Jodi Uhron publishes first children’s book
Local woman pens Children’s book about the bond between a child and her dog
Jodi Uhron didn’t plan on writing a book. After getting married and working various jobs, she was content to be a stay-at-home mom, devoting her days to caring for her 3-year-old daughter, Taylor, and 7-year-old Shih Tzu, Sydney. The two, she said, have a close, sibling-like relationship, and she often refers to them as her “children” or “the kids.” That relationship is what inspired the Castle Shannon resident to pen her first children’s book.
“Sydney & Me,” published by Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc., tells of Taylor and Sydney’s relationship as Uhron watched as their bond grew, from her daughter’s arrival home after birth through present day. The book, geared toward children ages 2-5, includes important information for parents to introduce their dog to a new baby. Uhron said children will also learn some child-dog safety tips as well as chores to help with dog care.
Uhron and her husband, Matt, attended a class at Animal Friends while Jodi was pregnant. “Baby-Ready Pets” taught them how to introduce their new baby to their dog, and Uhron incorporated some of what they learned into the book. The story also touches upon the fun parts of a child-dog relationship, such as playing and taking naps together, helping with little jobs and rewarding dogs with a treat.
Safety tips, some of which were covered in the class, are also included, including discouraging a child from pulling a dog’s ears, tail or fur; bringing a new baby home to a dog, proper child interaction with a dog, such as petting, and never leaving a baby and dog alone together in the same room. “These tragedies happen all the time and they’re preventable,” said Uhron, recalling a story in the news a few years ago about a baby who was killed by a dog when it was left alone mere minutes while the mother went to the bathroom. “They’re a part of the family. They’re domesticated. But they still have instincts that you can’t control or train out of them.”
Uhron, who holds a journalism degree from IUP, started writing the book last May. She had the rough draft finished in just one night. The next few weeks were spent editing, and by the end of May she had signed with Dorance Publishing. The 36-page book, with illustrations by Dara Puskarich, a friend of Uhron’s, was published in December. “It took a while and it was hard to be patient,” she said. Uhron ordered copies for her immediate family, signed them and gave them as Christmas gifts. She said her family “loved it,” especially her mother, a former English teacher at Bishop-McCord High School in Johnstown. “She was very proud.”
Uhron just started working on a follow-up to “Sydney & Me,” which will focus on teaching a child what they can and cannot feed their dog. She said she hopes to turn this into a series. “There are so many families that have both children and dogs. I think it’s enjoyable for the kids to read about the dog stuff because they love their dogs, but at the same time, they’re learning.” She said parents can learn from it, too.
Uhron will hold a book reading at E2 Toys To Try in Bridgeville on Feb. 19 that will include a presentation for children and parents on child-dog safety with a Q&A for parents afterward. On Feb. 24, she will hold a book reading at The Seesaw Center in Castle Shannon. For more information, visit www.jodi-uhrontheweb.com.