Dogs have often been called a man’s best friend.
“I’m kind of on the edge of being the crazy dog lady,” Elliott joked Monday. “But I really believe that you get the right dog at the right time in your life. Sometimes they chose you.”
“Sundogs” includes all six of Elliott’s canine companions, from childhood to present. Each pup has a distinct color and represents the “gifts” they’ve each contributed to her life.
The book follows the dogs’ journey to the Great Windmill, which will eventually send them to earth where they find their forever homes, Elliott said. Along the way they find each other and become a sort of family. The book is named for the rays of colors that can be seen around the sun, mostly in the winter, called sundogs.
“The first time I saw [sundogs] I thought it was so unbelievable,” Elliott said. “It was almost as if the gates of heavens opened. It was beautiful.”
And, the name couldn’t be more fitting for the books’ concept.
All in the Family
While she was pregnant with her first child, Erin, Elliott was told by a friend that she would come to hate her dog, Yogi, who was already the baby of the family.
“It was a ridiculous statement,” she recalled. “[Yogi] was so protective of her—and us.”
Now that all three of her children are grown and out of the house, she and her husband, , share their home with dogs Juno and Zeke. Juno was brought into the family as one last member to the family. Elliott said she thought her breed's calm nature would be perfect as her and Pat continued to age. But, then they found out the Labrador in her mix was what would really show through.
“Juno is all lab. She's young and needs to be walked daily," Elliott said. "She’s kept us from [resigning to old age]. She ended up being exactly what we needed.”
While the idea for the book floated around in her head for years before she put her pen to paper, her affection for the four-legged friends goes back to her childhood. SuSu, the first dog readers will meet in the book, was her first pet. The idea was also kick-started after Elliott survived a bout with breast cancer about eight years ago.
“I told Pat that I would be so mad if I died and didn’t do anything else, something fulfilling.” she said. “I’ve started little projects here and there since then, but this is the first thing I’ve seen all the way through, which I’m extremely proud of.”
The idea for having the dogs coming from another land in space came after she knitted a pair of booties for her pups, in the shape of dogs.
“My kids said they looked like alien dogs,” she laughed. “From there, I started thinking of the colors each dog would represent.”
As far as a take away lesson for kids, it’s simple, Elliott said.
“I think that it just came out sideways, maybe, but we all have gifts,” she said confidently. “And no matter what your colors are, you bring something special to the table. All of us do.”
“And I believe that we get what we need from one another—and our pets,” she added. “All the dogs in the sundog family are different but they still find each other.”
Elliott will host a book signing from 6-9 p.m. April 11 at the in Richfield. To order a copy of the book, go to kdelliott.com.
The final lines of the book:
"Be sure to look up to the sky whenever you are outside. Someday you will be lucky enough to see a sundog. The sundogs play in the sunlight, waiting patiently for their Earth families to call them home. When a family wishes for a special dog of their very own, the sundogs come down to love and be loved beyond their wildest sundog dreams!"