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Good Reads in LIFE: Your Forever Dog

Inspired by an event that forever changed her life, author Leslie Yerkes wrote her second children’s book, Your Forever Dog: How it Feels When Someone Loves You, with the help of her co-author Randy Martin. 

The first book in the series of three, written for youth 9-14, tells the story of a little girl named Betsi Jane who earns the trust of a stray dog, Big Boy, and eventually rescues him with the help of her dog Buddha Bear. “However, I was in my 50s when the real-life story began to unfold,” explains Yerkes. “The rest of the story is completely true to every moment.” A spin-off of the first book, Your Forever Dog relays the same story, but modified to be from Big Boy’s perspective for children 2-12. “My great nieces and nephews call it the ‘dog book,’” the author joyfully remarks. “But my adult friends love it as well.”

Yerkes stumbled upon the dog she named Big Boy (due to his impressive size) during a search for her friend’s lost dog. “Buddha Bear and I ended up searching in a not so safe area down by the train tracks,” says Yerkes. After she let the local police know where she was in case of emergency, they encouraged her to pack up and leave—that is until they got a call about a stray dog in the area. She was hopeful it was her friend’s dog, until 50 yards away Yerkes noticed it was a very large dog. Eventually, after many visits to Big Boy with Buddha, trust was born. And although the story Yerkes wrote ends with the little girl rescuing Big Boy, she later found that in real life, he rescued her. 

With the help of local artist Traci Harmon-Hay, who Yerkes discovered through her popular watercolor…

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