Beloved Pet, A Community Treasure

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There’s a type of immortality achieved with being in a classic film, a great play, best-selling book, or a famous TV series. Tom Hanks, Alexander Hamilton, Steve Jobs. Lassie.
In the words of British rock band The Kinks, “Celluloid heroes never really die.”
On a micro-scale, our area now has Cookie, the little rescue dog who helped hundreds of kids and adults live fuller lives. Though she passed away two years ago, she will live on in One Sweet Cookie, a children’s book recently published by her owners, Henry (Bud) and Eloise Sulzman.
The 32-page book tells the story of the Sulzmans wanting a Brittany, but instead finding an ill and forlorn Cocker Spaniel. The story could have ended there, but they kept “Cookie” anyway, even using the previous owner’s name for her. The book goes on to describe how their new pet quickly showed her special qualities. Eloise had her trained as the first local “Puppy Tales” dog and children read aloud to her at the local library and in primary classrooms to develop reading skills.
Soon, Cookie’s ability to charm and entertain went farther. After additional certification as a therapy dog, she visited schools, churches, and nursing homes and, for many years, gave her greatest gift—simply making children and adults happy. Cookie even accompanied social worker Eloise to her office and sat next to clients to brighten their moods and help them relax.
Later, as the book relates, “Cookie’s fur becomes whiter and her hearing is not good, but she still makes people smile. After 15 ½ years of life, she dies quietly.”
The story continues with her burial at a pet cemetery, joining her departed pals Max and Jake Sulzman. Friends attended the funeral. After a while, there was a reception honoring Cookie’s life and a display at the library of her community impact.
The last pages describe touching tributes coming to the Sulzman home: A blanket with Cookie’s image, framed photos, and notes from families, school children and nursing home patients.
“The memorials and display made me miss Cookie less,” said Eloise, but it’s clear her loss was profound.
“Eloise grieved for her just as if she were a human being,” Bud said.
The book came from that process.
“I had already thought of it,” said Bud. “But I didn’t want to say anything while Eloise was grieving.”
When he spoke up, Eloise was all in and the project moved fast, at least until they contacted a publisher.
“We sent our first draft on four-by-six index cards and attached a lot of photos,” Bud said. “We and the publisher had a hard time understanding each other about formats; the company needed everything done over the computer.”
The Sulzmans persisted, the project progressed, and the product eventually emerged accurate and beautifully illustrated.
As are many books in this century, One Sweet Cookie is printed “on demand.” There are no cartons of books—only orders generate them. Authors can get copies at a discount and Bud’s first 100-book order is just about gone. (He gets 20 free with each 100.)
Bud said, “Some people look at it and ask me for a half-dozen. We have books out all over he country where we know people.”
“I didn’t expect there to be a market, but it’s really neat,” Eloise said. The couple personally inscribes each copy.
The couple’s grief over a pet was assuaged through the printed word and now the pet’s life can continue to inspire.
“She was a beloved dog to a lot of people,” Eloise said. “A community treasure.”
The Sulzman’s operate Bud’s Pet Home Care. Readers can order One Sweet Cookie for $21.99 plus tax for soft cover and $31.99 for hardcover by calling 856-691-7434 or e-mailing BudPets@aol.com. The book is also available at Amazon.