My Muse Madeleine: How My Dog Helped Me Crowdfund My Memoir

The picture on the page of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona that convinced me to check out Madeleine

The picture that convinced me to take a chance on the Divine Ms. M. Happy Gotcha Day!

Today is Madeleine’s gotcha day, exactly a year since I brought her home from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

It almost didn’t happen. I was uncertain about her shedding, her pinkness…really, about the fact that she was not my previous dog, Frankie. And at the same time as I was still heartbroken over Frankie, I was also — I admit it — enjoying the freedom from responsibility that being dogless allowed. Frankie hated car rides throughout his life and, for the year before I let him go, he not only had diabetes but also dementia. It was a relief not to worry about arranging my movie and dinner dates around a strict insulin-shot schedule, or about finding a petsitter who could cope with a special needs dog if I wanted to leave town.

Compounding the problem: I’m no casual animal lover but a member of Dog Club, a community of the canine besotted that I joined when I started my dog blog in 2009. Members swear a blood (and poop) oath that pet care is a full-time commitment, one requiring a level of attention to behavior, food, and health that the uninitiated may find excessive.

First rule of Dog Club: You always talk about Dog Club.

Was I ready for that?

More than I knew.

What’s in it for me?

You’ve heard it all before: Dogs help elevate your mood, provide you with exercise and companionship, yada, yada, yada. That’s all well and good, but a bit abstract. I’m here to tell you that the returns for adopting Madeleine were immediate and concrete:  She helped me write and fund my memoir.

How so?

Madeleine is bold

What? I'm not supposed to be on the table?

What? I’m not supposed to be on the table?

I wasn’t sure that I should go with Getting Naked for Money for the title of my book. It seemed too out there, too forward. I took my cue from Madeleine, who defines the term attention hound (or attention terrier) She doesn’t get what she wants by hanging back.

Madeleine is uninhibited

Madeleine is uninhibited

Madeleine lets it all hang out

Along similar lines, I worried about how much personal detail to go into in my memoir. Madeleine made it clear that letting it all hang out is fine, especially in the service of a good laugh.

Madeleine doesn’t get discouraged

retryMadeleine may seem cowed on occasion — as when her friend Earl sits on her — but she’s never down for the count. I was often discouraged during my Kickstarter campaign but I kept going, knowing that circumstances can change at any given moment.

Madeleine can be tough

Madeleine has 'tude

Madeleine hunkers down on her concrete bunker

Though she likes her naps as much as the next dog, Madeleine knows you sometimes have to be vigilant. I learned that lesson too: Crowdfunding is not for the faint of heart.

Madeleine knows there’s strength in numbers

Strength in numbers

One dog giving you baleful looks is hard enough to ignore. Two? As Madeleine and her friend Bogie demonstrate, it’s impossible to resist the doggie double-down. This was true too of my Kickstarter campaign. I couldn’t have succeeded in asking for money without a lot of help from my friends.


And this is just what Madeleine accomplished in the first year of our partnership. I have high hopes for her in the book publicity phase. What do you think of this as the jacket photo?

A bit patchy


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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Becky says:

    Naked pirates maybe? Madeline’s got it down.

  2. Leo says:

    Happy Gotcha’ Day, you two pirates. May the bounty of your raid be plentiful !

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