Suzann Yue had her beloved Boxer dog, "Snort," long before she had a husband or children. Now that beloved pet and Yue's family experience several years ago of saying goodbye to the dog is the subject of Yue's first children's book.
"Snort's Special Gift" deals with the difficult topic of an aging dog who needs to be put down, and how to explain that to children.
"There are beautiful books out there about the dog going to heaven or a cat going to heaven but just to prepare for the euthanasia part in a gentle manner wasn't there, " said Yue.
Dr. Carissa Williamson of Oakwood Pet Clinic in Plymouth worked with the Yue family when they put Snort to sleep. Williamson says there is no way to candy-coat euthanasia, but it's an important discuss to have with children.
"You can't say things like 'put them to sleep', that's not a good choice of words because then they're afraid to go to sleep because then I'm not going to wake up, so you know it's making those real choices [about what words you use]," said Williamson.
In the book, one of the most poignant parts is two pages with no words, just illustrations of Yue's family in the exam room, and Yue's young daughter, Savy, looking into the Boxer's eyes to say a final goodbye.
"There are no words because it's your own experience, and that's what's really important, so I wanted them to have their own moment," said Yue.
Though the book deals with saying goodbye to a beloved pet, Yue says the book is truly a celebration of life and the lessons that our loved ones leave behind. Yue's daughter, Savy, ended up writing a school book report about the lessons Snort taught her.
"I want them to learn that it's about the celebration, this is tough,this is the part of life, the process of life, you live and then you pass on, but you're brought here on this earth for a certain reason, and Snort was and look at what Snort has done for hundreds and hundreds of people that have bought this book," said Yue.
Yue will be signing copies of "Snort's Special Gift" at the Barnes and Noble in Maple Grove on Dec. 23. For more information visit www.suzannyue.com.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
December 8, 2011