Barb Bland a Whidbey Writers Group member joined Gwen on Whidbey Chat to continue our Whidbey Writers Group series.

Barb’s genre in writing is the memoir, currently she is finishing a memoir of a once homeless and wild dog she adopted.    11 years ago while she was a volunteer at WAIF (Whidbey  Animals’ Improvement Foundation) a litter of puppies, some of whom suffered from sever shyness, came into the shelter.  One shy puppy from that litter, Pikachu, is the subject of her book.  After a long dramatic tale of rescue, attempted training, running away, roaming wild (on central Whidbey island) for a year and finally being caught by Barb, Pikachu is an extraordinary and almost normal dog.  During his homeless phase, running wild on the island, Barb and her dog Blue, whom Pikachu actually liked and would come to, would stalk him with the intent of capture.  Barb would cook chicken livers for him, sit for hours in the beach area he was living, talking and visiting with him.  But he would not come close enough to catch.  Eventually, after a year of combing the island, laying awake at night plotting her next move, Barb and Blue caught Pikachu.  That capture is just the beginning of a long, difficult, satisfying and loving relationship, and story.

Barb feels sad endings are too emotionally draining for animal lovers, and is planning to finish the book before “Piki” shows real signs of aging.  Today “Piki” is doing very well, after many years of training and support from Barb, and no longer runs out of the room when people (especially men) enter and is happy to not run away and live a wild life.  He shares his home with Barb, her husband, his dear friend and dog companion, Belle (Blue passed away sometime ago), and two adopted orange tabby female cats, Maize and Ginny. Pikachu has also learned from “Beggar Belle” to mooch treats, instead of regarding them as bait, as he used to do when Barb was trying to trap him. 

Barb’s excerpt reading of her book was sad, shocking, exciting and triumphant!  We look forward to seeing it in bound book form!  

Major influences on Barb Bland have been her home state of Wisconsin, France and Alaska. A former teacher, retirement has provided her the opportunity to do many things she “threatened” all her life to do, if ever she had time — two of which are artwork and writing. Fond of animals, travel, sports and music, she and her husband now lead an active life on Whidbey Island, Washington.

THANKS BARB !  Great interview and reading!  Can’t wait to follow up with you this summer.