It’s a dog-meet-dog world

Published 11:00 am Thursday, March 25, 2010

Albert Leans Mike and Patty Stanley are part of a family that loves animals.

This love is evident in the 2010 United Way of Freeborn County children’s book — which they authored and illustrated — that will soon be distributed to all kindergartners through second-graders in Freeborn County.

The book, titled “Ava Finds a Home,” is a story of how the couple’s newest dog came to be a part of their family. It illustrates the importance of judging on the heart and not on appearance and also teaches a theme of acceptance.

Email newsletter signup

Patty said before the book became a reality, she would write little stories in her head about Ava, who is a golden retriever and Rottweiler mix.

When she was asked to write the book, she wrote during her lunch breaks at Lou-Rich, and then several months later she showed her story to local United Way Director Ann Austin.

She also worked closely with the area elementary schools on the book.

“They all loved it,” Austin said. “The meaning behind the story is so positive.”

Mike took most of the pictures.

The story tells how the couple started out fostering Ava through the Freeborn County Humane Society, but then three weeks later they decided to keep her as a permanent part of their family.

“When she comes up and lays her head in your lap,” Patty said. “It’s like, how could people pass this dog by?”

The book also shows the other animals in the family.

Austin said “Ava Finds a Home” is the ninth children’s book to be published by the local United Way. All of the books are funded through sponsorships, and no campaign funds are used in the process.

This year’s book was sponsored by Wells Fargo, Alliant Energy, Albert Lea Medical Center and the Albert Lea Noon Kiwanis Club.

It was printed at Arrow Printing in Albert Lea.

If people would like to volunteer to read the book to the childaren at the area schools, they can do so by visiting the United Way’s volunteer solutions Web site at

People can type “Reading to Students” in the search engine to find the schools where they can read and what times are available.

Or they can call the United Way office directly at 373-8670.

Books will be distributed April 12 through 16, and then on April 17, there will be a book signing at Book World at Northbridge Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.