February 1, 2020
For The Love of Dogs, And Open Space
Local author Cynthia Flowers’s 2018 book, Last Dog: And All Those Who Came Before, chronicled (along with her husband, Alan) the “journey from naive, first-time dog owners through owning five very unique, lovable dogs, ending with the triumph of successfully training their last dog, Abigail,” the back jacket cover noted, adding that each of the dog’s tales “offers insight into the trials and tribulations of training them to become valued members of the Flowers’ pack.”
Here, Cynthia, a supporter of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, shares her insights about the book and what she learned about animals as well as what makes Ulster County a special place.
What was the impetus behind writing Last Dog: And All Those Who Came Before? And how has it changed your relationship to dogs, and other animals?
Cynthia: I wanted to write this book because I felt we had learned so much in a relatively short amount of time about caring for and being a pack leader for dogs. I wanted to share what we learned to help others short cut the process and hopefully avoid some of the mishaps and misfortunes, all together.
In writing the book, and reflecting back on those 18 years, it reinforced what I had learned from this experience which in turn has helped with raising our puppy, Cody, who we adopted just one year ago. It is our first experience raising a pup and might as well be our first experience raising a dog, period!
A puppy is a whole different proposition. But it is turning out to be a good one, at that. My experiences with Cody may be the impetus to write another book, working title, First Puppy.
From your perspective, why do you support work of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust? How important is the preservation of open space, farms and rail trails to you?
Cynthia: Many years ago I volunteered and for a short-time was employed as a freelancer to help with fundraising and writing one of the newsletters. During that time I came to learn of all the great work that came before and the vital contribution that the Land Trust continues to make today.
I moved here 20 yrs. ago and was unconvinced I would not last more than a year, having grown up in New York City and the surrounding suburbs, and working full time in Manhattan. However, here I am still, and I can’t imagine ever moving back. The open space is responsible for that.
Can you briefly describe what makes Ulster County and the surrounding area a great place to live, work and play?
Cynthia: While I still work in Manhattan I live and play in Ulster County. I may be biased, but this area of the Mid-Hudson Valley is the most uniquely beautiful because of the Shawangunk Ridge. It reminds me of another place I like to visit, Southern Utah. Not so much the view but the feeling and energy it gives me.