Lisa Saunders & Mystic Seafarer's Trail

Lisa Saunders

Author, TV talk show host, and CMV fighter

 

 The true story of a big, homeless canine and a little girl in a wheelchair. Now an e-book. See free chapter on Amazon.com. Written by Lisa Saunders, parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Foundation.

Anything But a Dog!

Lisa Saunders says “no” to daughter Jackie’s pleas for a dog, fearing it will be too rambunctious around Jackie’s disabled little sister Elizabeth. But she does make her a promise she thinks she will never have to honor: “If God brings a dog to our door, then you can have it.” In the meantime, the family wrestles with a series of dysfunctional pets: a flesh-eating hamster, an attack cat, killer ants and a very stinky rabbit. Then one day, the unexpected happens: a shivering, dirty puppy shows up at their door. But is this dog really Heaven-sent?

Excerpt of Anything But a Dog!

Excerpt from the memoir, Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV, by Lisa Saunders, parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Foundation:

.1.

 

“No, you can't have a dog.”

 

“Mom, can I have a dog?” my six-year-old daughter Jackie asked, standing next to me while I washed the breakfast dishes.


I cringed. The dreaded day was here—all kids inevitably ask for one. And why wouldn’t they? Movie dogs like Lassie drag you from burning buildings and keep you warm when you’re lost in a blizzard. But by the time we're adults, we've learned the truth about them: they urinate on your new wall-to-wall carpets, dig holes in your leather recliners to hide their rawhide bones, and bite your neighbor's kid.

“No, you can't have a dog,” I said, bracing myself for the age-old argument.

“Why not?” she demanded.

My mind raced for good excuses to make my point. Might as well start with the standard one: “A dog is too much work. And I know I'll end up being the one who walks it in the pouring rain.”

“I promise I'll take care of it. I will, I really will! Honest Mom!” Jackie exclaimed, clasping her hands together in earnest.

“Sure,” I thought, “that’s what they all say.” Avoiding her pleading eyes, I picked up a plate sticky with leftover syrup. “The truth is,” I said, “we just can't risk a dog around your sister.” I hated admitting that. I didn't want her to blame her little sister, three years younger, for being so fragile. But taking care of Elizabeth, who was quadriplegic from cerebral palsy, was already enough work without adding a dog that might playfully nip at her.

I know! I’ll give Jackie the “lip-severing story.” That’ll convince her we can’t have a dog around her sister.

“When I was 13,” I began, “I talked Grandma and Grandpa into letting me have a Weimaraner. His name was Bogie—short for Humphrey Bogart—and he was a nipper. One day, my two-year-old cousin Suzannah was playing on the floor underneath the table with a Popsicle stick in her mouth. Bogie snapped at the stick and bit her lip off! My grandmother got the lip off the carpet and wrapped it in a paper napkin to take to the hospital. But it couldn’t be sewn back on. A surgeon fixed Suzannah’s face, but when we got home, my mother loaded Bogie into the back seat of the car and took him to the vet’s. I never saw him again. He took the ‘long walk’ as they say in the Lady and the Tramp movie.”

I paused so Jackie could let the horror of the incident sink in.

But all she wanted to know was, “Where’s Suzannah’s lip now?”

Gosh, I don't know! The last time I saw her lip it was stuck to the napkin, all shriveled and mummy-like on my grandmother’s bookshelf. But that’s beside the point; can't you see how dangerous a dog could be for your sister? She can’t speakhow would she call out to us if she was in another room and the dog was bothering her?”


Elizabeth was born severely disabled because I caught cytomegalovirus (CMV) while pregnant with her. She was unable to roll over, sit up, or even feed herself and required constant hands-on attention. When she wasn't getting therapy at her special-ed school, I kept her propped up on the couch so my husband Jim, Jackie or I could easily sit beside her and stretch her rigid limbs. Naturally a dog would try to sit beside her too. I could just picture it landing on Elizabeth when it jumped on the couch. It would stand on her scrawny legs, scratching her with its nails and lick her face—just after cleaning its unmentionable parts. Elizabeth would be stuck!


If there were a Lassie-like dog out there, Elizabeth more than anybody could use one, but I just couldn’t take that kind of a chance on an animal that could live up to 13 years.


Undeterred, Jackie asked, “Can I call Daddy at work? Maybe he'll say it’s okay to get a dog.” I headed to the laundry room of our Cape Cod style home with Jackie in hot pursuit; scampering like the playful puppy she desperately wanted.

Jim and I had been married 10 years and that was enough time to know he'd be even less keen on a dog than I was. “Daddy’s afraid of dogs. When he was a little boy, neighborhood dogs chased him on his bike and one bit him. It would scare him to death to think of defenseless little Lizzy with a dog.”

I felt Jackie tug on my arm as I moved the wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. “But Mom, I would never leave Elizabeth alone with the dog—it would go everywhere with me!” I stared into her earnest blue eyes, nearly hidden behind her crooked, self-cut red bangs...


“Jackie,” I ventured, “I do want you to have a dog, but only if it’s meant to be. So…if God brings one to our door, then you can have it. How’s that?”

“Really?” she asked, a smile spreading across her face...

But what were the chances of a homeless dog actually showing up at our door?


The rest of Lisa's story is told in  her memoir, Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV, available online or contact Lisa Saunders at LisaSaunders42@gmail.com

Lisa Saunders is the parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Foundation

...

 

Originally published in “Anything But a Dog!” (Unlimited Publishing LLC, 2008), used by permission.  Please visit //www.unlimitedpublishing.com/saunders for more  information.

REVIEW: As any parent knows, finding the right pet for your child is tough. In addition to the size and requirements of your little one's soon-to-be beloved-or neglected-best friend, you must factor in personality. Or, in the case of writer Lisa Saunders of Suffern, requirements for a child with special needs.

In Anything But a Dog!, Saunders takes readers on a road trip as harrowing as any Dog Whisperer training challenge. She encounters killer ants, a "man-dog," and a rabbit that would make a skunk smell sweet! She also peppers in humorous flashbacks of her own youth experiences with pets.

Beyond the laughs about a dizzying pet search, Saunders' dog tale is about a mother who candidly reveals her family's burden, love, and acceptance of a daughter born with severe disabilities-and the people, and pets, forever touched by her life. —Tonia Shakespeare (Rockland Magazine, Nov. '08)
Source: //lohud.com/article/20081030/CUSTOM04/810300556/1277

 

Watch author on USA 9 News: Coping With CMV or see parents who posted comments after show aired on: //www.wusa9.com/news/health/story.aspx?storyid=80502&catid=28

Hear Lisa on the radio: //www.achieveradio.com/archplayer.php?showname=Fearlessly%20Speaking%20%20with%20Jacqueline%20Wales&ShowURL=//audio.achieveradio.com/fearless-fifties/Mar-08-2009-at-02-00PM---Fearlessly_Speaking.mp3

Book club info: //anythingbutadog.blogspot.com/

Listen to author read Chapter One on the "Author's Read" show at: //www.blogtalkradio.com/AuthorsRead/2009/04/11/Lisa-Saunders-Anything-But-a-Dog or listen to short except on: Anything But a Dog! 2 min excerpt.WMA

Contact Lisa Saunders directly for an interview or for an autographed first edition at saundersbooks@aol.com. Copies are available to members of the working press by contacting news@unlimitedpublishing.com. For permission to publish an excerpt, contact: ops@unlimitedpublishing.com Cover design by Mary Kramer (MilkweedGraphics.com), Copyright (c) 2008 by Unlimited Publishing LLC, used by permission.

Anything But a Dog Flyer.doc

AnythingButaDog fact sheet.doc

Lisa on USA 9 News //www.wusa9.com/news/health/story.aspx?storyid=80502&catid=28

Reviewed by Joni and Friends: //www.joniandfriends.org/help-and-resources/other-resources/anything-dog/

"If you're an animal lover, you'll love the critter tales as much as the special-needs storyline." Terri Mauro, About.com, //specialchildren.about.com/od/booksonfamilyissues/gr/anythingbutadog.htm

 

"Saunders weaves laughter and tears, congenital CMV education and the challenges of raising two daughters – one a tomboy and the other severely disabled." Deborah J. Botti, Times Herald Record, //www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090121/HEALTH/901210313 "I read this straight through in one sitting and loved it! It was moving—and funny! The appendages about congenital CMV contain such valuable information, and the addendums are very moving. This book is an incredible contribution." Mary Goodin, M.A., Educator

"A mother of a daughter born with severe disabilities uses humor to candidly relate experiences of acceptance and daily hardships with the people and pets forever changed by her child’s life."

Joni and Friends: //www.joniandfriends.org/help-and-resources/other-resources/anything-dog/

“Saunders takes readers on a road trip as harrowing as any Dog Whisperer training challenge." Tonia Shakespeare, Rockland Magazine //lohud.com/article/20081030/CUSTOM04/810300556/1277

"When we published Lisa's story in the Times Herald-Record, it drew so much response that we knew a fuller version would make an important, funny and touching book. She has proved us right!” Genie Abrams, copy editor and author of Louey Levy's Greatest Catch

“A hilarious set of pet tales! This mini-classic shines with the assurance that every child is beloved and valuable. I wish I’d had this book to read to my children. Lisa has given us yet another funny, tender tale of family life.” Dr. Elisabeth Schafer, author of Vegetable Desserts: Beyond Carrot Cake and Pumpkin Pie

“Very touching, moving, personal; a joy to read. I laughed out loud and I cried. I congratulate Lisa on producing a very good piece of work.” Gail J Demmler-Harrison MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Congenital CMV Disease Registry and Research Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

“An unforgettable love story! It illustrates the life of a handicapped girl with her parents, sister and one insightful dog. Just when certain events make you cry, Lisa hits you with a zinger to make you laugh again!” Dr. Lee McDowell, author of textbooks on the nutritional importance of vitamins and minerals.

"Having walked the same road, I've lived Lisa's feelings and stories and ultimately shared the same unshakeable and deep, deep love a mother has for her CMV child." Tracy McGinnis, Founder of the Brendan B. McGinnis Congenital CMV Foundation and mother of Brendan born with congenital CMV

“A remarkable story, told in a way that is powerful and unforgettable. The dialogue is delightful! It's almost impossible to end a book in a truly satisfying way, but Lisa has succeeded 100%. I have a pregnant friend who works at a preschool and daycare facility who definitely needs to know about congenital CMV. I plan to print out some information for her immediately.” Krista Niles, Graduate Student, University of Chicago

"I just loved it! An entertaining yet honest look at what it's like to raise a child with disabilities."- Janelle Greenlee, www.stopcmv.com, mother of twin daughters Riley and Rachel, born with Congenial CMV

"The book is so well written and so endearing that you won't forget it once you've read it. Believe me." David Sisson, retired English professor

"I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish it last night. Not only do I absolutely LOVE Lisa's writing style, but her story has touched my very soul." Christy Cothron, STOP CMV rep and mother of Michael, 10, and Zachary, 7, born with congential CMV, Palatka, Florida

"Wow! Laughed, cried, hugged my pooch...couldn't put it down! What an incredibly touching story. I, like WAY TOO MANY others, had never even heard of CMV before. I will share it with my book club -10 more people to help spread awareness!" Susanne Sullivan Kirkland, Bountiful, Utah. To read an excerpt or purchasing options, including through the National Congenital CMV Disease Foundation, visit www.authorlisasaunders.com

"Honest and entertaining! It’s a light read that's multi-layered in substance." Ann Kuehner, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

“Colorfully written—full of humor and compassion. Very informative on the subject of CMV.” Maria Saunders

“I laughed. I cried. I found hope! It covers issues that a lot of people can relate to—a child’s plea for a pet, a mother’s anguish over a suitable one for a family with a disabled child, and the consequences of a variety of disastrous, though very entertaining pets!" Carmen Burton, Coordinator, Congenital Cytomegalovirus Association UK and mother of Natalie born with congenital CMV

“Once I started reading Anything But a Dog, I could not put it down! Lisa has a way with words. Not only did I get an education on CMV, but I got to meet Lisa’s family in the precious, sometimes hysterical story of their lives together--and how they persevered and stayed close to one another through thick and thin. This book changed my perspective on life. Now that’s worth a read when a book can do that!” Julie Koehn (I’m not a book reviewer by profession. But this book is just too important to not be spread to every family, community, and local library.)

  

Amazon: //www.amazon.com/Anything-But-Dog-congenital-cytomegalovirus/dp/1588329968/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233413673&sr=8-1

 

Publisher's press release: Anything But A Dog Unlimited Press Release.pdf

 

Media write-ups:CMV Anything But a Dog Hudson Valley Biz.doc

 

Rockland Magazine: //lohud.com/article/20081030/CUSTOM04/810300556/1277

 

Times Herald Record: //www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090121/HEALTH/901210313

 

Washingtion D.C. USA 9 News: //www.wusa9.com/news/health/story.aspx?storyid=80502&catid=28

 

Joni and Friends: //www.joniandfriends.org/help-and-resources/other-resources/anything-dog/

 

About.com: //specialchildren.about.com/od/booksonfamilyissues/gr/anythingbutadog.htm

 

Anything But a Dog! Rockland County Times.pdf

 

"Anything But a Dog!" Rockland Community College SCENE (see pg 10) ://www.sunyrockland.edu/alumni-friends/newsletter/08fall.pdf Contact Lisa Saunders directly for an interview or for an autographed first edition at saundersbooks@aol.com. Copies are available to members of the working press by contacting news@unlimitedpublishing.com. For permission to publish an excerpt, contact: ops@unlimitedpublishing.com Cover design by Mary Kramer (MilkweedGraphics.com), Copyright (c) 2008 by Unlimited Publishing LLC, used by permission.

According to the CDC (www.cdc.gov/cmv)
#Every hour, congenital CMV causes one child to become disabled
#Approximately 8,000 children each year suffer permanent disabilities caused by CMV.

The CDC recommends that pregnant women practice frequent hand-washing, especially after diaper changes, and avoid kissing young children on the mouth and sharing food, towels or utensils with them. (Congenital CMV precautions are also listed in their Pregnancy Information site at: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/pregnancy_gateway/infection.htm).

 

CONTACTS/MORE INFO:

 

For more information about congenital CMV and how you can protect your pregnancy, contact Gail J Demmler MD, Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Director of Congenital CMV Disease Registry, Clinic and Research Program at gjdemmle@texaschildrenshospital.org or visit: www.bcm.edu/pedi/infect/cmv. The Registry supports CMV research, disseminates information and provides a parent support group. Registry: (832) 824-4387.

Lisa Saunders' memoir, “Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV,” may be purchased through the Registry at: www.unlimitedpublishing.com/cmv where they will receive a % of the proceeds.

 

The 2008 Congenital CMV Conference was sponsored by the CDC and the Congenital CMV Foundation. For more information, contact Lenore Pereira, Ph.D. at lenore.pereira@ucsf.edu. The Foundation Web site, www.congenitalcmv.org/ includes Members of the Scientific Advisory Committee with their contact information. You may contact the Conference co-organizer, Michael J. Cannon, Ph.D., Research Epidemiologist, CDC, at mcannon@cdc.gov

 

"The virtual absence of a prevention message has been due, in part, to the low profile of congenital CMV. Infection is usually asymptomatic in both mother and infant, and when symptoms do occur, they are non-specific, so most CMV infections go undiagnosed,” stated Drs. Cannon (of the CDC) and Davis in their article, “Washing our hands of the congenital cytomegalovirus disease epidemic,” available on: //www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1182379 Here the brief CDC/CMV podcast at:: //www2a.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=792

 

Published by Unlimited Publishing LLC, Anything But a Dog! has an expected publication date in early 2009, with a limited advance release in late 2008. Advance copies are available to members of the working press on request. E-mail news@unlimitedpublishing.com or call 1-800-218-8877.

To learn more about CMV: //www.cdc.gov/cmv/

 

 

 

 

 

CDC CMV Conference: //www.cmvconference2008.com

 

Congenital CMV Foundation: //www.congenitalcmv.org/

 

Shortly after my daughter died from congenital CMV complications at the age of 16, I wrote:
//www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061018/LIFE/610180313/-1/LIFE01

 

When my oldest daughter asked for dog, I told her no--not just because I knew I'd be the one to end up walking it, but because I was afraid it might accidentally harm her severely handicapped little sister. But I did make her a promise that I thought I would never have to keep: "If God brings one to our door, then you can have it." Well, the rest is history!  

 

In an effort to prevent the #1 viral cause of mental and physical handicaps, more common that Down syndrome, I wrote the humorous account of a big, homeless dog’s devotion to my youngest daughter Elizabeth, born disabled from congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus). See recent review at: //lohud.com/article/20081030/CUSTOM04/810300556/1277

 

Congenital CMV is more common a cause of birth defects than Down syndrome, yet OB/GYNs do not routinely warn their pregnant patients how to avoid it. I ran a daycare center in my home and knew nothing about the precautions to take to avoid CMV infection. Elizabeth had cerebral palsy, epilepsy, a hearing loss, was mentally delayed and legally blind. As the parent representative for the Congenital CMV Foundation, I recently spoke to an international community of scientists at the CDC: //congenitalcmv.blogspot.com/2008/11/cdc-congenital-cmv-cytomegalovirus-and.html

 

"Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV" also includes the latest prevention and treatment of congenital CMV. To read an excerpt, visit www.authorlisasaunders.com You are welcome to review it or publish an excerpt (just ask permission from the publisher). Advance copies are available to members of the working press on request. E-mail news@unlimitedpublishing.com or call 1-800-218-8877.

 

 

 

I have the contact information for several leading doctors and scientists in the field of congenital CMV if you are interested in writing an article about congenital CMV.

Shortly after my daughter died during a seizures at the age of 16, I wrote a short article about her life:
//www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061018/LIFE/610180313/-1/LIFE01

 

 

 

To learn more about CMV: //www.cdc.gov/cmv/

 

 

Congenital CMV Foundation (I am the parent representative): //www.congenitalcmv.org/

 

INTERESTED IN PUBLISHING A REVIEW OR EXCERPT?

Published by Unlimited Publishing LLC, Anything But a Dog! has an expected publication date in early 2009, with a limited advance release in late 2008. Advance copies are available to members of the working press on request. E-mail news@unlimitedpublishing.com or call 1-800-218-8877.

Unlimited Publishing LLC routinely grant rights to excerpt or serialize. All they need is a formal request from the publication by e-mail.

Fundraisers with Anything But a Dog!

 

If books are purchases directly from author, she can make it available as a fundraising tool. You can send your organization members an e-mail something like:

 

Subject: Humorous Memoir of Homeless Dog and a Girl in a Wheelchair

Have your kids ever bugged you for a dog? You know who really ends up taking care it, right? When the oldest daughter of writer Lisa Saunders asked for a dog, Lisa had more to worry about than just the matter of who was going to end up walking it in the rain.

Lisa‘s newly published humorous memoir, "Anything But a Dog! The perfect Pet for a Girl with congenital CMV," begins when Lisa says “No” to daughter Jackie’s pleas for a dog, fearing it would be too rambunctious around her disabled little sister, Elizabeth. But Lisa does make Jackie a promise she thinks she will never have to honor: “If God brings a dog to our door, then you can have it.” In the meantime, the family wrestles with a series of dysfunctional pets: a flesh-eating hamster, an attack cat, killer ants and a very stinky rabbit.

  

Then one day, the unexpected happens: a dirty, shivering puppy shows up at their door. But is this dog really Heaven-sent?

Lisa’s book also includes the latest news on the prevention of a virus called CMV (cytomegalovirus), the disease that caused Elizabeth’s physical and mental disabilities, the #1 viral cause of birth defects, even more common than Down syndrome. Lisa hopes that you will spread the news about CMV prevention so that it will become common knowledge--the way pregnant women know they shouldn't change the kitty litter box. 

 

Published by Unlimited Publishing LLC, Anything But a Dog! is not yet sold in bookstores (public availability expected in early 2009). To read about Lisa's mission with her book, see recently published article: //www.hvbiz.biz/health/health09220801.phpFor more information about the book, or to read an excerpt, visit Lisa’s Web site at www.authorlisasaunders.com or contact her at saundersbooks@aol.com.

 

Letter to the Editor:

CDC Raises Awareness of #1 Birth Defects Virus--MORE COMMON THAN DOWN SYNDROME

 

Pregnant Women Unaware Saliva of Toddlers Potentially Harmful to Unborn

 

Congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus) is more common a cause of birth defects than Down syndrome, yet OB/GYNs do not routinely warn their pregnant patients how to avoid it. I wasn’t warned about CMV and my daughter Elizabeth was born with a severely damaged brain. She had cerebral palsy, epilepsy, a hearing loss, was profoundly mentally retarded and legally blind. She died at the age of 16 from a seizure.

 

The CDC in Atlanta is hosted the first international Congenital CMV conference in the U.S. on November 5-7. As the parent representative of the Congenital CMV Foundation, I was given the chance to speak to an international community of scientists and health practioners about raising congenital CMV awareness. See: //congenitalcmv.blogspot.com/2008/11/cdc-congenital-cmv-cytomegalovirus-and.html

 

My recently released book, “Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV," is the true story of a big, homeless dog's devotion to Elizabeth and includes the latest prevention and treatment of congenital CMV. Please visit my Web site at www.authorlisasaunders.com for more information.

 

To learn more about CMV: //www.cdc.gov/cmv/

CDC CMV Conference: //www.cmvconference2008.com

 

Congenital CMV Foundation: //www.congenitalcmv.org/