Pan is the man!

Who is your favorite literary character?

My all time favourite book it Peter Pan and Wendy. It has everything, mermaids, fairies, crocodiles, wild animals, flying, mystery, adventure and of course those fantastic pirates. Just looking at a map of neverland can get the imagination wondering and the writing juices flow. It is the ultimate in fantasy. It also has the best message in the end “To live would be an awfully big adventure”! It is certainly a message I take to heart. In this day and age when we are all so busy it is so important to find the time to actually live. Otherwise all we seem to do is exist. It is certainly a message I try to get across to my girls. We spend time just doing fun things, finding pictures in clouds, running in the wind, jumping in puddles, making cakes – to eat the batter, and just enjoying life. I certainly don;t believe parents should live through their kids, rather live with their kids. Do stuff that they love, dress up, play games, get out jigsaw puzzles, basically just be a kid with them.

Recently my eldest daughter had her very first book week parade. She had to dress up as her favourite character and the theme was “Champions Read”! Well she decided to go as Captain Hook! So my love of Peter Pan has indeed been passed on! She looked so cute in her pirate costume, complete with golden hook and she had an absolute ball. She was very proud of the fact that she was the only pirate in the school. No princesses for my girl, that has all been left to my little Miss, who frequently runs around the house in a Cinderella dress. Although she is often carrying a sword, so maybe a tough new aged Cinderella?

My girls have also been known to catch the dogs during these dress up game. Well they catch Stitch – who puts up with it, Obi is too smart for that. He will go down to the girl’s rooms for story time, but leaves when the costumes come out. Stitch is just happy to please!

So go on, enjoy things like you did because “To live is an awfully big adventure”!!!!

Labs ‘n Life Fundraiser

Labs ‘n Life and Ashley Howland are happy to announce a special fundraiser:

$16 each

(not including postage and handling)

For a short time $1 from every book sold will be donated to Labs ‘n Life to go towards the placement of Tug, Tramp and Scrooge.

To purchase a copy please contact Ashley at:

Promotion runs from 22/09/2012 to 1/01/2013 and includes orders placed during this time if available copies are sold out.


By Ashley Howland

Get ready for a ghastly, ghost-hunting mystery that will chill the very marrow in your bones! Ashley Howland makes her debut with a sensational spectral adventure that will ‘fright and delight’ kids and teens everywhere.

Ten-year-old Alex loves to explore, but when her younger brother is mysteriously ghostnapped on their camping trip at the beach, it is up to Alex and her trusty Labrador, Thuds, to investigate her brother’s sudden disappearance.

As she surveys the grassy hills and dangerous rocky cliffs near their camp, Alex uncovers a hidden secret to other disappearances that occurred at the very same campsite – over 50 years ago!

A chilling mystery that can only be solved by Alex, Thuds, and a ghost girl named Susan, Ghostnapped! explores mysteries of the past, present and beyond the grave.

                                 Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist

                                                          By Ashley Howland

Obi is a yellow Labrador who loves adventure, helping people and solving mysteries. He also       loves his kids, Maddy and Aijay. This is the story of his first adventure, his new family and how a mysterious red mist entered into his life. The evil red mist has many scary abilities, it can possess animals and toys, but who is behind it? Obi and some new friends must save the day before it is too late. Maddy and Aijay listen patiently as Obi relives this amazing tale and they learn how their faithful friend became a real super puppy.

Labs ‘n Life is a not for profit organisation that works with at risk youth to train Labradors as companion dogs for children on the autism spectrum. Labs ‘n Life do not charge for the placement of these dogs, however do need to raise money to cover costs. These families have a complete lifestyle change once the dog enters their lives. Tug, Scrooge and Tramp are currently training with families and will be placed permanently over the next few months. The money raised  from the sale of these books will go to assist these families with this transition. For more information see the Labs ‘n Life page on this blog, or go to the website in the links section.

My next character – Stitch!

New Links to my books

Check out Obi The Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist:

Please feel free to share <a href=”” target=”_blank”>review “Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist”</a> on

Check out Ghostnapped:

Please feel free to share <a href=”” target=”_blank”>review “Ghostnapped”</a> on

My next character – Stitch!

For a short time I will be donating $1 from every book sold to the palcement of Labs ‘n Lifes three newest companion dogs – Tug, Scrooge and Tramp. More details soon! Feel free to contct me here or at if there are any questions Cheers!

Character Profile – Obi – by Obi of course!!!!

I’m a  yellow labrador (is there any other kind??). I will be ten years old (human years) in September. Here is my amazing character profile:

Favourite food: Fritz, Turkey necks, Brisket bones, ice cream and anything else my human friends decide to throw my way.

Skills: Being the most obedient dog out there! Well okay, how about knowing how to be the most obedient dog, but only doing it when I feel like it!

Work: Labs ‘n Life – super hero supervisor!

Best friends: Rigger, he’s my buddy from way back. Trinity, she’s my gal. Stormy, and me go way back too. All the other Labs ‘n Life dogs and oh yeah Stitch – I live with him too!

 Likes: Going to school, walking around with the kids, being a clown and of course being adored!

Hates: Staying home, Stitch goiung out without me – unless he’s off to the vet, in that case – have fun Stitch!

Habits: Searching the yard, checking out the local area, maintaining a constant watch on the safety of my family!

Favourite places: My bed, especially after training all those puppies. The beach. Anywhere with a good view.

On training Stitch: Mmmmmmm well, he’s getting there. Okay I should be fair, he’s now trustworthy enough to let out occasionally without supervision, but he’s too soft, needs to man up a bit before I retire.

On Labs ‘n Life: Finally my very own super dog training camp is up and running, in full force all over South Australia. We’re even starting to train super hero labradors in Victoria. Next stop the world!

Past times: Sleeping, watching the puppies play and train, listening to stories, laughing at Stitch when he gets caught in the dress up games – he makes a good fairy, hahahahahahahahaha. I’m too smart for     that.

Best thing about working: I get to make kids smile everyday – and a few adults too! It is nice to be able to make people smile.

Future Ambitions: To have the complete Obi chronicles recorded – so get writing mum!!!! Also to eventually trust Stitch enough that I can just sit back and enjoy all my hard work!

Advice to other super dogs: Become a labrador – yellow, although we do accept really special black and chocolate labs, they just have to be prepared to train a bit harder – hahahahah. No it’s true!

If I could be anyone else: I wouldn’t!

Anything else: Check out my first book: Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist! By Ashley Howland

If you have already been smart enough to purchase and read a copy please take the time to place a review here:  That way other’s can read what you think about my first adventure.

Thanks for your time, no I’d better get off Mum’s blog, before she realises I’ve posted!!!!!

Remember WOL  – Woof Out Loud!!!!!!

Olympic Fever

We all love the Olympics. Lately our dogs have been competitng in the Labs ‘n Life companion dog olympics. Yes that’s right I have spent my spare time coming up with challenges like:

Tanna’s Tail Wag – most wags in 30secs

Stitch Says  – Simon says

Obi’s Obstacle course – Over, under, around and through

Blair’s Balloon Volleyball – says it all really, don’t pop the ball (in honour of those amazing Volleyroos!!!!)

Tramp’s Temptation Tower – leave the most amount of food!

An so on, the list is really quite amazing, if I do say so myself. Yes I know I am bordering on insanity, but my students know it’s best to humour me! Anyway today we had a real celebration. Sally Pearson won gold for Australia in the 100m hurdles – so cool!!!! So we taught the dogs to jump hurdles, check out the action here:

Okay so they’re not as quick as Super Sally, but it’s our salute to an Aussie Hero!!!!

Will try and video Blair’s balloon volleyball for all you Volleyroos fans. For those who don’t know Labs ‘n Life was often discussed inbetween volleyball matches. It is a sport that is very dear to our hearts and it was great to see the South Aussie boys playing in the Olympics and doing so well!!!

Tug Star

I have one of the most amazing jobs in the world. I work with at risk youth to train Labrador Retrievers as companion dogs for children on the autism spectrum. Working with these kids is incredible, to know where they come from and to see how they can transform themselves and their own lives by helping others. Labs ‘n Life here in South Australia is growing and growing. We reach kids each week that people have long since given up on and we engage them. Recently though I had the privlidge of seeing the next phase of our work. I got to take Tug, one of our newest companion dogs out to see his new family for the first time. To actually be involved in this phase really helped open my eyes. I know how much our dogs change the lives of the families they are placed, but to actually see it from the start was great. I have to say Tug is pretty amazing, and that’s all thanks to the training he has had by the kids in our program. He did everything we asked of him. He anchored when the kids tried to run across the road, he chased the balls they threw, he played hide and seek and he calmed the kids. All without instruction, he just knew what he had to do. Not bad for the whirlwind of a pup that still can be found running hot laps in the backyard. He is a boistorous boy, but he is also going to need that with these kids. Life will be hard, he is certainly going to earn his keep. However Tug will also bring a whole new world to this family, they will actually be able to go out, get some sleep and even eat their meals seated at a table. All the things us parents take for granted. It certainly makes me realise how lucky I am to have two perfectly healthy children.

Tug is not on his own at the moment. At Labs ‘n Life we also have Scrooge and Tramp, who will be placed soon. Scrooge and Tug are currenly undergoing training with their new families. Each week they go out to different locations and the families are realising how so many things they thought would be impossible with their children can soon become a reality. Tramp will be placed later in the year. So these three brothers are out there making a difference. As I am involved mainly with Tug’s training and placement I will keep you updated. I will also have an annoucement soon that is going to assist these beautiful boys in being placed with their families, so watch this space. Until then spare a thought for those families who find everyday life a struggle!