UHS grad launches kids’ book series focused on shelter dogs

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CHICAGO —  This month, 2011 Unionville High School graduate and current Chicago author Savy Leiser launched a new series of children’s books called The Furever Home Friends. Each book tells the story of a real dog who has lived in an animal shelter or rescue, and their journey to adoption. Each character also has a corresponding 12-inch flannel stuffed animal.

To fund the production of the first two books and stuffed animals in the series, Leiser has launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $7,000, which will cover illustration and book-printing costs, as well as the costs of materials for about 150 handmade stuffed animals. If the Kickstarter is successful, backers will receive their books and stuffed animals this coming August, which is also when the products will be commercially available to purchase online.

The books portray animal shelters as welcoming, friendly places for dogs, and encourage pet owners to adopt from shelters and rescues. Told from a dog’s perspective, each story gently addresses heavier topics, such as animal abuse and pit bull discrimination.

After releasing the first two books and stuffed animals, Leiser will be working with no-kill animal shelters to find new dogs who want their stories told. Along with growing the Furever Home Friends collection, Leiser’s goal is to donate a portion of profits back to animal shelters. Future books will address topics like racism, sexism, and disabilities, all through a dog’s eyes.

“The goal of the Furever Home Friends is to foster a love of animals in children of all ages,” says Leiser. “We also want to get kids thinking about big-picture social issues, how those issues affect people and animals, and how they can help.”

Books and stuffed animals for the first two Furever Home Friends characters–a black lab named Allee and a pit bull mix named Chewie–are available for pre-order on the Furever Home Friends Kickstarter page.

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