All Dogs Go to Kevin
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang and I met over thirteen years ago. We had planned our weddings (okay, it was my first one – her first and last) around the same time utilizing a popular wedding planning website that was all the rage in the early 2000’s. It was through that site I made her acquaintance on the message boards. We kept in touch and a few years later when I happened to be in San Diego for a friend’s birthday we met in person. She wore a spectacular green dress (my favorite color) and immediately, I adored her. When I returned a year later to celebrate my own birthday she and her husband Brian, who is a dead ringer for Jon Favreau I might add, celebrated alongside me. I remember thinking how lucky I was to be surrounded by such good people. And that is Jessica. She is the best of the good people.
Not long after that night in Pacific Beach, I decided to make Southern California home. A handful of months after I moved to San Diego, Jessica came out to celebrate an incredibly special day for me; October 4th. It was the anniversary of the day the doctors gave me my leukemia diagnosis. It was the day they told me I wouldn’t live to see 22 years of age. When I walked out of my bedroom, I totally stuck my foot in my mouth and blurted out, “Am I overdressed?” What I really meant to say was, “Am I dressed okay?” I barely recognized her and I felt like such an ass. She looked fantastic – she always did – but it was obvious she had done something different. I think that’s around the time she started running. I still remember her top; which reminds me of a Roberto Cavalli design, but I digress…She made a hilarious joke which I won’t ever forget. I still blush over it ‘til this day (let’s just say she overheard the guy I was seeing at the time and me in what we thought was a “private” adult moment).
I meant to reach out a hundred times. I would think, “We live so close, we should get together,” but alas life happens. Regardless of the lack of time we spent together, my respect for her has been ever-present. We have stayed in touch through Facebook and I am an avid reader of her blog, pawcurious (I was honored to guest post). I’ve celebrated her kids’ accomplishments, grumbled at school principals via my computer screen, mourned the losses of her pets and laughed at the anecdotes she shares. I have always seen her as a woman who has it together; educated, a great marriage, two beautiful children, her dogs, her veterinary career and a beautiful writer to boot. I found her to be infallible. And through the years as she pursued and accomplished various goals including helping animals in Mexico and Africa, I have been so proud to know a woman like her. I look up to her immensely.
And then she goes and writes a book. An amazing book. A book I had to force myself to put down. It was surreal reading a memoir written by someone who is a friend. I think it made me laugh and cry harder as I read. I nodded along seeing Jessica and Brian in the book’s scenarios. She shares so much about herself; things I never knew. It made me realize that underneath the super woman she is human, too.
Telling you about All Dogs Go to Kevin isn’t meant to be a thorough review. I definitely don’t want to spoil anything for you. I can tell you that Jessica has beautifully demonstrated that animals have the power to change the course of our lives.
So with that I write, yes, she is my friend. She didn’t ask me to write this (in fact, she doesn’t know I’m writing this- surprise, Jessica!). And for those who’ve been around the blog awhile, you all know if the book stunk I just wouldn’t tell you about it. But it doesn’t stink (well, maybe if you have a really good imagination and take yourself to some of the places she was in in vet school you can get a sense for the, uh, aromas she encountered). It does make you laugh, though. And cry. And when you’ve finished the last page, you’ll smile with tears in your eyes. And you’ll realize that though you may stumble along your way in your life, you can get back up and pave a beautiful path.
And, just maybe, you should take a dog along for the walk while you do it.
I’m giving away a copy of All Dogs Go to Kevin Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn’t Learn in Veterinary School). Enter below and for those who can’t wait (you really shouldn’t), you can order here:
*affiliate link – any proceeds made will be donated to Jessica’s favorite charity.