Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

Meet Our Contributors

Monica Agnew-Kinnaman is ninety-seven years old and a veteran of World War II. She served in the British Army and was stationed in London in an anti-aircraft artillery regiment. She has lived sixty years in Colorado and is the author of two other published short stories and one book, So This Is Heaven, about rescuing old dogs. (Editor’s note: We’ve read her book and it’s fascinating and beautifully written!)

Adrienne A. Aguirre has a Master of Arts in Theology from Bethel Seminary San Diego, where she works in development. She’s also a freelance journalist and volunteer chaplain. Adrienne enjoys playing roller derby with her daughter Desirée and spending time with her rescue cat Kitty. She’s also working on her first book.

Carol Andrews is a former television news anchor who has published three books — two for children and one for other authors hoping to turn their passion for writing into a successful business. She lives in North Carolina with, and is inspired by, her husband, son and, of course, Dora!

Katie Avagliano is a master’s student in creative writing in Washington, D.C. She loves dogs, reading, the beach, and adding shows she will never have time to watch to her Netflix queue. She and her family raise Seeing Eye puppies, and are currently fostering their ninth dog.

Kathryn Hackett Bales and Bonnie live in Nevada with three dogs and four cats. She spends most of her time writing her Touring With Pit Bull series, with proceeds donated to Pit Bull rescue. E-mail her at

Marie Bast is a retired civil servant and now an award-winning author for her first novel, The Perfect Client. She is published in newspapers, two book compilations, periodicals, and in the devotionals The Upper Room and The Cup of Salvation. E-mail her at or visit

A former English teacher, Irene R. Bastian loves to write and paint, and recently began drawing. Gardening and working the family tree nursery near the foothills of Alberta allow her to appreciate the great outdoors. Her two yellow Labradors love keeping her company, especially if she is driving the RTV. E-mail her at

Carole A. Bell is a licensed professional counselor. Her ministry is helping families become what God wants them to be. She writes, speaks, and consults about parenting issues. Since 1999, she has written a weekly Christian parenting column for the Plainview Herald. Read her blog at

Kathleen Birmingham is a freelance writer and ghostwriter, and is currently working on a number of children’s books. She enjoyed her many years as the “reluctant volunteer” while her husband trained Sadie to be a wilderness search-and-rescue dog. When Sadie was not working, she enjoyed being a beloved member of Kathleen’s family.

Caitlin Brown is a senior Cinematography major at Emerson College in Boston. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys reading, writing, watching movies, playing her harp, and paintballing. Caitlin loves hearing from her readers. E-mail her at

Melody Carlson is one of the most prolific novelists of our time. With more than 250 books published and sales topping 6.5 million, she writes primarily for women and teens. And every year she publishes a Christmas novella. She’s won numerous awards, including a RITA and Romantic Times Career Achievement.

Keysha Cass is a stay-at-home mother of four. In 2011 she published a children’s book titled A Helping Hand. She enjoys writing children’s stories, and plans to keep writing stories for children to enjoy. Keysha also enjoys spending time with her family playing board games.

Sonny Cohrs recently retired from the U.S. Air Force and settled down in his home state of Georgia with his wife Brandy and their three children. Sonny enjoys kayaking, fishing, camping, and hiking. He has plans to work as a freelance photojournalist and hopes to one day publish a photography travel book.

Karen Cooper lives in rural Missouri. She needs a lot of coffee because she likes to stay up late at night looking at the stars. In her free time during the day she enjoys canning, lotion making, and crochet.

Kimberly Crawford currently resides in Frisco, TX. She is an animal lover who shares her home with three Basset Hounds and two hamsters in addition to her two daughters and husband. Kim enjoys sewing, spending time with her family and snuggling on the couch with her Bassets. This is Kim’s first published piece.

Catherine D. Crocker earned a Ph.D in education in 2011. She lives in middle Tennessee with her husband and their two dogs, Precious and Annabelle. She works as an online professional academic editor. She enjoys reading fiction and inspirational books, and writing nonfiction. She has authored one small book available on Kindle.

Tracy Crump enjoys storytelling (the good kind) and has published fifteen stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She encourages others through her Write Life Workshops and webinars, and edits a popular newsletter, The Write Life. But her most important job is being Grandma to little Nellie. Visit Tracy at

Janice R. Edwards lives with her husband and two dogs on the San Bernard River in Brazoria, TX. She currently writes freelance for Image Magazine, showcasing Brazoria County. She has three other dog stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at

Christina Eichstedt began writing at fourteen and was first published in Offerings Magazine at twenty-one. Christina also wrote three books with her mother, Judy Eichstedt: Weary Souls, Shattered by Life; Whispers of Truth; and 2012: The Last Entries. She has also been published in The Poet’s Pen, Poetry Motel, and local newspapers.

Sharla Elton received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and her MBA from the University of Akron. She lives with her husband in Ohio, where she works at a school. Sharla enjoys her many nieces and nephews, traveling, writing, camping and spending time outdoors.

Twilla Estes is the mother of eight children, with numerous grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She received her associate’s degree in Nursing at the age of forty-five and worked in that field until her recent retirement. Twilla enjoys reading, writing, traveling, volunteering, and her dog Tater.

Sara Etgen-Baker’s love for words began as a young girl when her mother read the dictionary to her every night. A teacher’s unexpected whisper, “You’ve got writing talent,” ignited her writing desire. Although she ignored that whisper, she never forgot those words. So, after retirement, she began writing memoirs and narratives.

Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor and previous contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She is currently working on young adult fiction and non-fiction novels. Sue enjoys volunteering in her church, long walks and working with her critique group on a variety of stories.

Tracy Falenwolfe lives in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with her husband and two sons, where she’s currently working on a mystery series. Learn more at

Donna Fawcett is the former creative writing instructor for Fanshawe College in London. Her novels Rescued and Vengeance (Donna Dawson) won Best Contemporary Novel in Canada’s largest Christian writing awards, The Word Awards.

Heidi FitzGerald is a produced playwright, screenwriter and author. She lives in the Minneapolis area where she runs her own pet-sitting business, Let Rover Stay Over. Learn more about her writing projects at

Lynn Fitzsimmons is a professional speaker, best-selling author, coach and trainer. She touches hearts and ignites the flame of hope in individuals to live their passions and desires. Learn more at

Marian Flandrick has had dogs most of her life. In addition to writing, she also pet sits. Most of her clients have dogs, and she cares for family pets, show dogs, ranch dogs, and even a retired military working dog. Marian lives in the Sierra above Fresno, CA, with her Colonial Spanish Mustang mare, Moony, who was friends with Wolfie.

Carol Fleischman is a freelance writer and author. In spring 2015, Pelican Publishing Company released her first children’s picture book, Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog. She does presentations at schools and libraries to educate children about guide dogs.

Angela Foster lives in Minnesota. She works as a freelance editor and teaches at the Loft Literary Center. In her spare time, she haunts animal shelters in search of a dog to replace Buster. Angela co-authored Farm Girls, a book about growing up on a dairy farm. Learn more at

Victoria Franzese has degrees from Smith College and New York University. She owned, operated and wrote for an online travel guide for fifteen years before selling it to a major media outlet. Now she writes on a variety of topics and her travel is for fun. She lives in New York City with her husband, two sons, and a Goldendoodle named Jenkins.

Peggy Frezon is an award-winning writer for Guideposts magazine. Her new book, Faithfully Yours, shares heartwarming true stories about the amazing bond between us and the animals we love. Peggy and her husband rescue senior dogs, including ten-year-old Golden Retriever Ike and thirteen-year-old Spaniel Kelly. Learn more at

Sandy McPherson Carrubba Geary lives with her new husband and dog, Gretchen, in Buffalo, NY, where they walk three times a day and sometimes run. Sandy, a published poet, helps a group of senior citizens become writers. She has been published in magazines for children and adults as well as other titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

James A. Gemmell is a married father of two grown children. Most summers he can be found walking one of the Caminos de Santiago in Spain. His other hobbies are writing, playing guitar, drawing, painting and collecting art.

Elizabeth Greenhill is a freelance writer of essays and articles about her many interests. She received her B.S. degree in Business from Arizona State University. Elizabeth lives in Northern California with her husband. She has two adult children. E-mail her at

Marcia Harris taught school for thirty-five years and now says her life has “gone to the dogs” since she raises puppies for Guide Dogs. She is a mom, author, edu-tainer (her word for educator and magical entertainer combined), historical re-enactor, and active volunteer, who lives by the motto, “aspire to inspire before you expire!”

Barb Hart and her husband, Stew, sold their home in 2002 and moved aboard a forty-seven-foot sailboat, living aboard in Maine for eight years before setting out on a cruise of uncertain length in 2010. Barb writes about their adventures on her blog, and has been published in a number of sailing magazines.

Laurel Vaccaro Hausman lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two dogs, Red and Jack. She teaches high school English and Literature. Laurel enjoys quilting, biking, reading, and gardening. She plans to write a memoir about her teaching experiences. E-mail her at

Jonny Hawkins draws cartoons full-time from his home in Sherwood, MI. His work has been in over 800 publications and he creates five Cartoon-a-Day calendars annually, published by Andrews McMeel, including Dog Cartoon-a-Day. E-mail him at

Laura Hicks married her husband Mike right out of high school and they have enjoyed many years of marriage. Together they raise cattle and sheep on their South Dakota ranch. Laura is blessed to be the mother of two wonderful adult sons, Dustin and Brady. She is actively involved in her church and youth ministry.

Joei Carlton Hossack has been a travel writer for over twenty years, specializing in solo RV travel. She is a motivational and inspirational speaker and storyteller. She enjoys photography, teaching and recently discovered her love of beadwork. She lives in Surrey, B.C.

Allison Howell has been previously published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive and in the Catholic Anchor. She is a regular columnist for The Frontiersman newspaper and keeps a blog about her family’s adventures of life in Alaska with children with cystic fibrosis. She loves to read, hike, and pick blueberries.

An award-winning author, Jeanette Hurt has penned nine books, including her latest, Drink Like a Woman. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she hangs out with Olivia, who enjoys chasing squirrels along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Visit her at or tweet with her @JHurtAuthor.

Emily Huseman wrote two 150-page books by hand when she was nine. Now, at age thirteen, she continues to enjoy writing as well as being homeschooled, reading her Bible, playing with her many rescued animals on her hobby farm, and theater.

Jeffree Wyn Itrich has been writing since the age of six. It has been her lifelong passion, and she earned a graduate degree in journalism at UC Berkeley. She works in academic research by day and in her spare time she sews colorful quilts and writes stories for both children and adults. To date she has four books published.

Debby Johnson is a wife, mother, and dog lover. She lives in Southern California with her husband and youngest son, Christopher. Debby’s four other children are grown and have flown the coop. Rounding out their house and hearts are their pups, Coco, Pixel and Sadie. They also make room for Macaroni the cat and Zanshin the turtle.

Ann Denise Karson has an English/Writing degree from the University of Colorado. She lives in the D.C. area, but loves to get back to Colorado when she can. Denise’s interests include writing, reading, traveling, cooking, yoga, and she especially loves spending time with her family.

Elizabeth Anne Kennedy received her Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University and is employed at her local library. Her inspiration comes from everyday beauty and is reflected in her paintings and writings of personal essays, short stories, and poetry. Contact her at

Cris Kenney lives in rural upstate New York with Lokasteinn Kai, an Icelandic Sheepdog. Cris studies wildlife at Finger Lakes Community College and hopes to do field work in conservation. Kai trains in agility when his human is not studying, running, gaming, or trying to write novels. E-mail Cris at

Dale Keppley is a Behavior Therapist who works with young children and their families. After graduating from Penn State University, he moved to Florida where he met his wife of thirty years. He enjoys outdoor activities, performing music and writing songs. He plans to write children’s books in the near future.

Tina Koenig is a writer and technology entrepreneur. In addition to exploiting her family for fun and profit, Koenig is the author of the historical middle-grade mystery novel, A Case of Considerable Consequence. Links to other humorous stories about family, holidays and travel may be found at

Kathleen Kohler writes stories about the ups and downs of family life for numerous magazines and anthologies. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, and have three children and seven grandchildren. Read more of her articles and join her e-mail list at

Jennifer Land received her Master of Library and Information Science degree and currently works as a full-time web development manager for her local library system. She also founded and directs Monroe’s Mighty Mission, a non-profit focused on keeping pets and families together through difficult times. She enjoys traveling and writing.

Kathryn Lehan is a life and business coach focused on creating fruitfulness in her clients’ businesses and personal lives by teaching healing, prosperity and purpose using practical Biblical principles. She untangles misconceptions about God that keep people stuck in fear, pain, sickness and financial lack.

Susan Lendroth is a communications professional and children’s author. Her recent picture book, Old Manhattan Has Some Farms (2014), takes a lighthearted look at urban farming across North America. Previous titles include Calico Dorsey: Mail Dog of the Mining Camps and Maneki Neko, the Tale of the Beckoning Cat.

Liz Lombard is a married mother of five and a lifelong South Boston, MA resident. She loves God, her family and her country. Animal welfare and advocacy is especially important to her and her family. Working to end animal suffering and raise awareness is near and dear to her heart.

Shawn Lutz lives in Capistrano Beach, CA, with her husband, two children, and their beloved Curley Ace. She enjoys being with her family, baking, writing, and exploring California. She is pleased to be a part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Sylvia Macchia is an RN in Neuro ICU. She enjoys writing poetry in her spare time — poetry that speaks of life’s experiences and important lessons she has learned.

A graduate of Queen’s University, Gail MacMillan is the award-winning author of thirty-five traditionally published books. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada with her husband and Little River Duck Dog named Fancy.

Bette Haywood Matero is a retired childcare professional. She lives in Arizona with her husband of forty-six years, and is the proud mother of two sons and a daughter. She takes great pride in her granddaughter and grandson. In addition to writing, she volunteers at the regional hospital in her community as a chaplain.

Jeri McBryde loves sharing her life experiences in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series with the hope of helping others. Jeri lives in a small southern delta town. Retired, she spends her days reading and working on her dream of publishing a novel. A doting grandmother, her world revolves around her faith, family, friends and chocolate.

Courtney McKinney-Whitaker lives with her family, including her dog, Lina, in Illinois. Her debut novel, The Last Sister (2014), received the IPPY Silver Medal for Historical Fiction. She is currently at work on another novel.

Dee Dee McNeil is a singer/songwriter/freelance journalist. She has been writing a current music column at for the past six years. Her songs have been recorded by numerous iconic artists, including Diana Ross, LL Cool J, Edwin Starr, Nancy Wilson, the Four Tops and more. In 2015, McNeil released her own CD titled Storyteller.

Christy Mihaly is a lifelong dog lover and writer. She writes nonfiction for children, and also dabbles in poetry and an occasional bit of fiction. Her first book will be published in early 2016. She lives with her family in Vermont. Her current dog is not a wonder puppy, but is an excellent writing companion and mascot.

David S. Milotta has a B.A. degree from Whitworth College, and an M.Div. and D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary. Supernatural experiences are his interest. Great Danes, grandchildren, stand up paddle, and windsurfing are his passions.

Beki Muchow lives in Sherwood, OR with family and several pets. Several of her stories can be found in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She spends her spare time in various Portland-area coffee shops writing short stories found in numerous publications and is working on a novel.

A lifelong dog lover, Val Muller is the author of the kidlit mystery series Corgi Capers, based on the antics of her two corgis. Learn more at and

Nicole L.V. Mullis is the author of the novel A Teacher Named Faith (Cairn Press 2015). Her work has appeared in newspapers, literary magazines and anthologies, including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her plays have been produced in New York, California and Michigan. She lives with her husband, children and very good dog.

An active senior, Molly O’Connor spends her time writing, walking and capturing photos of wild flowers. She is a published author of four books: Fourteen Cups (collection of short stories), Wandering Backwards (creative memoir) Snow Business (children’s book), and When Secrets Become Lies (novel). Learn more at

Shirley Oakes is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of twelve, and great-grandmother of two. She lives on a mini-farm, where she enjoys the outdoors, especially working in the garden with her husband. Researching her family history is a favorite activity, along with indexing records and writing short stories.

Christie Page is an underachieving superhero who spends her daylight hours in the medical field helping people change their lives. Her experiences have led her down a path of spiritual exploration and awakenings. Christie wishes to share her journey with others in an attempt to come to peace.

Jeanne Pallos is the author of several published stories for adults and children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and their Golden Retriever, Autumn. Sadly, Thumper was killed by a rattlesnake the summer of 2015. The family shared two and a half delightful years with this rabbit.

Nancy Panko has contributed to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series three times. Published in Reader’s Digest, Guideposts and Christian Women’s Voice, she is a member of Cary Senior Writing Circle and The Light of Carolina Christian Writers group. The author of a fictional novel, Guiding Missal, she and her husband live in North Carolina.

Mark Parisi’s “Off the Mark” comic panel appears in over 100 newspapers worldwide and is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate. Visit to view over 8,000 cartoons. Mark’s cartoon feature has won best newspaper cartoon twice and best greeting card once by the National Cartoonists Society. Lynn, his wife/business partner, and their daughter, Jen, contribute with inspiration (as do four cats and a dog).

Tea R. Peronto is the author of two children’s books and various other smaller works. She runs an online craft shop from Southern Oregon, where she lives with her husband. Tea enjoys the Oregon coast, Native American culture, gardening, Chinese food and bare feet.

Marsha Porter has written numerous short stories and hundreds of articles. She co-authored a movie review guide for twenty years. She perfected the 500-word essay in grade school when it was the punishment du jour.

Connie Kaseweter Pullen lives in rural Sandy, OR, near her five children and several grandchildren. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Portland in 2006, with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. Connie enjoys writing, photography and exploring nature. E-mail her at

Mark Rickerby is a writer, screenwriter, singer, voice actor and multiple contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. His proudest achievements are co-authoring his father’s memoir, The Other Belfast, and releasing a music CD for his daughters, Marli and Emma. He is currently working on a series of children’s books.

Stacey Ritz is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Advocates 4 Animals, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal welfare organization. Learn more at

Bruce Robinson is an award-winning internationally published cartoonist whose work has appeared in many magazines, including National Enquirer, The Saturday Evening Post, and Woman’s World. He is also the author of the cartoon books Good Medicine and Bow Wows & Meows. Visit him at or e-mail him at

Cindy Lou Ruffino is the author of Out of the Texas Mist and Dead Xs in Texas. She holds a master’s degree in Criminal Justice. The Boston Terrier entered her life in 1994 and from that point on she was hooked. Cindy has been active in many Boston Terrier forums and groups as well as several rescues.

Stephen Rusiniak is a former police detective who specialized in juvenile/family matters. Today he shares his thoughts through his writing, including stories in several books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Contact him via Facebook, on Twitter @StephenRusiniak or by e-mail at

Lily Ryan is an English professor and the author of books for middle grade and young adult readers. She and her husband have been blessed with five children who are called to help others.

Loretta Schoen grew up in Brazil and Italy, and now resides in Florida with her husband, a cat and two dogs, all of whom are of retirement age. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her grandson. Loretta conducts workshops on how to survive medical adversity, and is writing a devotional of medical parables.

April Serock earned an M.A. in writing from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband and son where she can see the sun rise over the Appalachians each morning. She’s published romantic short stories in Woman’s World magazine and writes nonfiction articles for money-saving websites.

Tanya Shearer lives in Alabama with her husband, Clay. Their family includes two wonderful married children, their spouses, granddaughter Zoey Clayre, and Cornbread. She loves writing short stories and walking Cornbread. This is her fourth story published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at

Jessica Snell is a writer who lives in sunny Southern California. She’s the editor of Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She blogs about faith, fiction, and family at

Laura Snell, her husband Dave and their dog Gus Gusterson live in Wasaga Beach, Ontario where they operate their web development and online marketing firm, Her son Ryan lives in Melbourne, Australia. E-mail her at

Jean Haynie Stewart has shared her memories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series eighteen times. She edits freelance books and articles from her home in Southern California where she lives with her retired husband of fifty-five years. Their grand-dog and grand-cats are nearby, along with the grandchildren, to bring much joy.

Kristin Stuckmyer is a music therapist who has used therapy animals to assist in her work with children who have special needs. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, daughters, service dog Teddy, and her cat Crystal. For more about a day in the life of a service dog, check out Teddy’s Tales at

W. Bradford Swift has written several true-life stories for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He and his wife co-founded Life On Purpose Institute in 1996 ( He also writes speculative fiction under the pen name of Orrin Jason Bradford. Learn more at

Lisa Timpf is a freelance writer who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. Her creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have appeared in a variety of venues, including More of Our Canada, Outposts of Beyond, Good Times, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada, New Myths, and Third Wednesday.

Lucy Tobias is a former award-winning New York Times Regional Group reporter and the author of Florida travel and gardening books plus a children’s book about manatees. Lucy writes a popular travel blog called Saturday Morning Magazine. Lucy lives in Sarasota, sharing space with one dog and three cats. E-mail her at

Pat Wahler is a retired grant writer and proud contributor to ten previous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Pat resides in Missouri and draws writing inspiration from family, friends, and the critters who tirelessly supervise each moment she spends at the keyboard. Learn more at

Jessica A. Walsh lives in New Jersey with her husband and dog. She blogs about her inspiring journey of self-discovery at She co-edited Reading Glasses: Stories Through an Unpredictable Lens, a fiction collection, including her own story, “Unquiet Mind.” She is working on her first novel.

Dallas Woodburn is a writer and teacher living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is proud to have contributed stories to more than two dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Learn more about her youth literacy organization Write On! at and visit her blog at

Sandy Wright is a gifted-and-talented teacher who is also a mountain girl who loves to tromp and snowshoe with her dog. Her passion is writing and she is active with the North Texas Christian Writers. Painting, horseback riding, and traveling with her husband are right up there as well. E-mail her at

Susan Kimmel Wright lives and writes in a creaky, old western-Pennsylvania farmhouse with her husband Dave and her animal family and fosters. Her car and clothing are permanently embedded with pet hair, and her heart with love and precious memories. E-mail her at

After receiving a Master of Education degree at UBC, Sarah Wun traveled to the Middle East to begin her career as an ESL teacher. She currently resides in Shanghai, China where she teaches sixth and seventh grade English and Sexual Health Education. She enjoys writing, often about her experiences overseas.

Megan Yeardley is a college dropout who loves spending time with her family, friends, and especially her dog and cat! She would like to give a shout-out to Silver 4 for molding her into the person she is!

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