I debated whether or not I should include Jean M. Fogle’s Salty Dogs as one of the 52 books in this project. Why? Because it’s a photo book. Would it really count as something I read?

Then I remembered that this is my blog and I can do whatever I want, so Salty Dogs it is.

Salty Dogs came at just the right time, too. Friday is a very special day in the Miller household. It’s my Jack Russell Terrier mix’s sixth birthday, and Saturday marks our two year anniversary.

First, the book. Fogle found me through my Down the Shore with Jen blog. I had posted about my trip with Emily, my dog, to Cape May, NJ. Since that trip involved a dog and salt, and I have this book blog, she offered to send me a copy of the book. And what an adorable book it is. It has dogs of all stripes playing on the sand and in the water. Fogle also has a Jack Russell Terrier (hers is named Molly), so a lot of the shots are extra adorable, like the one of a JRT on a boogie board.

It’s a fun, cute book — a great gift for any dog and beach lover. I also ran it by Regan Tighe, owner of Joey’s It’s All Gone to the Dogs, which is where I buy Emily’s food, and she gave it a thumbs up. She sees dog products all the time, so I count hers as an excellent endorsement.

Now, my dog. This freelancing writing thing can get a little lonely every now and again. I knew I needed some companionship when getting the mail was the highlight of my day. So when I moved out of my teeny Haddonfield apartment into the second floor of a house in Collingswood — one that allowed dogs — I went fido hunting. I would have liked one of the Seeing Eye’s fabulous flunkies(e.g. dogs who are raised by puppy handlers but don’t make it to Seeing Eye level), but my landlord said no German Shepherds. So I started scoping out local animal shelters.

One thing I did not want was a puppy. I didn’t think I had the patience for one, and I knew there were a lot of adult dogs who needed good homes. The first dog that caught my eye was a lhasa apso named Bop (who I would have renamed her Xena Warrior Princess, FYI). I wasn’t keen on a little dog, but I had been looking for three weeks without finding that 30-ish pound lab mix I’d envisioned in my future. She was cute, and seemed to like me, so I put my name down as a possible adopter.

Bop-to-be-renamed-Xena was so small that she was kept in the puppy room. Also in the puppy room was an adorable eight pound Jack Russell Terrier mix. Every time I visited Bop, I’d play with the little white and brown dog. She was cute and fun, but I dug in my heels: NO PUPPIES.

Well, Bop was adopted out from under me (the Animal Welfare Association will not ‘hold’ a dog for you, which makes sense). I was put second on the list, and decided to visit her one more time. That’s when I realized the JRT’s information had been updated. Emily wasn’t a puppy. She was four years old — just small (and, as I later learned, not eating because she was scared out of her wits by being around so many other barking dogs).

I bent down to Emily’s cage to take another good look at her. She licked my fingers, then backed away. Well, fine, I thought. If you want to be that way. She went back to her blankets, dug out a Milkbone, and dropped it at my feet. Sold.

So two years ago Monday, I brought Emily home. I thought for a long time that I was a terrible dog owner. I hit her in the face with a tennis ball while we were playing; she fell of the landing to my apartment stairs; I didn’t pay enough attention to her, I thought. But over the last two years, I think we’ve formed a working partnership. She’s my buddy. When I went started house hunting, one of the things I wanted was a fenced in back yard so she could run around and bark at as many squirrels as she wanted (something she likes very much at the house I bought in May, FYI).

Even though we hit a big slump this summer (I was away for most of it working on my book, and she didn’t like it) she’s my best four legged friend. I try to take her wherever I go, which is why I took a mini vacay in Cape May — because she was welcome to stay with me.

Right now, Emily is snoozing on the big fake fur sack I bought her for Christmas last year. In about an hour and a half, she’ll run up the stairs to beg for her mid-morning walk, and I’ll be happy to take her.

So to get back the original point of this book — Salty Dogs — if you feel like I do about your dog, or know someone who does, it’ll make a great holiday gift. And at $14.99, it’s a steal.

Read more at mollitudes.blogspot.com and saltydogs-thebook.blogspot.com.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Jean M Fogle on November 28, 2007 at 9:59 am

    thanks for reviewing Salty Dogs! Emily is one lucky girl, like my Molly, they get to be with us most of the time. Enjoyed the story of how she came to be your best friend! Also was interesting that the book arrived on her bday!

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