Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Weight Loss With a Wag" Book Tour Interview with Author & Pet Parent Peggy Frezon

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Kelly the dog inspires Hu-Mom to diet, get healthy, and write a book about it all!

Hot off the presses, our Chloe girl snatched the copy of Peggy Frezon's (of Peggy's Pet Place blog) Dieting with my Dog: One Busy Life; Two Full Figures and Unconditional Love when it arrived from Now, sometimes I tease sweet Chloe and call her "chunky monkey" because she is always when she snagged the book right between her teeth and headed for the sofa, I wondered if I had hurt her feelings. 

Now, honestly, Chloe is not chunky, she is rather fit. But I do worry about her with her very voracious appetite, that she could get heavy. I am always watching and worrying about her older brother Gibson, who has an ongoing weight issue due to medications he is on, and have added lots of healthy add-ins and snacks to help keep him full. This, of course, has rolled over into all of the FiveSibes™ diet, which is a good thing. Speaking of healthy eats, be sure to read the weight loss tips in the back of Peggy's book.

So, when I finally was able to get the book back from Chloe (who really liked the photos of Kelly the dog), I have to start right off by saying I really enjoyed reading this book. When I first heard Peggy was working on a “diet” book with her adorable furbaby Kelly, I thought, “this should be a fun book.” Well, not only is it a fun book, it is also very poignant and sincere and a real slice-of-life story. I love that Kelly is part and partner in Peggy's weight-loss journey. Kelly is her inspiration, her guide, her muse, her confidante – Kelly is there through it all. I loved Peggy’s relationships with her children. Her love for her children and her dogs really resonated with me. I have always been very close to my daughter, too, and I enjoy every single moment spent with her. Raising her was a joy, as she is a true blessing. And now as an adult, she is my very best friend. My go-to gal for…well, everything! And my Huskies (who together with my daughter, I share parenting duties with), well, I can be found almost anytime of any day talking to them, just like Peggy with Kelly!

As I turned the pages and read each snippet of their lives, I found myself chatting aloud to Peggy and Kelly as though they were right in my living room with me! I laughed at the photos of Kelly in front of the fridge, having a “Seriously??” expression on her sweet furry face while perched on a scale, and especially liked the one when she was relaxing on the sofa watching Peggy work out on the treadmill. And I smiled warmly at the photos of Peggy and her lovely family.

Peggy and Kelly pulled me (willingly and happily) right into their lives from the get go. Let’s face it: Peggy had me at, “Let’s face it: her butt was too big.”

So without further delay, I’d like to share a very candid interview I did as part of the "Weight Loss with a Wag" book tour with the always enjoyable, Peggy Frezon:

FiveSibes™ Mom: What was your inspiration for writing a book about dieting with your dog, Kelly?

Peggy Frezon: I wrote an article about Kelly and I for Guideposts magazine, and the response told me that many others are struggling with the same issues. I hope that sharing my (and Kelly's) journey will help inspire others to get fit and healthy.

FSM: Healthy eating is obviously important to you and your dog; when did you decide to turn it into a book and join Kelly in dieting? Was it the moment when your vet said Kelly needed to loose weight "if not...?" That must have been a very scary moment for you?

PF: When the vet told me that Kelly had to lose weight or she would be at a higher risk for diabetes and other serious health concerns, I made an important connection. I realized that my bad habits were also affecting my dog. I wasn't eating healthy...she wasn't eating healthy. I wasn't getting out and walking...she wasn't getting walked. I felt a great responsibility then; I was not just responsible for loving my dog, but also truly responsible for her health. And my own.

FSM: Your profession is writing - this is your first book (correct?) - with regards to the process of writing - how long did it take to draft down your thoughts and put it in an order that told your story from first thoughts to final draft? How did it differ from your article writing?

PF: I've contributed to many other books, such as Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Ultimate Dog Lover, and the new book Animals and the Kids who Love Them. But this is my first book of my own. It took me about a year to write the book from first draft to completed edits. Then I wrote a formal book proposal to pitch agents, signed with a publisher, and then it took about another year until the release date. This differs from my magazine writing because I get to expand upon a topic and really explore it in depth. I wanted to share all aspects of gaining--and losing--weight, so I got honest about why I overate and why I overfed my dog, and admitted to things like being lazy about exercise and emotional eating while struggling with the empty nest.

FSM: What did Kelly think of this dieting and writing plan? And your family?

Peggy & Kelly
PF: I work from home and Kelly is my officemate. She used to sleep for hours at my feet as I wrote. Now we get out for a walk most every day. If I don't take her for a walk, she comes up to me, barks, and slaps her paw down on my keyboard! I'd say she really likes our new routine. She does get hungry at night, but we give her baby carrots and sometimes put healthy treats in one of those treat dispensing balls so she can run around and work off some energy. (Why does she get energetic at midnight?!) My family has been so supportive. And my husband lost as much weight as I did!

FSM: With the weight off of both you and Kelly, and with you both feeling better, what message would you like to be sure readers contemplating dieting know about healthy eating habits for both canines and their hu-family members? 

PF: I was motivated by wanting Kelly and I to be as healthy as we could be, so we could spend lots more time having fun together. I'd like readers to know that changing eating habits isn't easy but it feels so good to feel in control of what you eat. It's satisfying to choose nutritious ingredients for you and your dog. Oh, and getting fit can be fun if you do it with a friend!

Many FiveSibes™ readers know my one boy, Gibson, is an Epi-dog (Epileptic). I have him on a very stringent medicine and vitamin routine, keep glutens and preservatives and chemicals out of his diet, am cautious of his environment that it is toxic and stress free, and am very active in Canine Epilepsy Awareness. That’s why when I read in the book that Kelly had experienced seizures, I was extremely interested to hear about them, so I asked Peggy to elaborate.

FSM: You talked about how Kelly had the seizure...has she had anymore? Was it a one time thing? Was there any relation to food or diet, or was she diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy?

PF: Kelly has had three seizures in the nine years since she's been a part of our family. Our vet has not been able to make any conclusive diagnosis or correlation between foods or environment. I will say, however, that when we were feeding her lesser quality dog food, her blood work was elevated in various areas. Now that she's eating nutritious food, and has lost weight, her blood work is all great! And she hasn't has any seizures since. 
That was great news to hear!

Naturally, being a journalist, I always have more questions to ask! Peggy was gracious to answer what what I like to call a “bonus question!”

FSM: Peggy, will there be a book two? 
PF: I'm currently working on my second book, Dog in the Pond, Goose on the Roof. It's a true story about a Vermont woman finding hope and healing through her bonds with animals.

Chloe liked seeing Kelly's pics.
Sounds good to me!

I may have just finished reading Dieting with my Dog, but I can’t wait to get my paws on Dog in the Pond, Goose on the Roof
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Peggy’s book, please do. 

Th FiveSibes™ Chloe and I give it a howlin’ Five Paws-Up rating!


  1. hey FiveSibes,

    Excellent book review and interview! It sounds like a very heartwarming and personal book. I am, thankfully, a very fit pup at the moment, but I think my human may want to check out the book just in case...Plus, you made it sound so good regardless if a pup or human needs to lose weight. The book sounds like a very informative and good read.

    Chloe, you look amazing to me, not at all fat! :->

    I am furiends with Kelly and she is a beautiful pup. I am furry happy for her and her mom to have lost weight and gotten healthy.


  2. Wow! Sounds like a grrreat book!
    Shall ask mom to check it out!


  3. We love Miss Peggy! Great job with the review and interview.

    Your pal, Pip

  4. I must say, the pink in the book looks fabulous against Miss Chole's white fur! Thank you for such a kind review. I especially like hearing about your relationship with your daughter, I'm glad you can relate to that. Hugs to the sibes!

  5. What a nice interview with Ms. Peggy
    Benny & Lily

  6. Sounds like a great book!

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  7. We call Koly chunky monkey or ropy poly! Good thing he has slimmed down a whole lot lately!

    We're giving away a copy of Peggy's book over at Kol's Notes! Any of your readers who follow you in Facebook can earn an extra entry to win!

  8. Thanks, Kol! That's pretty cool. I'll let the readers know!

  9. Sounds like a great book. Will have to check it out. :)