I have been a dog lover since my family adopted our first puppy, a Beagle-Terrier-German Shepherd mix named Terry. I was three years old and I immediately fell in love. I’ve learned a lot about dogs since then, both as a “dog mom” and as a writer. But there’s a lot more I’d like to learn—and I believe there’s a lot more that dogs can teach us. That was my motivation for writing Be as Happy as Your Dog; I want to connect with fellow dog lovers who are keen learn how to live the happy life their dogs enjoy.
I am also the author of Sex in a Tent: A wild couple’s guide to getting naughty in nature, Moon: Living Abroad in New Zealand, and Psychic Animals: Superstition, Science and Extraordinary Tales. Before my writing career, I worked in TV production and corporate communications. I currently live with in Toronto, Canada with my husband and my two rescue dogs/co-authors.
If you'd like to learn more about my writing and plain language consulting business, please visit michellewaitzman.com.
Marlowe was the first dog we adopted, at around five months old, early in 2014. He was born on a First Nations reserve in Ontario, Canada. When he and his littermates were just five weeks old, their mother was hit by a car and didn’t survive.
The litter was rescued by an organization that placed them in foster homes until they were old enough to be adopted. Marlowe was the last to be adopted because he was shy and a bit anxious. He’s a very fluffy, large, white, mixed breed (likely with husky or malamute as the dominant breed) with a bushy, curled tail and small, floppy, tan ears.
Marlowe has always been a bit of an old soul. He doesn’t play as much as most dogs, but he loves getting attention from people. He’s very smart and recognizes a pretty impressive number of words and names. Marlowe is the thoughtful one, the cautious one.
Nuka has gone through pretty much everything life can throw at a dog, and decided to be happy anyway. She’s a fairly large, tan mixed breed who looks like a more delicate version of a yellow lab. She has a straight, thick tail and big, droopy ears. Nuka has the world’s softest fur.
We don’t know how Nuka’s life began, but she was rescued at around three or four months old with three littermates, all found in a dumpster. They were underweight and likely mistreated and abandoned. We adopted her about six months after we got Marlowe, since we wanted both our dogs to be at around the same stage in their lives. Nuka was a happy, playful puppy who loved having a big brother in Marlowe.
At around 10 months old, we discovered that she had a rare parasite that had destroyed one of her kidneys. The kidney had to be removed. Around age two she developed pain in both her knees and underwent knee surgeries one year apart, but her knees still get sore after a long walk. A year after that, she had a mysterious autoimmune reaction that dropped the platelet level in her blood so low that any small wound would have caused her to bleed to death.
Throughout all of this, and most recently skin cancer, Nuka’s default state has been to be happy and love her life. Every walk, every meal, every game, and every visitor is a cause for celebration. She is a wonderful role model for how to be happy, no matter what.