Having an only child and three dogs of our own, we can relate so well to Como and your family. It’s a copy of our life. Banjo is 14 years old, Axel is nine, Bella is four, and Laura, the only child, is 24. Dogs become family, and the joy, love, and madness they bring are priceless.
Our three dogs are all "bitsas" – mixed breeds in Australia. There are, as with Como, endless variations on what they get they get called, depending on the occasion and what they’ve done. When Laura was nine we got our first dog. One day while picking her up from school we were congratulated on Laura’s new brother, Banjo. So Laura now has brothers Banjo and Axel and a little sister, Bella. Our neighbors over the years must have thought we we were hiding children away, as they only have seen Laura but have heard, on many occations, “Laura, tell your brothers it’s time for tea "
As only a dog person can, I could waffle on for hours about our lot. Thank you for a great read.
Tania, Pete and Laura, New Zealand
My wife and I were struck by the cover photo of your book, Come Back, Como, while perusing the Virginia Commonwealth University bookstore and left speechless by your online video discussing your book. After 14 years we realized that we were fighting a losing battle to save our mixed breed all-white terrier mutt from congestive heart failure and that the time would come when we would have to say goodbye. How terrible, we remarked one evening, that no other dog closely resembled our beloved mutt – a runaway dog that was a gift from two college students in 1997 who got in trouble for keeping a pet in their dorm.
A few minutes later our jaws dropped when we spotted your book and saw that our "Stimpy" does have a twin out there in the world. All this time we believed our vet who said that Stimpy represented so many breeds it would be impossible to find another like him. Needless to say after seeing Como's dark eyes look back at us we snatched a copy of your book and began the ritual of passing it back and forth to one another, taking our respective turns at reading its chapters. Your humor and tales of being adopted by your new dog have been a delight to read, particularly when we have one hand on your text and another on our pup's wiry fur.
I had intended to send this after we finished reading your book, but we've had to put that on hold..... Last Wednesday our dog's health took a sudden turn for the worst and no medication was able to help him. With our arms wrapped around him and speaking tearful words of love in his ears we sent him to a place where a dog's heart and eyes never go bad and there are endless fields to run in. We will return to your text but after a little time to heal from our loss. We thank you for writing a book that allows us to vividly imagine your life with Como. It will remind us of how lucky we were to have Stimpy – Como's lookalike – as our own.
James L. Jenkins, Jr. and Susan A. Jenkins, Mechanicsville, Virginia
Como and Frankie
LOVED the book! I finished it in one day. Como is adorable and
he was worth the love. Hes just so cute, sitting there with
his floppy ears.
Attached are a couple pix of Frankie, my beloved Westie girl. She
looks so much like Como, and moves so much like him... She was dumped
in the neighborhood a couple years ago and she would take off and
hide anytime a person tried to catch her. Shed tuck her little
fluffy Westie tail and scoot into the scrub trees behind the houses.
The first time I saw her was in December and it was cold, dark and
pouring rain, but she still preferred to run off and hide in the
woodsy area. She acted like anyone approaching her was planning
to yell or stomp.
that point on, all the neighbors began to talk about her, everyone
was seeing The Westie everywhere, but no one was able
to get ahold of her. Shed especially love to approach other
dogs that were either walking or outside in their yards. I felt
a connection to her and wanted her; therfore many of the neighbors
that did not want a dog to keep, were still trying to catch her
I finally got her in June... She was slowly following a lady who
was walking her DesignerPoo. She laid down in the grass by the road
when I stopped my car to speak to the lady, and when I got out and
slowly walked over, my Westie Girl let me pick her up. She went
home with me for a bath and some good food, and to make friends
with my two small Boy Dogs.
Shes an adorable, wonderful ball of funny messy-headed fur.
She has the tendency to climb up me and try to get onto my head,
all 20lbs of her, but I dont mind. Since my family had just
seen Jersey Boys as our vacation treat, I named her
Frankie. Shes just a GIRL Frankie. She immediately
adopted my Boy Dogs, and my mothers new little puppy. Although
she is the youngest dog, shes everyones mother, and
everyones playmate. I got lucky the day I saw a Westie Girl
running in the rain, and bonded on sight.
Thanks so much for your book; and knowing there are people out
there willing to love and wait for dogs no matter what!
Go Away, Maggie!
Having read with delight Steven Winn's Como series in the San
Francisco Chronicle, I can't wait to read his book Come Back,
Como: Winning the Heart of a Reluctant Dog. I also can't resist
offering my own brief canine "counter-narrative," based
on our experience with our now four-year old Golden Retriever Maggie.
True to breed, Maggie loves everyone--men, women, children--without
distinction qualification, or hesitation. In fact, she is so excessively
besotted with her human companions we've created a title for the
book we may some day write about our relationship with this most
persistently human-centric hound: Go Away, Maggie!
Not that we seriously wish she would leave us, or imitate any of
the escape artist tendencies of Como. It's just that at times her
desire to shadow our every move, accompany us on every errand, and
jump into our laps at the slightest hint of willingness can be trying.
How can we mere mortals live up to such unconditional love?
To illustrate, we offer the following photographs. The first demonstrates
Maggie's willingness to strike any pose if it promises to amuse
us; the second shows her eager anticipation at the thought of receiving
a morsel of human food; the third captures her joy (and ability
to defy gravity) when running on the beach (the Georgia Coast near
Savannah, to be precise), and the fourth presents her in a favorite
pose with her caregivers and comforters.
I really enjoyed your book. I’ve had dogs all of my life, all different kinds, and I loved them all dearly. They are little people with fur on.
How is Como doing now? He is so cute. Hope you will write some more about Como. Take care of your family and Como.
I would have loved Come Back, Como even if Como weren't the reincarnation of our family pet, Toby, who we think is a poodle-terrier mix.
We adopted Toby from the Humane Society when my children were 9 and 71/2. My son is handicapped, so we were looking for a calm little dog who wouldn’t accidentally topple him over. Whoa! Were we in for a surprise! I’m sure Toby and Como are at least long-lost cousins, because Toby didn’t turn out to be a shy little dustmop at all. He did, however, love and protect our son and daughter fiercely.
Once our family was late for a banquet where I had to make a presentation. Toby escaped to our yard. He didn’t leave the yard, but he circled the it from front to back, again and again. As the clock ticked down we got more and more desperate. Finally, I sacrificed a whole ham. My husband – all dressed up in suit and tie – sneaked around to the side of the house and hid as I eased the ham out the back door. Toby couldn’t resist, and when he came up to sniff, we pounced from front and back at the same time. By the time we got Toby back into the house we only had time for a quick hand-washing before we were off to the event.
Toby’s shining moments were his appearances as the Friday Pet in my fourth-grade classroom. He came faithfully for 13 years, staying all day and eating lunch with us every week. Those fourth graders loved him almost as much as our family did.
— Kay Grabow, Urbana, Illinois
I just had to email to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading Come Back, Como. It truly gave me shivers many times over as I read each chapter and episode and related to exactly how the Winn family must have felt as their relationship with Como grew.
Two years ago, I adopted my terrier mix after reading his story on Petfinder.com. He was an abandoned pup, about four months old, who was found in a Tennessee hay field being attacked by a pack of wild dogs (or coyotes); he was fighting like a warrior for a piece of meat and despite his size and youth, was trying to hold his own against these wild dogs. Because of his blood-curdling screeches and yelping, he was heard by a farmer who immediately drove his truck to where he thought the screaming came from. Sure enough, there was this little scrappy puppy, covered with cuts and bruises. The farmer fought off the other animals to rescue my little
guy. Not surprisingly, they named the pup "Spartacus," because of his warrior-like spirit and personality!
After many weeks of medical treatment and care by the ASPCA, and then by a foster family, he was able to be put up on Petfinder.com for adoption. I knew he was meant for me. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly work that way with his feelings. As soon as I brought him to my home (an apartment), he tried anything he could to get out my front door and escape. I had a babygate kept at my front door constantly, just in case someone came in and he saw his opportunity to run! One day, to my horror, he did squeeze out when a little child was visiting us. He got out the door, paused a second, and then ran like a greyhound all over the apartment lawns. My words, my yelling, his favorite treats did nothing to stop him. The moment from "hell" happened when I watched him run across the busy street to a post office building. He raced around the parking lot in circles until an absolute angel of a man coaxed him over to his car and scooped him up into his arms!
Close as I was to having a heart attack myself, I managed to thank the man profusely and get my little Spartie back. (I shorted "Spartacus" to his nickname.) Over the past two years, we have grown to be inseparable and very much bonded to each other. But there’s still that devilish look in his eyes that tells me to never, ever walk him without a firm grip on his leash and to be vigilant for any escape dreams he may be having.
Thank you, Mr. Winn, for rescuing your Como and living to write about it!
I was given this book as a Christmas gift by a friend from San Francisco. It is a "must read" for any dog lover. Steven tells the story as if he is talking to you. I felt the frustration, determination, fear, and contentment as I read his words. Great book!
— Cheryl, Pennsylvania
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