Hey! Whose Park Is This? by Marcia Lee


Using humour and her own observations, the author traces her acquisition of Buster, a junkyard rescue, whose high energy leads her to the dog park. The author recounts their adventures and illustrates what happens there. Instinctive dog behaviours, prejudices, dog walkers, aggression and more are covered.

The following explains why I felt I had to write this book. I was literally bombarded with incidents from going to the dog park on a daily basis for three and a half years; in fact, I still go.

One could ask why read a book about the dog park? Surely, those two words say it all. Let’s just go to the dog park, have fun and go home. But, one needs to realize that you are exposing yourself and your dog/s to the dangers of unpredictable animal and human behaviour. People forget that at the dog park common sense flies out of the window. The dogs are thrust into an enclosed area with strange dogs and people and, who knows what will happen?

Not all dogs are sociable and each one has its own distinct personality traits. They can be timid, aggressive, laid back or high-energy. It is far better to go to the dog park with some idea of what to expect as it can be a very enjoyable experience or a downright scary one.

Travel Parenting by Fritz Blackburn


You can send your kid to school, buy her a cellphone and hope for the best. Or you can travel deserts, forests, oceans and mountains and watch her learn what she really needs. You can discipline your child – or you could allow freedom and nature to bring out her potential, animals to teach respect, and exotic cultures to show the common denominator of what is essentially human. 

For a child to learn not only accepted facts, but to think for herself and to be emotionally and spiritually competent, more is needed than conceptual programming as schools do it! A child needs to feel freedom to know freedom, to experience respect to become respectful, and to feel personally responsible for walking her own path! 

Children need to learn from real life, in real ways, not just copy what is suggested by their own culture!

When fully under their own steam as travellers, children can become heroes! They can invent their own action movie and their own fairy-tale, and experience self-respect as valuable and competent members of various groups rather than just by “their” culture alone! Respected children make competent life choices! They are authors of their actions and their mental and emotional development. They know active discipline, because they are not passively “disciplined”. They keep their dignity!

Parent and child can then become a team where everybody learns and grows, not just the child.

Excerpt:

The most effective way to parent a child lies not in any fanciful psychology or brilliant strategy, but in delegation, particularly in delegating to the wisdom of Nature! We simply can and do not know what children really need to evolve optimally towards all they can become, and we do not have the mental artillery needed to address those hidden potentials we mostly do not even suspect exist. Only Nature does! Completely! Some scientists may still see the existence of animals and plants as the result of coincidental, unconnected evolution of separate species, and as unrelated to human brain-development. This betrays a surprising lack of insight, shared still by many educational psychologists, which prevents most parents from making optimal use of what Nature, and particularly animals, could do for their kid.

I used to define intelligence as the ability to solve problems, which would probably make the ants of the Philippines the most highly intelligent life-form on this planet. Just try this: Buy your kids a mars bar and tell them to protect it from ants for 3 days before eating it! Watch the ants overcome every trick and manoeuvre your kid can possibly come up with around a nipa-hut! Watch the ensuing duel of wits unfold and prepare to be amazed at just how creative ants are and at how far they can stretch your kid’s creativity while motivating the hell out of her! First, your kids may try a few well-knotted plastic bags all inside each other. The ants bite straight through without losing much speed. Then they might, confidently still, tie the bag to fishing-line dangling from the ceiling. The ants recognize this as a pretty highway through heaven and have a road built up the walls and across the ceiling and down along the fishing line in no time! The kids then put the sweets on a plate into the ashes of the cold fireplace. The ants find a stick they put in place like a bridge, and cross over! Small dish inside large dish filled with water! The ants climb on top of each other until the living tower leans over and falls as a draw-bridge across the gap between the dishes! The rest cross the living bridge! There is no end to the problem-solving ability of ants, and for a clever kid to compete with a hive on equal ground is usually humiliating at first but always extremely rewarding in terms of humility and true understanding of the world.

The Best Don't Always Play by John Fernandes


Raised by his retired Marine father and his uncle, Johnny's upbringing isn't exactly typical. His best friend, Mickey, lives next door, being raised by his white trash, hard-drinking barmaid mother. The disparate parts of two families will do their best to raise the boys.

Two new boys move to South Florida, Jack Peel and Hal Wise. After they all meet at baseball tryouts, the four become inseparable, sharing dreams. Their goal, their common dream, is to win a state championship, to play pro ball. Will they achieve their dream, or has life got other plans for this quartet?

Excerpt:

The humid morning air was just the start of another scorching day at the junkyard. At lunch, the topic came up again – what people were doing after high school. Jack sat lifelessly on the old car seat with a wet towel on his head, and Leonard was carving up an apple when JW broke the silence.

“Jack, next year instead of sweating your ass off here, you’ll be in some rookie league,” he said.

“I hope to be, sir,” Jack replied. “Big Johnny, too.” 

“No more hot sand and cars,” he added. 

“What do ya mean, Johnny too?” JW asked.

“Big boy and me are playing pro ball or college on scholarship,” Jack said proudly.

“No, that’s not going to happen,” JW said. “When Johnny graduates high school he’s joining the Marine Corps for two years.” 

“After that he’s free to try anything he wants,” he said. “There’s a war that’s going to happen.” 

“His country needs him, just like me and Leonard in Korea,” JW boasted.
Jack woke up immediately. 

“War? What war?” he asked. “That’s just a conflict over there.” 

“Advisors,” he said, “not troops.”

“That’s how it starts, Jack,” said JW.

“By the time y’all are out of school, there will be U.S. troops there fighting Communist China,” Leonard said.

“North Vietnam backed by China, and we are in the middle of it,” JW said.

“Johnny, why didn’t you tell me this before?” Jack asked.

“You had your dream,” he said. “I didn’t want to screw it up.”

“It was your dream too,” Jack said. “What happened?”

“It’s only two years,” Johnny said. “I’ll still be in great shape.” 

“This is your best window of opportunity after baseball season,” Jack argued.

“What if you’re drafted?” he pleaded. “What do you tell them -- No thanks, I’m going to play soldier first?” 

“These chances don’t come along that often,” Jack said.

“Sorry, but that’s the way it’s gonna be,” Johnny said.