Sally Goes to the Beach

To Dogs Everywhere and the Children Who Love Them

Posted by on May 10, 2013.

To dogs everywhere!

Nobody captures the sweetness and humor of the family dog better than Vermont author Stephen Huneck. His work is a celebration of what it is to love and be loved by a dog.

While the title character of Huneck’s books is his own black lab, Sally, the star of the show is really every dog, everywhere. Whether your dog be Cosby or Pluto or Ernie or Jax, Lucy or Bingo or Saranac, your dog is there in Huneck’s art and stories.

Huneck himself has such a gentle understanding of what it means to be a dog and to be loved dearly by a family. In his books, Sally visits the vet, the beach, the mountains, and in the very latest, New York City. In all of these she is the affable, vulnerable, curious, innocent, trusting, and steady character we all love in every dog.

One of my favorites, and one I highly recommend if you have an old, old dog like we do, is Sally Goes to Heaven, available in e-book. In it, Sally sleeps longer than she used to, has lost her appetite, and spends all day soaking up a sunbeam. When she wakes in heaven the next day, her pain is gone, and she can run again. Her only sorrow is that her family is sad without her. She wishes them a new dog to love and trusts that she will see them again one day.

In Huneck’s doggy heaven meatballs grow on trees, and there are couches as long as the eye can see. There are no dog shelters; every dog in heaven has a family, and laughing children are just waiting to rub a tummy or throw a stick.

It is not only a comfort to imagine such a place for our own dog, but the story is a celebration of everything dog. My girls and I tried to imagine what our dog would want in heaven, and, inspired by Huneck, we took the time to think and laugh and love all the funny little things about our quirky old black lab.

Huneck’s stories of Sally are simple, sweet, and direct, but where his genius really shines is in his visual art. He uses text sparingly because, as we all know, a picture tells a thousand words.

To see Huneck’s artwork or read about his haven for dogs at Dog Mountain – including its own doggy chapel – in St. Johnsbury, Vermont visit www.dogmt.com.

Happy Reading!

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