Sunday, March 27, 2011

Meet Police Dog Hero, Lucky!

For Grades 3–4
ISBN 978-0-7660-3197-5

2-page spread from Police Dog Heroes
This week I'll be blogging about my new series, Amazing Working Dogs with American Humane. I thought it would be only fitting to start with my Police Dog Heroes book since police dog, Lucky and Officer Shawn Mead from the Edison Police Department will be joining me at a book signing at Camp Bow Wow in Middlesex, New Jersey on Sunday, April 3rd from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m..  People can meet the police dog featured in the book and Officer Mead can answer any questions you may have about police dogs. All of the books from this series will be on hand to purchase and Camp Bow Wow is donating a portion of the proceeds to  the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation who is now raising funds for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation who has a team assisting in Japan. For more information about the book signing and Camp Bow Wow click here. I grew up in Middlesex and Camp Bow Wow is actually just around the corner from where I lived so I'm so excited about this event and hope some of my hometown friends (and my Mom) will stop by to see me.

Me presenting Officer Mead and Lucky with a copy of
"Police Dog Heroes" at a  press conference.

     I ask kids at school visits how they think I met Officer Mead and police dog, Lucky. One of the funniest responses I've received was from a student who yelled out, "You got pulled over!" The truth is, I met officer Mead during an unfortunate accident. I was playing softball in Edison when a player on the other team got hurt and we had to call an ambulance. Officer Mead arrived on the scene to assist and I noticed his patrol car said "caninie" on the side. I approached him and briefly explained the project I was working on and how I needed a real police dog story to include in the book. We exchanged business cards and later discussed the project through emails.     
     After receiving permission from the police department, Officer Mead agreed to help with this project. People who agree to assist an author with a book need to know up front that it will take up some of their time. Officer Mead was kind enough to agree to meet with me in person for an interview.

Officer Shawn Mead and K–9 Lucky from the Edison Police Dept.

     He brought Lucky with him in his patrol car so I could even see how his patrol car is specially equipped for a police dog. Following the interview, Officer Mead continued to help answer questions I had not only about Lucky but about police dogs in general. During the revision process I was in touch with Officer Mead on a daily basis as questions arose and fact checking was essential.
     I learned that police dogs work hard on the job but what I didn't know was that when these dogs are not working they are the family's pet. I also came to learn about the close bond between the handler and their dog, so close that I find it hard to describe in words. I also learned that when the use of police dogs spread to the United States from Europe, it was in South Orange, New Jersey that three police dogs could be seen patrolling the streets in the spring of 1907.  I was able obtain a copy of a 1956 newspaper article about the use of police dogs in London that caught the attention of the Baltimore, Maryland police department. The city of Baltimore is still known for its K–9 training center today. Police representatives from all over the United States and other countries have traveled to the center to have their K–9 units trained.
     I worked on this series for nearly two years, so to finally see it in print is very rewarding. Talking to children and using these books as a tool for teaching children about canine heroes is everything I hoped it would be.

"These books are clearly written in personable style, with plenty of anecdotal and factual information, which makes them suitable for report writing and enjoyable for general reading."
     On Guide Dog Heroes, Police Dog Heroes, Service Dog Heroes
                     School Library Journal March 2011

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