Monday, April 18, 2011

How to get your dog story into a Chicken Soup for the Soul book

Chicken Soup for the Soul books, chock full of heartwarming and inspiring stories, introduces the newest addition to the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog's Life. Subtitled "101 Stories About All the Ages and Stages of Our Canine Companions" you can be sure to find many tales that touch your heart. I'm especially excited about the book, because my story, "A Little Sister for Hudson" is included (page 33).

Because I know you will love to read this book, and maybe even want to share one of your own wonderful stories about your pets in a future Chicken Soup for the Soul, I chatted with Jennifer Quasha (pictured, with her adorable pal), co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog's Life, to offer you a special, behind the scenes look.

Q: How many stories were submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul My Dog's Life? How many did you include in the book?

JQ: We received thousands of submissions for My Dog's Life, and we could only publish 101. It was so hard to choose! We have a lot of repeat writers who know what makes a great Chicken Soup story, but in every books we have many new writers, too.

Q: What made a story stand out?

JQ: Stories stand out because they are well written, or they are just a fabulous story. We can tell pretty quickly if it's good or not by whether we want to keep reading! I happen to love the funny stories -- they are so hard to write. There is a great humorous piece in My Dog's Life about a chihuahua who was embarrassed about his hair falling out. It made me laugh out loud.

Q: What about a story with a twist?

JQ: There is a great story, "Doggone Wake," about a family that had a wake for their dog. They invited their friends over to share stories and they ended up laughing throughout the gathering remembering when he chewed something, peed on the carpet, ate food he wasn't supposed to... universal themes that every dog lover can relate to, but with a twist.

Q: What is the funniest story you read?
JQ: We had a puppy that got stuck in a tree, a senior dog that got stuck in a bush, and thirteen-pound dog that loves to honk truck horns. Dogs can be the silliest of creatures, and their human's recollections kept me smiling. Sometimes it's the humans who do funny things. One woman found her neighbor's dog wandering the street so she brought him safely back home -- only to find out later that it wasn't the neighbor's dog!

Q: Was there a story that touched you the most?

JQ: There is a story about a wandering black lab that was a "neighborhood" dog that loved to chew rocks. One day he was seriously injured, and the entire community came together to save him. It is such an incredible story it makes me teary to think about it! Both the dog and the people who helped him are an inspiration -- to everyone they touched, and anyone who reads their story. Dogs so often bring out the best in us, and that can be found in almost every story in this book.

Never fear, cat lovers! Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life is also available now, full of "101 Stories about All the Ages and Stages of our Feline Family Members."

Learn more about submitting your story with Chicken Soup for the Soul writer's guidelines.

Jennifer Quasha is an award-winning writer and editor, and a published author of more than 40 books. She graduated from Boston University with a B. S. in Communication and has been writing ever since. Jennifer has been a contributing editor at Dog Fancy and Dogs for Kids magazines, and has written monthly columns on rescue dogs, etiquette, and travel. Jennifer has also been published in nine Chicken Soup for the Soul books and is thrilled to be a co-author of My Dog’s Life and My Cat’s Life. In her free time Jennifer loves to read, travel and eat, especially if someone else cooks it. She lives with her husband, kids, and two dogs. You can reach her by visiting her website at


  1. Fascinating! And the stories had me smiling:)

  2. sounds great.... I like the idea of a wake for a dog, especially one that has many friends :)

  3. Thank you for the info - that is a book I definitely want to read - the brief intros she gave about each story just make me want to read more - when I'm not at work.

  4. Sounds like a great book! I love reading other people's stories!

  5. VERY cool! Thanks for sharing!

  6. That really is so cool, but I'm wondering why we haven't read any of those...hint to Dad!

  7. Peggy, that's awesome that one of your stories is in there! How cool. Thanks for the behinds the scenes look, too. :)

  8. I love reading stories like that

  9. wow sounds purrty good
    Benny & Lily

  10. Wow, great information and congratulations on getting a story in the book. I can't wait to read the cat and dog books. I love these kind of animal stories.

  11. As you know from our email exchanges I have been trying to get motivated (first important step), gain confidence to try to submit a story, and to actually sit down and write and now that I've seen this helpful article I am going to print this post and bookmark it!
    I'm with "Jet" on the idea of having a wake for our pets because that is a great way for others who would grieve over their loss to remind us of their quirks, etc.

  12. P.S. I retweeted this post and posted it on Facebook!


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