March is Women’s History Month and today-March 8th is International Women’s Day. This entire month of March and this specific day is celebrated around the world to demonstrate respect, appreciation and support for women’s economic, political and social achievements. That being said, I could not think of a more fitting way to honor the day and have our first post of March than to honor an extraordinary woman who heavily influenced not only the pet industry-but strongly influenced this blog as well. The pet world recently lost a wonderful woman, pet author and advocate Darlene Arden, to ovarian cancer.
I met Darlene only once. It was at BlogPaws 2013 in D.C. It was my first BlogPaws and I’d only just decided to start a blog on the care and ownership of small breed dogs. While researching the existing material out there on the subject, I discovered that the best book about the often special care and considerations of owning a small breed was written by Darlene. I decided early on that I would eventually want the topics covered in these posts to be published as a book. So, I was delighted when I saw that Darlene would be conducting a session at the conference on writing book proposals. The session was called ‘So You Want to Write a Book Proposal’ and it was phenomenal. I learned so very much from her during that session. At the end of her talk, she mentioned that she had brought with her some signed copies of her book small dogs, big hearts. I remember stealthily stalking her around the conference for the rest of that day trying to work up the nerve to ask her for a signed copy of her book. I am usually a very confident woman but Darlene had such an incredible aura about her that I found to be, quite frankly, very intimidating. Not only did she have what has been described by her friends as a “biting sense of humor” she could command a room just by sitting in it which she did quite well during her BlogPaws session. I did eventually get up the nerve to approach Darlene and ask her for a signed copy of her book but she said that unfortunately she’d run out and suggested that I mail her a copy and she’d be happy to sign it. I never did and now I very much regret that.
After the conference, I wrote a post about how much I enjoyed BlogPaws and specifically…her session. A few weeks later, I saw that she’d left the sweetest comment on that post. Still, I could not get enough nerve to reach out to her to ask her for advice or yet still, get her to sign a copy of my book which I went out and purchased immediately after the conference.
When I met Darlene, I did not know that she was battling ovarian cancer with which she was apparently diagnosed with in 2010. I realized this only after her passing on February 27th from an obituary post by her dear friend Steve Daly. Darlene was not all about dogs though, she also had a couple of bestseller books on cats. I didn’t know her well but I got the impression that cats were indeed her preferred companion animal. I guess nobody is perfect, right? In all seriousness though, she seemed to be a great lady and her work on the subject of small breed dogs is the best out there. In addition to small dogs, big hearts, she had also written a previous guide for small breed owners called The Irrepressible Small Breed. Darlene Arden is someone to be truly admired and we do very much admire her here at YapTalk. We only hope that we can contribute half as much as Darlene did to the people who choose to share their lives with a small breed dog.
Goodbye Darlene and rest in peace, you’ve earned it!