Tuesday, March 10, 2009 • Local author unveils new children’s book

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, March 10, 2009, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Put a 4-pound Yorkshire terrier named Pete together with his 83-year-old babysitter named Nana Margaret who lives in a Chester senior living facility, and what have you got? Nothing less than the two pivotal characters in “Pete’s Fan Club,” a delightful new book written by Lassen County author Janie Hansen.

The author and the real live octogenarian babysitter will present the new book to the public from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, at Margie’s Book Nook, located at 722 Main St. in Susanville. Refreshments will be served.

Everybody knows a dog is man’s best friend, but Pete endears himself to everyone at the senior citizen’s facility when he comes for a visit. “Pete’s Fan Club” is a true- life love story that will warm your heart.  The author also will sign books at the Chester facility on March 17.

According to a review of “Pete’s Fan Club” on amazon.com, “Nana loads him into a box, atop her walker, and as they roll down the hallway, she calls out, ‘Pete’s here for a visit!’ Doors open as senior citizens emerge to greet them. The residents recall memories of their long-gone beloved pets as they observe Pete’s antics — doggie kisses and tail waggles. Giggles and laughter echo off the walls at Wildwood Village as Nana shares her bundle of fur and brags about him as if he were her human grandchild.

“Even though Pete does not understand a word the residents utter, he is in dog heaven as the fans open their hearts to him and shower him with words of endearment, gentle strokes and kisses gently placed on top of his head. With each visit he brings joy, expectation and purpose to the group, who now walk with purpose and breathe the air of expectation when they hear that Pete is coming for another visit. This true story about Pete’s fans is a feel-good story that will warm the hearts of children, grandparents and dog lovers around the world.”

This delightful little book is filled with color photos and a heartwarming story about the ways in which Pete enriches the lives of the seniors as his babysitter shares this bundle of fur with the residents as hoots of laughter and good cheer echo in the hallways.

Hansen said “Pete’s Fan Club” is dedicated to Margaret Peak, a longtime Lassen County resident. Hansen said she started taking Pete to Nana because she couldn’t stand to leave her dog alone or board him in a kennel.

“She’s a spry, lively and invigorating lady, and she loves little Yorkies,” Hansen said. “Pete is very safe when he’s with her, and she really loves him.”

Several portions of the book are based on Hansen’s interviews with the seniors.

“Writing is so much fun,” Hansen said. “I have an active creative mind. I’m an avid reader. And Pete is a very cool little dog. He weighs only four pounds. He’s an 8-year-old Yorkshire terrier. He’s like a therapy dog. His soul mate is an 8-pound cat.”

Hansen, a retired real estate agent, now devotes 100 percent of her time to writing. She also makes handcrafted soaps using luxury oils for relaxation.

Currently she’s working on two novels. The first is a first-person narrative written by a 13-year-old girl who rescues a pony injured in a stallion fight. Her efforts to save the baby horse lead to lots of conflict with her father.

The second book is a historical novel that follows a family’s hard times from World War II up to the present.

Hansen said she especially enjoys attending writer’s conferences, including the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and the Idaho Writer’s Conference. She’s also attended the Surprise Valley Writer’s Conference in Cedarville. Hansen said she plans to move to Idaho eventually.