If you like feel-good stories in the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, the latest installment features a script from this neck of the woods.
Elma resident Debra Penfold wrote a story about her family dog – a Puggle named Maggie – who got loose a few days before Christmas several years ago. Penfold’s story is in the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Lessons Learned from My Dog” and it just hit store shelves on Jan. 24.
Maggie was gone for 16 long days. The holidays in 2019 were filled with worry, phone calls, neighbors and friends reporting sightings and diminishing hope. News spread of Maggie’s disappearance on social media and the Pendold family even contacted the services of a local trapper who specializes in catching runaway dogs by luring them into cages with food, then “trapping” them until humans can bring them back home.
Nothing was working. The days stretched out and felt like an eternity. In other cases, trappers have a high success rate.
As Penfold details in her story Wrong-Way Maggie, each time Maggie would come to the trapper’s cage to eat the food, she was too smart. She would manage to eat the food that was placed outside of the cage, but she didn’t fall for being lured inside of it. She never got trapped.
Fortunately, the story ends on a high note and Maggie does get found. In this sweet and heartwarming story that continues outside of the pages of the book, she never runs off again. “Now we keep her on a leash,” Penfold said.
Maggie is 14 years old and she lives with Penfold, her husband Jerry and their other dog Polly, who is 16 years old. They have been married since 1982 and have always had at least one dog. Through the years, the dogs have gotten smaller, and Penfold notes that they also seem to rule the house more. Maybe that’s because their children have grown. However, Maggie and Polly may be the last dogs for the Penfolds.
“We want to travel and it is hard to leave the dogs,” she said. “They are our family, We take them everywhere with us but we don’t go everywhere we want because we have the dogs.”
As the Penfolds are accustomed to dogs, they are also no strangers to storytelling. Writing and publishing runs in the family. While this is Debra Penfold’s first time being published, Jerry was published in a different “Chicken Soup for the Soul ” series about dogs that was released in 2017 with a story called Dreams and Unexplainable. Their son Jon has written and published three books and he is a regular contributor to this newspaper, writing a monthly column called Mightier than the Sword: Notes on Writing.
Penfold said that she hasn’t received any formal training to help her through the writing process, but she is an avid reader who reads several books a week. She received $250 for her story and 10 copies of the book. Her story was published with 100 other stories about the lessons that people have learned by having a pet dog.
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