A Note From Patrick: July 2019 | MUTTS

A Note From Patrick: July 2019

News & Events People

Friends,

As we get closer to the release of The Art of Nothing (the MUTTS 25th anniversary book which will be available this fall), I’d like to express my gratitude toward spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, who kindly wrote the foreword for the book.

I began following Eckhart’s work in 1999, after being compelled to pick up a copy of his book The Power of Now.  I found myself moved by its message, told with directness and simplicity, and which inspired several MUTTS strips. Then, in 2008, Eckhart was interviewed for Modern Dog Magazine. In it he said, “I believe that dogs fill a vital function in the collective consciousness of humanity. I would call them ‘the Guardians of Being.'” That resonated deeply with me. I proposed a book idea combining his quotes with my art. Eckhart was gracious and agreed to collaborate. And so our book Guardians of Being was born.

As a longtime admirer of Eckhart’s teachings, it was an honor to work with him then — and it is an honor to include his words in my upcoming MUTTS anniversary collection.

I recently returned from a trip to southern Africa, truly an experience of a lifetime. It made me even more appreciative of the African countries that have set aside so much space for wildlife. While there, I saw so many thriving species of animals and birds: elephants, baboons, giraffes (my favorite), lions, leopards, mongoose, eagles, and owls, with the vast majority taking care of their offspring. Every moment was sheer joy, and, yes, I took a thousand photos … It reaffirmed my commitment to appreciate the beauty of this planet and to do all I can to keep the world’s animals safe.

Did you know that a group of giraffes (standing still) is called a tower, but when they are traveling, they are called a journey? And a herd of zebras is known as a dazzle?

I’m sure Mooch will be dreaming of Africa in the strip again soon.

Pictures of an elephant and a giraffe from Patrick McDonnell's trip to Africa
Picture of lion with cubs

I’m enthused to give a shout-out to The Bark, an award-winning magazine about modern dog culture. Published quarterly, it is available by subscription and at Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, and PetSmart stores. You can sign up for The Bark‘s weekly free e-newsletter, in which you just may find Earl and Mooch!

At the end of my last letter, I asked what kind of animal-related activities you had planned for the season. Thank you to the many readers who set aside a few moments to respond. It was a treat to learn about the summertime activities you are sharing with your animal friends.

With all this talk of books and magazines and newsletters, I’d love to know what you are reading this summer. Looking forward to hearing your new (or classic) recommendations!

With thanks,

Patrick

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33 thoughts on “A Note From Patrick: July 2019

  1. My daughter worka at a bookstore. She gave me a wonderful.book called Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelly. What an endearing story. Inhighly recommend this story to anyone that wants a good read.

  2. I wish I could say the same as Jan in her recent comment about having been a fan of yours for 30 years! I just discovered your strip about 5 years ago and absolutely love it. Having had dogs and cats pretty much my whole life, I enjoy Earl and Mooch’s adventures and musings. Some of my favorite books have been FOLLOWING ATTICUS and WILL’S RED COAT both by Tom Ryan (he has a wonderful Facebook page and blog as well), plus anything written by R.D. Lawrence, a Canadian author who wrote extensively about wolves, beavers (PADDY), and other wildlife. You won’t regret picking up a book by him!

  3. Hello Patrick,
    The journey to Africa must have been truly fantastic. I liked the dazzle of zebra especially.
    I recently re-read the first 10 collections of Mutts, and found that a great many of them still make me laugh out loud, many others can still reduce me to tears. I have 4 rescue cats currently and have done rescue and TNR work many times. The love and truth you spread are unparalleled. I hope to be reading Mutts for many years to come.

    As for summer reads, I’m awash with historical fiction: The Lost Girls of Paris, The Lilac Girls, and Unsheltered are the books I’ve read in July. These keep me away from the daily news…..but not the funny pages.

    All the best to you and yours.

  4. As always… I’m slow… reading another of the Warriors series – YA books by Erin Hunter. Cats rule!

  5. Hi Patrick! 30 year fan here so lucky enough to have met you and got a few signed books/prints. I also have worked with Animal House Rescue in Colorado and foster many, many rescued puppies, so I share your enthusiasm for all animals. I also recently returned from Africa (Kenya) and returned with about 5000 photos…but I am a photographer so I guess that is expected. Wondered if you visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi? It is an amazing facility started by Daphne and David Sheldrick that rescues/rehabs injured wildlife. No riding elephants or playing with them – just pure restorative work. (sheldrickwildlifetrust.org) I think you would love what they do. As far as books, if you want to read more about Africa, I recommend books by Delia and Mark Owens, early scientific and wildlife researchers. Daphne Sheldrick has also penned a few books and her and David’s work with elephants will inspire you. If you were not able to visit, you will when you return. And you will return.
    Thank you for all of your wonderful work.
    Jan Brett

  6. Dear Patrick, I love your work and the good you bring to the world. I had no animal related activities PLANNED for the summer, but three kittens walked out of the woods behind my home and into my heart as well as a small terrier I named Lil John. This added to my animal family as I already had a 20 year-old domestic shorthair male named Pawpaw and Tara King, my Blue Heeler mix, whose about 10 now. It’s lively around here, to say the least, with kittens wrestling, and Lil John harassing the kittens. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy Summer! Berna J. Love

  7. You are true inspiration, Patrick. Thank you for all you do! <3 XOXO

  8. Patrick: Africa, my next journey. I have “The Power of Now” on my night stand. I will open it next. With the movie soon to be released, I recommend “Learning to Race in the Rain”. Loved that book. Don’t judge a book by it’s move…..read the book.

  9. I just read a sweet and touching book about hedgehogs — A Handful of Happiness: How a Prickly Creature Softened a Prickly Heart by Massimo Vacchetta.
    Thank you for all your wonderful work.

  10. Thank you, Patrick. Your heartfelt dedication to all animals is the most wonderful message you can give to humankind. Thank you for starting my days with the love and laughter from Mooch, Earl, Guard Dog, the squirrels and the rest of the loving and lovable ones! Big hugs to you all, Susannah

  11. I envy your chance to see this precious wildlife before mankind and climate change drive them over the brink. A friend of mine volunteered at a S African wildlife refuge last year. This summer I am reading a lot of magazines, but also two books: Craig Ferguson’s Riding the Elephant (which does NOT extol the virtues of elephant riding, it’s a metaphor) and The Privileged Poor – a book about how elite colleges set students from under-resourced backgrounds up for success and failure.

  12. I was recently in southern Africa as well; we were there in April. Your pictures look much like the thousand pictures I also came home with (I wish I had seen lion cubs though… we only saw the lions, and some adolescent lions). Much of your remarks for the trip fit my trip as well. It really was a trip of a lifetime, and it felt good to be away from the daily stuff that goes on around here and have my worldly perception and outlook adjusted a bit for the better. I’m looking forward to Mooch dreaming of Africa again soon. Thanks for the great characters and strip.

  13. Although I listen to books daily when I drive (currently a Maisie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear) and am always carving out time to read required books for work or professional development, it’s been years since I have had time to sit and read a chosen book the old fashioned way. This summer’s goal is to find time to do just that. No required reading, no books recommended by someone or some organization, no reading list book, no “everyone is reading this” book. Just a book that I want to read and just because I want to read it. So what’s the chosen book? Ramblin’ Man, The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie by Ed Cray with a foreword by Studs Terkel. Summer ends September 2nd. Until then think of me joining Mooch and Earl under that tree where they sit ruminating about life. And wish me luck.

  14. Hello Patrick! Thank you for EVERYTHING YOU DO!!! I’ve just finished reading The Island of The Blue Dolphins – and for over a week now I’ve been saying out loud “WOW, what a read!” You can check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Island-Blue-Dolphins-Scott-ODell/dp/0547328613

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Laura! I just ordered it from my local library!

  15. Your trip looks amazing… Africa is on my bucket list. I’m starting to read “Eager: The Secret Life of Beavers & Why They Matter” as part of a book club for a great nature podcast called The Wild.

  16. You and Mutts are an important part of my life. I begin every day with the Mutts comic strip. I wore Mutts pajamas for years and am still looking for their return on the shop site. Thanks for all you do for the animals.

  17. My loves are the lions. I love your photo of the cubs with their dad.

  18. I always enjoy reading Mutts everyday…it’s a very happy and thought giving cartoon❤️

  19. Oh I envy you so much! I have wanted to make this trip for years & every year a friend of mine does & brings back amazing photos. It is a place we need desperately to look after as animals are being killed in places & all to often for the most ridiculous reasons.
    Thank you Patrick for sharing your trip with us!

  20. I serendipitiously stumbled on an old schoolroom style copy of Tom Sawyer in a used bookstore while visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico. The cover is old school art and pages yellow, brittle whith worn edges. I LOVE Tom Sawyer. I am reading it and savoring every chuckle I still get from his boyhood thoughts and antics. My favorite scene is when he is turning cartwheel under Becky Thatcher’s window to impress her. So innocent and lovely fun.
    I had been longing for a certain something to read that made me smile and here I found it. Probably the sixth time I have read this classic.

  21. Thank you for MUTTS, they are a wonderful way to begin the day. Laughter and inspiration from the wonderful mind and pen of a man named Patrick.

  22. Patrick, thank you so much for sharing about your trip. With this being July, the rescue group i volunteer with (west Jersey volunteers for animals) in NJ we are doing a local parade to gain support for the dogs we have up for adoption. i personally will be helping with the dogs must weekends. in regard to reading, i would very much like to get/read the book about the Apollo missions . Especially since this is the 50th anniv. Hope you and your crew have a great summner.

  23. I serve on the Board of the local library here in Santa Fe. I organized an annual World Migratory Bird Day in April 3 years ago and last year, I organized our first annual Dog Days of Summer, our event this year is on July 20. We are having small dog adoptions, therapy and assistance dogs there to show what a wide variety of skills they have, along with people to talk with about how to keep your dog safe at home so it does not run away, how to have a safe encounter with snakes and coyotes and a ranger from our local National Park Service’s National Historical Monument to discuss how dogs are welcome on the hiking trails if they behave in specific ways. I have been to southern Africa three times and my favorite animal to watch is the African Wild Dog (aka, Painted Dog). So endangered and with a unique culture in their pack. I have loved them since the 1983 song Africa, by Toto (another famous dog!)

  24. What a thrill it must have been to be in Africa! Have dreamt of it since I was little and it is on my list of places to go. Love the big cats and Elephants. Spending my summer reading and re-reading some fiction by the late Maeve Binchy. I save the heavy topics for our long winters! Thanks for sharing your photos!

  25. I love to start and end my day with my two brother cats who we adopted through Feral Cat Foundation about 15 years ago. Because they are now starting to have renal “issues”, they teach me to really treasure the daily moments with them. I make their food now using a special pre-mix for cats with kidney concerns, my own meat, canned pumpkin, salmon oil and water. I can’t give them additional animal protein treats anymore but they have taken to little bits of avocado and hard boiled egg yolk very well. Each Mutt strip makes me smile and I love the new tshirt with Mooch on it that says Cats Books, Thank you for making the world better for all living things.

    1. Bless you & your boys & your love for them. My precious Nomy had to deal w/ kidney problems, too.

  26. What a life enhancing experience Africa must have been!! I’d find it difficult to choose a favorite out of all the amazing and magnificent African wildlife, but elephants and lions have a special place in my heart. Right now I’m fully engaged in kitten raising. A beautiful black cat recently adopted us along with our outside cat, who also just showed up one day and adopted us. When we took her to the vet we found that she wasn’t chipped AND she was pregnant. So, now we’re loving the daylights out of mama cat and three precious babies. Two will stay here and one will go to a friend to keep her newest cat company. So, reading and knitting and kittens are on my summer list! Reading The Boys in the Boat these days. What a story. Thanks for starting my day off with a smile every time I read the day’s Mutts. We have a Mooch look-alike (one of the inside cats) and the personality is eerily similar.

  27. Patrick, You are so fortunate to go to Africa!! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I enjoyed your pictures very much!

  28. Every single day when I open my eyes I see Chick Savoy and Olive Olay and my heart sings. (I do read constantly – but sad animal books are too sad. and I prefer live animal photos). We have an adopted Bengal tiger in honor of the 7 cats we have loved and mourned. And to honor the katz (who are now four). I wish Jules and his creator would consider this little wonderful boy as a perfect creature to save the very endangered tigers. Bengal, Sumatran and all the others who are hunted and killed for the happiness of humans. Shtinky might help this stop. He certainly has the will. The knock knock series was wonderful, btw. The pleasure of Mutts, for me, is unending.

  29. I too love giraffes and elephants the best. Elephants because of the love they have for each other and for those that care for them. Their ability to understand death, and mourn. Giraffes I love because they are such an improbable animal. Something you’d see in a book of imaginary animals. But for reading this summer, I believe Sheri Tepper’s book The Companions, is due for another reread. This SF book gives me something new each time. It’s about a future earth, and an order that all animals must be killed to allow more air for humans to live. But a group is dedicated to finding a home for them among the stars. Told in part through the eyes of the dogs (by this time only companion animals are left – wild animals are long gone). It’s different, unique, and fascinating, as all her books are. Here’s a link to an in-depth review I found which highlight the animals POV: https://dogpatch.press/2016/05/17/the-companions/

  30. Put the Dude Abides image on a t-shirt, please!

  31. I have a few books on my summer reading list. I am finishing “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger – non fiction book about how belonging to a small group satisfies basic human needs especially during difficult times such as war, disaster and emergency situations. I also just bought 3 books by Jon Katz about his experiences with his dogs. I read one last summer called “A Good Dog” in which he wrote about loving and understanding an anxious dog right after I adopted a 10 yr old anxious/fearful/lunging dog. I also read one classic each summer and this year I got Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde out of the library. That might be about my dog too because Edward is a playful cuddly love-bug with immediate family but he turns into the Tasmanian Devil when someone enters the house or when he hears someone’s voice through the cell phone. I also have ‘Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in US Naval History.” The title explains the entire book. I am a fan of that ship and read every book about it.

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