Alpha Leaf

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Excerpted from New York Times bestselling book, A Dog Named Leaf by Allen Anderson with Linda Anderson, published by Lyons Press. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Summary of the Story:

Allen and Linda Anderson adopted a traumatized one-year-old cocker spaniel who had been abandoned. Soon, the troubled dog they named “Leaf” turned their home into a war zone. Although Leaf and Allen were forging a friendship with visits to dog parks and bonding time, Leaf’s emotional issues overwhelmed the couple.

Shortly after Leaf’s arrival, Allen, who had spent eight years as a big city police officer and survived so many close calls that Linda called him “Miracle Man,” received a diagnosis from his doctor that made him think his luck had finally run out. Allen had an unruptured brain aneurysm that could be fatal, and the surgery to repair it might leave him debilitated.

A few weeks after Allen’s brain surgery while he was still trying to recover, the following section of the story occurred.

***

Alpha Leaf

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During my healing process Leaf became my channel for viewing and living in the strange post-surgery world where my body could no longer be trusted to do what was necessary. After I was cleared to drive again, I took Leaf to the dog park so both of us could relax. With my frontal lobe still not in total functioning mode, other drivers agitated me. I now understood how a person could be overtaken by road rage.

To my embarrassment, I found myself yelling at drivers who lingered at stoplights. It irritated me that they crossed lanes too close in front of my car, chattered on their cell phones, or indulged in other poor driving habits. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have been fazed much and just made sure I got out of their way.

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In our car CD player, we keep a recording of around five thousand people chanting the love-filled mantra “HU.” For me, it is an incredibly soothing sound. The voices of all these chanters fluctuate and harmonize into a magnificent, unrehearsed symphony of high vibrational sound. When I’m driving I often push the button on the car stereo system and listen to the uplifting song waft through the speakers. With Leaf in the car, I doubly enjoy the chant, sensing that it also soothes and comforts him.

On this day Leaf watched me from the front seat as my anger erupted at other drivers. I was like someone with Tourette’s syndrome, unable to censor my negative mind talk. After watching me scream

at a bus that stopped frequently in front of my car, Leaf reached his paw over to the CD player. Out of six buttons on the stereo, he firmly pressed the one that allowed the HU CD to play.

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The timing, position of his paw, his selection of buttons, and the CD that happened to be in the stereo could have all been coincidental. I didn’t care. I needed it. Consciously or not, I knew Leaf was being God’s messenger for me. His act of compassion had its desired effect. I calmed down and let the chant heal my troubled, aching heart and mind. Gratitude welled up in me. My dog had figured out how to supply exactly what I needed to dissolve a passion of the mind I couldn’t control.

I looked over at him. As if nothing had happened, as if he did this sort of thing every day, his attention returned to the traffic. His curious eyes darted back and forth as he watched cars whiz by. Who was this dog? If I couldn’t register an oncoming vehicle, would he lean over and steer the car out of the way for me too?

Later that day I sat on the living room couch with Leaf in his usual spot. His body draped across my torso, and his head rested on my crossed leg. Although I’d grown over the months to appreciate him at deeper levels, at this moment I experienced an epiphany about our relationship.

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I looked at my little adopted dog and realized that we were both emotionally damaged goods. My lack of trust in people, fear of being dependent like my stroke-ridden father, discomfort when people expressed their emotions, and an overwhelming need for privacy all sprung from a childhood in which I never had enough strength to feel safe. Eight years of police work had confronted me with some of the worst humanity had to offer. With its random violence, it had reinforced my low opinion of anyone’s, including my own, trustworthiness.

a-dog-named-leaf-5Leaf ‘s fear, mistrust, and mercurial emotions arose from losing everything he’d ever known and being left without any safety net but his own street smarts. Although he’d been the abandoned shelter dog we rescued, without a doubt he had more than returned the favor. I knew now that life had turned our relationship to its flip side. Leaf was rescuing and trying to heal me. This little black cocker spaniel, abandoned and thrown out like someone’s trash, named Harley at the shelter after a motorcycle he detested, had become nothing less than a spiritual giant in my life.

Visit <http://www.adognamedleaf.com&gt; for details about A DOG NAMED LEAF.

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OVERCOMING A FEAR OF DOGS

I recently did a radio interview and got to do what I love, which is to talk about my book, New York Times bestseller A DOG NAMED LEAF. I always enjoy sharing with anyone who will listen to me talk about Leaf and how we came out of challenging times as a spiritual team. Both of us became better and more loving from our experiences together.

A Dog Named Leaf

A Dog Named Leaf

I talked about the joy and comfort a person receives by having the unconditional love of a dog and gave examples of how Leaf’s presence made my and his life better.

On the air, the host said that she had grown up in an environment where her mother taught her to fear dogs. To this day, she would be too afraid to have a dog as a pet.  She added that without knowing better, she had instilled that same fear in her son who is now 10 years old. As we chatted during the interview about the book and my experiences, the radio show host began to understand how much she and her son are missing out on, by not having a dog join their family.

I talked about how animal shelters are always looking for volunteers. Volunteering often helps people who cannot have a dog for some reason or may be concerned over the cost of adoption.

The host said that, as we talked, she had realized that it was time for her to move forward and past her deep, lifelong fears. Both she and her son were going to volunteer a couple of hours each week at their local animal shelter. They could become more accustomed to and less fearful by being around all kinds of dogs and experiencing firsthand the different characters and doggy personalities.

She added that one fine day, she might find a dog at the shelter. They would welcome the new arrival into their home with open arms.

What a satisfying interview that was for me, the host, and hopefully, for her listeners.

Have you ever had to overcome your fear of an animal?

A DOG NAMED LEAF

A DOG NAMED LEAF

A New York Times bestseller, A Dog Named Leaf (ISBN-10: 0762781654, ISBN-13: 978-0762781652), a 224-page paperback published by Lyons Press/Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, is available at major online book retailers, in bookstores, and at lyonspress.com. Visit the book’s Facebook page and view photos of Leaf at http://www.adognamedleaf.com or www.facebook.com/adognamedleaf

ANIMAL STARS — Lois Pope Bringing Hollywood’s Famous Animal Stars to Palm Beach, Florida for Afternoon Tea

Tickets for the “Afternoon Tea (January 22nd) with America’s Favorite Animal Stars” at the Chesterfield Hotel’s Leopard Lounge are $150 and may be purchased by emailing Jill Nizan at jilln@americanhumane.org or by calling 1-800-227-4645.

Animal Stars

Animal Stars

Meet Crystal the capuchin and Hudson the Golden Retriever. Limited seating is available for this exclusive event. Dr. Robin Ganzert’s new book “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors” (co-written with Allen and Linda Anderson) is available in bookstores and online everywhere now.

Robin Ganzert, PhD – author of Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors

Robin Ganzert, PhD – author of Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors with her special furry animal actor friend.

Robin Ganzert and Crystal

Robin Ganzert and Crystal

Visit http://www.animalstarsbook.com for more information.

Barnes and Noble presents Robin Ganzert, PhD – author of Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors with her special furry animal actor friend

Barnes and Noble
~presents~

Robin Ganzert, PhD – author of Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors with her special furry animal actor friend at book events around the country.

Great Day Houston

GREAT DAY HOUSTON featuring Robin Ganzert, PhD — author of Animal Stars Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors

If you want to have an entertaining and fun time, attend an Animal Stars family-friendly book event. Author Robin Ganzert (president and CEO of American Humane Association) will be sharing fascinating stories and autographing books. You’ll get to meet a special animal actor furry friend Robin will bring with her to the event. These interactive book presentations and signings have an element of surprise. Which movies and television shows did this animal actor star in? Like Robin Williams who called Crystal the monkey one of his favorite leading ladies, which movie and TV stars fell in love with their animal co-stars? See up-close how sweet, loving, and talented an animal star can be.

Robin Ganzert, PhD – author of Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors

Robin Ganzert, PhD – author of Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors with her special furry animal actor friend.

You will be glad you came. AND, your book purchase will help to support the important and historic work of American Humane Association to protect children and animals.

Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors by Robin Ganzert, PhD

Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors

Schedule:

October 14, 2014 @ 7PM
Barnes & Noble Lincoln Park
Dallas, Texas

October 18, 2014 @ 11AM
Barnes & Noble Tysons Corner
McLean, Virginia (Washington, D.C.)

October 22, 2014 @ 12PM
Barnes & Noble Prudential Center
Boston, Massachusetts

October 26, 2014 @ 3PM
Barnes & Noble Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

October 28, 2014 @ 7PM
Barnes & Noble Northwest
Las Vegas, Nevada

October 30, 2014 @ 7PM
Barnes & Noble Zona Rosa
Kansas City, Missouri

November 1, 2014 @ 6PM
Barnes & Noble Cool Springs
Brentwood, Tennessee (Nashville)

November 15, 2014
Barnes & Noble Birkdale
Huntersville, North Carolina (Charlotte)

Hudson Kissing a New Friend

Hudson Kissing a New Friend

Animal Stars Event

Animal Stars Event

Heartland Forum’s Moveable Feast Luncheon

Heartland  Forum's Moveable Feast Luncheon

Linda Attending the Heartland
Forum’s Moveable Feast Luncheon

Linda Anderson visited with booksellers and librarians at the Heartland  Forum’s Moveable Feast Luncheon on October 1st. At this sold-out affair, all attendees received a complimentary tote bag with a signed copy of ANIMAL STARS by Robin Ganzert, PhD and Allen and Linda Anderson. The book was featured in the event.

Heartland  Forum's Moveable Feast Luncheon

Animal Stars Featured at the Heartland
Forum’s Moveable Feast Luncheon

#AnimalStars has recently been featured on Fox & Friends and an Associated Press wire service article that was picked up by about 2,000 media outlets.

Animal Stars

Animal Stars

Visit http://www.animalstarsbook.com for more details.

A Visit to the HOLLYWOOD MUSEUM

Hollywood Musuem

Hollywood Museum

We recently visited the Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles and had a wonderful time. This collection of Hollywood memorabilia is the largest in the world and allows visitors to see 100 years of TV and films. The first floor was all about Hollywood glamour days with stars such as Marilyn Monroe. There were more than 1000 black-and-white photos of that era.

The 2nd and 3rd floors offered special exhibits of favorite stars in films and television. The Dungeon (basement) was a recreation of horror movie sets. The whole museum was like diving into the movies with scenes, customs, and stars in all their three-dimensional glory.

Lots of human celebrities in this museum. But we were in California that weekend for the book launch party of our new book, ANIMAL STARS: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors and American Humane Association’s 2014 Hero Dog Awards. Where were the animal stars at the Hollywood Museum?

Hollywood Musuem

Beverly Hillbillies at the Hollywood Museum

At last, we came upon an exhibit of the BEVERLY HILLBILLIES television show. Sitting proudly on the open car seat with Jed Clampett, Elly May, Granny, Jethro, and Duke the dog who starred in the series. We could have filled an entire floor of the museum with photos from our new book. But it was nice to see at least one animal (other than King Kong and some big snakes) immortalized.

Hollywood Musuem

Linda at the Hollywood Museum

After our adventure seeing Hollywood history, we and our friends went next door to the Hollywood Cafe and had a traditional movie lunch.

Hollywood Musuem

Allen at the Hollywood Museum

An Author’s Dream Book Launch Party

Allen and Linda Anderson

Allen and Linda Anderson

The #AnimalStars book launch was a grand event. We were amazed and very happy to see all the excitement and love for the book and for American Humane Association. The book party was at Fox Studios in Los Angeles in the ballroom.

Leading up to the ballroom was the red carpet, backdrops with ANIMAL STARS book cover images, and massive posters lining the red carpet on the other side of the entrance aisle. Hundreds of well-wishers attended. At one point, when our coauthor Dr. Robin Ganzert asked, “And what’s the name of this book?” everyone sang in unison, “ANIMAL STARS!”

ANIMAL STARS -- Book Launch Party

ANIMAL STARS — Book Launch Party

 

Animal Stars

Animal Stars

The party included food, drink, and lots of laughter. Many of the book’s contributing authors/trainers attended with their animal stars who were featured in the book. People were getting photos and videos of themselves with the famous animal actors. Crystal, the capuchin monkey star of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM and WE BOUGHT A ZOO was a full participant in the celebrations. She graced us by sitting on our shoulders and grooming our hair. What an actress!

Celebrities James Denten (Mike the Plumber on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) and Animal Planet host and author Victoria Stilwell were enjoying the party as well as a young man from television that the teenagers all knew and adored.

Animal Stars Director's Chair

Animal Stars Director’s Chair

We were thrilled to meet Dr. Marty Becker, official veterinarian for GOOD MORNING AMERICA and the DR. OZ SHOW. He wrote the foreword for our first ANGEL ANIMALS book and for this book. Such a nice man. Our publicist for all these years, Monique Muhlenkamp was also at the party representing our publisher New World Library.

Allen and Linda Anderson with their Friends at the Animal Stars Book Launch Party

Allen and Linda Anderson with their Friends at the Animal Stars Book Launch Party

Margo, Linda, and Arlene

Margo, Linda, and Arlene

It was an author’s dream book launch party. And we are grateful to have had the opportunity of meeting people who sent the book off with a good start. Many came up and told us they have been reading and loving our books for years. What a treat! Who knew?

Linda, Crystal, & Allen

Linda, Crystal, & Allen

Robin Ganzert and Friends

Robin Ganzert and Friends