The run of new books by authors with roots in Olean continues — the latest an account of how a dog owner coped with the illness and loss of her beloved bloodhound-black lab mix.
Peg Stomierowski Gould, a career writer and editor from Olean who moved west to live in Colorado and then Alaska, wrote “Hound Dog Blues” to offer her insights about how the loss of pets and other family members “might be alike and different, encouraging people to acknowledge and grieve whatever indelible love connections they have made in life.”
“Hound Dog Blues,” Gould writes, is about “Duke, her iron hulk of a dog, bound into the enclosed fields of the dog park near home with true hound-dog swagger, tail held high and wagging wildly. His velvety black hair and droopy jowls often are noticed and appreciated by onlookers as though they were sighting Elvis himself.”
The book follows much of her reflection about life and death after she learns Duke has terminal bone cancer late in his life. Over the next weeks and months, in trying to serve Duke’s needs for exercise, rest, stimulation and purpose, but also for effective anxiety and pain management, the author was reminded of the early death of her mother from heart disease decades before. Ultimately she is persuaded that our pets, with their shorter life spans, are way-showers with much to teach about love, acceptance and graceful loss.
“This is especially so if you are willing to uncover the depth of an animal’s anchoring role in your life — and mourn the passing of a true companion,” writes Gould, who is also a spiritual advisor and licensed massage therapist.
Gould grew up in Olean and attended St. Bonaventure University, where she earned the Hellinger Award as an outstanding journalism student. In high school through college she worked for the Olean Times Herald, and she recalls editor Gil Stinger and writer Rosemary Daly, among other staffers.
“I recall sitting on the carpeted floor of the newsroom as they installed those newfangled PCs after an in-between hybrid of the typewriter,” she writes.
Gould earned a Dow Jones editing internship and then worked in Binghamton for more than a decade, before going out to Colorado, where she earned her MBA at the University of Colorado.
She and her husband, Todd, raised a family with a diversity of pets in Manitou Springs, Colo.; they also enjoy working on their log home near Homer, Alaska, where she renewed her love of nature and photography on the Kenai Peninsula.
Her work appeared daily for decades in newspapers in New York and Colorado, and later for years in Alaska Business Monthly. She also has freelanced for Vocational Biographies, American News Service, Colorado Springs Health, Springs Magazine, Women’s Edition, Compassion International, Convergent Performance and for other businesses and nonprofits.
To learn more about “Hound Dog Blues,” published by Balboa Press, check out www.hounddogbluesbook.com — there’s a link on the website to order online from the publisher. It’s also available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.