About the Book
Back in the spring of 1992 I was taking a semester-long desktop-publishing class at Cabrillo College, and a two-weekend class on children’s picture books at UCSC Extension, and I did “My Dog Carmel” as a project for both. The “Sam” dedicated to here is my older son, who despite being 3½ at the time, is now 20 — funny how that works!
I did the drawings first in pencil and then with a felt-tip pen, scanned them in with a little black and white hand-scanner, laid the book out in PageMaker, printed the pages on my laser printer, and then took them to Kinkos to be copied, folded, stapled, and trimmed, with a cardstock cover. I don’t remember how many copies I had printed — ten? twelve? — but afterward I colored each one individually in crayon.
And now that it’s 2009 — 35 years after Carmel was born — I’ve scanned one of those copies back into the computer again. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy it!
November 2011 update: I just redesigned my “My Dog Carmel” online picture book with a cool new interface, including separate “About” and “Photos” pages.
I thought I would say a little more about some of the other animals who appear in Carmel’s story:
Kim,Carmel’s mother, was a white/pale-apricot miniature poodle my mother had gotten via a classified ad from a poodle breeder wanting to get rid of the sterile dogs in their breeding stock. However, as some weeks after we got Kim she gave birth to two puppies (Carly and Vanilla — I remember my mother’s cleaning lady adopted one of them), she was actually pregnant at the time.
Sandy,Carmel’s father, was a white miniature poodle belonging to three neighbor kids I used to babysit. After Kim got pregnant with Sandy they became worried that Sandy would have to marry Kim and move out of their house and into mine — when their mother heard this, she hired me for another night of babysitting specifically to have me clear things up by explaining the situation to them and answering their questions.
Smokey,Carmel’s companion, was a gray miniature poodle found begging for food at a campground somewhere in the Colorado mountains. The camper who brought him home with her couldn’t keep him, so she placed a classified ad which my mother saw. I taught Smokey a lot of tricks just as I had done with Kim and Carmel, and one time my friend Deirdre borrowed him for her school’s (St. Mary’s Academy) pet day, where he won the Grand Prize for “Most Talented Dog”.
Chablis,one of Carmel’s brothers, was adopted by my mother’s Russian-language professor Libor Brom and his wife Tia, who named him Chablis. In the video “Prof. Libor Brom” you can see Chablis sitting at the Broms’ feet in the photograph shown from 3:43-3:50.
Snowywas my mother’s elderly lilac-point (light purple-gray markings) Siamese cat, and she loved to groom other animals in addition to herself — Smokey wasn’t very comfortable with this, but Carmel didn’t mind. Snowy once caught a mouse in the middle of the night, and was so proud that she walked around meowing as loudly as possible.
Gatowas my brother Erik’s very handsome seal-point (dark brown markings) Siamese cat, who was adopted from an animal shelter when he was eight months old. My mother got him declawed (I don’t recommend declawing) to stop him from scratching the furniture, and afterward if another animal bothered him he would kick it with one of his hind legs.
Felixwas a tabby kitten my friend Deirdre had gotten from a pet store back in the days when they would have “free kitten with $25 purchase”-type deals. The line “One feline friend proved a bit too feisty for the other freeloaders and scratched her way out of the festivities.” in the Englewood Herald-Sentinel’s article about Carmel’s first birthday party refers to Felix.
You can also see photographs of Kim, Sandy, Smokey, Chablis, Snowy, Gato, and Felix in action with Carmel and others on the Photos of Carmel page.