BROOKVILLE — If you’re interested in benefiting two good causes and maybe having a pleasant day out while you’re at it, you might have your chance on March 2 at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, which will be hosting Brookville author L.A. Adamson for a book signing that will raise money to help the library and sheltered animals.
Adamson, whose first name is Lisa, is the author of “Soggypaw Siberian Huskies,” a chapter book that tells the tale of a husky named Czarah as she tries to assemble a sled dog team to fulfill her owner’s dream of conquering the Great Pennsylvania Sled Dog Race.
“It’s a great family book,” Adamson said. “It’s good for kids.”
The story takes place over several years, beginning with Czarah as a puppy and following her through to adulthood. As it’s told from Czarah’s perspective, Adamson said that the vocabulary of the book matures somewhat as the book progresses.
She said the book, which was officially released on Dec. 1, 2012, could probably be read by ages 7 and up and that parents could read it to children younger than that if they can’t do it on their own.
“It’s a totally clean book,” she said. “There’s nothing bad in it ... It’s a good, clean story.”
Adamson said the inspiration for “Soggypaw” was “all the little things my dogs do,” as the huskies in the book — Czarah, Indy, Chevy, Samarah, Neko and Tikaani — are based on the ones that Adamson owns in real life.
“All these little quirks that they have, I just started writing them down and thought that people would just love to hear these things, especially dog people,” Adamson said.
She added, “Some of them are really hilarious, and that’s what keeps the world going, is happiness and laughter.”
As such, elements of the book are based on true events, while others are fictionalized for the purpose of the story.
“A lot of it has happened, a lot of true little things in there that I wrote down, snippets of things that have happened in my household and outside of it,” Adamson said.
She and her husband, Mark, own six Siberian huskies, in addition to one Anatolian mix, with Czarah being the first.
“They’re a crazy little pack, and they keep my life going, that’s for sure,” Adamson said.
The book features color photographs of the dogs in the back section, some of them drawn from magazines in which they’ve appeared. They’ve also shown up in calendars, newspapers and other publications. They even made the cover of one magazine, Local Variety.
Photos of the dogs also appear throughout the book in conjunction with the story. Mark Adamson, who also maintains the “Soggypaw” website, soggypaw.net and did the designs for the front and back cover of the book, doctored those photos to look like illustrations.
Adamson, originally from Florida, said she got started writing poetry when she was in her early teens, eventually evolving into stories like “Soggypaw.” She said she began writing more frequently after she and her husband moved to Brookville in 2001.
“It’s just quieter up here,” she said.
Adamson’s foray into the world of publishing began with the release of a poetry book, “Children of the Skeleton Trees,” which is available in e-book format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
Then, she generated the idea for “Soggypaw” through her own dogs and saw it as an opportunity to help needy animals.
Adamson had “Soggypaw Siberian Huskies” self-published for the reason that she did not intend it to be an opportunity for profit, writing it instead to help animals.
She self-published through Indiana-based TJMF Publishing. Other than a small fee for formatting, Adamson said all she had to do was pay for the printing, starting out with 200 copies initially.
Because of this, she is free to use the proceeds ($14.95 per book online and $15 per book at signings) as desired — in this case, to help animals and libraries.
Whenever she does a book signing at a library or an animal shelter, $5 of each sale goes to the host.
Adamson said that one signing at Gateway Humane Society in Falls Creek, which is owned by her husband’s aunt and uncle, went particularly well, drawing in over $1,000.
The remaining $10 of each sale goes into a Soggypaw Siberian Husky account.
When enough money is accumulated in that account, Adamson said, it is donated to pay the veterinary bill of an animal in need.
Adamson is currently sponsoring a dog named Ursula in a veterinary hospital in College Station, Texas. Ursula was found as a stray and currently has a veterinary bill of about $2,000. Currently, about half of that has been raised.
Money in the account is also sometimes donated to other, similar causes, whether it’s another animal with a veterinary bill that needs paid or helping local shelters and other organizations that work with animals stay afloat.
“It doesn’t all go to one particular dog,” Adamson said. “I try to spread it out as much as I can.”
Adamson said her love of dogs informs her passion for working to help alleviate many of these problems.
“This is my opportunity to help as many as I possibly can,” she said. “It is a passion of mine. I’ve always wanted to help animals.”
In fact, she said she hopes reading “Soggypaw” will inspire other people to do the same by encouraging them to pay more attention to their own pets and train them better so that fewer dogs will end up in shelters because of misbehavior.
“They’ll be a good dog as long as you communicate with them and train them properly,” Adamson said. “Therefore, hopefully, we’ll keep more animals out of shelters.”
Adamson also made the decision to use sales from the book to help out local libraries, which have been struggling in the wake of funding cuts in recent years.
“It’s a book, a book belongs in the library, so I figured, why not help the libraries, too?” Adamson said.
As such, as with the shelters, libraries that host signings will also receive $5 of each book sold.
Adamson’s March 2 appearance at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning with a reading from the author in the first half hour.
A book sale and a bake sale will take place concurrently. Free book markers and magnets will accompany every sale of “Soggypaw Siberian Huskies,” in addition to free coffee and hot chocolate while supplies last.
The day will also feature a special guest — Indy, one of Adamson’s huskies and a character in the story.
Indy is perhaps better known as Indy the therapy dog, who, up until his retirement two months ago, would visit the Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library in Brookville every weekend.
Adamson said that she has done training with all of her dogs, but Indy showed a knack for it from the very beginning.
Because of his disposition toward it, she sought training him to become a therapy dog, the test for which is composed of 15 points that must all be passed in order to receive certification.
Indy did so and went on to do shows for a while, accumulating 11 awards to date. He’s also visited nursing homes, preschools and elementary schools.
In addition, until the end of February, $5 off of every book sold online will also go to Ursula.
Adamson plans to continue in the future as well. She intends “Soggypaw” to become a series, with at least four currently planned. Presently, she is working on the sequel, which will star Indy and Chevy in an adventure through the woods to find a missing friend.
It’s not all “Soggypaw” either — Adamson also eventually plans to return to working on an old project, a novel titled “Children of the Skeleton Trees,” a horror story set in the Mayport area that ties into her published book of poetry and which Adamson described as “nothing like my dog book at all.”
For the moment, though, her focus is on the continuation of “Soggypaw” — and on raising funds for the Punxsutawney Memorial Library.
“We’re hoping that we get a nice crowd in there to help them raise some money,” Adamson said.
The Punxsutawney Memorial Library also runs the following programs:
• Toddlers: early literacy class with songs, play and storytelling, ages 1 1/2 to 3 years, every Tuesday from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Call to register.
• Pre-K kids: literacy class through games, crafts and storytelling, ages 3 to 5 years, every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Call to register.
• Elementary kids: “Winter Reading,” read ten non-school books by May and win prizes and a certificate of completion. Activities include games, crafts and storytelling. Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. This program began on Feb. 9. Call to register.
• Tweens/middle school kids: draw comics, talk books and make stuff, every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. Call to register.
• Teens: talk books, watch movies and play board games, every Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. Drop in!