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SOURCE No Kill Nation, Inc.
TORONTO, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The odds of a children's book about a pit bull gathering a huge following were slim. But Galunker – an illustrated rhyming book, with a nod to Dr. Seuss – achieved its 35-day Kickstarter goal in less than three days. It has taken in $55,000 CAD, with two days left in the campaign. Pit bull advocates have rallied around the project.
The actress Amber Benson (of Buffy fame) tweeted:
"<3 THIS PROJECT! #Galunker, a kids' book about a sweet pit bull. End the hatred & check out @galunker on Kickstarter http://bit.ly/galunker"
And Abby Elliott (Saturday Night Live) tweeted:
"I LOVE THIS! #Galunker, A kids book about a sweet pit bull! Back this great project on kickstarter: http://bit.ly/galunker"
Galunker is a dog rescued from a fighting ring. He is about as dangerous as a marshmallow, but he comes up against all sorts of prejudice, simply because he looks mean. The book was inspired partially by the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's fighting ring, one of whom went on to become a therapy dog in a hospital.
Jacqueline Johnson adopted one of those pit bulls: Ray, the 'Vicktory' Dog. "Mr. Cooper has written a beautiful, heartfelt book," said Johnson, "About what it's like to be a loving, misunderstood dog. And the illustrations [by Dula Yavne] are just gorgeous."
The bias against pit bulls almost killed Ray: the rescuers were told that Vick's dogs were some of the most dangerous in the nation, and would have to be put down. But activists stepped in, and "Ray is now an AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen," said Johnson. "Most family pets couldn't pass that test."
This bias meant that there was no hope that a mainstream publisher would go anywhere near Galunker. "We were told that we might as well write a children's book about meth," said Cooper.
"That's why we went the Kickstarter route," said Yavne. "We had some sense that pit bull lovers would get behind it. But we had no idea that it would be this kind of success. For some days it was the #1 publishing project in the world – out of tens of thousands on Kickstarter.
"Each and every day Ray helps change hearts and minds," says Johnson. He seems to have a special affinity for children. Children are so willing to believe the best of animals. But there are few if any resources available to help educate children about pit bulls, and the stigma that is attached to them. Galunker is an important step in helping children realize that these are just dogs."
The book will include an essay at the end, directed at parents. Cooper and Yavne consulted some of the world's leading experts, so that they could advise parents properly about safety. "Breed is irrelevant," said Cooper. "Any dog that is unsocialized can be dangerous – whether it's a Lab, or a Poodle, or some kind of bully breed. But a properly trained dog – treated properly by children – is perfectly safe."
"We are suggesting that parents consider adopting a pit bull type from a shelter," said Yavne: "Hundreds of thousands of these dogs are killed every year because they can't find homes. Galunker aims to make children fall in love with these dogs."
The writer, Douglas Anthony Cooper, has had novels published internationally by major houses, including Random and Doubleday; his books have been bestsellers, and have received raves in the New York Times. The illustrator, Dula Yavne, has had her work published and displayed around the world.
Pledges to the Kickstarter campaign, depending upon the amount contributed, receive various rewards: copies of Galunker, signed special editions, branded merchandise, etc. The campaign ends on Tuesday evening, July 1, at 9:41 PM CDT.
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