Cozy Tales – The Preface

I would like to try something different today. As many of you may know, I have written a book about my life with Cozy, my beloved Newfoundland dog who was put to sleep in my arms some four years ago. In an effort to make the book appealing to agents, I am rewriting the beginning, which I have included here. I am also you asking for a favor.

Please pretend that you are standing in your favorite book store (or hovering over your ebook device of choice) and reading this passage. Imagine you’ve picked up the book because of the stunning graphics and handsome author’s picture, and intrigued by what you’ve seen thus far, turned to the beginning to see if it’s worthy of purchase.

After you’ve read this short preface, please tell me: would you buy this book? Does it make you want to read more, or would you put the book back in the pile?

OK, Enough chatter. Here is the preface:

Cozy Tales: Preface

In the life of every dog lover, there is one special dog. A dog whose love and companionship are so special, and so pure, that words alone cannot express the depth of the bond between them and their person. To those of us who have been lucky enough to be a part of such a bond, the disbelief and even disdain from those who don’t understand are meaningless. We know of love that they may never feel, and for this, we are blessed.

To love another person is to see the face of God. So says Jean Valjean in the stage production of Les Misrables. Love is the essence of all that is good in the human experience. I have loved greatly, and lost profoundly. I have experienced the love of my wife, the adoration of pets, and the birth of my children. All of these events were deeply and powerfully emotional. Yet for all my blessings, and all the love in my life, only one experience has moved me to transcribe it for posterity. That experience, recorded here, centers around the love of a dog.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said ’tis better to have love and lost than to have never loved at all. For those of us who have lost our special dog, this is a bittersweet truth. Our lives have been forever touched by the love we have known. But our sadness is profound, and the depth of our loss is overwhelming. With great love comes great sorrow—with dogs, doubly so.

Dogs do not live as long as humans, and this truth seems to be a way to ensure a form of balance within the universe. In order to allow a dog to love so intently, to let their souls shine so brightly, they must be short lived. A candle, after all, cannot burn brightly for very long lest it snuff itself out for its exuberance. So it is with dogs. Their short lives impact us greatly, but they cannot burn so brightly for long. Thus we must endure their short lives in return for pure undemanding love. We gladly accept these terms as we bask in the adoration of our dogs, but all too soon the bill comes due and we must pay for the years of  unconditional love in the form of pain, sorrow and loss. There is no escaping this truth, and yet for those of us who count dogs amongst our companions, the deal is accepted without thought of consequence. The love of a dog is so great that we gladly take on the responsibility and agree to care for them for the duration of their short lives, no matter the cost.

I have known many dogs; most dog lovers have. Yet for all the dogs I have encountered, only one chose me. For all the dogs I have known, only one knew my soul. For all the dogs that have been, or will ever be, none will understand me like my Cozy did.

In the life of every dog lover, there is one special dog. For me, Cozy was that dog. This is her story.

So there you have it. Feel free to comment here, email me, tell me in person or use any other means to let me know your thoughts.

Thanks!

10 thoughts on “Cozy Tales – The Preface

  1. Very moving!

    However I think I would cut out a paragraph or two, passages that could be saved for later in the book.

    The idea being that the less said, the more impact (at least for your preface.)

    But that’s IMHO. You are a terrific writer.

  2. After reading the first paragraph I would have closed the book and walked up to the register and bought it. Went home, curled up on the couch and read the rest.

  3. To begin with, the picture of you and Cozy is perfect–an immediate attention getter that shows, not tells, the reader. This is a wonderful start to a unique love story. My own inclination would be to cut out the quote paragraphs. What is embedded in them will be experienced by your reader who does not need this early summation. Even the burning candle could be moved to an afterword. The idea of one special dog who chose you is central and powerful. Somehow the rest of it, though moving, dilutes its impact. That last short paragraph says it all, and says it very well.

  4. I would replace the word “disdain” in the first paragraph. It may be true, but seems a bit strong. Perhaps “skeptisism” would be better.

    Other than that, I cant wait to buy it. Please let us know when its available!

  5. Well written. You convey feelings that I was discussing a few days ago with my wife about the loss of my Lab, Deuce. I have been adopted by a Newfie named Rosie, as as much as I love her, and she loves me, she won’t ever be Deuce. He was the one that touched me. Can’t wait to read your book. I’m sure I’ll shed another tear for Deuce when I do.

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