Well, let’s go back to my childhood. I grew up in a Brady Bunch-like family in a town called Crown Point, located in Northwest Indiana. Until winning a couple high school state titles in girls’ basketball in the 1980s, this sleepy Hoosier town had earned notoriety as the place where bank robber John Dillinger escaped from the county jail in the 1930s by fooling the local sheriff with a “gun” carved from a bar of soap and blackened with shoe polish. I was fortunate to grow up on the outskirts of town with a backyard that rolled into the shoreline of a fresh water lake. Summers found me training my cat, Corky, to swim and learning how to turn double plays on the softball diamond. Winters were spent building snow-fortified forts and going full throttle on the family snow mobile across the frozen lake surface.
By my first year in high school, I quickly learned that my future would not be in the world of music. After all, there is not a big demand for people who play the glockenspiel, so I cajoled the editor of the local weekly newspaper into hiring me to be a sports writer. I discovered I liked putting nouns and verbs together far more than trying to strike the right note on a too-heavy metal instrument with a mallet. As a corn-fed Hoosier, I valued my Midwest roots, but knew I needed to experience other places. My insatiable curiosity led me to spending the next 20 years chasing stories as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Indiana and Florida. From there, I entered the publishing world at the family-owned Rodale Press located in another sleepy town — this one called Emmaus, Pennsylvania. At Rodale, my “day job” was health writer for the book division, but I moonlighted as a writer for their new magazine called Pets: Part of the Family. There, I realized that I could tap my love of writing and interviewing to help people become healthier and to tout the power of pets. Pets and people — that’s what I am all about. In fact, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t at least one tail-wagger in my life. Today, I happily share my home in Oceanside, California with two dogs, two cats, and an often-used vacuum cleaner. Never did I imagine growing up as a glockenspiel-playing teen-ager in Crown Point would I some day see my name on dozens of books and hundreds of magazine articles. I feel fortunate to have hit the right note — finally!