Bobbi Leder has trekked around the world and back again. During her adventures she discovered her life’s calling not only between the pages of a book, but also within the eyes of a loving spaniel named Euri. Recently I spoke with Bobbie about her travels, her writing and her work with the Gulf Coast Cocker Spaniel Rescue.
What led you to a career in writing?
When I was a little girl I would read roughly a hundred books per week. I just couldn’t get enough of them. Years later, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Media from Rutgers University.
I was originally an Animal Science major because I wanted to be like Dian Fossey and study gorillas in the mountains of Africa. Never mind that I was afraid of insects, snakes, spiders and had to be near modern conveniences. Then I was attacked by a sheep — sure they look cute and cuddly but don’t ever try to sit on one and insert a needle or you’ll see their not-so-cuddly side. Because I had done so well in the classroom and my professor knew that my real goal was to work with monkeys and non-human primates, he offered me a field study in South Carolina. I was the youngest student to have ever been offered that field study but sadly I had to turn it down because of medical and scheduling issues. I knew then that perhaps my love of animals was not enough to make a career out of my passion, and instead I should focus on something less dangerous and more practical.
So I decided to become an English major to pursue my other interests: reading and writing. The problem was, I was the last student in line to register for class (this was back in the day when students had to literally stand in a line to register for class and declare their major). By the time I got to the front, all of the English classes were full so I signed up for the next best thing: journalism. Ironically I wound up graduating number one in my Journalism and Mass Media department. It all worked out because I’m extremely inquisitive and I love to research as much as possible. To be able to combine writing with my love of animals (particularly dogs), is a dream come true.
What are some of your favorite books?
Clifford, the Big Red Dog is my favorite picture book. I am in love with the idea of a talking dog and a gentle giant, so I’d have to say that Norman Bridwell is one of my favorite children’s writers. He (along with my cocker kid) inspired me to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and write my own picture books where dogs are the protagonists.
Another one of my favorite children’s authors is Judy Blume. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is a must-read for all pre-teen girls.
And of course I love Curious George by H.A. Rey! I still have my Curious George stuffed animal from when I was a kid.
You’ve written extensively about dogs. How did you become such a canine expert?
I studied Animal Science at the University of Rhode Island, I worked at an animal shelter, and I’ve had dogs in my life from the moment I was born. I have also attended many dog shows and events around the world and have learned a lot from breeders, veterinarians, and fellow dog owners. I also try to keep up-to-date with the latest news and health issues by reading material from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). And of course I’ve learned a lot just by being a cocker mom to my English Cocker Spaniel, Euri.
One of your published pieces, “Being a Wife is not Enough” discusses your frequent international moves. What was your favorite place you’ve lived internationally and why?
Paris, France was probably the most beautiful location but I’d have to say London, England was by far my favorite place. There was never a shortage of things to do, sights to see, and restaurants to try in London – and of course, I loved the English accents.
What’s next for Bobbi Leder?
Euri and I will be having a book and paw signing for the Angel Animals anthology Dogs and the Women Who Love Them in which my story “Euri, the Miracle Worker” will appear. The event will take place on Sunday, November 7th, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Natural Pawz Heights (located at 514 West 19th Street in the Houston Heights). There will be a doggy costume contest and raffle prizes to benefit Gulf Coast Cocker Spaniel Rescue (GCCSR). And a portion of the proceeds from each book sold will benefit GCCSR.
You can learn more about Bobbi and her books on her website http://www.bobbileder.webs.com/.
This interview appeared in the October version of the Houston Banner.