Middle Grade Action and Adventure Book about Dogs and Ghosts in Tuscany! DOWNLOAD TODAY

99 cents DOWNLOAD


My new Middle Grade chapter book Ruby and the Ghost Dog is finally out and just 99 cents for two days (20 and 21 June) only. It is inspired by my rescue English Setter Gassi  (that is his picture on the cover!) and my volunteer work for two years in an Italian dog shelter (“canile“). The book features reluctant 11-year-old psychic Ruby who has moved to Tuscany, Italy with her mother. She is soon targeted by a very special dog for a rather special mission and nothing in Ruby’s life will ever be the same again.

The book has already been downloaded almost 1000 times in two days and is hovering just outside the amazon top 100 so please give it a boost and download it! Once it goes back to being a paid book and starts making money then I aim to donate 10 per cent of sales to animal rescue. I want the book to raise awareness about animal rescue in Italy, in particularly the plight of dogs stuck in kennels, often for years.

The link is to amazon in the USA, but the book can be downloaded HERE for UK, HERE for Italy, HERE for Australia and HERE for Spain. It is available worldwide on amazon if you search for it by title. Please tell your friends as it all helps spread the word.

Praise for Ruby and the Ghost Dog

‘Fiona does a wonderful job helping children cope through any loss or isolation they may experience while growing up in a sometimes challenging and ever-changing world. Ruby and the Ghost Dog takes the reader on a fascinating journey which is filled with loss but that void is replaced with immense love supplied by the natural and supernatural in both human and canine form.  This is a must read for any child who has experienced any loss and/or any child that loves dogs!’ Prince Lorenzo Borghese, President www.animalaidusa.org and Ambassador to the American Humane Association

‘An enchanting tale that will appeal to dog lovers like me everywhere.’ Kay Burley, Sky TV presenter and Setter owner. 

‘In Ruby and the Ghost Dog we are reminded of the love between species, whether they are two legged or four pawed, and the beautiful connection which continues beyond death. Acknowledging grief for animals, as well as humans, this lovely story reveals the value of inter-species friendship. This book is a heartwarming ‘tail’ for all generations.’ Pea Horsley, Animal Communicator, teacher and author of ‘Heart to Heart: Incredible and Heartwarming Stories from the Woman Who Talks With Animals’ and ‘The Animal Communicator’s Guide Through Life, Loss and Love’. www.animalthoughts.com.

‘A mesmerising story that works on many levels. Ruby and Gassi’s relationship teaches us about loss and grief but also hope and love. We learn that dogs need us and that we need them as much, if not more. Ruby and the Ghost Dog will encourage everyone to think about all the dogs out there in difficulty and to think of adopting rather than buying a new dog.’ Pen Farthing, Founder and CEO of the Nowzad charity www.nowzad.com helping improve the welfare of animals in Afghanistan. Author of ‘One Dog at a Time’, ‘No Place Like Home’ and ‘Wylie’.


Alpacas in Tuscany – Breakfast!

Breakfast time for my alpacas in Tuscany

Breakfast time for my alpacas in Tuscany

Alpacas in Tuscany? Oh yes! These animals are rare in Italy an certainly the locals in my little village didn’t expect me to provide them with a mini petting zoo in this neck of the woods!

I have now got seven lovely alpacas. They live in my back garden, very close to the house. This means I can keep an eye on them easily. I check them three or four times a day and enjoy just watching them amble around to be honest!

My original idea was to have a little alpaca breeding programme, so I bought three pregnant females plus a companion female who, for various anatomical reasons, can’t be mated. Champagne, my big Suri female, ended up not being pregnant after all. The other two, Emilia and Diana, both huacayas, had two lovely boys, Brunello and Dolcetto. Watching  an alpaca being born in my garden was a wonderful experience. Sadly, Diana died from unknown causes when baby Dolcetto was just four months old, but he was big and strong and survived brilliantly.

Emilia went on to have another boy, Pomino and Champagne also had a boy, Merlot. (Can you see the wine theme going on here?) The boys were born within a day of each other, but one is Suri and the other huacaya so they are very different in temperament and size.

The alpacas' breakfast plus seed for the three handicapped pigeons

The alpacas breakfast plus seed for the three handicapped pigeons

Twice a day I take them their dishes of diced apples, carrots, Camelibra alpaca supplement, alfafa pellets and sugarbeet soaked in water. It is really sweet how they all run to their individual dishes and tuck in! Strictly speaking it isn’t necessary to give them anyof this except the supplement, but a) it is winter so they need a bit extra and b) I like doing it and so do they!

Can You Help Cleo?

Cleo needs a loving home


Cleo is a beautiful, gentle four-year-old crossbreed weighing around 20 kilos. She was adopted from Puglia by Laura and her husband as a companion for their other adopted dog, Juno acquired from a dog shelter in Pisa where they used to live. They tried their best to manage the two dogs, but Juno was very dominant and Cleo increasingly anxious and withdrawn. She was also very upset by traffic and the general hustle and bustle of city life.

Laura was also pregnant and they were worried Juno may attack Cleo and the baby might get caught in the middle. That is why, with broken hearts, when they relocated to London last year they decided to find Cleo a new home. They placed her with a dog behaviourist in the countryside in Tuscany and Cleo came on leaps and bounds, regained her confidence and played happily with the lady’s other five dogs.

Now the behaviourist has to move to the north of Italy and can’t take Cleo. This means that this lovely little dog may well end up in the canile or be dumped in a field and consigned to guard dog duties.

Laura and her husband are devastated at this news and have reached out to me to see if I can help find Cleo the loving country home she deserves.

Cleo is looking for a home

Cleo (top) needs a new home.

The deadline is the end of March.

Cleo is spayed, vaccinated, microchipped, has a pet passport and gets on well with other dogs and with children. She has not had any experience of cats. She is currently in Pontedera about half an hour from Pisa, but it may be possible to arrange transport to another part of Italy if the right caring owner is found.



Cell +44 7490 677979        Email lklaurayasmina@gmail.com


*UPDATE: Very happy to report that the situation was resolved and all the animals are safe and back in the UK!*

I have been contacted by Sarah in Abruzzo who for personal reasons has to return to the UK by 20 January. She is looking to rehome 4 rescue dogs and 2 rescue cats.  The dogs have been living as part of the family for several years, the cats came as kittens and are a year old.

All of them (cats and dogs)  are castrated, vaccinated, chipped and have European passports. (NOTE: For some reason these photos are showing upside down on ipads and iphones but fine on desktop. I have tried to fix it but can’t so am publishing them anyway, don’t let it put you off!)



PONCHO: 7 year-old mixed breed, found abandoned in freezing weather starving having been cut down from a wire.





Marley needs a home


MARLEY: 5 year-old mixed breed dog found starving. He does not like black dogs and will bite them.





chinhuahua Burtie


BURTIE: 4 year-old Chihuahua, dumped at Sarah’s feet by feral mother who then ran off. Born with only three working legs. Big character. Probably best homed alone as he doesn’t like other dogs but is fine with cats.






SHAKESPEARE: 3 year-old Golden Retriever thrown from a vehicle in the middle of nowhere, had broken ribs and was starving. He had terrible trust issues leading Sarah to believe he was abused. He is now a loyal and loving dog but is not good with children.








PUSHKIN and BUDDHA, one year-old brother and sister cats hand reared from 10 days old when their mother died. Friendly, affectionate, good with dogs, need to be homed together if possible.


CAN YOU HELP? Please contact Sarah on (0039) 342 515 1416

email: saharagriff@hotmail.com.



Little Benton, can you help?

Little Benton, can you help?

I have been contacted by Beth Amos whose friend looks after some properties in Abruzzo and has been looking after a dog abandoned in one of the houses by its owners. This is very urgent. She writes:

I have been made aware of an abandoned puppy  in the Atri area of abruzzo, Italy. He appears to be a few months old is very well behaved and may be a spinone x spaniel type mix. He is a gorgeous dog and needs to be rehomed urgently as the house owners are ‘allergic’ and are already trying to put him in a shelter. If you can help in any way even a foster situation or if you want to adopt him but live in another country I know people who can help advise of cost and facilitate this so please don’t let that put you off. You can contact me on Facebook (Beth amos, abruzzo, Italy) or by email to bethsinitaly@gmail.co.uk or by phone on 075 9577 1007 (+44 759577 1007 if you are not in the UK)