Amber Polo's Blog

August 5, 2017

HealingWolf’s Medicine Wheel Lodge is a magical place. On ancient land once a sacred gathering place for Native Americans, later Morgan Earp's stagestop, a school, a home, and, for the last seventeen years, a sanctuary for wolves. 

Healing Wolf believes wolves are our teachers. She has raised Gray Wolves, Arctic Wolves, Timber Wolves, and now Tundra Wolves. Iroquois on her mother's side, HealingWolf received her name from her father when at a young age he found her healing a wolf. Since then wolves and all wildlife seek her out. She believes herself privileged to have worked with wolves since rescuing her first wolf in Tennessee.

Honoring all tribes, traditions, and relations, HealingWolf is foremost a teacher.

She and her husband Jon Bickis established Medicine Wheel Lodge in Rimrock, Arizona as a gathering place for people to slow down, learn, share, and heal, interacting with these magnificent ambassadors of nature.

The Wolves of Medicine Wheel Lodge Dakota, after serious abuse at a fur farm, came to Medicine Wheel Lodge from a shelter where he would have been euthanized. Rescued at 1 1/2 years, he’s had serious medical issues but is now a huge healthy adult male who’s learned he is safe forever.Kira, an abused female now 6, has slowly overcome her fear of men and serious distress issues.Mahota and Jhertoma (Tundra wolves) were rescued as 4 month-old-pups after their mother was killed. With no history of human abuse, they are true ambassadors of wolf magic.

All four wolves came to HealingWolf through an informal network of wolf rescuers. Education for Animal Rescue
HealingWolf considers herself a voice for animals and dreams of a time when all animals wild and domestic are safe. A supporter of wolf reintroduction and all forms of animal rescue, she speaks strongly against the breeding of wolves and wolfdogs for pets and sale. Wolves and part-wolves are not pets. You can’t “own” any wild animal. She urges people who want an amazing companion to seek a needy one in their local shelter.

Caring for wolves and wolfdogs is difficult and expensive. Veterinary care must come to you and surgeries are difficult. Wolves and wolfdogs are not dogs and can easily escape ordinary pens. She has erected heavy 10-foot-high fenced runs with double gates and concrete bases 3 feet into the ground and provided dens. Keeping them healthy and safe is ongoing full time work.

HealingWolf urges all who love wolves to support rescue groups run by those who are doing the work of preserving wolves in the wild and caring for all animals in captivity who can never survive in the wild. 

Visits to Medicine Wheel Lodge
Visitors and retreat groups from all over the world and people of all beliefs open their hearts to animals. HealingWolf and her wolves teach respect and love for all wild and domestic animals through physical interactions. 

For more information about Medicine Wheel Lodge and Native American Sacred Hoop (the 501(c)3 non-profit). Donations are appreciated for rescue, food, and veterinary care, as well as educational work. 

To schedule a visit to Medicine Wheel Lodge in Rimrock, AZ call (928) 592-0588 or email (All visits are scheduled to the best benefit of the wolves.)


Published in another form in the August-September 2017 issue of the Flagstaff-Sedona Dog.
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Published on August 05, 2017 15:09 • 1 view

July 16, 2017
Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust by Michael Hingson. Thomas Nelson, 2012.

On September 11, 2001, a guide dog led a blind man down 78 flights of stairs and safely out of the World Trade Center's North Tower.

Roselle, Mike Hingson’s guide dog, was raised in California at Guide Dogs for the Blind away from storms. Now living on the East Coast, thunder frightened her - but not much else.

Mike tells the story of that September day from the morning thunder, to their taxi ride to the train station, and trip to his office. Preparing a sales presentation, he felt the building sway. He shut down computers until it was clear he and Roselle must leave with his colleague David. Mike was prepared, had taken training, and knew how to exit the building in an emergency. From Room 7827 down 1,463 stairs.

Burn victims pass them. Mike jokes that if the lights go out a blind man and his dog with help them, His humor calms the fearful . Roselle breaks her training and kisses a firefighter’s hand. Perhaps his last touch. Sightless, Mike describes the chaos around him. And trusts Roselle to do her job and lead him to safety. Outside he describes the smoke, falling glass, and ash.
An inspirational story, showing the trust and courage of the man and the dog and that saved them both. Truly an heroic team.

Running with Roselle: How a Blind Boy and a Puppy Grew Up, Became Best Friends, and Together Survived One of America’s Darkest Days by Michael Hingson with Jeanette Hanscome. Roselle's Dream Foundation, 2013.

Written for children age 8 and up, Running with Roselle is the story of Mike Hingson and his guide dog Roselle and their 9/11 escape from the World Trade Center. The book does not talk down to kids and adult dog lovers might like it even more than Thunder Dog, for it contains more information on the training of a guide dog.

Told alternately, by man and dog, the story begins with a boy growing up with parents who worked hard to ignore their son's disability. He never let his disability hold him back and shares what blindness is like. As a boy he rode a bicycle and later drove a car (with a sighted friend’s assistance). He went to public schools, received his first guide dog at 14, attended college, and earned a graduate degree in Physics.

Roselle tells her story through the imagined eyes of a soon-to-be guide dog at GDB headquarters. From birth as a Guide Dogs for the Blind yellow Labrador Retriever puppy, through meeting her puppy raisers, her rigorous training, graduation and being matched with Mike. They become a team.
The issues of 9/11 and their escape is presented in a thoughtful manner and teaches appreciation of what service dogs can do.

Guide Dogs for the Blind retired the name “Roselle” as a guide dog name in 2007. Roselle lived until the age of 14.

Michael Hingson lives in Novato, California with his wife, Karen, his guide dog Africa, and Africa's mother Fantasia. When he isn't traveling the world with Africa speaking and teaching, he enjoys playing with his dogs, cooking.

In 2011 Hingson started Roselle's Dream Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to help society understand that blindness is not the characteristic that holds anyone back from achieving all they wish to be. It provides scholarships to assist blind students, especially elementary and high school, to secure needed assistive technology to help them further their education.
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Published on July 16, 2017 13:53 • 58 views

July 14, 2017

 Doris McFadden & Guide Dogs for the Blind

In 1942 long time Camp Verde, Arizona resident Doris McFadden lived in Richmond, California. A 12-year-old dog crazy girl, she helped at a Dalmatian kennel near her home. The kennel owner gave her the opportunity to learn about the world of dogs. At a San Francisco dog show she heard about the new organization called Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB). At the time GDB accepted dogs to be trained and Doris even wanted to donate her own pet to the program.
The Dalmatian kennel’s owner brought two young pups into her home and Doris came daily to care for a 2-month-old Belgian Shepherd. From this solid beginning her love of dogs and dog training blossomed. Doris says, "It was a great experience. And taught me responsibility and stimulated my serious interest in dogs."

In June Doris traveled back to California to be honored by Guide Dogs for the Blind during their  75th (1942-2017) Anniversary celebration. She toured their facility and was participated in puppy socialization, met volunteers and toured the campus. She had lunch with staff, including a class supervisor trainer, where she asked questions and shared her history of dog training and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

In 1942 when wounded servicemen were returning from World War II, Guide Dogs for the Blind was the first West Coast school to train guide dogs. GDB has provided 14,000 guide dog teams (2,200 currently active) and 1,015,000 volunteer hours of service at no cost to students.

A key part of GDB’s program is volunteer puppy raisers and puppy raiser clubs. Pups aged 2-14 months live in a home and learn about the world. Puppy raisers receive a pup at approximately 8 weeks old and teach the puppy good manners and basic obedience in a home environment. CocoPups of Flagstaff is a GDB puppy raiser club. Their members expose pups to a wide variety of experiences including puppy socialization parties, public transportation, city traffic, even a Diamondbacks game.

Back in California after formal training in guide work learning over 35 commands, such as “Find the Door,” successful dogs begin a residential course with their blind partner. GDB estimates it costs about $40,000 to graduate a team. After that GDB provides lifetime support.

Over the years, Doris owned many dogs and trained even more for others in the Verde Valley. She taught dog obedience in Camp Verde and competed in trials most recently with her Australian Shepherd, and became active in Greyhounds of the Verde Valley after adopting a retired racing Greyhound.

Her interest in animals includes wolf advocacy. She serves on Board of Directors of the U.S. Wolf Refuge in Sparks, Nevada and helps with visitors at the Medicine Wheel Lodge wolf refuge in Rimrock.

Seventy-five years after training that pup for GDB, Doris is still dog crazy and still teaching owners to train their dogs. Although Doris’s pup never graduated, the Guide Dogs for the Blind’s CocoPups of Flagstaff puppy raising group recently honored Doris with a pin awarded to a puppy raiser when their dog returns to San Rafael for formal training.

Amber Polo

A form of this article was published in the June-July 2017 issue of the Flagstaff-Sedona Dog.

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Published on July 14, 2017 13:42 • 4 views

February 16, 2017

Ever Read a Series Backwards?
I will never be able to read my own books for the first time. Can't happen.
But, if I could, I'd love to read The Shapeshifters' Librarybackwards. I'd start with my personal favorite Reprinted (Book 4). FIRST!

I feel a lot of fantasy readers would have fun doing just that. If that idea makes you cringe and whimper, it's not for you. Just stop reading.

But, if you're intrigued - Here's the challenge!
I'm looking for a fantasy reader who has NOT read any of the four books in my series.
Must love dogsAdore librariesPossess a quirky imaginationHave an open mind about werewolves
If that's a fit, send me an email and I’ll give you Reprinted (Book 4 in my series) in the ebook format of your choice.
Read it. Tell me what you think. l send you Book 3. Same deal. Next Book 2... Then Book 3...
And finally after you've read the FINAL three books, you get BOOK 1 - Released. Let me blog about your experience and together we might start a new trend.
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Published on February 16, 2017 03:00 • 15 views

February 9, 2017

Amber Polo's
Love, Serendipity & Chocolate

Indulge me as a republish my annual Valentines Day post:           
       Once upon a time, in 1994, I was the marketing manager for a Boston conference audio-taping company. My boss’s Polish wife decided to throw a party. Registered for a weekend regional Mensa conference at a hotel west of Boston, I was more interested in getting away from my co-workers than socializing with them. But, when your boss has a party, you go, even if the weather is awful and you know traffic to the west suburbs will be hell.
            So I ate Jolanta’s thick potato soup and dark bread and waited for the earliest polite moment to leave. At last, blocking the door, she told me I must take sweet treats with me. I opened my briefcase and she dropped in a handful of candy. I smiled and ran down the steps to head into Friday rush hour traffic.
            At the hotel Regional Gathering on Friday evening I met old friends. On Saturday morning I had my first ever tarot card reading. Still trying to make sense of the intricate cards, I walked into the Clear Thinking Workshop. I was not particularly interested in thinking; Thinking meant questions and I wanted answers. What did the future hold for me, my career, my fortune, and, most of all, my love life? Was it too much to hope to meet the love of my life? And soon?
            Sitting next to me, with obviously a more serious interest in clear thinking, was Vince Polo, an attractive, age-appropriate man from Maryland with a big smile. Vince and I left the workshop and over the next six hours drank a lot of coffee, discussed our lives, and shared personal stories and feelings. Vince’s intelligence, sense of humor, good looks, honesty, and his intense interest in me were irresistible. He stayed for the evening banquet, returned for sessions on Sunday and decided to stay in Boston for another day so we could have dinner on Monday evening.
            Sunday night, as I was unpacking my weekend luggage, I up-ended my bag and out fell two “Prince Polo Krunche wafel z kremem Kakawym oblewane naturalna Czekolada” candy bars in gold foil wrappers.
Had I found my prince?
Here's a photo from our Arizona wedding!

            A Polish deli near Sedona’s Well Red Coyote bookstore (now sadly closed) stocks Prince Polo chocolate-covered wafer candy bars. And like all the Polish people I've questioned, the deli owners agree the candy bars have been around forever and the name has no significance.
Little did I know back then that I've ever write a paranormal romance novel or a fantasy.

See what Wikipedia says 
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Published on February 09, 2017 08:30 • 5 views

January 27, 2017

The Shapeshifters’ Library Series

Light fantasy  for the dog lover who lusts for books adores libraries.
Comic villains, smart sweet heroines, and brave intelligent heroes
share a world where dogs talk and librarians battle werewolves to protect knowledge.

Meet my cover models - three boys and one lovely lady:  Chronus, the Old English Sheepdog hero of Released (he's the image of Jonathan, my forever dog) Cynerik, the Mastiff hero of Retrieved Bliss, the brave beautiful heroine of Recovered Pacifico, the smallest but smartest, hero of Reprinted heads for the Caribbean
Each has a story to tell and in human form are as enchanting as when they change into four legged beings: Chronus, Headmaster of the hidden academy in Released Cynerik, archaeologist hero in Retrieved Bliss,  children's librarian heroine in Recovered Pacifico, computer guru, millionaire, smartest hero in Reprinted                Special series pricing beginning January 28th

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Published on January 27, 2017 09:57 • 12 views

January 2, 2017

January 3rd - Festival of Sleep Day!  The writer's goal is not to put readers to sleep.But when I teach relaxation that is sometimes my student's goal. In April I uploaded my Prelude to Sleep audio to Insight Timer's Free Guided Meditations. This year over 7,000 people have tried it and the reviews are great!
(Not sure how a sleeper can review, but I am not complaining.)

Try Prelude to Sleep.
Insight Timer is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. (free or with an optional upgrades) 
 Prelude to Sleep is also available as audio download track and even an old-fashioned CD. Buy Links   iTunes cdbaby CD album and MP3 download Amazon CD

   Insight Timer – Meditation Timer
I love this app! The bell quality is excellent. The options to set presets of times and bells is amazing. I can set the time I want to meditate, the number of beginning and ending bells, and choose interval bells - random bells to call my mind back from random thinking. Seeing who in the world is meditating now is nice support if you need reminders that you are not alone.
Developers say 1,400,000  meditators worldwide call Insight home and every day the community generates over 30,000 hours  of collective meditation.
Insight Timer is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play (free or with  optional upgrades)
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Published on January 02, 2017 03:00 • 10 views

December 23, 2016

Fly Off to a Caribbean Island for Christmas?
Christmas on Wherever Island by Amber Polo
A Magic Santa brings Caribbean Christmas Joy!
Marti Bell is facing the prospect of a very unmerry Christmas. Reluctantly, leaving her married lover she travels toward ice, snow, and judgmental family until a magic Santa sends her to a surprise destination in the warm waters of the Caribbean.  
Wherever Island would be a winter paradise except the only place to stay is the beachside cottage of romantic globetrotting photographer Cliff Holmes. Cliff wants to unwind and treat Marti to a little romantic Caribbean Christmas fun but she’s determined to stay in the warm ocean and out of hot water. 

  “Not only is the setting sensational, the hero will sweep you off your feet…this is one story I can read every Christmas season. …a great happily ever after story.”  Gotta Read Reviews

99 cents - Novella in ebook only Christmas on Wherever Island
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Published on December 23, 2016 10:51 • 5 views

December 12, 2016

The Magic Trees of Sedona       Something magical happens in Sedona every December.  Well since it’s Sedona, let’s say something more magical happens in December.  Along Highway 179, between Bell Rock and the Town of Sedona, Christmas trees appear along the road.  They just appear.  One day they’re not there and the next morning they are.  Not ordinary Christmas trees, these are heavy with thick tinsel garlands and bright round balls.  Each tree is different but they all seem to be decorated in the same style, as if there were a plan.  This year among the reds and greens, silvers and golds, and purples and blues, there are many covered with red, white, and blue garlands and ornaments. 
          Since the trees appear on Coconino National Forest land where federal regulations require visitors to stay on the trails, decorating trees isn’t allowed.  It is rumored that families sneak along the road late at night with boxes of decorations, but that rumor is harder to believe than magic.
          Wherever these magic trees come from, they disappear as mysteriously as they appear.  On New Year’s Day there are no trees.  If you look carefully you might find a few shards of a red or silver ornament or a bit of glittery purple tinsel, but the trees are gone.  The red rocks and the green trees are still there and still magnificent, but they seem a little drab for a few days.                               


I wrote this in 2001. The trees no longer appear. The nature-loving people of Sedona have stopped decorating forest trees for fear birds will be attracted to the glittering decorations, eat, and die. So let's keep our trees indoors or with animal friendly decorations.
Christmas trees are the best part of Christmas. Here's a repeat post of my trip to Albuquerque in 2014 and the great Christmas tree in Old Town Albuquerque.


What Do 135 Christmas Trees Look Like?The weekend before Thanksgiving in 2014 I went to Albuquerque for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards banquet. As an aside my book Heads in the Clouds did win the Romance category. But even without that thrill spending a weekend in Old Town Albuquerque at the elegant Hotel Albuquerque was a delight.

Shops, museums, art, lots of jewelry. And chilies – hanging from rafters and mixed into luscious New Mexico dishes.While visiting the historic old San Felipe de Neri church on the Old Plaza, I noticed a tall pole with skeleton-like protrusions in the Plaza Don Luis. Left over from the Day of the Dead celebration? I didn't think so.

When a bucket truck arrived and placed a pine tree on the top, I asked the clerk at the gift shop, located in the Sister Blandina Company that once housed the Sisters of Charity, what was happening. Then I saw a flatbed truck pull up with a lot more, really a lot more, trees. And workers began inserting trees into the skeleton from the top down.
As the day progressed, so did the tree, until one hundred and thirty-five (135) trees merged into one gigantic tree.

Workers continued to decorate the the tree with lights, white snowflakes, and red bows until the glorious tree was complete!
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Published on December 12, 2016 08:19 • 5 views

December 2, 2016

The Shapeshifters’ Library Series

Light fantasy  for the dog lover who lusts for books adores libraries.
Comic villains, smart sweet heroines, and brave intelligent heroes
share a world where dogs talk and librarians battle werewolves to protect knowledge.
I've been busy training dogs for my NEW covers!

They're all gentle sweeties, but sometimes get bored posing for covers.

Meet my cover models - three boys and one lovely lady:  Chronus, the Old English Sheepdog hero of Released (he's the image of Jonathan, my forever dog) Cynerik, the Mastiff hero of Retrieved Bliss, the brave beautiful heroine of Recovered Pacifico, the smallest but smartest, hero of Reprinted heads for the Caribbean
Each has a story to tell and in human form are as enchanting as when they change into four legged beings.

Now scroll down to see this season's gifts. A free Christmas romance novella, perfect with a pumpkin latte (or a rum punch). And a Goodreads Giveaway.

Thanks for letting me share my news and please tell your friends, Amber  Read for FREE through the season
Christmas on Wherever Island
is the "warmest" story I've written.
Maybe it was the season, but a lonely northern girl
needed to find herself on a sunny island with a hot hero. Amazon Kindle
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Goodreads Book Giveaway Reprinted by Amber Polo Reprinted by Amber Polo Giveaway ends December 09, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway
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Published on December 02, 2016 09:11 • 4 views