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Children's books raise money for service dog organizations

Author Wynne Edwards and furry friend make Saturday appearance at Bookstore on Perron

Service dogs report for work every day and are trained to assist the most vulnerable in many unexpected situations. But sometimes, the furry, four-footed workers need human help. 

For Edmonton-based children’s writer Wynne Edwards, there is never a moment’s hesitation when it comes to easing their lives. She has written two children’s picture books — Goldie, Dog on the Job (2022) and A Dog for Uncle Peter (2014). The earnings from the two publications are donated to service dog organizations. 

Edwards will perform a reading of Goldie at Bookstore on Perron on Saturday, Dec.16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. In addition, she will bring an Aspen Service dog to the event where children can meet and pet it. 

“We’ll probably donate funds raised to Aspen Service Dogs," Edwards said. "They train assistance dogs to help children with autism. They support children in abusive situations and individuals lacking mobility. Dogs also receive training for PTSD and diabetic alerts.” 

The author’s first foray into guide dogs occurred when her teenage son began losing his eyesight. For the active teenager, a gradual loss of eyesight severely restricted his freedom and caused emotional upset. 

“When my son lost his eyesight, we heard about Dogs with Wings, and it seemed like the obvious place to volunteer. He ended up getting a dog from the United States and it changed his life,” said Edwards. 

Knowing a trained seeing-eye dog was safeguarding him gave the young man back his freedom. Also, the canine’s bottomless emotional love pulled him away from the brink of depression. 

Edwards dedicated a 30-year career working as a practising nurse and nurse educator. Parallel to the nursing career, she also wrote short stories and articles for magazines and literary anthologies. For many years, the creative writer also supplied feature articles to the Fort MacLeod Gazette, an award-winning Southern Alberta weekly newspaper.  

After witnessing first-hand how the quality of her son’s life improved when partnering with a guide dog, she adapted her writing skills to completing two children’s picture books. 

Goldie, Dog on the Job is written from the point of view of pup at a training facility. Goldie is being trained as a facility dog, one that works with first responders at car accidents to help calm upset victims. The pup’s friends are being trained as service dogs where they will interact one-on-one with a family. 

Goldie wants to be like her friends and runs away. Feeling a taste of freedom, Goldie meets Patrick, a little boy in the park. He is her ideal match. Together they excitedly run and play. 

“As they play, the little boy falls down an embankment and breaks a leg. He can’t climb up, but Goldie climbs down and comforts him until help arrives. Although Goldie doesn’t go home with Patrick, she realizes she can play a special role in people’s lives,” Edwards said. 

A Dog for Uncle Peter is the story of Jonathan, a young nephew who attempts to partner his stubborn uncle, who is blind, with a guide dog. The uncle was in a car accident where a driver rammed the side of his car. 

Both books will be on sale at the bookstore and are priced at $20 each. 

“If we raise enough money, we’ll send some to CNIB. They have a school for training seeing eye dogs in Ontario,” said Edwards, adding she has enjoyed hands-on involvement in nurturing service dogs. 

“It’s a very satisfying thing to do, seeing puppies raised and going to their graduation. It’s really quite beautiful. I’ve seen children with autism change overnight when they have a dog.” 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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