Danny Tyree

Danny Tyree

If you’re tired of running around in circles to find a Christmas gift for the dog lovers on your list, I know just the thing for you to fetch.

The charming softcover book “It’s A Dog’s Life: Tales from A Dog Named Max,” by Max, with help from Nina Hershberger, is now available from Amazon.

For the sake of full disclosure, besides working at a farmers cooperative and writing this syndicated column, I have had a freelance business relationship with Hershberger (founder of MegaBucks Marketing) for the past decade.

For most of that time, Hershberger’s adorable pet Schnauzer Max has written a widely circulated monthly blog showcasing his hopes, dreams, opinions (“Why is Big Pharma dragging its feet with that chocolate vaccine?”) and (sometimes wildly exaggerated) misadventures. One of my assignments has been to act as a sounding board/coach/muse/editor for the precocious pooch. I’ve tried my best to translate his lofty canine thoughts into something comprehensible by mere homo sapiens.

Max is quick with a one-liner, but I have labored mightily to clean up his grammar. He’s far less concerned with split infinitives than with “Here, let me split that roadkill with you.”

I also enforce deadlines and shield Max from distractions. I’m proud to have had a small role in helping him keep his nose to the grindstone instead of to a Chihuahua’s hindquarters.

Hershberger recently asked me to help select 52 of the best essays that she and Max have collaborated on, so she could self-publish them in book form to satisfy requests from his legion of fans.

So, there is now a convenient way to read dozens of punchy 500-word essays about Max at the North Pole, Max at Dollywood, Max at the Olympics, Max’s love for Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish, Max’s status as the Indianapolis area’s most eligible bachelor, Max’s presidential aspirations (“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what kind of monster is impersonating a tree limb rubbing against the window. Woof! Woof! Woof!”) and more.

To be sure, Max sometimes bumps up against the Recommended Daily Allowance of jokes about pooper-scoopers, kibble, toilet water and chasing cars; but he’s so sincere with his desire to please. Even Mark Twain could get in a rut, although not necessarily one he wallowed out in the sofa.

Max hopes to make the New York Times “Best Smellers” list. Seeing fans line up for his first autograph session had him wagging his tail and purring – until the cultural appropriation activists picketed him. He got no credit for being an honor roll CSL (Cat as a Second Language) student

He is excited to have this shot at immortality, although his excitement was muted by the sudden realization that it would be immortality in dog years.

Acquaintances have asked me, “When are you going to write a book?” – so I must admit I’m envious of Max for beating me to the bookshelves. But at least Max’s book is something you can sink your teeth into, whereas one by me would probably be something to bury in the backyard.

I’ve presented my case for Max’s family-friendly volume. I won’t beg (unless there’s a Scooby Snack involved).

But I truly feel “It’s A Dog’s Life: Tales from A Dog Named Max,” available from Amazon, deserves a “forever home” with you, a loved one or your local library.

Copyright 2019 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

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