Katy on…Edgar Sawtelle

Last night Ken and I drove down to the valley to a booksigning.  First time I’ve ever done something like that.
David Wrobeleski, author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, was in Alb to promote the debut of the softcover edition.
We bought another hard cover, and I took the one I already had, to be signed.  He gave a wonderful talk about the book, answered lots of good questions, including one or two from me, and read from the book. It was great to hear about his long process of writing the book, how the ideas came to be, and how long it took him.  He wrote a draft and 12 re-writes over a period of ten years, but said the entire process took 15 years from concept to completion.  He did much research, but obviously wrote from his heart, from what he knew and lived.  He is a very talented individual, humble and modest and quite charming.  Younger than he looks on the cover picture, but quite bald! 
I asked him how he came to know dogs so well, as it was quite obvious in the book that he knew dogs intimately.  He said he grew up on a small farm in mid-west Wisconsin, in a small family, and his parents bred and raised dogs (didn’t say what kind).  It was his job, as a child, to socialize the pups and clean kennels.  He also talked about the one, very excellent dog, he’s had as an adult. Said he  realized that he was not worthy of this very special dog and embarked on a mission to learn more about how to train dogs and came across Vickie Hearne’s Adam’s Task, which had a profound impact on his ideas about communicating with dogs.  (Me, too.) 
It was wonderful to talk with him.  We have amazingly similar backgrounds, in some areas, and certainly share a deep love of dogs.  He signed my book, “To Katy, who knows how great it can be with a dog.” We also had him sign one, as a Christmas gift for our son-in-law, Ryan. He’s an English Lit teacher in Portland.
He’s writing another book, this one based on Edgar’s grandfather, John, who started breeding the dogs.
Something to look forward to! 
He also recommended a couple of books that he’s thinks are excellent.  One, I plan on finding and reading.
It’s called Dog Man by Martha Sherrill.  Perhaps you’ve already read it.  About the Japanese man who saved the Akita after WW2, when only a dozen were left.  His Akitas are now considered National Treasures in Japan.  I read a few pages on Amazon, and it sounds great.  Will try and find it at the library.

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