TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — When a trembling, timid chihuahua showed up outside Cackleberries restaurant on a freezing day in January 2015, she was 7 years old and weighed only 2 1/2 pounds. She could not possibly have conceived at the time that she would become the hero of a rhyming children’s book — and that the book would help other abandoned animals like her.
Kimberly Kimbler, who works in the nursing department at Indiana State University and is the president of TREES, Inc., owns a large collection of children’s books and long wanted to write one; that tremulous chihuahua provided the inspiration. Kimbler has written “The Perils of Pixie,” the story of her rescue pet.
“Perils of Pixie” went on sale last week at Amazon.com. The book’s goal is to “bring awareness to rescuing instead of puppy mills,” Kimbler explained. Proceeds will benefit Wabash Valley rescue shelters, including the Terre Haute Humane Society and those in Brazil and Marshall, Ill.
“I am delighted to get Pixie’s story out there and my hope is to contribute in any way I can,” Kimbler said. “There are a lot of dog lovers out there that can identify with Pixie’s journey.”
Kimbler was at Cackleberries when Pixie appeared outside its doors. A restaurant employee rescued the frightened dog from the abject cold, putting her in a box. Kimbler said, “I’ll take her” and took her to Heritage Animal Hospital. After a couple of surgeries and the removal of 13 teeth, Kimbler fostered Pixie and decided to keep her — even though she confesses to never being a “little dog person.” Her father was a hunter when she was growing up, so she found herself surrounded by big dogs.
“Perils of Pixie” is illustrated by Becky Gropp Hochhalter, an artist responsible for a number of public murals throughout the Wabash Valley. “Becky was a friend even before,” Kimbler said — they knew each other through Hochhalter’s daughter, who graduated ISU with a degree in nursing — and Hochhalter’s mural at the train depot at Deming Park convinced Kimbler she was the right person to serve as illustrator.
“It was Kim’s idea to portray the story going from scared and lonely and lost to being loved and having the comfort of a home and finding a family. She put a lot of thought into how to tell the story,” Hochhalter said, adding that the art in the book begins with dark scenes that become bright and cheerful. Each page contains a Bible verse.
Like Kimbler, Hochhalter also has a rescue dog, a cattle dog named Yadi. “So we’ve been through that story, as well,” Hochhalter said, “but (Pixie’s) story is more exciting.”
Pixie’s story is about to get even more exciting — she will accompany Kimbler to book signings. Kimbler acquired an ink pad for Pixie’s paw to use to provide autographs at the signings.