Elizabeth Dodwell


From my earliest remembrances I've had an affinity with animals. Every Christmas and birthday list was topped with a request for a puppy or kitten but it was never to be. The only pet I was allowed to have was a found tortoise that I named Cedric. 'He' actually turned out to be a 'she' who spent several years as ruler of the back garden, waging an annual war with my father over the strawberry patch and hibernating each winter in the compost heap.

The elegant Regency town of Cheltenham, England, was my birthplace and, as a kid, if you'd asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you a vet or an actress (I was totally enamored of the stage as well as animals). However, I absolutely hated school (the idea of years in the educational system was anathema to me) and my parents were determined that theater was not an appropriate calling for their daughter. So in short order I left both school and home, and three days after my 17th birthday struck out on my own.

Since then, Life itself has been a most amazing instructional journey. I've worked in fields of insurance, sales, administration, food and beverage. I've owned and operated businesses as diverse as bookkeeping, construction cleaning, canon making (full-size fiberglass replicas, mostly Civil War era), antiques and even worked with a shipwreck treasure hunter.

As for animals, you can be sure that since leaving home dogs and cats have always been a major part of my life and I have actively rescued many critters. Ironically, I never had a paying job that involved animals.

Now-a-days I own and operate The BARKtender's Guide, LLC. It is my primary occupation and avocation because it not only provides me the means to make a living but does so while allowing me to embrace my desire to give abandoned and abused animals a second chance at a happy life by raising funds and awareness with book sales (The BARKtender's Guide to Dogtails and Pupcakes) and speaking engagements.

I really don't remember when, even as a child, I didn't have physical pain of some sort. But it was dismissed as psychosomatic and so I learnt to shut up and suck it up. Once I began having full-blown migraines every ailment or unusual symptom was attributed to that.

Years of escalating pain and health problems, vast quantities of pain killers and the inability to find relief brought me to the brink of suicide. I might have done it, too if not for three things: my mother; my present husband, Alex; my dog, Muttley.

I won't get into great detail here except to say that Alex was my rock - still is, and Muttley my inspiration. We used to call Muttley the hairless wonder. Battered and horribly abused he was so sick for the longest time that his hair wouldn't grow. When wet he looked like a big pink rat. But a giant spirit in the little body of our maltese/poodle mix kept him going to a happy and healthy old age.

I managed to overcome the depression but my general health continued to deteriorate until I found an absolutely wonderful doctor and discovered there were lots of things wrong with me that could be fixed (and some I'm still dealing with) and that I am very lucky to be alive.

Which brings me to the present. Alex and I share our Atlanta home with Angel, a pit bull mix, two poodles: Vinny and Coco, and six cats: Taz, Ditto, Amber, Lief, Cappy and Oliver, collectively known as "the kids" and who are a constant source of insight and motivation.

My book, The BARKtender's Guide, focuses on natural, organic and gluten-free ingredients presented with a healthy dose of humor while helping to raise funds for animal rescue. And I speak on topics relating to how you can learn success strategies and life lessons from your dog, and healthy food choices for your dog. By the way, if you want to know anything about self-publishing, you bark and I'll answer - it's not as easy as people tell you.

So that's it. I gladly suffer the luxury of working from home where I'm able to interact with my "kids" and toss in a load of laundry in between radio interviews, writing, editing, general office work or baking pupcakes while still in my PJs and hoping no-one comes to the door.

I love what I do and know how lucky I am to be able to do it. Oh, and if you asked me what my hobbies are, I'd probably say reading murder mysteries, drinking champagne, romantic dinners with my husband and yodeling (just joking about that last one).

Where to find Elizabeth Dodwell online

Where to buy in print


The BARKtender's Guide Dog Treats Recipe Book
Delicious and Nutritious dog treat recipes that your dog or puppy will howl for. You like Cocktails and Cupcakes, so why not let you pooch enjoy Dogtails and Pupcakes?


This member has not published any books.