One meeting with Anna, the Golden Retriever and “author” of Ask Anna: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn, and it’s easy to see she inherited her writing talent from her famous dad, bestselling author Dean Koontz. A longtime supporter of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), where he adopted Anna after she was released 22 months into the 24-month service dog training program due to a slightly distracting interest in birds, Koontz has donated $9 million to the organization since the early 1990s; the organization’s Southwest Regional Training Center is named in the Koontz family’s honor and 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Ask Anna will be donated to CCI. We sat down with Koontz – and Anna – to talk CCI and bestsellers.
San Diego Pets Magazine: What piqued your interest in CCI?
Dean Koontz: I read an article about CCI when I was working on my book Midnight (his first number-one bestseller, released in 1989). I wanted the character to be in a wheelchair and utilize a service dog. We came to see what it was all about, saw all the hard work they do, and have been involved ever since.
SDPM: Why do you think CCI is so valuable to the San Diego community?
DK: They change lives, and that’s what we’re all here to do. The human-dog bond is so fascinating, and what these dogs can do for humans with disabilities is truly amazing.
SDPM: We know Anna is the brains behind the book, but as her co-author, why do you enjoy writing from a dog’s perspective?
DK: Well, I think I was a dog in a previous life. I’ve always loved dogs – when I was young my aunt had a Jack Russell named Pete who I adored. As I grew up, I always gravitated toward Golden Retrievers. All dogs are beautiful, but there’s just something extra special about Goldens.
SDPM: Anna humorously gives advice to other dogs in her new book. What’s the best advice she’s given you?
DK: My first dog Trixie (also a bestselling author adopted from CCI) could walk for miles and after two hours, she’d be ready to walk some more or go for a swim. Anna, on the other hand, has taught me that it’s not necessary to over-exercise. She will walk for 45 minutes and then tell us when it’s time to turn around or she’ll swim for an hour and then look at us like it’s time to go. She’s fit as can be, but I’ve learned that she puts in the minimal amount of exercise necessary to be a happy, healthy dog.
Ask Anna: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn is available now in bookstores everywhere. One lucky San Diego Pets Magazine reader will win a signed copy. Click here and sign up for the San Diego Pets Magazine e-newsletter for your chance to win.