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Rowland releases hairy material in latest book

November 30, 2008|By JANET HEIM

BOONSBORO -- As a humor columnist for The Herald-Mail, Tim Rowland is used to being hounded by the public. His latest project, though, showcases the hounding he takes from his pets and farm animals.

"All Pets Are Off -- A Collection of Hairy Columns" is a compilation of about 10 years' worth of Rowland's columns, all featuring the wily antics of animals, including past and present pets, and wildlife. He said he came up with the title after his publisher, who happens to be his wife, rejected his first 10 title suggestions.

Rowland said he didn't start writing about animals until the 1990s, when he got a "psychotic cat -- I think that's redundant" named Bubba as a kitten from then-Lifestyle reporter Kate Coleman. Coleman assured Rowland that Bubba would be a calm cat.

Far from it, Bubba produced a lot of material for Rowland's column and Rowland said the response from readers was "off the charts," especially in comparison to his columns about local political issues.

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"When I write about animals, it hits a chord. This book is about animals, without the interference of the Washington County Sewer Department," Rowland said.

The cover features photos of Rowland's current dogs -- Hannah the bulldog on the front and Opie the bouvier des Flandres on the back. His Siamese cat, Julia, didn't make the cut.

"I made a deal with my animals: I'd forgive them their transgressions if they gave me good material for my column," Rowland said.

Rowland and his wife, Beth, live on 15 acres called Little Farm by the Creek near Boonsboro. They tend to alpacas, goats, cows, horses, chickens and donkeys, providing Rowland with an escape from his work.

"They can't talk politics, which is very refreshing. They're a lot less depressing than the news, which is what I have to put up with in my day job," Rowland said.

"All Pets Are Off" can be purchased for $14.95 at Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe in Boonsboro, Borders at The Centre at Hagerstown, Dogs R Us in Williamsport, the Animal Health Clinic in Funkstown and through Amazon.com. Autographed copies are available from Half Halt Press Inc. by calling 301-733-7119.

Rowland will sign copies of his book at St. Mary's Catholic Church Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 6, and Sunday, Dec. 7, in Hagerstown.

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