With all the snow at his home in Ontario, Canada right now, the energetic little puff ball known as Henry blends right into the background.
Then you’ll catch a glimpse of him – a quick bounce, a sharp bark. There he is!
He’s certainly difficult to resist. Who wouldn’t want to give those fluffy little lamb chops a quick tousle?
And the same goes for Henry’s darling sister Reese. She was adopted into the family after beginning her life in a puppy mill.
“She has a haunted background,” said Sarah Parker (a.k.a. Sadie), author and illustrator of the book Henry Says ‘Hello.’ “Thankfully we were able to rehabilitate her, although it did take quite some time.”
Reese now has a pretty sweet life full of fetch, fun and frou-frou treats. Okay, she’s a bit spoiled – and happy.
However, Reese is still quite timid and wary when outside her comfort zone. She really needs her space in strange situations and around unfamiliar people. And that’s a tough thing to explain to loving little ones, with good intentions, who may be more in her face than she can handle.
It just goes to show, even if a dog has a teddy bear exterior, you never know what their demeanor will be. They come from so many different backgrounds.
“So depending on who the owner is and how the dog was raised, it can even be aggressive.”
That’s why Sarah decided to write the book.
“It concerned me that children weren’t getting enough awareness and education,” said Sarah. “This is a way to protect children from injury, and dogs from being put to sleep as a result of a bite. It can all be avoided.”
Henry Says ‘Hello,’ which deals with perceptions and misconceptions, is also intended for adults.
“It’s meant for parents to read to children, and I hope the parents will get something out of it too,” said Sarah.
With its stunning illustrations, the goal of the book is to teach children to be respectful and to remind them that every dog’s situation is different. You just can’t assume it’s okay to run up to every cute puff ball for a cuddle.
Sarah recommends the following:
1. Always ask a pet parent if it’s okay to say hello to their dog.
2. Inquire about the best way to approach/pet their animal.
3. Don’t be offended if the owner says, ‘No.’ Accept the response kindly – it’s the best way you can help avoid overwhelming the dog.
And on the flip side, if you feel hesitant about a dog you come in contact with, don’t stick around, especially if you have children or your own dog with you.
“It’s important to note as well that all animals pick up on energy,” said Sarah. “They have that sense that people don’t always have. So if you get someone incredibly fearful, that adds an element of stress to any situation. If you’re uncomfortable, just remove yourself from the situation.”
Sarah, a regular animal shelter volunteer, is passionate about helping people and pets live in harmony. She’s looking forward to getting the word out about some simple ways to help make that happen through Henry Says ‘Hello.’
“So many people have been a part of this project and so many people have been sharing the concept, I just hope that continues,” said Sarah. “With people talking and sharing the point in the book, I hope that it will make a difference.”
Henry Says ‘Hello’ is now available online at sadieandcostudio.com and it is coming soon to Amazon.
The cost is $12.95 Canadian, plus shipping and handling.
A portion of proceeds will go to different charities, including Pilots and Paws Canada and those that work toward making sure puppy mills are shut down.
(And if I may take a moment to brag, Sarah is my awesome older sister!!! Very proud of her. :-))