It happened one year ago, on Tuesday August 4th 2015; one of the saddest days of our lives. It was the day we lost one of our dearest family members, Sammy. He was 14 years old. He was part of our family from the beginning. He was living with my wife (Eveline) before I met her. He was a support to her when she became ill, bringing happiness in sometimes worrisome times. The three of us, and later four when Nikki arrived on the scene, had a great time together. Sammy was a very friendly dog. Not afraid of humans or dogs. Very social. He was also a bit clumsy and often made us laugh. When he was young he was the fasted dog in town. There is really so much to tell about Sammy, that it inspired my wife, who is a great writer, to write a book about him.
Resume of the book
The book tells about Sammy's life from his perspective, intertwined with diary segments telling the story from Eveline's perspective. Giving the reader different insights into the story of both, but mainly telling the story of Sammy's life. The book starts from the moment he moves in with Eveline (called Eva in the book) and how they very soon become inseparable. Sammy describes the various situations he runs into; funny, big, small, dramatic and the way he sees and experiences these. Eva, who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, tells about her search for causes, treatments, challenges with work, her fight with governmental social services and how she tries to make the best of the situation within the given limitations. During this adventure Sammy is her soul mate through and through. It's a moving story, but Sammy's anecdotes will also often make you smile.
Eveline worked many months on the book. Writing, reading, checking, rewriting, until it was finally finished and time for me to design the cover. Looking through the many pictures of Sammy, I decided on using the one I made when I was laying on the couch, playing around with my new camera, while Sammy was asking for my attention. He loved getting attention and probably thought I spent too much time on my new gadget. His expression on the photo is great. A questioning gentle look, looking right into the lens. It makes you smile and it conveys the atmosphere of the book perfectly.
Although the photo was good, it had too much distractions. So I removed the background and made it white. As I planned for the cover to be also white. I created a little shadow behind Sammy to separate him from the background. I chose a simple and elegant font and after many hours perfecting it, I finalized the cover together with Eveline and send it to the printing house. The printing house send us a proof issue for evaluation. Some things had to be tweaked, because the printed version had some anomalies which weren't visible in the digital version (letters disappeared and the shadow became too pronounced). Later I learned from the printing house that some of these issues could have been prevented if I had used ADOBE Indesign in stead of Photoshop. Another lesson learned! After the cover was done, the final prints could be made. For the necessary publicity Eveline made a press release and soon after two local newspapers offered to publish an article about the book. For one of them the accompanying photo was made by me. So that week two of my photos where published via different media (book cover and newspaper). Although of course it is the book that is important, having my photos published was a nice side benefit :-). Below a short slideshow, giving a playful insight into to process.
Now, a couple of weeks after the creation of the book, it can be ordered online via the publisher's website or via Eveline's webpage evelineschrijft.nl (a beautiful site, which you should check out). But it also can be bought with our veterinarian and our local bookstore. Quite some books have already been sold and there is a lot of positive feedback. Even now, Sammy is getting all the attention he always wanted and which he certainly deserves.