Desert Dog Books was born in the fall of 2018, when our dog Gemma looked up at us one day and said, "I bet you guys can't run your own publishing company, you're too stupid," and ran away laughing. She's sassy like that. Well, we said, we'll show her. So we took the bet and here we are. She is now the company's treasurer.
The history of Desert Dog goes way back to a faithful and mighty dog named Buddy, who hailed from Rancho Mirage, California, a part of the desert where no one purposely lives. One hot summer day we went to meet Buddy, and he jumped into our car through an open window before we had a chance to park. "Let's go guys!" He barked between our eardrums from the back seat, "Drive, damn it, drive!" So we did. Traffic on the 10 freeway was at a standstill, so it took nearly five hours to return home, and Buddy barked directly into our ears the entire time.
We made frequent trips to the high desert of Joshua Tree with Buddy, even though he never did learn how to stop barking while occupying a moving vehicle. He lunged at any yellow highway sign - and there are many yellow highway signs - banging his face against the windows and slobbering everywhere. We usually stayed at places close to the National Park, near the large rock formations. Though neighbor's houses were quite a distance away, Buddy usually found a way to sneak into people's homes. "Hey, Bub, do you have any snacks around here, or what?" Sooner or later we'd get a call: "Hi, I think your border collie is here in my house. He appears to be very comfortable on the couch, but maybe you'd like to come and get him." Sometimes, we'd take Buddy to Noah Purifoy's land to explore the amazing outdoor sculptures. He loved it and lived vicariously through the artist's lens. He was savvy that way. "This is all junk, but it's brilliant junk!"
Shortly before Buddy passed away, Gemma inserted herself into our lives. Part German Schnauzer, part Terrier, she doesn't take shit from anybody, and she may love the high desert of Joshua Tree even more than Buddy did. She is a semi-professional rock climber and competes with the American Ninja Dog Warrior Team every year in the Rocky Mountain Canine Climbers Annual. It is Gemma that you see when you first arrive at the Desert Dog website, and while we're certainly pleased that you're here, she couldn't care less.
Is my dog a desert dog?
You will know that you are in the presence of a desert dog if upon arrival in a desert landscape they disappear into the rocks and creosote bushes and don't return until you call for them. If and when they do decide to return, their fur will be a tangle of various spines and small twigs and their snout will be covered in a dusty mask. If this sounds like your dog, congratulations! You have a desert dog. It doesn't mean we'll publish your book, but we can certainly be friends.