Doggy tale tells how Scooter D got a home

Jeanne McLaughlin of Kennewick once wrote a book for her then 3-year-old granddaughter to help her deal with her father's death.

"At the time, I wanted Emily to understand about her daddy's illness, and the book was a way to do that in a way a 3-year-old could maybe relate to," Jeanne said. He died after a two-year battle with cancer.

Emily, now 12 years old, talked her grandmother into writing another book. Only this time the story is about her Jeanne's dog.

It's titled Who is Scooter D?, and it's a fun little tale about an adorable Dachshund who gets lost, then gets picked up by Tri-Cities Animal Rescue and eventually is adopted into McLaughlin's family.

"Emily thought I should write a book for all kids this time, one that could go on a school library shelf," McLaughlin said. "Her constant questions about our pound puppy got me thinking. Since children and animals are a precious part of my life I went in that direction."

And so the adventures of Scooter D began. What makes the book even more unique is that instead of illustrations in the book, it is filled with photographs of the real Scooter D. There even is a photo of Kennewick veterinarian Kathy Batdorf administering Scooter's identification chip.

McLaughlin said she had two learning lessons to share in the book.

"One is for our children, and one is for pet owners and how important it is to have our pets tagged with identification chips," she said.

Her granddaughter, who attends St. Joseph's School in Kennewick, agrees wholeheartedly with her grandma about the importance of chipping family pets, both dogs and cats. But she feels it is equally important for small children to learn their home addresses and phone numbers, as well as their parents' names.

"I think it's a good way to get the message out to little kids about how important it is to know their address," Emily said. "I did inspire Grandma to write it (because) when I was in kindergarten I would always ask about where Scooter came from, and stuff like that."

McLaughlin plans on making some time next year to read from Who is Scooter D at local schools.

The book sells for $6 and will be sold at fundraisers for the Benton Franklin Human Society. McLaughlin said she hopes to have it in local bookstores eventually. In the meantime, she will donate $1 from the sale of each book to the humane society.

"It will be Grandma on the run as I tuck Scooter under my arm and read his story to the little ones," McLaughlin said. "A short story but a big lesson every child needs to learn."