Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Interview with Author Peggy Frezon, part 1...

Today, my guest is award-winning author Peggy Frezon. Peggy has written two books: Dieting with My Dog and Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw, is a regular contributor to "Guideposts" magazine, and a staff writer for "Be the Change for Animals." She also writes the web columns "Pawsitively Pets," "Animals4People," and the popular "Peggy's Pet Place." Peggy's stories appear in books such as Animals and the Kids who Love Them, The Ultimate Dog Lover, Miracles and Animals, and more than a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. We will also be giving away a copy of Dieting with My Dog to one lucky reader, so look for details on how to enter at the end of today's post.

Donna: Peggy, welcome to "PetWise Online" and thank you for being my guest today.

Peggy: Thank you for the opportunity.

Author Peggy Frezon with Kelly

Donna: Today, I'd like to ask you about your books, Dieting with My Dog and Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw. Readers always want to know how writers get their ideas for books, so let me begin by asking what gave you the idea of writing about dieting with your dog. Did you know right from the beginning that you would write a book about your experience, or did that come later?

Peggy: I first wrote about dieting with my dog for "Guideposts" magazine; and the story, "The Doggy Diet," was published in January 2008. When the story came out, we got such a good response, I wanted to write the book to encourage others who were in the same situation.

Donna: In Dieting with My Dog, you said that having Kelly as a weigh loss buddy was a bonding experience for the two of you. How do you feel the experience deepened your bond with her?

Peggy: Kelly and I have always been close; but through dieting together, I saw how we could work together toward a common goal. I also took more time with her to walk her more often, knowing that was healthy for both of us--not only physically, but it was more time spent together to deepen that bond.

Donna: Kelly only had a few pounds to lose. Once she had lost that excess weight, what kept you motivated to continue until you reached your goal?

Peggy: As I write in the book, losing and maintaining weight loss is a lifetime journey. We both became healthier due to our weight loss, and I know if I go back to my old habits, that weight will come right back.

Donna: Some say it takes 21-28 days to form a new habit, and some say it takes 66 days. Now that you've been eating a healthier diet and exercising for a longer period of time, has it become a habit for you, or is it still a struggle sometimes? Are you still tempted to slack off at times? If so, how do you overcome that temptation?

Kelly looking fit and trim.

Peggy: Parts have become a sure and fast habit, and I've slipped in other parts. A lot of my diet changes have stuck, such as eating whole grains, more fruits and veggies, low fat and smaller portions. The exercise has stuck, in fact I've added more walks and going to the gym. The part that is the most difficult for me, and where I slip the most often, is with sweets. I am still tempted by ice cream in particular. I do allow myself to have it sometimes, but try to keep it for special treats.

For Kelly, it is pretty easy to keep up the good habits. I consistently measure her food and feed her the proper amount. I'm conscientious about giving her healthy treats and making sure I calculate the treats into her daily intake. She still loves baby carrots for snacks.

Books by Peggy Frezon

Donna: Now let's turn to your other book, Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw. What was your Mom's reaction when you first approached her about writing a book about her life and the role animals have played in it?

Peggy: She was thrilled, but she also didn't realize that her experiences could be interesting to anyone else. Through daily interviews over the course of many weeks, she shared such touching tales of struggles and hope, and, of course, the inspiring animals in her life.

Donna: How much influence did your Mom's relationship with animals have on you? How has that carried through to your own children?

Peggy: It had a huge influence. I remember watching her loving care of any injured or stray animal she came across, and I love that quality in her. I've always loved animals, and have never been without a pet in my life. My husband loves animals. And our kids love animals, too. Right now, my daughter and son-in-law have a cat named Cinnamon, and hope to get a dog when they buy a house. My son also wants a dog, but right now he's in an apartment that doesn't allow pets.

Donna: What is the most significant thing you learned from your Mom about animals?

Peggy: That animals deserve to be treated with respect. And, every animal, no matter how small, homely, or seemingly unwanted, has something wonderful to offer.

Donna: Thank you, Peggy. I've read both of your books and found them really inspiring. My own dog, Paige, needed to lose about three pounds, and I needed to lose a "bit" more. It hadn't occurred to me that Paige could be my weight loss buddy, but after reading Dieting with My Dog, we implemented some of your suggestions, and we are both losing the excess weight. So, would you tell our readers how they can get their own copies of Dieting with My Dog and Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw?

Peggy: If you'd like a signed copy, you can contact me directly by leaving a message on my blog or Facebook. Books can also be ordered on here: Dieting with My Dog and Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw.

Donna: Recently, Peggy and her husband adopted a second dog. Next week, she  will be back here with me to talk about the challenges and rewards of adding another dog to the mix, especially since Kelly had been the only one for so many years. If you're thinking about adopting a dog, or adding a second dog to your family, you won't want to miss what Peggy has to say.

Kelly and Peggy hope you win!

Also, we are giving away a copy of Peggy's book Dieting with My Dog to one lucky reader. To enter for a chance to win the book, complete the following 4 steps:
  1. Leave a comment or ask a question in the comment section below.
  2. Send me (Donna) an e-mail at PetWiseDBR (at) aol (dot) com with your name and e-mail address so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner. Put "Peggy's book contest" in the Subject line. If you win, I will send you an e-mail letting you know, and you can then send me your mailing address. Your personal information will only be used for the contest.
  3. Go to Peggy's Facebook page and click "Like" and leave a message saying you saw her interview on PetWise Online.
  4. Finally, leave another comment here confirming that you "liked" Peggy's page.
The contest will be open from midnight EDT July 13 through midnight EDT August 24, 2012. All qualified entries will be included in the drawing. You must be a resident of the US to be eligible. The winner will be contacted by e-mail following the close of the contest.

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