Sunday, May 31, 2009


Laughter yoga for....DOGS!!?? I admit, it sounds ridiculous. But why not? Dogs are naturally playful and spontaneous. That's why I always encourage dog owners to laugh with their dogs. Indeed, dogs are fabulous laughers and can help their human companions live a more joyful life.

So when my neighbor, Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret, told me her dog, May, was depressed, I knew it was an emergency situation. I came right over to teach her laughter yoga.

May, you see, had put together a photographic modeling portfolio and submitted it to New York agencies. Though she is fantastic model, she is considered a Labradoodle reject because she's only a quarter poodle. That's why May and her siblings were sent to an animal shelter and had to be rescued by a woman from St. Olaf, Iowa. She was, then, adopted by my neighbors and had begun to lead a meaningful life. But when her portolio was rejected by New York as "Corn Tassel" from Iowa, it sent her into a tailspin. May fell into depression and spent useless days.

Immediately upon my arrival, however, May bounced back. She was soon feeling like her playful, puppy self. We laughed, danced, and played. I let her try on some of my fabulous laughter hats. She was a bit reluctant, but when I put the joker headband on her, she was hooked.

Then I showed her how great I look in my yellow wig.

Of course, she wanted to try it on and managed to put a pretty convincing smile on her face. Yes, laughter yoga was definitely bringing May out of her depression.

I taught her all about the health benefits of laughing and how the laughter yoga movement is spreading across the globe. She decided to become a laughter yoga leader for dogs so as to keep her fellow canines happy.

Little did I know that this Labradoodle reject was writing an autobiography! Yes, May had all the right connections. I think it helps that her owners run Penfield Books of Iowa City. She had been busy chronicling her first year and a half—with all its many tales (or should I say tails?)—and has just published it as a book entitled Finding My Way.

This 6x9" book is 112 pages and filled with unique hilarity. It gives a first-dog account of how May navigates life in her new family and learns dog park politics. She carefully weighs the proposition from Gus, a Poodle lover and subsequently decides to reject him and choose a hysterectomy rather than be the "other woman"!

May, then, turns her attention to convincing her owners to let her sleep in their bed and gathers evidence to make her case—revealing that a majority of dog owners do, indeed, sleep with their furry companions. Many say their dogs are better sleep partners than the human variety! The book features photographs of May's doggie friends and their human bedtime buddies.

Finding My Way also includes color photographs of May's darling modeling portfolio followed by her adventures in laughter yoga with that wild character called "Laughing Laura"! Her silly hat shots are truly hysterical. May and I designed a number of laughter yoga exercises for dogs and put them in this section of her book. You can try them with your own pups.

Finally, the book concludes with some wonderful recipes for homemade doggie treats, collected from May's friends. They are sure to delight.

If you are a dog enthusiast, you'll definitely need to check out May's book. There is nothing else like it. And since May and many of her fellow dogs in the book were rescued from animal shelters, she's decided to use her book as a fundraiser for shelters as well as public libraries.

It retails for just $14.95 and I've added it to my on-line Laughter Shoppe. I am now selling them in person at laughter yoga events. You can also buy May's book at Finding My Way

May you and your dogs keep laughing! Bow wow wow! Ha ha ha!

May McGregor Bourret is only 2 years old, but she already has her name on an autobiography.

Pretty good for a dog.

"Finding My Way" is the title of the new book involving May, a Labradoodle/Labrador mix, and her adventures during the first year of her life.

The book was released by Penfield Books, an Iowa City-based publisher run by Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret. "Now we realize that (May) has drawn on her talents from a past life, or lives, to create this book. Maybe she was a writer, or a poet," Bourret wrote in a foreword to her dog's book.

Bourret said that she never expected the photos of May to evolve into a book. In "Finding My Way," May is featured in a variety of shots Bourret describes as "fashion model" photos. May wears glasses, colorful hats, jewelry and scarves in the photos.

There's also a section on laughter yoga for dogs by Laura Gentry. Gentry founded the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga.

"The basic concept of laughter yoga is that anyone can laugh. You don't need jokes, comedy or even a sense of humor," Gentry wrote. "People find this notion a bit difficult to grasp. ... Dogs on the other hand are natural experts at this and have never needed jokes to become elated."

Another part of the book includes photos and letters from Bourret's friends' dogs, including several people from the Iowa City area.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to animal shelters, libraries and art museums.

Penfield Press has operated for more than 30 years.

Bourret said "Finding My Way" is outside of the press' standard repertoire. Penfield has more than 130 ethnic books on recipes, proverbs, folk stories and other subjects.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday Bourret and May will be at the North Liberty Community Library for a reading. Bourret said she also encourages people to come share stories about their dogs at the readings.

1 comment:

BeeARawFoodie said...

I woof you May. And that Laura lady, she's a hoot. May, you are a model dog, never question what the two-leggeds who sit in roly-office chairs think, as they are most often wrong. The two leggeds love hats, but clearly you like the yellow wig. Silly two-leggeds!! Enjoy your summer and hope that Laura lady comes to visit more often! Woof you all!