Jean Alfieri loves all dogs. Older dogs and puppies. Dogs with pointy ears and dogs with floppy ears! Dogs with long, bushy tails and dogs with short, curly tails! She loves dogs so much that Jean began volunteering at the Humane Society, and now works there full-time helping animals find forever homes.
But sometimes one dog takes up an extra special spot in our hearts. For Jean, that one was Zuggy, a little rescue pug, who became Jean’s constant companion and the inspiration for the Zuggy, the Rescue Pug stories.
Jean turned some of the fun experiences she and Zuggy shared into 7 picture books.
Today Molly and I are happy to welcome Jean and Zuggy’s younger sister, Princess Zoey, to our blog to tell us about their latest Zuggy book.
First, I’ll ask Jean to tell us 5 special things about herself, and then we’ll let Molly and Princess Zoey take over to have a good tail-wagging time telling us about Zuggy the Rescue Pug—Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes. Oh wait, pugs and corgis don’t have very big tails, so it’s more like a tail-wiggle!
Kathy’s Interview with Jean
Kathy: Are you ready Jean?
Kathy: Did you have a dog when you were a child?
Jean: Yes. I grew up with a beautiful red Doberman, named Rumble. He came to our home as a pup when I was seven years old and grew to a 105-pound bemouth of a dog.
Kathy: Wow, that is a large dog, and one with an unusual name, too! How many fur buddies do you have now?
Jean: My husband and I care for three vintage puppies: Reggie, our 6-pound toothless chihuahua. Don’t let his small size fool you. He’ll always be the biggest dog in the house and turns 16 years young this month. Princess Zoey, our precious 12-year-old blind pug who stars as Zuggy’s little sister. And Silly Sally, our 10-year old Airedale, who has her own claim-to-fame as a former show-dog.
Kathy: Such a great variety—I’m sure they keep you busy! What’s one of the funniest experiences you and Zuggy had?
Jean: It was that time Zuggy got an unpleasant surprise when he rambled off the sidewalk during one of our walks. It was an early January morning. The sun was out but a thin layer of snow had fallen overnight, so we could see our breath. Zuggy tugged on his leash, barreling off the sidewalk and stepped directly into a big dog-poop. Just slightly frozen, his back paw slid in, and the stinky poop glommed on. The embarrassing story (and its funny conclusion) is captured in Zuggy’s “Six Tales” book.
Kathy: Yikes, that is embarrassing! Let’s move right on to Zuggy’s favorite toys and treats.
Jean: He and Princess Zoey have very similar snack preferences. You’d better be willing to share your popcorn, and don’t try to take the hedgehog away!
Kathy: Hedgehog toys are precious here, too. Do you and Princess Zoey have a favorite place to read and/or write?
Jean: Yes – the office couch. It sits right in front of a window that looks over our front yard. Reggie sits on a pillow atop the couch, surveying his domain and barks at everyone who comes to pick up mail from the community mailbox. Silly Sally lays on the floor, while Princess Zoey curls up on either end of the couch (her choice, and it varies). I get comfy on the opposite side with a book (preferably hard cover) or my notebook (yes, I still like longhand) and get to it … while she snores!
Molly’s Interview with Princess Zoey
Kathy: Okay, Molly and Princess Zoey, take it away!
Molly: (after bowing) Thank you, Your Highness, for graciously meeting with me. I’m a rescue corgi, but some of my relatives live in Buckingham Palace in London, so I know how to talk to princesses!
Princess Zoey: Ooooo-la-la. Wait, that’s French. I love pizza. Errr, umm. That’s Italian. I’m sorry. I don’t know ‘princess.’ Let’s just doggie-talk!
Molly: Doggie-talk sounds good to me! Can you tell us about your newest book about Zuggy? Kathy told me it’s a flip book. How do Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes works as a flip book?
Princess Zoey: Sure thing! When Momma-Jean read it to me, she started with Baby’s First Friend. I was worried it wouldn’t have a happy ending, but it did! Then she closed the book, gave me a kiss on the top of my head, and flipped the book over and upside down. Just like magic – it was a whole different book! (Don’t tell, but I think the trick was the kiss on my head!)
Molly: It sounds like Baby really loves Zuggy at first. But something happens. Can you tell us a little about that?
Princess Zoey: I don’t know, Molly. Sometimes family dynamics (that means, how we all get along) can be hard. I’m still not sure why she was a-scared of Zuggy, but I’m so glad they worked it out.
Molly: I’m glad, too! I love being around my family, and they help me when I’m afraid of storms or strangers. Does Baby have someone to help her when she’s afraid?
Princess Zoey: Yes, baby always has the love and support of her family. We all get afraid sometimes. It’s good to have people (and pups) that offer us comfort.
Molly: Pups are the best! Is Baby’s First Friend told in rhyme like other Zuggy books? And Rocking Chair Rhymes has lots of fun poems, too, right?
Princess Zoey: Yes – and Yes. So many fun poems! And remember, you and I are offering a FREE copy to whoever wins our raffle because we want everyone to enjoy it.
Molly: A free copy? Wow, that’s even better than a doggy biscuit . . .ummm . . . er . . . well, I guess that’s true for our readers! Do you like to help Jean write rhymes? I bet you snuggle while she reads them aloud to you.
Princess Zoey: To be honest, I’m pretty much stretched-out napping while she works. But I’m quick with the constructive feedback when she’s at the ‘read-aloud’ stage. And I’m always there to help when she needs a snack!
Molly: For us dogs, books don’t have much to smell, but children like pictures. Which pictures do you think children and their families will like the most? Which ones would have the best smells?
Princess Zoey: This one of Zuggy in a bunny-costume! It’s a classic, for sure. And the one with the pug (who shall remain nameless) getting a kiss on the lips by a frog. Ewwww – can’t you just smell that!
Molly: Ewwww, is right! What do you and Jean hope children will enjoy the most about your new book?
Princess Zoey: The “flip” feature is really so super-great. You have to check it out. (But remember to kiss the top of my head before you try to make it work!)
Molly: Do you think it’ll work if children kiss the top of their dog’s heads? One last question that I’ve been dying to ask you. I’ve always wondered about the curly tail pugs have. Do you have to curl it each day when you get up?
Princess Zoey: It’s really more effort than you’d expect. When I’m sad it unfurls into an unremarkable long, straight tail. I can’t do a thing with it. But when I’m happy (which is most of the time) it zings right into place. Don’t even need to think about it!
Molly: What a great tail–it tells your moods! Thank you so much for joining me today, Princess Zoey! I think we should get together to play sometime! But we should probably bring our own hedgehog toys! PAWS-atively. I’d love to!
Kathy and Molly: Lots of tail-wiggling thanks to you, Jean and Princess Zoey, for telling us about your new Zuggy the Rescue Pug book–Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes! Molly and I know children and their families will love finding out how Zuggy and Baby become friends again!
A Giveaway and Where to Find Jean and Zuggy’s books
Kathy: How can readers enter the giveaway for a copy of Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes?
Jean: Enter our raffle to win a copy of Zuggy’s new book by answering this question:
Zuggy’s favorite breakfast is doggie donuts and pupacinos! What is YOUR favorite breakfast?
Answers from either pets OR hoomans are welcome!
One answer per household. Reply (in the comments) or via email: ZuggythePug@gmail.com by midnight on September 17, 2022 and be entered in a raffle. Winning name selected and announced on September 18, 2022 and contacted via messenger or email. Will mail within the continental US.
Prefer Kindle reading? The new Zuggy book is FREE to kindleUnlimited users! Check it out on Amazon. (Zuggy the Rescue Pug – Baby’s First Friend: Rocking Chair Rhymes – Kindle edition by Alfieri, Jean. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.)
You can also learn more about Jean, Zuggy, and their books on their website here.
Before You Go
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