Bruce, how did a radio talk show host get involved in writing
honest, it was not planned. Once Tami & I rescued Hobbes in
2009, & we added him to the radio station, people heard about his
background (in being a domestic violence survivor.) Folks from
around the world began contacting us & wanted to know
his story. As our exposure grew, the more popular the show,
"The Wake-Up Crew with Bruce & Hobbes," became.
Hobbes was a
tough, little dog and a survivor. He had been
beaten, almost to death, by a man and his children, and as the show
grew in popularity, people were drawn to us. We heard their
inspiring stories about overcoming bullying, abuse & domestic
violence, and realized Hobbes had a story of his own to tell. Even though
I was a DJ, not an author, and certainly not an expert on bullying or domestic
violence, I soon realized I needed to be his voice, and share his story with
the world. "Hobbes Goes Home," is Hobbes' story, and what makes
it so special, is that we didn't write the book - we lived
it. It's powerful, and a story almost anyone can relate
to. Tami had written children's stories before, and we were able to
collaborate on our project.
Your book is about dog adoption and of a dog, Hobbes, that you saved
from domestic abuse and loved until his recent passing. Can you tell us
Tami & I rescued Hobbes, we had no intention of getting a
dog. We had just relocated back to Vermont, and had a number of things
going on, including my new job at 92.1 WVTK in Middlebury, as the host of
"The Wake-Up Crew." I had been there about a week, when I
received a call from Homeward Bound, Addison County's Humane Society,
about a tiny, brown dachshund who was in terrible shape. While
we weren't planning on adding a new pup, because my family has had dachshunds
for over 60 years, I went to the Humane Society to help this pup find a
was horrified to see his condition when I arrived. Hobbes had
bloody, red welts all over his tiny body, and a collar embedded in his
neck. Shocked at how bad he looked; I knew I couldn't leave him
there. After a quick call to my wife, Tami, we adopted him on the spot,
and named him Hobbes.
we brought him home, we learned he was terrified of men. We left Hobbie
alone that afternoon, and eventually, he started looking out from
under the furniture. At one point, I said to him, "This is your
house, and these are your toys. This is your bed, and your dish and
bowl. I'm your dad, and you're safe now. No one will EVER hurt you
again." About an hour after I did this, he sprinted out from under
one of the chairs, hopped on the couch, and let out a huge sigh - almost like
he knew, he was FINALLY home.
Hobbes joined you on your radio show as well. He joined you into the
Radio Hall of Fame as a broadcaster. Has that ever happened before?
in 2009, was a new radio station, and wasn't making much money. It needed
to make money to survive, and so in December, 2009, I approached Ken Barlow,
the visionary Managing Partner of Vox Media, and told him I wanted to do
"The Wake-Up Crew," with Hobbes. I was worried he would think I
was crazy, but I also believed, completely, the show would work - and I was
had done my research, and a show with a canine as a full-fledged, morning
radio show host had never been tried before. I was nervous about asking
Ken, but once I did, he gave his blessing, and the show launched in
long after Hobbes joined the show, the station's ratings and revenue exploded,
and the "Wake-Up Crew with Bruce & Hobbes" quickly became the #1
rated morning show in Addison County, where it remains to this day. With
the show's launch, Hobbes made history as the FIRST canine morning radio show
star in American history.
the course of our time together, Hobbes & I accomplished quite a
bit. In 2012, Hobbes & I were honored by the Vermont Association of
Broadcasters with the prestigious, Alan Noyes Award, recognizing our
commitment to community service. We were also honored by
the Vermont Legislature in 2012, and again in 2016, for our work on behalf
of animals. During our 11 years together, Hobbes & I helped thousands
of animals find homes, raised over $500,000 for Homeward Bound, &
donated over $300,000 in free airtime to animal-related causes.
Hobbes was also an honorary Police K9 in Middlebury, Bristol and Vergennes,
Vermont, a deputy sheriff with the Addison County Sheriff's Department, and the
"Fire Dog," for the New Haven Volunteer Fire Dept.
the most famous canine the state of Vermont has ever had, Hobbes
also joined me in speaking to students across the nation about
humane education, animal welfare, compassion, kindness, anti-bullying
efforts, & preventing animal cruelty.
2014, Hobbes & I began a nationwide book tour,
reading our story, “Hobbes Goes Home” in
schools. We visited about 250 schools, and had more
scheduled. Unfortunately, with Hobbes’ passing on July 28, 2020, and
the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was put on hold, although it is about to
the day he passed, Hobbes was honored with a full, police escort by the Vermont
State Police and the Addison County's Sheriff's department on his way
to the funeral home. Along the way, people lined the streets to pay
tribute to him, on what was the most emotional day of our lives.
July 28, 2021, Vermont Governor Phil Scott declared the day, "Hobbes
Remembrance Day," across the state, the first time in history a rescue dog
was honored with such a proclamation. In
December 2021, Hobbes & I received the ULTIMATE honor for
broadcasters, when we were elected into the Vermont Association
of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. With Hobbes induction, he became the first
dog in American history inducted into a broadcasting hall-of-fame.
What was it like doing your show with your best four-legged friend?
the show with Hobbie was incredible. We had so much fun every morning that it
never seemed like work. Between the pranks, guests, music and chaos
Hobbes caused, no day was ever the same, It may sound crazy, but I have no
doubt he understood me, and knew he was the star. It was his show, and
our listeners were "his people." Hobbie knew commands, and
would bark, and make noise when I told him to, as long as he got cookies, which
I was wise enough to always have on hand. He was a favorite of our sales
staff, and made the office a great place to be.
also made the show so special was how invested our listeners were and are. They
loved Hobbes, and ANYTHING he did on social media was a huge success.
From our fundraisers, to "Ca$h for Paws," we did EVERYTHING together,
and it was a tremendous amount of fun.
How can people get involved in dog adoption and support the cause to
help rescue millions of dogs?
found the best way is to get involved with your local shelter and / or rescue
group. Volunteering your time to help at the shelter, fostering animals
or donating. Hobbes was rescued by Homeward Bound, Addison County's Humane
Society, and his legacy is helping that shelter through "Ca$h for
Paws," (a 24-hour radiothon to raise money, which has generated
$125,000 in 7 years) and donations from the sale of "Hobbes Goes
Home." Even in 2023, almost 100% of the profits from sales of the
book are donated, or used to fund our animal rescue work. If people want
to get a copy of "Hobbes Goes Home," they can visit www.bruceandhobbes.com. Folks can also connect with us by visiting,
"Bruce & Hobbes - Your Two Best Buddies," on Facebook.
Your book received wild praise from The White House and celebrities.
Drop a few names on us. Were you shocked to get their attention?
soon as the book came out, it received a tremendous amount of media attention
because of the important topics it addresses, in a kid-friendly manner.
Anti-bullying, domestic violence, empathy, compassion, tolerance, hope, the
importance of family, and kindness are all brought into our "true"
story. Several educators have called "Hobbes Goes Home,"
"One of the most important children's books ever written," which is
quite an honor. When we launched our tour, & went into schools, the publicity
was crazy. At one point, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin sent the book to
President Barack Obama, who wrote us a letter telling us how important he
thought the book was. Many other celebrities (below) also told us how
much they LOVED the book because of its positivity, and the way it covers such
critically important social issues for children.
Vermont Governor, Jim Douglas,
Senator, Peter Welch,
Governor, Phil Scott,
Co-Founder, Ingrid Newkirk,
Defense of Animals Founder, Elliot Katz,
Friedrich, Member, U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame
Jeremy Holm - "House of Cards,"
/ Director, Colin A. Borden - "Dhar Man Videos,"
Publicist, Michael Caprio,
for the attention we received, we were surprised, and happy. Tami & I knew
we had written a powerful, important book, and were glad other people agreed,
and could relate to it. It was great getting celebrity attention, but it
was the parents, teachers, child-welfare advocates, educators, politicians,
animal welfare advocates, and the kids themselves, who contacted us, and shared
how important the book was to them, who made our efforts worth it.
You visited hundreds of schools together. What messages were you
seeking to get across at these events?
extensive media coverage of "Hobbes Goes Home," led to schools all
over the country contacting us. By last count, we visited about 250
schools in 11 states, and the buzz about the book remains palpable.
Seldom have we visited a school, when we did not receive a standing ovation
after the presentation. There's also not usually many dry eyes either, as
people follow Hobbes on his journey from being abandoned at the shelter, to
becoming a cherished family member.
the book has several important messages: anti-bullying, anti-domestic
violence, empathy, compassion, hope, tolerance, the importance of family, and
kindness, it also drives home a very simple premise - one person can change the
world through his or her actions. Based on the incredible response the
book received, we feel it's safe to say people agree with us. These
important themes, and many others, will be recurring themes, as the
"Hobbes" series continues.
Any advice to someone who wants to adopt a dog?
adopting, do the research on what's involved in bringing a new, companion
animal into your home, Make sure you have the time, resources &
commitment to have a new canine friend. Dogs are family members, and not
disposable objects. If you're going to adopt one, make sure you know what
you're getting into, and be prepared to love that pup with all your heart,
because he or she deserves nothing less, given the unconditional love they give
How about some advice to someone who wants to become a radio host or
either a radio host, or author, is beyond exciting. Do what you're
passionate about, and be invested in what you do. Whether it's "on
the air," or on a printed page, speak (or write) from the heart, to
connect with people, and you will be successful. "Hobbes Goes
Home," is the first book in a planned series about Hobbes & his
adventures with us. Based on the incredible response we've received from
this first book, we know people are passionately invested in our story, and
believe in what we're doing, to help kids & animals. Once people
"believe" in your message, regardless of your medium, you've hit a
home run! We're excited about what we've done with "Hobbes Goes
Home," and look forward to continuing our work with our next book,
"Hobbes Goes to Work," which has equally important messages about
making our world a better place!
About The Author: Bruce Zeman is an award-winning, national radio show host,
who is also a member of the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of
Fame. Along with Hobbes, also a member of the VAB Hall of Fame, the duo
was the first human / canine broadcast duo in American history. He is
also an author, speaker and animal welfare activist who has helped animals for
over 35 years. Bruce and his wife Tami, also an animal welfare activist,
author, and award-winning photographer, wrote "Hobbes Goes Home" to
help children understand important issues - bullying, adoption, tolerance,
empathy, compassion for animals, kindness and the importance of family - that
many of them face daily. The Zeman's didn't just write "Hobbes Goes
Home," - they've lived it. The couple resides in New Haven, Vermont,
with Hobbes' canine sisters Zoey & Olivia, brother Calvin & feline big brother,
Willie. For more information, please see: www.bruceandhobbes.com.
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