*Contains images that some may find distressing*
In what feels like a previous life, one before baby H was even a “twinkle in my eye” as my grandfather would say, I wrote and published a children’s book. This is by far one of my greatest achievements, and I think only overshadowed by the birth of my darling daughter.
‘”Oh Dylan” – The adventures of Dylan the dog’ follows the antics of a cheeky puppy called Dylan (funnily enough) and proceeds from the sales go to animal rescue, something I have always been very passionate about. It is a sweet story with beautiful illustrations done by Melanie Erb and is aimed at children aged 1-6. The story is repetitive, making it fun, and also quite simple – the perfect book for children learning to read.
To give you an understanding of my reasoning for writing the story in the first place, it is based on my very own gem of a dog; Dylan. Dylan was found in July 2014, quite literally, on death’s door in South Wales. A local man named Bryan was approached outside his house by a man to ask if he had lost a dog as there were two dogs up the hill. Bryan and his wife could not have prepared themselves for what they saw when they went to help. Two dogs that were emaciated, covered in painful sores and mange, and had been abandoned. Bryan took the dogs to the local council run pound after being turned away by a rescue centre due to them being full. Staff at the pound said Dylan was the worst case of neglect they had ever seen and staff at the pound did not expect him to survive the night.
He had no fur and was so malnourished that he was skeletal. Despite the odds, it soon became apparent what a fighter Dylan was. He spent four weeks in the pound in isolated, overcoming terrible contagious mange and gaining much needed weight. He then was taken on by Hounds First Sighthound Rescue and put into one of their brilliant foster homes, with a volunteer named Abby. Here Dylan was supported further to gain weight, be neutered, and rehabilitation work could begin for him to overcome his emotional scars. It was here that I first stumbled upon Dylan as Abby is a good friend of mine. I saw photos and videos of him on her Facebook page, and when I met him two weeks later at a country fair I fell in love instantly. We adopted him a few weeks later and have been smitted ever since. He is continuing to overcome his emotional scars; he is still a little hand shy and can be frightened of strangers, but every day he develops more. He is an extremely loving boy and has touched the lives of many, he is a very special boy.
Spurred on by Dylan’s resilience, his mischievous nature, and my love of children’s stories, I put pen to paper and wrote this cheeky tale. The story follows Dylan as he sneaks out of his house and goes on his very own adventure, meeting a host of animals. The story takes a turn when he realises he is alone, and hopefully acts as a reminder to children that his decision was not actually a wise one. The story ends happily though (spoiler alert!) with Dylan’s favourite past time: cuddles on the sofa.
The moment I first held the finished book in my hands provoked a feeling I cannot put into words, again only overshadowed by my first cuddle with little H. Thinking back to this moment reminds me that nothing is impossible, to always follow my dreams, and to work my backside off until I get the outcome that I am aiming for – something I know you mamas do day after day.
Mamas, anything is possible – hang in there, we got this.