was the most wonderful dog and the inspiration for How to Talk to Your Dog. She dedicated the book to Qimmiq, her “wonderful talking dog.”

“After I studied wolves I realized Qimmiq was talking to me the way the wolves do,” she said in 2010 when I interviewed her. “He howled ‘Ah oohh’ just like a wolf. My granddaughters would call in the morning and say, ‘I want to speak to Qimmiq.’ I’d hold up the phone and he’d howl. And then they would hang up. They didn’t want to talk to me.” She also gave me some good advice: “Always obey,” which I didn’t much like, and “Let your owner know when you are annoyed!” That made my tail wag, and I hoped my owner heard it too!

I highly recommend this book. Young children should read it with a grownup.

Happy Reading!

Jean Craighead George and Maggie Mae © Ronni Diamondstein, All Rights Reserved

© 2021 Ronni Diamondstein, All Rights Reserved

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Extra! Extra! Read All About Us!

Maggie Mae Pup Reporter
Ronni Diamondstein

Recently my owner, Ronni Diamondstein and I were the subject of an article in our local magazine Inside Chappaqua & Millwood. The tables were turned on us since we do the writing and interviewing, but we loved the writer Megan Klein. She is an aspiring journalist studying at Boston University. My owner has known her since Megan was a baby. It was fun to have her interview Ronni. Our picture was even on the cover of the magazine! You can read about this “dynamic duo” in this link.

Inside Chappaqua & Millwood, March/April 2021
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The Power of Pets in the Pandemic

Maggie Mae Pet Pandemic Artilce photo

Getting ready to watch a Cuomo Briefing with my mom.

I wrote about my pandemic experience. Now you can read how my owner Ronni Diamondstein experienced it with me. Her latest column in Inside Press magazines.  I wonder if Governor Cuomo’s dog Captain will like what she wrote.

Here’s the link:   The Power of Pets in the Pandemic

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Pandemic Pup Reporter

Life in the Pandemic From a Dog’s Eye View

Pandemic Pup
What’s a pup to do during a pandemic

One day in March 2020 everything changed at our house. My owner was home all the time. Of course, I liked that but things were different.  I kept hearing my owner say words I never heard before: “COVID, Corona Virus, Pandemic, Quarantine and Pause.

So many things were different. People were delivering food to our house. And lots of packages were coming to our house. My favorite was from Chewy.com because I could smell my food in them.

One day when I went outside I saw some people, but not very many, with their mouths covered. I asked my owner who was wearing something over her mouth too. “Who did those people bite?”  It looked like they were wearing muzzles.

One of the worst things was I couldn’t go over to my friend Isabella when I saw her outside with her owner Vicki. Vicki and my owner kept us apart, at least six feet away and all we could do was wag our tails. My owner said we had to “Social Distance.”

The Bark Bathe & Beyond van stopped coming. I didn’t see Andi anymore. She always gave me a bath and cut my hair. I didn’t really like what she did but I liked her.  My hair was getting long and I was getting more annoyed when my owner washed my face and paws and brushed me.

I had to go see Dr. Duffy and my friends at Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center for a check-up but that was different too. Instead of going in, my owner called and she told them that we were in the parking lot. I waited in the car and then my owner would hand me over to Donna and she didn’t come in with me. They were all wearing masks too. It just wasn’t the same.

In the middle of the day my owner would say “It’s Cuomo Time” and I knew that meant for me to jump up on the sofa with her and sit and watch the television. I heard this man on the television say, “New York Tough, New York Smart, Disciplined, United and Loving.” When I heard that I knew it was time for a walk.

When we took our walks and if my owner saw someone without something covering their mouth and nose, we had to walk on the other side of the street. I would hear her say, “Where’s your mask? I care about you, so I wear one.”

My owner talked on the phone a lot every day, in the morning, the afternoon and at night. There was a lot of noise in the kitchen and I could smell a lot of things but I never got any of what she cooked or baked.

I would hear my owner talk to people on her laptop and I could hear them. I even heard a dog barking once. “I am having a Zoom meeting,” she explained. I sat on her lap one night when she had a Library Board Zoom meeting.

The saddest thing was that no one came to visit me in my house anymore. One day, Danny the plumber came. I heard him say, “Where’s Maggie?” But I couldn’t greet him and bring him a toy to play fetch with me because I had been sent to my crate. My owner wore a mask and he did too.

Finally, the Bark, Bathe & Beyond truck came and I got a bath and my hair was trimmed. I was a new dog!

It’s been a long time now and even though I hear that people are doing more things my owner says we are staying in Phase One.

Stay safe and stay well everyone.

groomed in May

Groomed and enjoying the fresh air

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The Adventures of Maggie Mae: Baking With Love

Baking With Love

maggie january 2020 1

Maggie Mae was excited to see the snow falling outside.

“Can we go out to play?” she asked her mother.

“Later,” her mother said. “It’s a blizzard out there. It is too cold and a strong wind is blowing.”

“Can we bake cookies instead?” asked Maggie Mae. “That would be fun.”

“That’s a perfect thing to do on a snowy day like today,” said her mother. “Let’s go into the kitchen.”

“I can write about it for my newspaper when we are finished,” said Maggie Mae.

Her mother took out a big red mixing bowl and put it on the kitchen table.

Maggie Mae helped take out the tools she needed to bake: baking sheet, measuring cups and spoons. “And of course the spatula,” Maggie Mae said holding up a pretty pink one.

“Let’s get all the ingredients ready,” her mother said.

“May I help?” asked her little brother Beau as he came into the kitchen.

“Sure,” said Maggie Mae.

Her mother placed the ingredients on the kitchen counter: flour, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla. “Love is the most important ingredient,” she said. “ We have to bake with lots of love.”

Maggie Mae helped measured the flour. She beat the butter and the sugar, stirring and stirring.

“Let’s add the eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla,” said her mother.

Maggie Mae stirred and stirred.

“I will fold in the flour,” said her mother.  “Then we can roll out the dough.”

Maggie Mae rolled out the dough with a rolling pin.  It was hard work.

“Let’s cut them into hearts since we are making them with love,” Maggie Mae said.

Beau stood on a stool and helped her cut out the cookies. They placed the cookies on the baking sheet.

Her mother put the cookies in the oven.

“What can we do while they are baking?” asked Maggie Mae.

“We will make the frosting,” said her mother. She took out powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.

“I will stir that,” said Beau.

Maggie Mae started to write her story. She could smell the cookies baking. She even wrote the recipe in her story.

“Let’s give some of the cookies to our neighbors,” said Maggie Mae. “Sharing is caring.”

“That will be a nice surprise,” said her mother.

When the cookies had cooled, Beau and Maggie Mae decorated the cookies with red and white frosting. Then they packed them up to give to friends and neighbors.

“Baking cookies on a snowy day was a good idea,” Maggie Mae said to her mother. “And sharing them is even better.”

© 2020 Ronni Diamondstein, All Rights Reserved

Love cookies

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First Snow of 2020: Winter Safety Tips

The first Snow of 2020 on Saturday, January 18 was a quiet storm. I went to check it out. I love the snow. It is gentle on fluffy. Staying safe in the winter is very important for pups. I wrote about it in my Maggie Mae Pup Reporter in Inside Chappaqua magazine. You can read that here below.

Snowy Day 1_18 2020

About an inch or two of snow today.

Keeping your Dog Safe in the Winter

 When it’s cold outside I’m happy that my owner dresses me in one of my winter jackets. Being a small dog and close to the ground I really feel the cold. And she makes an extra special point of wiping off the salt on my feet when we come in from the ice and snow. It made me wonder if there were other things dogs needed to know about in the winter so I contacted a local veterinarian, Jeremy Tubbs, DVM of the Millwood Animal Hospital.

I love wearing my coats when I go out but I don’t always see other dogs wearing one on very cold days so I asked Dr. Tubbs if all dogs should wear a coat or sweater.  “I think every dog is different and has its own level of tolerance,” says Dr. Tubbs. “Of my two dogs, Solo and Jasper, one loves wearing a sweater or a coat outside, the other will try to take it off.   I feel that smaller dogs, and those with shorter hair coats would benefit from one, especially if they are going to be outdoors for a prolonged period of time.”

Sometimes when I’m out in the ice and snow I stop walking because my paw hurts. I lift it up and wait for my owner to make it feel better.   I asked Dr. Tubbs about that.  “With prolonged activity in the snow, snowballs can accumulate between the pads of a dog’s foot.  This may become uncomfortable, or simply make walking difficult,” says Dr. Tubbs.  “In this case boots may help, but like anything, a dog has to be trained to use them.” I tried them once but it was hard to walk in them. Dr. Tubbs said he has heard of people using PAM cooking spray on their feet to prevent snow accumulations. “The most important thing is to know your own dog and its limits.” And like my owner, he is all for washing paws when you come in the house. “Some ice melt products can also irritate a dog’s pads and inter-digital spaces.  I always recommend a quick wash of the feet after a walk to remove the snow melt and salt to prevent licking and further irritation.”

My friend Willie, a French Bulldog who is eight years old once slipped on the ice and sprained his rear leg. Dr. Tubbs said it very important to consider our older dogs in ice and snow. “By the time they are two years old, over 85% of dogs already have arthritic changes, and it may be more difficult for our geriatric dogs to step over high snow accumulation, or navigate icy sidewalks or areas.  In this case, booties may be a good idea for better traction and footing.” And puppies need to be careful too. “Puppies will have more of a challenge over all,” says Dr. Tubbs,  “Navigating through snow and ice, immature bones can be more prone to injury.  So using more caution with the youngsters is always important.”

I also wondered if I still needed topical treatment of flea and tick medication during the winter and Dr. Tubbs agreed that it was a good idea. “All it takes is for the temperature to become a little mild for fleas and ticks to come out.”

Just like when it is very hot outside it’s not a good idea to leave your dog unattended in the car in the very cold weather. Dr. Tubbs says that dogs have a natural coat 365 days a year, though some are more dense and warm than others.  “Air between the skin and the coat acts as a natural insulator. But if a pet is inactive, its core body temperature will lower, and if a pet is not acclimated to cold temperatures, it can become uncomfortable very soon.”  Dr. Tubbs says that he would not leave his animals in his car for a prolonged period if the temperature is below 40 degrees. “But my dogs are used to the toasty confines of their dog beds and our home.”

I get excited when I see snow and love to be out and about in the winter, but I do get cold. Like Dr. Tubbs’s dogs nothing makes me happier than being cozy and warm in the house curled up with my owner or on my dog bed.

For more cold weather tips for pets you can go to the ASPCA website:http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/cold-weather-tips.aspx

Inside Chappaqua  Winter 2012/2013

© 2020 Ronni Diamondstein, All Rights Reserved

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