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Special Guest: Lee Harrington
Talk with the author and be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of Rex and the City

Welcome back to Bark’s off-leash area, a place for Bark readers, contributors and editors to can enjoy a free-form, real-time conversation all day. Today, we’ll be joined by Lee Harrington, Bark columnist and the author of the best-selling Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog (Villard, 2006), which was originally published as columns in Bark and is being re-released as a revised, expanded e-book with a new cover in August 2011. (Visit www.emharrington.com for updates.)

Lee is here to talk about her adventures with her late, great spaniel mix Wallace (aka Rex), her current spaniel mix Chloe (the centerpiece of Lee’s new series for Bark, The Chloe Chronicles) and her dog-inspired writing life. Recently for the Bark blog, Lee wrote about using sound healing and music to calm your dog (she’s a kirtan walla), attending a funeral with Chloe and a dastardly man who pretended to be a “dog person” on a first date. So she’s pretty game to tackle just about any topic.

One thing Lee could user reader help with is selecting a book cover for the reissue of Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog. What do you like most about dog book covers? What grabs your attention? And what have some of your favorites covers been? Plus, Lee will clue us in to her plans to help a rescue organization with her the new edition.

Lee will be online from 10 a.m. to noon PST today, so stop by during those hours for real-time Q&A. Three randomly selected participants in today’s open thread will each win a signed copy of Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog—with the extra bonus that Chloe herself will be licking the envelopes. 

Please note: Your comments post live but obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

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Submitted by SaraG | June 15 2011 |

Hi Lee,
I'm an aspiring writer and I love to write stories about me and my dog. What I'm wondering is how you go from writing stories for yourself and friends to hitting the big time. How did you do it?
Lisa

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Hi SaraG:
Thanks for writing. I've been a writer for years (unofficially since age 10; officially since my mid-twenties). What is great about writing about dogs is that it's a subject that makes me happy and makes readers happy. We dog-lovers are a special "breed" and easy to please, as long as there are dogs involved. So I would say: write about what you love, and love doing it, and the readers will feel that joy. I personally never tire of reading about others' dogs :)

Submitted by Emma | June 15 2011 |

Lee...I love my subscription to Bark and always enjoy your offerings in that publication! Your adventures with Chloe are like a breath of fresh air! The recent story about the faithless doggie friend while you and Chloe were travelling cracked me up! Especially when she fell in "love" with that large stuffed dog! Revenge is sweet...ha! Anyway, I would love to be able to write about my dogs and our adventures like you. Do you think that with new technology like Amazon's Kindle that it will make it easier for independent authors to "break out' into mainstream? It appears to be working for W.Bruce Cameron. One thing that has always held me back is not knowing anyone in the "biz" and not knowing how one gets an agent, or if you need one, or how to approach a publisher. Seems like self-publishing might be a good way to break in. What do you think?

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Hi Emma -
self publishing is an excellent choice for aspiring writers. From what I am told it is easy, reasonably priced, and fun. Plus there are many services that can help you see the book through publication (iUniverse, Amazon...)

the word in the publishing industry is that agents are becoming obsolete. And authors are gaining more "power." We can self publish and take 70% of the earnings. in the traditional agent/publisher model, the agent takes 15% and the publisher takes (I think) 80%, leaving the author with 10%. Not ideal in the modern world.
But here I am talking about money.....writing about dogs is fun and I encourage all of you to write write write.....it helps make the world a better place as more and more people learn about Dog Love.

Submitted by anonymous | June 15 2011 |

I just read your story about the fake dog person guy. Honestly, that has happened to me with my kids. I keep picking men who act like they like my kids until we get serious. UGH!

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Sounds like there are a lot of fakers out there....but don't you think that we dog people can spot the fake dog people pretty early on? The dogs certainly can....:)

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Hello Everyone -
I am signing on early because it looks as though there was some confusion about the start time. I see there are some questions already, so I will get to that...in the meantime, bear with me as I try to figure out how to read messages and reply at the same time. I think I need two heads for this?
Anyway, Bark on....
xxxx
Lee

Submitted by Elinor | June 15 2011 |

Hi Lee,

I picked up a copy of Bark at Whole Foods not too long ago and very much enjoyed. Since "Like"ing Bark on Facebook, I followed a couple of your posts and now "Like" you too! I have to say that I smile to myself when reading your posts. So, no question, just a compliment!

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Thank you, Elinor. It's so wonderful that Bark is at Whole Foods. In NYC the lines at WF are loooong, and I always enjoy watching people thumb through Bark at the magazine kiosk (positioned right next to the long lines...)

Submitted by Bunny | June 15 2011 |

I just wanted to tell you that I thoroughly loved Rex in the City. I read the book over 2009-2010. It took a long time to get through because our dog, Sherlock, was diagnosed with cancer New Years Eve 2009 and passed away in June 2010. I had to set Rex aside for months at a time.

Finally, last autumn, I picked up the book again and was determined to finish. By this time I had already read in Bark that Rex had gone too. It was painful thinking of Rex in the past tense because I felt I knew him as much as my own dog. Still, finishing reading Rex was the first step in helping to heal my own grief and be ready to bring a new dog into my life. It reminded me that the pain at the end is worth it because of all the joy along the way.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss Sherlock. But, we have adopted TWO new dogs - Ranger and Shadow - from the Humane Society.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your stories.

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Dear Bunny - thank you so much for sharing this. I am very moved. Is Sherlock (always present tense) a Bassett? That's what I am picturing.
Glad to hear you adopted two new friends...and I am sure they are glad too to have a new loving family. The love keeps going round and round, whether our dogs are here with us in bodies or there in the beyond. Thank you!

Submitted by Bunny | June 15 2011 |

Sherlock is a Siberian Husky and Anatolian Shepherd mix. He topped out at 140 lb. Ranger is a Belgian Malinois mix. He was approximately 60 lb and 2 years old when we adopted him in January. In February, we adopted Shadow, a 40 lb, 1 year old, Border Collie/Lab/Shepherd mix. They've healed our hearts in so many ways.

Submitted by Kathy | June 15 2011 |

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading the Rex & the City series in Bark, and and am glad you're now sharing your adventures with Chloe. i have a rescue spaniel mix too - Rosie - who is sleeping at my side as I write this. No questions for you, just a note of appreciation.
Kathy

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Thanks, Kathy. Big smooch to Rosie :)

Submitted by Lee Harrington ... | June 15 2011 |

Thank you everyone for taking the time to write and sharing your stories. I had so much fun. Next time I'll do an evening chat, so that the 9 - 5ers will have a chance to join us. Until then,
Yours in Dog Love,
Lee

Submitted by Mandy | June 15 2011 |

Thank you so much Lee!! I didn't get to write while you were here but I really enjoyed reading your postings!! Thank you again! Woof woof! Mandy

Submitted by Jo Ann | June 15 2011 |

At first my dog and I did not see eye to eye. I questioned whether I was right about getting a dog. But then she suffered an injury and I had to nurse her back to health. It was during this time that we bonded. I think I finally let my guard down and relaxed around her and she felt the change in my persona. She is fully recovered from her injury which, thankfully, did not require surgery much to the surprise of my vet. I spend quality time with her and she does not leave my side. I cannot imagine not having her around. I was not a Bark reader when Lee originally wrote about Rex so now I am intrigued and will need to pick up a copy.

Submitted by XAAYMEANSDOG | June 15 2011 |

Love Bark and you rock Lee. Please don't forget the millions facing death at dog pounds and shelters across the country. To watch these discarded pets become whole again is truly the best joy in the world. Adopt your new for-friend. PEACE

More in Open Thread:
We’re Talking Dogs ... About Dogs, That Is
We’re Talking Rescue and More
Join the Conversation for a Chance to Win 3 Great Books
Special Guest: Behaviorist Sophia Yin
Special Guest: Veterinarian Nancy Kay
Julia Kamysz Lane Joins the Conversation
Special Guest: Beth Finke
It’s Your Turn, Again
Let’s Talk