Zelda, The Queen of Paris: The True Story of the Luckiest Dog in the World

Paul Chutkow

Lyons Press, 2011

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

One day a scraggly little street dog came begging at the back door of a young American couple living in New Delhi, India. She was painfully thin, with blotches on her coat from malnutrition, and she looked as though she hadn’t slept in weeks. But when the door opened, this strange little dog wagged her tail, put an endearing smile on her face, and charmed her way straight inside.

In India, shopkeepers usually shoo away wild street dogs—or worse—but this little creature was impossible to resist. She had humor, she had joie de vivre, and she had a devilish side that quickly earned her the name Zelda. And so it began: a magical odyssey that would carry this sassy urchin from the slums of India to the elegant gardens and parlors of Paris, to the sun-dappled beaches of Italy, and finally to the fabled hills and vineyards of California Wine Country. Zelda truly was “the luckiest dog in the world.”

But this is a story about far more than luck. It’s a story about dignity and courage, about how a generous heart and an indomitable spirit can lift you up, change your life, and lead you to happiness and even triumph. Zelda begins life as a homeless beggar girl, but thanks to her character and panache she becomes a star, known far and wide as the Queen of Paris, and a real-life heroine you will never forget. 


“Readers with strong connections to their pets will appreciate the author’s close bond with his dog…a modern day Pygmalion tale”
New York Journal of Books

“A heartwarming tale of a street dog from India and her faithful human companions…Chutkow weaves a tender, detail-rich story of how kindness and faith in the inherent goodness of an animal can turn a vagabond into a loving member of the family.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A grungy street dog turned world adventurer, with breeding, class, and spirit that comes from who knows where, Zelda is always out front, leading the Chutkow clan in this delightful tale from New Delhi to Paris to the wine country of Northern California. This dog’s got good karma!” 
Richard Mendelson, author of Wine in America and From Demon to Darling: A Legal History of Wine in America