America Loses A Great American Pet Writer


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Profound, that is how I describe Mordecai Siegal’s influence as a pet writer. After suffering declining health for several years, the venerable author of 33 books just passed away.

In 1970 when Morty and dog trainer Matthew Margolis teamed up for their first of 10 books together, “Good Dog, Bad Dog,” and as a result the old paradigm at book stores changed. Animal books were no longer grouped together, penguin books were no longer next to dog training books. Morty proved (with huge sales) that pets can hold their own, with their own place at the stores. The last formal interview I did with Morty was for his book “Dog Spelled Backwards.”

Morty was an eloquent speaker and elegant writer. With the late Roger Caras, the best spokeperson companion animals ever had.

Morty used to call me kid. The first time we met he put his arm around me and said, “You’re going places, kid.” He was a good friend to me – and all colleagues who wrote about companion animals.  The last time we spoke, about a month ago, he sounded pretty upbeat, looking forward to the Spring, but after talking about an hour, he said he was getting tired. “Gotta go kiddo – you know, I love you.”

“Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative,” Mordecai Siegal