Everything for a Dog
Several years ago, I wrote a book called A Dog's Life, a story of the hardships endured by a stray dog named Squirrel. Squirrel and her brother Bone, born in a wheelbarrow in an abandoned shed, have a loving mother to protect them from injury and predators. But when Mother fails to return to the shed one day, Squirrel and Bone set off on their own, and are soon separated from each other. In A Dog's Life, Squirrel tells the story of her efforts to find food and stay safe, while searching for the brother she loves and misses.
After A Dog's Life was published, I received many letters from readers asking me to write about what happened to Bone. I thought this was a terrific idea, because I was just as curious as my readers were about Bone's life. I wasn't sure exactly what Bone's story would be until I read my (then) eight-year-old nephew Henry's Christmas list. It included twenty-four items, mostly the usual Game Boy requests, but it was item #9 that caught my eye. It simply said: dog. Further down on the list, #21, was: doghouse. The next item was: everything for a dog. That was when I knew that Bone's story would include a young boy (like Henry) who desperately wants to convince his parents that he would be a responsible dog owner.
In Everything for a Dog, Bone and Henry (yes, I named the character after my nephew!) take turns, along with a third narrator, telling the story. Bone demonstrates a strong sense of survival as he makes his way alone in the world, depending only upon himself and avoiding most human contact. But his life is destined to change when he crosses paths with Henry, who is immediately intrigued by this wary stray dog. Henry carefully creates a master plan that he hopes will result in getting him the one thing that he wants more than anything a dog of his own.
Long-time readers may know that my dog Sadie's mother, Magnolia, was a pregnant stray dog who was rescued from a highway median. I adopted Sadie, and all of her littermates also found loving homes, but it's disturbing to think what might have happened if someone hadn't found Magnolia. The area I live in has several very active rescue organizations, and I've been a volunteer foster caregiver for many years. I often have a mother cat and a kitten or two living with me until permanent homes can be found for them.
If you would like to read the story of Bone and Henry, you'll be happy to know that Everything for a Dog will be published this fall. The book will be available in your local library and bookstores, as well as in school book clubs and book fairs starting in September, along with Squirrel's story, A Dog's Life. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
P.S. FYI: Since my nephew lives in an apartment, he has yet to persuade his parents to let him have a dog, but he hasn't given up!