Champion Dog, Prince Tom

When I was a little girl, about 2nd – 4th grade, my FAVORITE book was Champion Dog, Prince Tom by Jean Fritz and Tom Clute.  It’s the true story about a cocker spaniel named Tom, the runt of the litter, who, as you may be able to guess, becomes not only a champion dog in the obedience field, but also as a hunting and sporting dog.  As a child, I loved it because it was about dogs, (I had secret dreams of growing up to be a professional trainer) and because it is a great story of determination, not giving up on dream when everyone tells you it’s impossible.  I read it many times, and spent many hours in my childhood backyard, “training” our family dog. 

When my son and daughter started reading, I couldn’t wait for them to read it.  Although I pout a little that they don’t want to read it over and over, they did enjoy it.  And while my kids grown up dreams don’t include Westminster, they do enjoy teaching our old dogs some new tricks occasionally. 

My son, Cole, and I were at our local pet store, picking up some crickets for his fire bellied toad, when we saw that they had 2 week old box turtles for sale.  They were absolutely adorable, and I had to have one!  We picked the most active one, and we were unanimous in naming his Jonner Thompson after the box turtle in the story. 

The book can be found in libraries, and online at  If you would be interested in attending a dog show, the American Kennel Club offers a list of all events by state.  You will be surprised how many events take place in Texas each month.  Click on over and find one near you! 

If you think you can give a box turtle a good home, be prepared for a long commitment, as they can live up to 100 years.  They are also a little more difficult to care for than a red-eared slider, but like the slider, they can carry salmonella, so limit handling by children and keep hand sanitizer close at hand and practice good hygeine constantly.  The website Turtle Puddle offers some good advice on caring for a pet turtle.  Also, be certain that the store where you purchase the turtle buys only captive bred turtles, check your local animal shelter or adopt one from the Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society. is an informative site by Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Another option to enjoy turtles in the wild, and help their dwindling numbers is to volunteer at Texas Turtle Watch.  As volunteers, we visit three local ponds monthly, and report the number of turtles we count back to them.  Here’s our previous blog post,