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Meet David Rosenfelt: Best-Selling Author and Dog Rescuer

We chat with the mystery writer about his dog rescue work and his Andy Carpenter novels, which star his pooch Tara.

Stacy Mantle  |  Jan 8th 2016


Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our December/January issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

When best-selling mystery author David Rosenfelt sits down at his desk to write another novel, he does so with 17 senior dogs (mostly Golden Retrievers) at his feet. This self-described sports addict and obvious dog lover draws so much inspiration from his very large pack of rescue dogs — all seniors or ailing — that he’s designed a series of books based on Andy Carpenter, a curmudgeonly detective, and his charming sidekick Tara, a Golden Retriever.

David Rosenfelt at home with one of his dogs. (Photo courtesy David Rosenfelt)

David Rosenfelt at home with one of his dogs. (Photo courtesy David Rosenfelt)

This Edgar and Shamus Award-nominated author has penned 24 books, 15 of which feature Carpenter and his dog, Tara (the 15th will be released July 2016). David has also written several standalone mysteries, as well as several nonfiction novels that focus solely on his life with dogs. Dogtripping (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) is the story of his move to Maine from California with 25 senior rescue dogs in RVs driven by 11 of his greatest fans.

Rosenfelt wasn’t always dog-crazy. He describes his childhood as “relentlessly normal” and didn’t even enter the dog rescue scene until he began dating his now-wife.

Some of David's dogs at home. (Photo courtesy David Rosenfelt)

Some of David’s dogs at home. (Photo courtesy David Rosenfelt)

“I was trying to impress her,” he grinned. “Debbie was a senior vice president for the Fox Network in those days and worked a lot, so I offered to take Tara for walks. It was better than sitting around waiting for a movie or a television executive to call. Tara was always happy to see me. Had it not been for Tara, I never would have become aware of the amazing love and comfort that dogs have to offer.”

Dog-tripping. (Photo courtesy David Rosenfelt)

Dog-tripping. (Photo courtesy David Rosenfelt)

In 1995, Rosenfelt and his wife started the Tara Foundation, which has saved more than 4,000 dogs. The organization was named after their first Golden Retriever, Tara, who they refer to as, “the greatest Golden Retriever the world has ever known.”

His nonfiction book, Lessons from Tara (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), is a delightful romp through humorous, touching memories of the special dog who taught him all of the lessons he needed to learn in life — from empathy to overcoming fear. Rosenfelt’s newest mystery, Blackout, will be available in January.

5 in 5: We ask, they answer — in 5 words or less …

  • Biggest writing influence: Robert Parker (author of the Spenser series of books) and Robert Greenwald (producer/director).
  • If you could go back in time, what would you do differently? Become a writer much sooner!
  • Your heroes: Muhammad Ali, Willie Mays, Rob Greenwald.
  • Most dogs at one time: 42. (Never again!)
  • Best advice to aspiring authors: Don’t aspire. Sit down, write.

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About the author: Stacy Mantle is an award-winning writer, founder of the popular website petsweekly.com, and best-selling author of the Shepherd series. When she’s not writing, she can be found assisting with TNR rescue missions or volunteering at rescue events. She currently resides in the deserts of the Southwest with several cats, a few dogs, and a very understanding husband. Visit her at stacymantle.com.