”If local illustrator and author Wendy Wahman took one of those online tests that reveal what breed of dog a person most resembles, she would surely be deemed a standard poodle. She is tall, smart and regal, with an engaging, welcoming smile. She even sports the requisite topknot of soft ringlets. And it’s a good thing that Wahman seems akin to poodles, since her family consists of three of them, along with two cats and a husband.
Inspired by one of her poodles, Andy, who is afraid of children and their wiggly ways, Wahman decided to write a children’s book designed to teach kids how to make friends with dogs. The resulting book is a kaleidoscope of color and joy, punctuated by memorable rhymes detailing the best way to meet a dog.
“Don’t Lick the Dog: Making Friends With Dogs” is geared for children aged 4-8, but contains words of wisdom for all ages: Move slowly, extend a hand to be sniffed before petting, and flatten your hand when feeding a dog a treat.
Wahman’s unique, colorful illustrations and lighthearted rhymes make what could be a list of dos and don’ts into an adventure that kids will want to experience over and over. And the kids aren’t the only ones having fun with this book.
“Joe and I don’t have kids,” says Wahman. “‘Don’t Lick the Dog’ has opened up a whole new world for me… Kids! Kids! Everywhere! I LOVE reading to kids and talking to them about dog safety and art, and hearing their stories and observations.”
The book is garnering praise among dog experts and kid experts alike. Trainer Victoria Stilwell, host of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog,” says the book “perfectly encapsulates my philosophies on [how to safely interact with dogs] in a really fun and engaging way.…”