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,


Comments (33)

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!


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.

Gene Hendrzak "Retired Old FART"

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.

Dot S

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!


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.

Diane Marie Bast

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

Lisa R Cherrie

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


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.


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.

Leonora Forslund

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.