VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver pet owner has turned a love for his dog into an award-winning children’s book.
“This is Bernice. She has a thick brown coat of fur,” read Rob Adamowski to a group gathered for Book Babies at the Sellwood Moreland Library.
At his feet was the star of the story, a 140-pound Newfoundland Retriever.
Adamowski has raised Bernice for seven years. He based the book on what happens almost every time they leave the house.
“They don’t mean to crowd and stare but they all say the same thing: Oh my gosh, it’s a bear,” said the author as he shared the text with young listeners.
The story goes on to reveal how Bernice discovers what’s similar and what’s different about her and the bear.
“The take away is that it’s ok to be different, no matter how big or small," Adamowski said. "It’s what makes us different that makes us special."
The message is colorfully communicated in more than 20 original paintings by Portland artist Kellee Beaudry.
“I worked as a children’s therapist for ten years and I loved the message, particularly when she’s being called something she she’s not. I really wanted children to identify with her,” Beaudry said.
The book has already captured two awards: A silver for Best Children’s Book from Independent Publishers and a Moonbeam award for Best First Book.
Bernice’s owner spent 17 years in corporate marketing for Starbucks and Papa Murphy’s.
He used savings to finance his first book, and said there will be a sequel.
“Without giving too much away, we’re going to take on the subject of bullying and it’s based on what happened at doggie day care,” Adamowski revealed.