Mordecai Siegal was going to be a playwright. Then by chance he met dog trainer Matthew Margolis. Their first book together, “Good Dog, Bad Dog” (Henry Holt and Co.), published in 1971, was a runaway success. Now, more than 35 books later, his keyboard is silenced. Siegal, 75, a legend in pet writing, passed away April 1.
As president of the Dog Writers Association of America, from his perch in the press room at his beloved Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Siegal met and helped many writers hone their craft. It may have been just a few words of advice, or an introduction to an important contact, or to review a written piece.
He loved the written word. I saw his talents first-hand in “The View from Mordecai Siegal” — the column he wrote for Goodnewsforpets.com, which he helped me launch in 2000. As soon as he turned in his column, about events in the dog world or life in New York City, he wanted to know what I thought. Was the headline snappy enough? We would debate the placement of a comma or a reference. In the end, he was satisfied, and I had the privilege of working with that extraordinary talent.
He was president of the DWAA from 1994 to 2000 and was awarded the DWAA 2008 Hall of Fame Award for his decades of devotion to dog writing and the DWAA. He won the DWAA Distinquished Service Award in 1987 and in 2000, and numerous Maxwell Medallions for pet writing. He was an icon who knew how to give his gift to others. He will be missed. Farewell my friend.
Lea-Ann O’Hare Germinder, APR Fellow PRSA, is publisher of Goodnewsforpets.com, a member of the Dog Writer’s Association of America and publicity chair for the Cat Writers’ Association of America. She is also owner and president of Germinder & Associates, Inc., a public-relations consultancy specializing in pet issues and care.