This book is based on a true story. I was living in South Orlando in 1991, next door to "Ethel". She did indeed live inside a chain-link fenced yard, had a doghouse, dodged grapefruit in the winter months and was ignored by the family she lived with. She did indeed jump the fence to come to me and get petted! And she would then jump back into her yard. I started writing her story back in 1991, in longhand on a yellow legal pad. After a few pages I lost interest and stuck it away. A few years ago, I ran across my early work and sat down at the computer to complete it. I wanted to make sure the story had a happy ending, along with the obvious message that all dogs feel the need for love and attention.
Now that I had my story ...
I needed illustrations and I spent the next year trying to find someone who could bring my vision of Ethel to life. I finally found her in Barbara Maxwell, an artist who is talented in several types of media, including pen and ink. At the time she began working with me on Ethel, she was 86 and going strong. Her history includes being one of the first artists hired by Highlights for Children magazine, and she had been a courtroom artist for many years.
Together, we have been able to tell this story that has been with me for so long.