A decade ago, Susan Infield never imagined herself being a dog owner. But at the insistence of her children, she relented, and it became a life-changing experience.
Now, Infield is a published author on the topic, as her new childrenâ€™s book focuses on pet adoption. â€śDakotaâ€™s Window,â€ť is named for the dog the family adopted in 2006 from an animal shelter.
â€śWe had a very good experience adopting Dakota,â€ť Infield said. â€śSheâ€™s a great dog.â€ť
Infield needed much prodding from her son, Matthew, daughter, Laura, and even her husband, Richard, to agree to get a dog. Finally when Matthew and Laura were 12 and 9, respectively, she said OK.
â€śDakotaâ€™s Windowâ€ť chronicles the familyâ€™s quest to find the right dog. The story is told through Lauraâ€™s perspective.
Infield said she first wrote the book in 2010, and admitted that it only took about two hours to complete. The reason it took so long to get published, she said, was because she needed to find the right illustrator. Eventually she came across Maggie Cousins, who had been a pet foster parent when Infield worked at an animal shelter.
â€śI thought it was a very important message for kids and their families to look at adoption first when choosing a pet,â€ť Infield said. â€śThe reality is, many, many pets are euthanized every year just because of the lack of space in shelters. Those are animals that could be adopted.â€ť
Infield noted that adopting a pet actually saves two lives. The adopted pet gets a home, while a spot in a shelter opens up for another animal.
â€śMany people are unaware of the great dogs you can adopt from a shelter,â€ť she said. â€śTheyâ€™re very loyal and they never forget who saved them.â€ť
After getting Dakota, who Infield described as â€śan imperfect dog but the perfect dog for their family,â€ť she realized their new pet needed a companion. The woman who didnâ€™t want a dog to begin with ended up being the family member who pushed for a second one. Three years later, the Infields got Chippy, also from a shelter.
In fact, â€śAlong Comes Chippyâ€ť is Infieldâ€™s idea for a second book, which she would like to tell through Matthewâ€™s perspective.