Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sula and I ... on video; and the Dogs Who Found Me, now on audio

The unabridged audio version of The Dogs Who Found Me is now available through Blackstone Audiobooks. You can also purchase it through any bookstore, including Amazon and (The paperback version is available everywhere as well!)

Me & Sula on YouTube

Here's a little clip of me and Sula talking about the book and Zephyr's diagnosis of my heart problem. The video was shot this summer, just down the street from our house. We were both a little hot and sweaty by the time we got there.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Praise for The Dogs Who Found Me...and a few tour dates too

Ken and Cappy at Kiehl's/Boston
Originally uploaded by kfoz.
"Ken Foster's new memoir, "The Dogs Who Found Me," is a tale of love and survival—through 9/11, through a near-fatal heart problem, through Hurricane Katrina…It's a memoir that will appeal to dog-lovers, for sure, but it's also a human story of considerable dimensions, framed by national tragedies…"
—The New Orleans Times-Picayune

"Foster's style is blunt, funny and poignant. He smoothly melds the events of his turbulent life along with the gritty details of rescuing abandoned dogs into a piece that goes to the heart."--The San Francisco Chronicle

"...a beautiful and funny account of dog love...This light, deeply felt chronicle puts that best-selling confection "Marley and Me" in the shade."--The Plain Dealer

"(Foster is) matter-of-fact, sometimes angry, always open-hearted and often full of wonder...At the core of it, this is a book about living a decent life and taking care along the way. You don't have to rescue stray pit bulls to know how important that is."-- The Oregonian

"(The Dogs Who Found Me) might sound dangerously fuzzy and warm, but it maintains an edge of wisdom and self-awareness...Foster has led an untidy life, and he's lucky his pets have taught him the value of letting things get messy."--Time Out New York

"Generosity and gratitude power this compelling account of the reciprocal nature of rescue. Ken Foster illuminates a profound lesson about saving a life: Doing it makes you able to do it."
–Amy Hempel, author of The Dog of the Marriage and Reasons to Live

"I read this at once, and could hardly bear to put it down. This is a wonderful, strange book, beautiful and funny and moving. It delivers something crucial about bravery, the human spirit, and the place that dogs occupy in our landscapes. It's about confronting need, vulnerability and love, and responding."--Roxana Robinson

"Pitbulls pitbulls pitbulls, and a man, like me, who loves them. Alternately brutal and sentimental, like the lives of the dogs he rescues. A very very cool book." --James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard

"Ken Foster had no idea when he began taking in strays that he'd be
the one finding salvation in The Dogs Who Found Me."—Vanity Fair

March 21: Virginia Festival of the Book

Signed copies are also available through Pit Bull Rescue Central.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Audio links for The Dogs Who Found Me

The Dogs Who Found Me
Originally uploaded by kfoz.
An unabridged audiobook of The Dogs Who Found Me will be available sometime next year. (I have no idea who will be reading it.) Meanwhile, there are some other related audio pieces available online:

A few weeks ago, when I was in Iowa City, I decided to do something a little different with my reading: I read from the beginning, the middle (Valentino section), and then for the first (and last) time, I read from the chapter of the dogs and I evacuating New Orleans just ahead of Hurricane Katrina. It was difficult to get through. You can download it in Real Player format here. Or go the the Live From Prairie Lights website.

Part of what made the reading so difficult is that the chapter--for me anyway--has the immediacy of the evacuation experience itself, with everything familiar just slipping away until there is just me and the dogs. I began writing it just after the evacuation, when I found myself in Tallahassee and was asked to read something at a Katrina benefit sponsored by FSU. The other readers include David Kirby, Robert Olen Butler, Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Dewberry and others. That audio is here:Huricane Katrina Benefit.

And, for those who missed it, my Fresh Air appearance is now archived: "Rescuing Dogs, And Learning from Them."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cami Johnson's portraits and where to find the book...

You can find some gorgeous shots of Brando, Zephyr and Sula at Cami Johnson's website Old Yeller's Revenge.

If you are looking for the book, try Powell's, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books A Million, Booksmith, Cody's, Book Passage, Shaman Drum or your favorite local store.

For more information on Ken Foster, you can go to

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dogs are like tattoos...

The Dogs Who Found Me
Originally uploaded by kfoz.
The first time I was offered the chance to write a book about dogs, I said "I don't think I have enough to say about them." The result was "Dog Culture: Writers on the Character of Canines," in which eleven other writers joined me in creating essays that spoke about the meaning of dogs in our world.

Through the publication process, I kept pausing to tell my editor, via email or the phone, about the latest stray that had wondered into my life. "Do you want to write a book about rescuing dogs?" she asked. I didn't know if it was that interesting. But my friends kept asking "Where do you find them?"and I realized that not everyone finds a stray dog waiting for them outside their door, or at a shopping center, or a gas station, or...

So why was I finding them? And why was I compelled to do something while so many other people would simply wander past these lost animals?

In preparing to write the book, I discovered there was something deeper going on. Each of the dogs seemed to have arrived in my world as my world was spiraling out of control, as lives often do. Just after 9/11. During and after the deaths of two close friends.

During the early stages of writing the book, my heart stopped working. Literally. I didn't know, but my dogs understood. What started out as a simple book of stories became more personal, and more universal as it went along.

I finished the book in July 2005, just as the dogs and I were moving to New Orleans. On August 29th, we left just ahead of the evacuation order, and in October we returned, adding two unexpected chapters to the end of our story.

--Ken Foster

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The photo that started it all...

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Here is the photo of Brando that appeared on Petfinder five years ago and inspired me to cross the river from Manhattan, where I lived at the time, to Brooklyn, where Brando was living at the time.

Now we live together in New Orleans.

This is Jambalaya, who finally found a new home in March 2007

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
She was renamed when she reached Ohio, after I found her living on the street after we returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
After 18 months in an Ohio shelter, Jambalaya was adopted in 2007.

Brando and Zephyr

Brando and Zephyr
Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Zephyr looks like she's got a plan, doesn't she?

Brando, on the other hand, seems overwhelmed by the choices in front of him.

Oh, the difficulties of being a photogenic dog.

Everybody asks about Valentino

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
This 85 pound pit bull was loitering at a gas station on Valentine's Day, 2004.

You can read part of his story here.

Sula, "The Dog Who Found Me"

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Isn't it amazing when you stumble across an old photo of a dog you see every day and it still makes your heart stop?

Vicki Hearne once said, "It is true that pit bulls grab and hold on. But what they most often grab and refuse to let go of is your heart, not your arm."

This ridiculous dog...

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Grew up to be Zephyr.

These photos were taken shortly after she fell from a truck on the highway outside of Zephyrhills.

Someone picked her up, took her to the vet and then placed her with a rottie rescue woman--Pam Houmere--who happened to be at the Humane Society when they stopped in.

Zephyr climbed into my lap at a booksigning for "Dog Culture," and you can read the rest of her story in the chapter "Endings and Beginnings."

Theo, from the chapter "Things that Return"

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
It was Christmas time when I found Theo, just after my heart stopped and I was hospitalized to get a pacemaker. Theo was in a shelter in Mississippi where I was visiting a dog that had been abandoned by neighbors. He was going to be put to sleep because they didn't know anything about him other than he had heartworms.

The director of the shelter said: "If you are going to walk him, take him off the property, we don't know what he might do."

This, it turns out, was a lie.

Julia's Rescue--from the chapter "Wonder When You'll Miss Me"

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
In March 2003, I drove from Tallahassee to New Orleans to get to transport a rotweiller. Julia Lane, who does rescue work with German Shepherds, had found the dog at a local shelter, so emasciated, balding, that at first people didn't recognize her breed.

Julia put her in foster care with some friends temporarily and by the time I arrived to pick her up, they had decided that the last thing she needed was a long drive to Tallahassee. The dog stayed. I went home alone, and along the way I found Biloxi.

Biloxi - March 2003

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Biloxi is the name I gave this dog, who ran up and poked me with a paw at a outlet mall in Gulfport. I led him out to my rental car and he rested his head on my shoulder the whole way home to Tallahassee. We stopped at Target for some food, but he didn't want to eat. And when we reached my house, he didn't want to get out of the car.

These photos were taken a few days later, when I visited him at the vet's office.

More than a year later, when I was getting ready to move, the vet said, "I heard from Biloxi's family" and it took a minute for me to register what he was talking about. Biloxi had found a home, and they wanted all the information they could find on him.

It's hard not to give this a sappy title

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
But really, look at that smile! Biloxi was very happy to see me when I visited him at the vet that day. What's interesting is that even if a dog is cautious when you first encounter them, on subsequent visits they are all bubbly and alive.

Biloxi had been bathed and shaved in spots where he had lacerations under his coat. And he had tested positive for heartworm. He stayed with Pam while I went to New York for my friend Amanda's memorial service. And then he went to stay with a rescue group in Central Florida. And then found a family to movie in with. And that's where his story ends.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

coming soon...

Welcome to The Dogs Who Found Me. We're still building this blog, but soon you'll be able to view photos for each of the dogs featured in the book--and post your comments about their stories.

Meanwhile, if you want to contact Ken Foster, you can email or go to his blog.