3 years ago, I brought this smiling pup home with no idea what I was getting into. I had never had a pet, let alone a puppy. I was clueless and I needed all the help I could get to make it through the first few weeks. That help came in the form of the staff at The Mutt Hutt (god bless them for not wanting kill me after days of constant emailing), Victoria Stillwell of It’s Me or the Dog, and a book entitled Puppy Preschool. After a while the 7 month old, 25 pound, ball of energy who came to be known as Henry J. Puppypants stopped ruling my life and started fitting into it. We stopped have house training accidents and (with a lot of patience and practice) started having a dog who listened and followed commands. It was a slow process, there were bumps and chewed flip-flops along the way, but we got through it.
In the time since, I’ve fostered 14 other dog (helping find homes for 4 along the way), joined the board of Secondhand Mutts and started working at Embrace Pet Insurance– all things I wouldn’t have thought possible before bringing Henry home. Now, I’ve reached another milestone. I wrote and designed a puppy book. Yup, that’s right. The girl who knew nothing 3 years ago is now giving other’s advice on how to raise a puppy.
This was a project for work- one that I find thoroughly daunting when it was given to me. How could I write a puppy book? After a short moment of dread, I knew the answer was simple. I started with research. Rereading Puppy Preschool, picking up other puppy books (especially ones written by vets or other companies similar to Embrace), and scouring the internet for the best information I could find. Then I wrote an outline- picking out the topics I found most important when raising MY puppy. Then I started writing… and writing… and writing. We wanted the book to be approachable- a good reference but not overwhelming. Something vets could provide clients in their puppy kits. When I saw done I had over 30 typed pages of content. Who knew there was so much to say and that I could say it?! Then the book went to my manager for edits and we cut it down to 24 pages with pictures. Finally, I started to design. I am in no way a graphic designer but I enjoy content layout, understand inDesign, and like to think that I have a good eye for what is aesthetically pleasing.
Between the writing and design, this is most definitely the biggest project I have ever done and it’s likely to have the farthest reach. We’ll be sending this book to vets across the country. New pet parents in need of guidance when their puppy is chewing up flip flops and pooping in the house, just like mine did, will turn to this book and my writing for wisdom. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! Last week, the finally printed product came in to the office. I left like a proud mama- the book was my baby…
I’ve come a long way from that girl emailing the staff at The Mutt Hutt and watching endless hours of It’s Me or the Dog. I am in NO WAY an expert and would never claim to be. However, I can’t help but smile when I see my name on the inside cover of this book. To date, it’s one of my biggest accomplishments. Hopefully, one of many to come!