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’.


Not Only Puppies Need Help

Did my stint at the kennels (dog pound for US readers) on Sunday. May 1 but no day off on Monday for Italians as if a bank holiday falls on a weekend – tough luck!

There are two tiny puppies that have just arrived, absolutley adorable. One has already found a home (the male) and so they are looking fora home for the brown and white female. I don't think it will be long as puppies usually go quite quickly.

DSC_0004_thumb[1] How cute is that? I am very tenpted myself, but really think that if we ever take on another dog it would have to be an older one – you know the mid age, mid size type that no-one looks at.

One of the canile dogs is very ill. Marlene, a beautiful alsation type is not eating and has lost a ton of weight. The vet has sent off her samples for 'analisi' but as she has a lot of lumps and bumps things don't look that bright for her.

I've seen about six dogs now die in the canile, from old age or from consitions they had when they came in. I am sure that the love shown by the volunteers makes up in a small way for the hell some of them have been through but if I could get my hands on some of the people who treat a dog as though it is a piece of rubbish…well, I'm sure you know the rest.

I picked up a copy of a free magazine the other day for the Arezzo area and it had a whole page devoted to a new association I hadn't heard of before. I checked out their page and they seem to be doing good work under very hard circumstances in Sardinia, where a lot of dogs have a very tough time indeed. They are called associazioneliberitutti so do give the site a visit. It's all in Italian, but the dogs speak an international language.

I would urge anyone thinking about getting a puppy to consider an older abandoned dog as some of the stories and the life they have had is just horrendous. As I always try and remind myself, the problem is huge but if you help just one dog then 'it makes a difference to that one'.



Catfood and Dogfood Vocabulary in Italian

You can buy many familiar brands of petfood in Italy from the supermarket although the brand name pronunciation may be different. Whiskas is weezkass for example! You’ll also find some rather oddly named pet products like Alan the dog food (my husband loved that!) or Clumpy the cat litter (bit too graphic thanks!)

Some words are ‘false friends’ that is you think they will be the same in Italian and English, but they aren’t. Examples of this are ‘organic’, which isn’t ‘organico’ but ‘biologico’ and ‘preservatives’ which is ‘conservanti’. ‘Preservativi’ are condoms so be careful what you ask for!

 Here are some of the most common food and foodstuff words with stress and pronunciation in brackets. You can ask for an item by saying Vorrei (vor-RAY), Volevo (vo-LAY-voh) or mi serve (mi SER-veh) For example: vorrei una ciotola per il mio gatto(I would like a bowl for my cat.)

 Food in general for animals is mangime (man-JEE-meh) and you won’t go far wrong using that although you do also see cibo (CHEE-boh) and alimento (al-ee-MEN-toh).

 Biscuits – biscotti (bis-COTT-ee)

Bones – ossi (OH-see)

Bowl – ciotola (chee-OH-to-lah)

Chews (rawhide)  ossi in pelle di buffalo(OH-see in PEH-leh dee – BOO-fah-loh)

Chicken – pollo (POLL-oh)

Complete food – alimento completo (al-ee-MEN-toh

Daily amount- razione giornaliera (rah-zee-OH-neh   jee-or-nah-lee-ER-oh)

Duck – anatra ( AN-ah-trah)

Hypo-allergenic/sensitive – sensibile (sen-SEE-bil-eh)

Kibble – croccanti (kroh-KAN-tee)

Meal – pasto ( PAH-stoh)

Meat – carne (KAR-neh)

Minerals – minerali (min-eh-RAH-lee)

Natural ingredients – ingredienti naturali (in-GRED-ee-en-tee  Nah-too-RAH-lee)

No colourings – senza coloranti (SENZ-ah  ko-lo-RAN-tee)

No preservatives – senza conservanti (SENZ-ah  kon-ser-VAN-tee)

Organic – biologico/a (bee-oh-LODGE-ee-koh/kah)

Per day – al giorno (al – JEE-orno)

Sack- sacco (SAH-koh)

Sachet – busta (BOOS-tah)

Snack/treat – piccolo spuntino (PICK-oh-loh spun-TEE-noh) ricompensa (ree-kom-PEN-sah)

Tasty – gustoso/a (goos-TOE-zoh/zah)

Tin – lattina (lah-TEEN-ah)

Venison – cervo (CHER-voh)

Vitaminsvitamine (vit-ah-MEE-neh)

If you want to know the Italian words for cats, dogs and so on click here.