June 15, 2012

Made It Moment: Barbara Ebel

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:48 am

The Chester the Chesapeake Trilogy

You don’t have to like dogs to like this Moment, but come on…who wouldn’t love a face like that?? (Chester’s, although Doc Barbara is a pretty lady, too).

I love hearing how writers come to their careers by incorporating other passions. In Doc’s case, it was her love of dogs, whom she trained as therapy pets. But as you can tell from her nickname, Doc also has a medical background. Fans of Robin Cook and his ilk would do well to check out Doc’s back list. But first read about Chester. How can you resist??

Barbara Ebel

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ve made it or it’s my dog, Chester, who’s made it!

When I first moved to Tennessee seven years ago, I had already been vigorously writing adult novels. Up to that time, I had been known as Doctor Ebel in the places and practices I had lived and worked, but in TN, my medical career became secondary.

One of my interests is raising and training dogs. I started working my Chesapeake Bay Retriever therapy dog in the region at nursing homes and schools and he started to take on a special place in people’s hearts. Along with that, the philanthropic woman lugging the dog around went from Doctor Ebel, a woman sometimes saving lives as an anesthesiologist, to “Doctor Barbara” or “Chester’s Mom.”

One day after a few queries were thrown my way and people learned I was an author, this remark resonated loudly: “Since you’re already an author, why don’t you write a children’s book about Chester? The kids already love him so!”

So, you know what’s coming. I did. I also took hundreds of pictures of the dogs, made the stories nonfiction with real photos, and wrote it from Chester’s point of view.

But here’s the endearing part where I made it first. After Chester the Chesapeake got into people’s hands, another question was posed to me: “When’s the next one?”

Well, my adult books with medicine sprinkled into the background of their plots have subsequently gotten their day in the sun, but now Chester has three!

So I guess this writer who is buried in a natural wildlife corridor writing mostly adult novels, has made it, but it’s Chester, my Chesapeake, who’s the celebrity. As it should be.

Barbara Ebel, M.D. is an anesthesiologist-turned-author who spreads pet therapy through middle Tennessee. Chester and her dog books are featured at dogbooksforchildren.weebly.com.

Doctor Barbara also writes adult medical genre novels and self-help. Her romantic suspense is Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR; her lengthy general fiction is Outcome, A Novel: There’s more than a hurricane coming…, and her book for healthy living is Younger Next Decade: After Fifty, the Transitional Decade, and What You Need to Know.

Barbara lives with her husband and pets in a protected wildlife corridor in Tennessee and continues to be a medical guest lecturer.


  1. What a star Chester is? This is a great thing you do, Barbara. Therapy dogs give so much and ask for so little. I’m glad Chester, and you, have brought joy to so many people. Keep writing.

    Comment by Kathleen Kaska — June 15, 2012 @ 9:06 am

  2. This dog has his own moment. Great.


    Comment by Arthur Levine — June 15, 2012 @ 9:21 am

  3. I know another Anesthesiologist who has become an author – perhaps there is a trend there! Chester is a handsome dog, and I am glad he is having his day!

    Comment by Connie J Jasperson — June 15, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  4. Barbara, I would say it’s a collaborative effort. Chester provides the color and you bring it to life. What a winning team.

    Comment by Nancy Morse — June 15, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  5. Dr. Barbara is one of my favorite people, and it’s nice to see her and Chester having a day in the spotlight. (And her books are good too!!)

    Thanks Jenny for bringing us this moment.

    Comment by mountainmama — June 15, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  6. Great Made It Moment, Doctor Barbara – and Chester is definitely a star!
    Jenny, thanks for another terrific Moment. And Barbara, thanks for sharing.
    Therapy dogs are wonderful, and so are the people like you who train them and bring them into other people’s lives.

    Comment by P.L. Blair — June 15, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  7. Doctor Barbara what a great moment for you and for Chester. You have made it as well because if it wasn’t for you there would be no Chester.

    Comment by Kellie — June 15, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  8. Great dog. Great story. I love it.

    Comment by Karyne Corum — June 15, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  9. This is a delightful post! I also like that she’s written to the 50 and older crowd in “Younger Next Decade: After Fifty, the Transitional Decade, and What You Need to Know.” That’s something we all will face eventually . . .

    Comment by C. Elizabeth — June 15, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  10. Fantastic Duo. Doctor Barbara and Chester, bringing kindness, care and joy to people. Bravo!

    Comment by Coco — June 15, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  11. Thank you all for your gracious comments and thanks Jenny for inviting US!

    By the way, if anyone is interested in training a dog to become a therapy dog, the two prominent organizations are Delta and TDI (Therapy Dogs International) or you can contact me from Chester’s contact page or my website (http://barbaraebel.weebly.com).

    Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — June 15, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  12. Animals in mystery fiction are a fine tradition. I can see a therapy dog like Chester being the star of such a novel. Congrats on your novel!

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — June 15, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  13. Jacqueline, funny you write that. I put one of my dogs with a subplot into each of my novels. Chester is in Operation Neurosurgeon but he’s renamed to “Dakota.” The funny scenes with him in it are true. One of my other dogs, Putt-Putt, is in Outcome, A Novel. He plays a major role and is described as he is but much of his encounter with a hurricane is fiction.

    Dogs are such a part of our everyday lives. Why not in our everyday reading?

    Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — June 16, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  14. What a lovely Moment!! Chester and the Doc make quite a dynamic duo!!

    Comment by Julie — June 19, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

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