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)

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

Susan Davis

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!

Susi Brown

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

Justine Sherman