A 2,100-mile trek from Eureka, Mont., to Reading, in a compact car, with a dog and a little grizzly bear pepper spray thrown in for some spice is the recipe that got Carol Clouse's story "Canine in a Car" selected to be published as part of the "Not Your Mother's Book ... On Dogs" anthology created by Publishing Syndicate
Clouse, 55, who splits time between a home in northwest Reading and a cabin on 20 acres in Eureka, Mont., is an architect, artist and author. She wrote about one of her road trips between Montana and Pennsylvania shared with Moccasin, her 45-pound Labrador retriever/German shepherd mix.
Grizzly bears are common near her Montana home, she said in an interview Dec. 14, with prints just sunk in the snow around her horse paddock in early December. Bear spray is a necessity there and Clouse thought it wouldn't hurt to take it on her road trip as extra protection for her and Moccasin.
Moccasin, now 9, has been with Clouse for her entire life. In 2003, Clouse's beloved dog had just died when a friend told her where she could get a puppy from a family that was trying to get rid of an unwanted litter.
"I've had her since she was 5 weeks old," Clouse said. "A woman in inner-city Reading handed her out a screen door to me."
Clouse isn't sure why Moccasin developed noise anxiety, but she did. Thunder, gun shots and most loud noises all frighten her, but thunder sends her into a frenzy. When a storm is coming, the dog heads for the safety of a bathtub or shower, Clouse said.
The fear proved problematic when the duo encountered a storm while on the road in a Honda Fit.
"My dog was inconsolable," Clouse wrote in her story. "She was a quivering psychotic mess and I knew nothing would calm her."
Moccasin and Clouse make it through the storm, miles of desolate highway and nights spent in eerily deserted state park campgrounds. For how the grizzly bear spray figures into the mix, you'll have to read "Canine in a Car."
Clouse is one of 59 authors whose work was selected for inclusion in "Not Your Mother's Book ... On Dogs." Those chosen to be included in any of the NYMB anthologies have the option of receiving 10 free copies of the book or a percentage of the profits. Profits are split among all of the contributors and the editors.
Originally, Clouse submitted "Canine in a Car" to NYMB series creators Dahlynn and Ken McKowen for a travel book, but they decided to pass it on to NYMB "On Dogs" book editor Kathleene Baker.
So how did the Muhlenberg High School graduate get drawn to the wilds of Montana?
"A guy," Clouse said.
She met her significant other, who was from Pennsylvania, soon after the death of her father and the man told her just a few days after they met eventually he would be moving to Montana. She stuck with him and they eventually purchased property in Montana three years later.
"The time was right," she said.
For the past seven years Clouse
has divided her time between Montana and Reading. She is pursuing a master's degree in architecture from Penn State University. She has been an architect for 25 years and was formerly affiliated with 13th Floor Architects.
Her first published book, "Clouse's Houses: A Story of Challenge, Creativity and the Heart of an Architect" was released by Rhizome Publishing in May.
Susan E. Miers Smith is special sections at Reading Eagle Company and edits the content for BerksPets.com. Contact her: 610-371-5048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.