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Local Pens ‘The Ultimate Doggy Directory’

 The dog days of summer can be kind of ruff, but it also makes for a good time to get in those last moments of summer reading. Luckily, “The Ultimate Doggy Directory,” penned by Rockaway resident, Joan Mettler, makes for a lighthearted, fun and easy read, any time of the year.

Dogs don’t have to rely on humans for everything, do they? According to “The Ultimate Doggy Directory,” a guide written for dogs by dogs (and Joan), of course not. If a dog breaks a leg, he can go to a Setter. If they’re looking for a good menu, go to the Chow. Need some crocheting? Find your local Afghan. It’s just a few of the pawsitively punny tidbits you’ll find in Mettler’s book. “The Ultimate Doggy Directory,” an adult humor book made especially for animal lovers, focuses on 42 different dog breeds, with limericks and puns written about each, plus some fabulous illustrations done by Paul Schell. As you paw your way through all 114 pages, you’re bound to find yourself barking out a chuckle with each turn. And with the ‘Directory’ doubling as a coloring book, it makes for some fun for the whole family. “The Ultimate Doggy Directory” is now available for purchase.

In her 78 years, Mettler has shared a medley of talents from being a teacher for 24 years, a real estate agent, a piano player and more, but writing is something she does almost daily. Some may recognize Joan Mettler’s name from local newspapers. For more than 30 years, she’s written columns for papers such as Breezy Point’s, The Rockaway Point News, and The Wave, plus even some papers that are no longer around. And that just scratches the surface of her writing resume. She was also a lyricist for Broadcast Music Inc., wrote a myriad of poetry and even an off-Broadway musical called “Senior High,” but a book is a first.

For Mettler, putting out a book was a bucket list must do that all began about four years ago. Where did the inspiration come from? Well, from her own dogs. “I was breeding golden retrievers  a number of years ago and I would hold an annual Puppy Olympics, and at one, a group of puppy parents and my dogs were sitting around and they were so well behaved, I looked at them and said, ‘they’re like humans. These dogs are so terrific, I bet if they had a zipper on their stomach and I opened it up, little people would come out,’ and that is what gave me the idea of the dog book. The general theme is that dogs need not live in a human world—they can get along quite well in an all-dog world. So I break this book up with puns on breeds in categories, I called ‘Doggagories.’” The book features 11 different Doggagories in this “self-help book for dogs.”

Mettler’s main muse was her late golden retriever, Whimpy, who she names as co-author, Whimpy D. Dogg. “She writes the introduction,” Mettler said, adding that if readers find words that may appear mispronounced or misspelled, she can blame Whimpy, because after all, she is a dog.

Mettler says the process for making the book a reality was a bigger undertaking than she anticipated, but with the help of her illustrator, Paul Schell, they were able to get it just right. “I’m very proud of the finished product. I think it’s exactly what I wanted it to be,” Mettler said. And, she says, it’s for everyone. “I believe it’s a family friendly book. It’s not read like a novel, it’s merely captions and illustrations, and in the illustrations there are puns as well that will give people a chuckle.

“This book is tender, it’s funny and it’s for everyone. As far as youngsters are concerned, they can do the coloring and parents can read to them. I don’t think there’s a kid that doesn’t like to be read to. They can look at each illustration, which are absolutely magnificent and learn a lot about dog breeds. This book is for families and people who don’t have families. People can sit down with their dog at their side and laugh at each page. I really hope people get to see it because they’ll laugh their tails off.”

“The Ultimate Doggy Directory” is available for purchase at: www.theultimatedoggydirectory.com  

Locals can get a bit of a discount. “For locals who want it, they can choose to have it delivered rather than paying the $10 mailing fee,” Mettler said.

After releasing her first book, Mettler has caught the bug. She’s already working on her next project. “Right now, I’m writing memoirs. As I’ve gotten older, I have collected so much knowledge. It’ll all come out in a book,” she said.

 By Katie McFadden

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