It’s not a beagle. It’s a Pekingese!

Muffin's House small

Author Leah Haney dedicated her wonderful kid’s book, Muffin’s House, to “every kid who ever fell in love with a dog.” Yup. That would include me.

Well, truth be told, I have loved several dogs in my lifetime. I’m looking at a painting my Dad did of Gypsy Lou, an English setter that pointed the first pheasant I ever shot. We raised, trained, and sold setters, but we kept Gypsy, and she was the best of hunting companions.

I can still see her pointing, in that cornfield at the end of Maranacook Lake, and the pheasant taking off as I raised my shotgun, Dad right beside me, and the pheasant falling to the ground after I shot.

In Leah’s book, Ellie Wood is anticipating her 12th birthday. Both of her brothers got dogs on their 12th birthdays, and she has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of her own dog. But while one of her brothers chose a beagle, for rabbit hunting, and the other picked a German Shepherd that helped around the farm, Ellie ended up with a rescue dog, a tiny Pekingese. Well, actually, the dog chose Ellie when she visited the animal shelter.

Ellie’s Dad was not happy with the choice, considering little Muffin to be useless. And you’ll want to read the rest of the book to see how it all ends up.

Leah, who lives in Harrison, Maine, re-focused her writing career five years ago when she began writing canine healthcare articles for Down East Dog News. Her first book, “Little Paws and Lion Hearts” was published in 2014.

Leah’s lifelong friend Kellie Sanborn-Brown illustrated the book, and the illustration of Muffin on the front cover will, I am certain, sell a lot of books. That dog is a darling!

In her note to me, Leah wrote, “I am very excited about this little book! My hope is to write a series of stories for young kids with lessons in responsible pet ownership.” She is particularly focused, in this book, on the importance of adopting dogs from shelters. “Everyone has a place in this world no matter how big or small,” she wrote.

Well, Leah, you certainly are off to a great start!


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.