“If your dogs were writers, what would they write about?” Waggleview with author Suzanne Strempek Shea

Please read the Waggleview below to find out about this remarkable woman leader and her dog. Woof on!

The Dog Owner: Suzanne Strempek Shea is the author of six novels, including “Make a Wish But Not For Money,” about a palm reader in a dead mall, and five works of nonfiction, including “This Is Paradise: An Irish Mother’s Grief, an African Village’s Plight and the Medical Clinic That Brought Fresh Hope to Both,” about the work of Mags Riordan, who ten years ago founded a medical clinic in the remote African village where her son died on vacation. The Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic to date has served more than 275,000 patients and saved countless lives in an area that previously had one doctor for 800,000 people.

Suzanne has been featured on NBC’s Today, National Public Radio and Voice of America, and in USA Today and the Washington Post. Her freelance work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Irish Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, ESPN the Magazine, Yankee and Bark.

Shea teaches at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program and is writer in residence at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.


Dog type and Name: Tiny, a beagle mix at least 13 years old, and Bisquick, an 8-year-old English setter.

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Q: Why did you choose this dog?

Tiny is “Ten-buck Tiny from the Palmer pound.” My husband Tommy Shea and I adopted her from our town shelter as our hearts were in great need of another dog and when we spotted her photo in the local paper we saw an irresistible mix of looks from two of our previous pups. And when we went to see her, we just had to bring her home. She’s been the best dog ever. Smarter than smart, tough, funny, sweet. We got Bisquick when, for the second time, I joined my good friend Susan Tilton Pecora in adopting sibling setters. This makes us related in some way and we have many great adventures with the brothers.

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Q: Do you talk to your dog? If so, what do you talk about?

We not only talk to them, but they talk back. Each has a distinct voice. Tiny’s is very low and gravelly despite her being a female. Bisquick’s is softer and has an attempt at a British accent. We talk to them about everything; from the basics of do they want to go for a walk to their opinions on world issues. As my husband and I are former reporters turned writers in general, we ask lots of questions of everyone, and the dogs are no exceptions.

Q: If he could talk to you, what would he say?

Well, they do. They manage to tell us when we all need to put down the work and go for a walk in the woods. They tell us when it’s time to have a nice meal. They tell us to move over in bed or on the couch. And, in a million ways, every day, they tell us they love us.

Q: If your dog had a job or career, what would he be doing?

I could see Tiny in charge of something. Very efficiently. Bisquick would be a great model, especially for furniture, draping himself across couches and sprawling on beds.

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Q: What lesson in life has your dog taught you?

They were onto that “Wag more, bark less” thing long before it became a bumper sticker.

Q: How does your dog inspire you?

With their constant joyous attitudes.

Q: If your dogs were writers, what would they write about?

Tiny would write a memoir about her early life, up to now a mystery. She ended up in the pound after being found tied to a tree in the woods, and has large scars on one leg. She would write about overcoming whatever she did and then her life here managing a house of writers and giving them plenty of inspiration every day. Bisquick would write about his search for a girlfriend.

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Q: Where is your dog’s favorite place to go with you?

The dining room. Second place: the woods and fields and rivers right down the road.

Q: Who or what does your dog find the most interesting?

They are fascinated with my mother, won’t leave her alone when she visits.

Q: What is the most annoying thing other dog owners do?

Disrespect their dogs.

Q:  What does being a responsible dog owner mean to you?

Treating them as we’d hope to be treated if dogs were running the planet.

Q:  How has your dog changed your life?

Definitely, in the same way a loving and cherished family member does. They are family, and I can’t imagine life without them.

Q:  Does your dog have a philosophy of life?

Eat, sleep, run, watch telly, claim a good section of the couch/bed, and smile.

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Q:  I love my dogs because they’re so sweet-souled.

Q:  Have you ever made dog treats for your dog? If so, please share your recipe.

The easiest recipe I know is to open a bag of carrots and distribute them liberally to the delighted recipients, who then run with their treats to separate rooms of the house.


“This Is Paradise” featured in The Irish Times: http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/hang-on-how-a-mother-s-tribute-saves-lives-in-malawi-1.2067280

WAGGLEVIEWS: These interviews are focused on woman leaders in business, the community, or at home. My hope in doing this is to present remarkable and respected women in their community with their beloved pets. Who can resist reading about dogs and what these women do? This is a platform for women to display their talents; their own business, a new book, a deeply loved passion for a charity or their own job. It also shows their love for their dog!

Thank you Suzanne for taking the time to participate in the Waggleview.

Please comment below.

  If your dogs were writers, what would they write about?

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