Puppy Love

A Jamestown native author, who shares her knowledge about the beloved animals that people call pets, recently earned some recognition for her work.

Susan M. Ewing, who writes the twice-a-month column for The Post-Journal entitled “The Pet Pen,” has won a Maxwell award from the Dog Writers Association of America.

The award, which she received in honor of her book “American Pit Bull Terrier,” was presented to her in front of more than 160 people during the association’s annual dinner that is held the night before the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

“I was absolutely thrilled,” said Ewing. “I’ve had books nominated before, but this is my first win, and I like that it’s for a book about such a misunderstood breed.”

Ewing’s 143-page, full-color book, “American Pit Bull Terrier,” is split into nine chapters that detail a variety of subjects that range from the origins of the breed, to characteristics, supplies, feeding habits, grooming, health, training and more. The book is a part of the “Animal Planet Dogs 101” series.

“Anyone who is thinking about getting an American pit bull terrier, this is a good book for you to read so that you would know what you are getting into before you got into it,” said Ewing. “That’s why shelters are so full of dogs, because people see cute puppies and they take them home before realizing that they didn’t really understand what they were getting into.”

According to Ewing, the Dog Writers Association of America was founded in 1935 in the Westminster Kennel Club meeting room at Madison Square Garden. In the early 1970s, writer Maxwell Riddle suggested that a medallion, instead of a plaque, be awarded to the winning authors in each category. The result was the Maxwell award, named after Riddle, who was himself a respected writer who was famous worldwide for his knowledge of dogs, Ewing said.

“It’s an annual competition with about 50 categories in which you can win, and my book was in the dog guides category,” said Ewing. “My publisher sent the book in to enter the competition. I feel really good that it won the award because it was a little bit harder to pull together than my other works. And, it’s the first award I’ve won, but my ‘Bulldogs For Dummies’ was nominated. I think it will help me get more jobs because when editors and publishers are looking at my writing resume and they see that I’ve won these awards then that gives me a little boost. I think that’s worth more than possibly increasing the sales of the book.”

The Maxwell award from the Dog Writers Association of America is a gold medallion that was designed by a friend of Ewing’s, Carol Benjamin. Benjamin is an author herself who writes about dogs and has a series called “Rachel Alexander and Dash Mysteries” that follows a private investigator and her dog.

Ewing has written 11 dog books and numerous magazine articles on both cats and dogs. She has twice won the Muse award from the Cat Writers’ Association. One was for an article in “Kittens USA,” and the other was for her cat flash cards, “Cats! Train Your Owner,” which won the coveted president’s award. And, she has since then become the president of the Cat Writers’ Association.

Ewing lives near downtown Jamestown with her husband Jim, who works at the Lucille Ball Little Theater box office, and her two Pembroke Welsh corgis, Gale and Rhiannon. She has raised corgis for nearly 30 years.

Ewing’s books may be found on Amazon.com or in local pet stores.