Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Tuesday morning I awoke to the news that the world of children's literature had lost the iconic illustrator, writer and recipient of the Caldecott and Newbery Medals, Maurice Sendak. He brought us wild things and a girl named Rosie.  He designed sets for the award-winning Pacific Northwest Ballet Company's production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite as well as the Houston Grand Opera Company's productions of Mozart's The Magic Flute and Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.

Sendak, a Brooklynite by birth, had a great love of dogs particularly German Shepherds.  I came across this fact when I purchased a copy of The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete.  At the time, we had adopted a German Shepherd Doberman Pinscher mix who was a bit of a handful and this book helped us 'train ourselves' in order to train him.  Imagine my delight to discover Maurice Sendak in this dog book.  The text talks about Runge, Sendak's canine companion at the time, their relationship and about the Monk's ongoing relationship with the writer/illustrator. 

It was George Carlin who said "Life is a series of dogs."  Deep down inside, Maurice Sendak must have felt the same way, too.  He suffered a heart attack during 1967, learned his mother had cancer and lost "the love of his life" his dog, Jenny.  Runge was born during the summer of 1984.  His current canine companion, Herman,  was named after Herman Melville.

Maurice Sendak - artist, illustrator, writer, set designer and dog lover, an incredibly talented man.  May your work in all mediums continue to speak to children and the child in all of us long after your passing.

Maurice Sendak with Max and Monster.


  1. My first thought when I heard of Sendak's passing was, "What of his German Shepherd?" Sendak had owned several GSDs to whom he was devoted; they were bred by the Monks of New Skete. When my uncle, a career canine unit police officer, passed away leaving two GSDs, they were inconsolable. His wife reported that one ate a phone. I'd like to hear more about the fate of Mr. Sendak's companion . . .

  2. That was my first thought as well, "What about his dog?" Specifically, I was concerned as to whether or not the dog had a new home to go to or would go back to the Monks. I'm sure Mr. Sendak made provisions for Herman. I did not report on this because I haven't found out anything. I will continue to check and post any information I come across.

  3. I love the picture that the New York Times featured of him in light of his passing --- with his beloved German Shepherd sweetly nearby. I own the book that you referenced, "The Art of Raising a Puppy," but have yet to read it in its' entirety --- now I'm inspired to.

    By the way, I'm new here. "Found" you through Dog Tipper. Looking forward to getting caught up via the archive!

  4. Welcome aboard & thanks for "dropping by", I hope you enjoy my archives & if you do, sign up to follow me.

    I loved the photo, I'm partial to Shepherds. I found the Monks' books very helpful. They have another one entitled "Divine Canine"; I'm thinking of purchasing it.

    I stopped by your site & enjoyed the few posts I read, I will definitely spend some time this weekend reading more!

  5. I found this blog while searching for an answer to the exact question "anonymous" asked, as a comment on a similar post of mine asked the same question and I've been wondering myself what happened to Herman. Like you, I would think that Sendak had made provisions for him, and if not, a dog from a breeder such as Herman's is sure to still be in contact with them in one fashion or another.

    If you'd like, you can see my post on Sendak here since I mentioned it.

  6. Read your post and looked at your really informative blog. Arie is beautiful!

    I'm sure Herman was provided for; Mr. Sendak was so attached to his canine companions I can't imagine him not designating a caregiver for Herman it would be nice to find some confirmation of that fact. 2 emails I sent to the Monks at New Skete went unanswered.