Today I am happy to have a very special guest here: Alarna Rose Gray.  Alarna describes herself as an aunt, animal lover, and writer.  To me she is also a new friend.

AND she has a brand new book!

Hello Pepi_opt

Hello Pepi: A Toy Dog is for Real

There was a little puppy

 With a coat of raven silk,

A lightning splash upon his chest

And paws of peppered milk…


Hello Pepi is the first book in a wonderful new series for children young and old.  It is about the special friendship between a toy dog and his most important person.  The verse is smart, sweet and wonderful to read aloud. The illustrations make me nostalgic for the picture books from my childhood.  In short, the books made me smile.

Pepi is also based on a true story.

Here is that inspiration in Alarna’s words:

Hello Pepi is a collection of memories that form a fictional narrative of the life of one small dog.

But not just any dog.

Pepi was a dog that burst onto the scene of my life in a most unexpected way.

Pepi Age 1_opt

Pepi, Age 1

I had no intention of getting a dog. My flatmate at the time had suffered a terrible loss and wanted to get a puppy. Although between us we already had four cats!


We took a long drive across the city to the other side of town, and it was as we stood in the living room of a European lady that the magic happened.

He was a tiny black and white fella who made gentle cooing noises as I held him in my palm.


My flatmate had chosen his brother, the runt of the pack, and not wanting to separate the two, I made a snap decision to take the puppy home. Who can resist the cuteness of a little dog who quacks at the sight of you?

And this is where the reason for my writing the series came about.


It’s a common story. We fall in love with pets because we’ve bred them to be cute for us. But sometimes we don’t realise what that decision means.

At the age of eighteen / nineteen, having a dog, in particular, made me feel grown up and independent – that idea of being responsible for another living creature who you take out into the world with you.

Then the reality comes in. They need to be fed. Walked. Bathed. Cleaned up after. Trained. Not to mention all the very costly vet bills.

Little dogs, in particular, are quite high maintenance. They might be small, but they make up for it in energy, and (quite often) noise!

I’m a very quiet person, and can also be impatient. So the two together meant that I was in for some ride with Pepi!

Pepi Age 2a_opt


Pepi, age 2 

It really wasn’t until someone close to me pointed out how clever he was, that I truly began to appreciate his energy. And that’s the bittersweet tragedy of having pets. I don’t think we always appreciate how much they know, or what they give us… until it’s gone.

He suffered something similar to a stroke at fifteen. Even at that age, people in the street thought he was still a puppy, because he was so small, and full of energy. But he was never quite the same after that. He started slowing down. He got dementia. That’s when I decided to chronicle his life and spirit in verse.

He loved having the story read to him. He was a very musical dog, and the rhythm of the rhyme made him jump up in excitement. He knew it was about him, and he’d talk back as I read aloud.

Pepi Age 2b_opt

And that’s it, really. I wanted to share the joy of the experiences I had with him, as well as the lessons that I learned. My puppy parenting was far from perfect. But he always knew he was loved, and never held that against me. Except when I forgot to give him treats. Then he held a grudge . :)

Little dogs are also much maligned. People think they are stupid, or blame them for provoking their bigger dogs into a fight. But there’s a lot more to them than that. It just requires us to see the world a little through their eyes…

Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your story Alarna.

The first three ebooks are available on Amazon here.  But in celebration of the launch of her new series and the wonderful spirit of Pepi and friendship, Alarna would like to gift the first book to YOU.

So if you’d like an ebook of Hello Pepi #1, simply leave your email in the comments before Monday, December 10th.

Have an amazing weekend!







31 thoughts on “Pepi the Dog & the Million Little Things of Friendship

    1. Alarna Rose Gray

      Aw, thanks Susie – Pepi would have loved for you to say that! :)

      Thanks so much, Coleen, for hosting me on your beautiful blog! (And I love that quote you started with – wonderful) :)

  1. Chris Edgar

    Wow, he looks like a canine superhero in the picture on the front of the book, with the lightning bolt on his costume and all — and the lightning represented not just his speed, but also his ability to strike affection into the hearts of all who beheld him. :)

  2. Beth K. Vogt

    I almost skipped this blog post today because we lost our dog, Midas, last winter — and I still tear up about it.
    He was a big old lab — more golden than yellow, so the name “Midas” fit him.
    Now we have a puppy, Jo, who is going to be mid-size, and we’re falling in love all over again, but we still miss Midas. You get another dog not to replace the one you lost … but because, well, you’re a dog person
    I enjoyed reading about Pepi. Thanks for today’s post.

  3. Alarna Rose Gray

    So glad you did stop by, Beth. And so very sorry to hear of your loss. They leave such a mark on you – and no, they can never be replaced. Pepi only passed away in September, so I can relate to what you’re going through. May you have many happy years with your new puppy, Jo.
    Alarna Rose Gray recently posted..The Origins of FriendshipMy Profile

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill

    Pepi is gorgeous! And the book cover is so appealing! And the poetry is wonderful – “paws of peppered milk” – such a perfect description! I am a shameless dog lover – have 2 rescue pups myself – and one of them has a nose and paws of cinnamoned milk :) Anyway, loved the post Coleen and Alarna, and can completely relate to all the joys those little four-leggeds bring to our lives :)

    1. Alarna Rose Gray

      Glad to meet another shameless lover of dogs – especially those with milky paws! There’s kind of no middle ground when it comes to these furry beings, is there? Thanks so much for the compliments, Susanna :)

  5. Debra Kristi

    What a beautiful little series. Our pets really do become part of our family and can inspire us in so many ways. I picked up your book for my daughter. I’m sure she will enjoy exploring it on her new Christmas gift. 😉 Good look with Pepi’s running story.

    1. Alarna Rose Gray

      Oh, the mini schnauzer is a beautiful little dog – so sorry for your loss. I’m sure the other dogs must also be sad, but at least you have each other. Thanks Lynette :)

  6. Rita

    Your story with Pepi is so touching Alarna. I told you this before but I loved your first book, so well written and the pictures are very nice.
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  7. Lynn Kelley

    Sorry I’m so late in reading this post. I love Alarna, such an amazing friend and talented writer. I bought all three books and am so impressed with them. I’m looking forward to the rest of the Hello Pepi series and wish Alarna great success with her books. I think it’s wonderful that this series is based on her real dog. Such an awesome tribute to Pepi!

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