Jess Black, author of the new Little Paws series joins us at the draft table today to share her inspiration behind these heartwarming story lines. Puppies, chewed shoes and big responsibilities are all part of training a guide dog puppy. The Little Paws series has them all plus buckets of cute puppy appeal to boot. Here’s what Jess has to say:
Writing the Little Paws series was a very positive experience for me. The story lines are fun, there’s plenty of puppy mischief, it’s a family friendly story line but most importantly the kids in the stories are in charge and at the forefront of the story.
Of course, what’s at the heart of the stories is bringing a gorgeous little puppy into your home and committing to raising it on behalf of guide Dogs. This meant that the series involved my spending lots of time with puppies in training with Guide Dogs Australia, understanding what it takes to be a Guide Dog and the impact that having a dog has on the life of a client. This added depth and meaning to writing the stories.
For me the inspiration for the four story lines came from my own experience with raising puppies. It’s a natural stage that all puppies go through where they dig, chew, learn their toilet training, learn to obey simple commands and such simple things as where to sleep at night. Our current dog Pippi really took this to a whole new level. She’s a rescue dog who we adopted at seven months of age. She chewed her way through our house – furniture, shoes, toys, rugs, surfboards…you name it. She is very much the inspiration for Welcome Home Harley!
For me, the greatest joy I received from writing the series was being put in a position where I could meet clients who live with Guide Dogs and work with them every day. My respect and admiration for clients who are blind or vision impaired and how they navigate daily challenges is immense. Having a dog makes a huge difference to their ability to live a life with confidence and independence, helping make normally stressful situations that much more manageable.
I think the series has an inbuilt tension and relatively high stakes. These cute puppies have big paws to fill. And if they can manage it then they can change lives. I love the idea that young kids who read this series will enjoy the stories but also take away a new awareness of how Guide Dogs Australia can make a real difference to people’s lives.
All four Little Paws titles are available now, here. Keep an eye out for our review coming soon.