Sometimes, the dog dies.
That’s the sad truth, in real life and in books.
It’s never easy to deal with, no matter what. But this lovely and beautifully-illustrated  new book, God Needed a Puppy, is one way to help bring comfort to kids (and adults) who have lost a pet.

Ernest and Petey check out the book under the lilac bush, where some of their friends lay to rest.

  Today we welcome Emmy Award-winning journalist and author John Gray to talk about his book. (PLUS we’re giving away a copy of God Needed a Puppy at the end!)

 The Writer’s Dog: Welcome John, and thank you for joining us today. God Needed a Puppy is a children’s book dealing with pet loss. What inspired you to write this book?
John Gray: After the death of my 6-month-old puppy I couldn’t shake the grief and anger. He was so young, it just didn’t seem fair. I thought to myself, this must be how kids feel when they lose a pet. So that’s why I wrote it. To help myself and children.
Author John Gray with Samuel.

 TWD: How does this book help children who have lost a pet? What do they need to hear?

JG: The book tells a child who lost a pet three things. First, your pet was special. So special he or she may be needed for a special mission in heaven. Second, you will see your pet again someday so this is not goodbye forever. And third, I tell them to keep their eyes open because God has a way of sending another pet down to us when the time is right. Parents have told me that a child who previously could not stop crying read my book and it really helped.

TWD: My favorite line from your book is, “Saying goodbye to a beloved pet does not mean saying goodbye forever.” I believe we will see our pets again in heaven. But what do you say to kids who are unsure if pets go to heaven? 
JG: I tell them listen, there is either a heaven or there is not. I choose, like most people, to believe there is something beyond this life on earth. And if there is a heaven it would not be heaven if our pets weren’t there. So it’s only logical we will see them again.

TWD: You’re a television journalist–how was the experience of writing a book different for you?
Journalism is easy compared to writing a book of fiction. With
journalism you just gather facts and put them in order that makes sense.
With a book you have to come up with characters and a story and then
figure out a proper ending. The ending is always the hardest part.
TWD: You’re also a dog lover. Tell us about the dogs in your life!
JG: I currently have three dogs. Sebastian the oldest German Shepherd. Like the child in the book, he came to me unexpectedly after the loss of my puppy. I wasn’t ready for him but there he was in my life. I also have Winston, another German Shepherd who is full of love. He’s from the same parents as Samuel, the puppy I lost, and has his sweet disposition. And then there is Keller. He is a blind and deaf Australian Shepherd who was abandoned as a puppy. We found each other when I was doing volunteer work at the animal shelter and I had to take him home. He is a wonderful dog and has a big heart in his fur. He is the inspiration for my next book, Keller’s Heart.
Thank you John Gray for sharing your thoughts with us today. Part of the proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to animal shelters across the country.
For more information visit

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Full Disclosure: We were given one copy of this book to review and one to giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.