Interview with a local author: Pete and ‘Oscar and Gus’

By Sandi Teplitz
Special to HAKOL

Writer’s Note: My initial experience with Pete Barbour as a professional was taking my young son to him. He suffered with migraines, and Dr. Barbour was his physician. When I bumped into him recently, 30-some years later, I discovered his new vocation as a “bone-a-fide” (pun intended) author of two publications about dogs. I was intrigued ... I myself once was the proud parent of a Wheaten Terrier, so I could identify with his attraction to this breed. It seemed appropriate that I should conduct the interview on Oscar night, considering the latest book's title.

Sandi Teplitz: What is your background, vis-a-vis writing?

Pete Barbour: My first book, in the mid-1980s, was of a serious nature. It was called “Loose Ends” and involved my personal experience losing a father two times—one through divorce and one through death. I've had several other short stories published; my latest book, published just two months ago, involves interaction between my son's dog, Oscar, and my beloved Wheaten Terrier, Gus, of blessed memory.

ST: What is it about Wheaten Terriers that makes them a good topic for a book?

PB: My dog Gus was a non-shedding, loving dog, great with kids ... He also happened to match our downstairs carpet.

ST: Sounds like fun! But is that enough material for a book?

PB: At that point, no. But when my wife, Barbara, and I discovered that these dogs were originally sheep herders, we enrolled Gus in sheep-herding classes. I began drawing pictures of Gus, Barbara took photographs, and voila, this led to the publication of my first book about this breed, which I called “Gus at Work.”

ST: Great collaboration! How about your most recent venture into publishing?

PB: After three years, there was still a lot of interest from my readers in continuing this Wheaten saga. So when my now grown-up son, Jonathan, came to Allentown to visit and brought his own dog to our house, I realized that the interaction between the two canines would be a source of delight to my audience. This second book is more of an adventure story. I don't want to reveal too much though, or I'll spoil the ending.

ST: I can't wait to read the book ... what is the title?

PB: It's called “Oscar and Gus.” It has evolved to become a tale that illustrates compassion, tolerance and sharing.

ST: Compassion, tolerance and sharing ... noteworthy qualities for a neurologist, and a great segue into writing a children's book.

To order your personal copy, see Pete's website: