Gatehouse author’s new book inspired by the story of an abandoned Romanian dog

An abandoned dog rescued from the streets in Romania has inspired the main character of a new book by a Gatehouse author.

The adorable dog, now named Charity, provides the plot for writer Susi Briggs’ latest children’s picture book, Wheesht!

Susi, along with illustrator William Gorman and editor Jayne Baldwin, was looking for the right dog to base the book’s central character on – Shug the Dug.

Charity really took the biscuit – and when the team found out she had been relocated to a family in Dumfries, they had to meet her.

Susi said, “During the process of creating the book, we were looking for a dog that would inspire the look of Shug the Dug.

“We knew the dog had to have a really expressive face and a lot of character.

“When I saw pictures of Charity on my friend’s social media, I had to share her photos with Will and Jayne.

“We all fell in love with her and were immediately inspired.

“I found out later that Charity had been rescued from a very difficult situation.

“We all agreed to donate a percentage of the book’s sales to the charity that saved it.”

The dog was found paralyzed and starving on a Romanian street by Scruffy Dog Rescue.

She had little chance of survival but responded to treatment before being cared for by the Dumfries family. Once Charity was chosen, William began working on the images for Wheesht! – a story in Scots commissioned by the digital language resource Scots Hoose.

Jayne – the patron saint of publishers Foggie Toddle Books – successfully applied for a Scottish Language Publishing Grant through the Scottish Book Trust to print the book.

She said: “I was delighted to win a grant under the Scottish Government scheme.

“The initiative really helps small independent publishers like Foggie Toddle Books.”

Moxie DePaulitte, whose family now cares for the dog, said: “Isn’t it amazing what a loving web can do?

“We are thrilled that Charity found her happily ever after and that she is immortalized in the wonderful story of Susi.”

Phew! will be launched at the annual Big Dog Children’s Festival in Dumfries, organized by the Wigtown Festival Company, next month.

Susi will tell the story at her Oor Wee Podcast Live event with fellow storyteller and Gatehouse author Alan McClure at the Theater Royal on Saturday April 2.

The book is available for pre-order on the Wigtown Festival Company website and on Foggie Toddle Books.

After launch, it will be available at independent bookstores.

A donation from every sale will be made to the charity Scruffy Dog Rescue.

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