Stumpi de Chelly


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This fable about strays on Indian Reservations (commonly known as “res” or “rez” dogs) here in the Southwest is just that: a creative myth whose backstory denotes a sobering truth given the plight all res dogs face every day throughout the year (and the colder, darker months are the most stringent). That said, the spirited narrative is partially based on a very special res dog named Stumpi de Chelly (pronounced “de-shay”) and takes place on one of the most beautiful national monuments in Arizona, Canyon de Chelly. As for the principal of the story, I once met a similar stray in the campground whose “dogsona” (the equivalent of a human’s personality) closely matches Stumpi’s gentle and unassuming nature as portrayed in the story. Given many years of my interacting with res dog strays throughout sectors of the sprawling Navajo Reservation, and encountering a variety of whimsical strays making up the whole of a res dog community, writing an enticing narrative about these lovable moochers came naturally.

Join me in the telling of their daily grind and see for yourself why many people consider res dogs the most amiable lot of canines, and many who will literally steal your heart once you get to know the endearing nature of most res dogs. Lest it goes unsaid, sometimes the reality of res dogs will also break your heart because life is never easy or secure for these strays (and many of whom are castaways by their former owners). And yet the persistence of a res dog’s fragile and usually tentative existence from day to day is nothing less than courageous. Indeed, they are that determined to find a compassionate camper who will share scraps from the table, even throwaway food intended for the garbage. To say the least, camper handouts suffice as a metaphor for a lifeline. Thus, existence for a res dog from one tentative day to the next is indeed a lifeline by way of generosity.

I also believe humbling, as a descriptive adjective, is the handmaiden of humanity whenever humans reach out and do what they can for res dogs, starting with compassion and sharing food. Yá'át'ééh as the Navajo general greeting states––“Welcome. . .Hello”!

(Please purchase this true to life novel and support the risky plight of res dogs by helping to spread the word about this 371-page saga based on a res dog community of mixed breeds and entertaining characters. I am positive you will howl and cheer the dogs on given their sole mission in life: mooching meals from campers. The next most important thing on all their minds is finding a compassionate human who will befriend and foster a dog by providing a forever home. Thus, departing the campground with a new family member with a wagging tail and a smile on his or her face.)

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