Local Author wins Dog Writers of America Award For Best Children’s Book of 2013


Author and Animal Care Instructor Denise Fleck of Shadow Hills, CA won the Dog Writers of America Award (DWAA) last night in New York City for her children’s book, Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. “This means the world to me because the book is not only based on the gentlest soul I ever had the joy of loving, a rescued black Labrador Retriever named Mr. Rico, but also because the plight of older and challenged pets will reach the ears of so many more now,” she said. “I am honored to be the recipient of my second Maxwell Medallion (DWAA Award) as Maxwell Riddell, for whom the award is named, worked 35 years in newspaper, wrote a syndicated dog column for 30 years, wrote for Dog World Magazine for 50 years, was an AKC (American Kennel Club) Judge, authored many books and was known all over the world as a dog expert, so I am truly humbled.”

On its cleverly illustrated pages, Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover teaches children, and reminds adults, to treat everyone as equals. This book embraces what adoption is all about…making sure pets become part of the family! The lessons are learned through the eyes of a young girl and her first fur-ever friend in this heartwarming tale. It will make even the most jaded of us take notice of any indiscretions we may show in the unfair judging of an individual based on the way he or she appears to only our eyes and will inspire readers to remember adopting is for life.

Mary-Alice and her friends like pretty clothes and hanging with the in-crowd, but when she requests a puppy for her birthday, her parents decide the fluffy one with the pink bow in the pet store may not be the best choice. Instead Mary-Alice ends up at the local Animal Shelter where she not only saves the life of a loving older dog, but learns that once you look beyond the plain cover of things, you can be treated to the true joys that lie underneath! Looking beyond the cover is truly canine in that dogs do not judge others based on their income, beauty or status. They live in the moment rejoicing in every kindness they are shown. Humans, young and not-so-young, can learn pawmazing lessons from our four-legged friends and when they Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

“Have you ever had a dog look you in the eye with adoration like you were the most amazing creature ever? I have, although I try not to let it go to my head,” Fleck muses. “It is the most incredible feeling, to be loved so unconditionally, without judgment! Animals don’t carry grudges nor do they judge others based on the color of their fur or the roof over their head. I often think of the three-legged dog who lives life as though he’s not missing a thing — not carrying the baggage of feeling inadequate or worrying what other animals think. Animals find ways to contentment without judging others, and we’d do well to learn from them,” Fleck concludes.

DJABwMrRicoAuthor Denise Fleck was raised by a Great Dane and has spent her life loving animals. A long-time rescuer whose specialty is teaching Pet First-Aid & CPR, she has shared Pet Safety Tips in magazines on TV and Radio. She also instills her passion for our furry, feathered, finned & scaled friends in the next generation of animal care givers through an after-school program she teaches weekly. Denise’s own black Labrador Retriever, Mr. Rico, was the inspiration for Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. His best pals, two rescued Akitas, now share the hearts and lives of Denise and her husband Paul and have stories of their own to share, so…stay tuned and visit www.sunnydogink.com and view the trailer for this book at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-lRGHwN51U

Brought to you by Dog Ear Publishing, this title is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and other outlets and contains PAWdominant Themes for parents, teachers and rescue workers to discuss with the little (or not so little) ones in their lives.

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