Wednesday, January 2, 2008

High School Hometown Ink, The Sequel!

Yippee! I have asked my parents to pick up a copy of this week's Farragut Press, but I found the article online. Enjoy!

FHS grad authors book
Kim Johnson - Thu, Jan, 3, 2008

Are you struggling with helping your child deal with the loss of a four-legged member of your family? If so, Melisa Wells, a Farragut High School graduate who now resides in Illinois but still has strong ties to the Farragut community, has written a book entitled “Remembering Ruby: for families living beyond the loss of a pet,” that may be able to help.

Wells wrote the book after the death of her family pet, a beagle named Bijoux, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 13.

“I searched high and low for a children’s book that I could share with our sons, then 10 and 8 years old, during our ordeal. None of the books I found ‘spoke to me’ and I decided to tell our own story,” Wells said.

“Remembering Ruby” is the result of an entire family’s labor of love and a fitting memorial to the dog that became one of us,” she added.

Wells said she changed the name of the dog in the book to Ruby because Bijoux would have been too hard for some smaller children to pronounce. Since the word bijoux is French for “little jewels” she felt Ruby was a fitting substitution.

Wells, who holds a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Old Dominion University in Virginia, said, “I call this a family book because there are two parts to it.

“The first part, a children’s story, is told from my oldest son’s point of view. It is about the relationship he developed with the dog. Then the dog was diagnosed with an illness and it goes through how we were able to help her enjoy her life and how we coped with her illness.

“The second part is a short advice guide for parents and, because all children grieve in different ways, it offers ideas on how, as a family, [they] can help everyone get through it,” she said.

“I primarily [wrote the book] for my family, but, of course, the secondary goal would be to help others,” she added.

Wells said she did most of the research herself, but solicited input on the parents’ guide from her own veterinarian, Dena Heflin, who is a member of the Illinois State Veterinarian Association.

“People who have read it have been extremely positive. One of the things that makes this book so different is that I used family photographs. People have told me it makes the story more real and they relate to it better,” she said.

“Remembering Ruby” is the first book Wells, who is a freelance magazine writer, has written; but the publication process took only about one year.

“The actual writing did not take that long. It took less than a month because it had all happened to us. All I had to do was write it down and make sure it was appropriate for the age group that I was targeting, which is 4 to 10 year-olds and their parents.

“I had both of my sons read it and edit it for me. I remember two things I wrote that my oldest son said, ‘Mom I would never have said that,’ so I changed the wording,” she said.

“The process of working with the publisher took about eight months, so it took about a year from start to finish,” she added.

“Remembering Ruby” was published by Outskirts Press in Parker, Colo., in September 2007. The book can be ordered from, or directly from the author. For further information, contact Melisa Wells at