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.

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