Toki Poki member Penny, Member #865, is quite the celebrity so we wanted to hear about her Mom’s book, “Priceless Penny.” Security was tight for this Member Spotlight, no pawparazzi allowed! Author Lauren Kramer and Miss Penny sat down with us so we could learn more about this amazing little lady.
Thank you Ms. Kramer and Penny for being with us today. Please tell us a little about your children’s book. Why did you decide to write about Penny’s journey? What is the message that kids get after reading “Priceless Penny?”
Priceless Penny chronicles the amazing adoption journey of my three-legged dog, Penny. She was actually found as a stray in California where she was taken to a high kill shelter. Luckily, Second Chance Animal Rescue from Springfield, Illinois paid someone to drive Penny from California to their location where her search for a loving forever home began.
My husband actually came up with the idea of writing a children’s book about Penny after we witnessed her scaling our three foot pet gate. We are hoping that the book will raise awareness about the importance of adopting differently-abled animals. So often, these animals are overlooked in shelters and are seen as being “broken” or “defective.” Nothing could be further from the truth! These animals are able to live amazing lives and are deserving of loving forever homes.
The message behind Priceless Penny is that different is beautiful. I hope that children will not only apply this message to animals, but humans as well. We are all different and that is what makes us special. My dream is to one day be able to donate copies of Priceless Penny to children’s hospitals across the country so that the patients will have a character they can relate to.
That is a great message, not only for kids, but everyone! So how is Penny handling all her new-found fame? Does she give ‘pawtigraphs?’
Penny is loving her time in the spotlight! She greatly enjoys traveling to events across the country and making new friends. Penny absolutely loves belly rubs that her fans are only too happy to supply. Yes, Penny actually loves giving pawtigraphs! She usually pawtigraphs the first page of her book with her signature color, pink.
What is a typical day for Penny and does she have any siblings?
A typical day for Penny begins with morning playtime in our backyard. She then comes inside for her favorite part of the day: breakfast! Penny loves eating out of her pink princess food dish. When she is finished eating, she jumps onto the couch for morning belly rubs. Penny usually falls asleep after her tummy has been rubbed. When she is feeling especially playful, she will grab her favorite toy, a stuffed hedgehog. Penny loves to play fetch and will chase the hedgehog wherever it lands.
Yes, Penny has quite a few furry siblings. They are:
Theo – long-haired Chihuahua
Adriel – short-haired Chihuahua
Domino – blue merle Chihuahua
Hope – mini double dapple Dachshund (born without eyes and is deaf)
Miracle – Calico cat
Olaf – long-haired cat
Sven – grey tabby cat
Several of Penny’s siblings are also differently-abled. Hope is the product of a backyard breeder and was born without eyes and is completely deaf. She uses her nose to navigate through life. Olaf and Sven both have scratches on the corneas of their left eyes. While they still have vision in the eye, they are not able to see through the scratch.
Penny’s unique physique is what makes her so special. How does she express her canine soul?
Penny is very expressive and shows her canine soul in numerous ways. When she becomes excited, she will wave her special paw (a.k.a. “the stump”) around like crazy. This usually happens when she is playing with her siblings or the treat bag is brought out. Penny also has amazing focus. When she is interested in something, her ears stand straight up and lean slightly forward. If Penny is sad, her ears will lie flat on her head and she will swish her tail like a cat.
Does Penny have a favorite snack?
Penny’s favorite snack is Zuke’s Mini Naturals Peanut Butter Treats. When she hears the bag opening, she will do what we call the “Tripawd Dance.” She balances on her back legs while waving her “stump” around wildly.
Penny has her own Toki Poki resume trading card, among others. How does she use them?
Penny hands out her Toki Poki resume cards at all book signing events. She also gives the cards to children who attend the humane education classes that she co-teaches at the Animal Protection Agency of Missouri. People of all ages love the resume card and are so excited to follow Penny on her social media channels. Penny also likes to promote the wonderful work that Toki Poki does and encourages her fans to create their own cards on the Toki Poki website.
“Do The Toki Poki” is our motto — meaning we celebrate our pets as they show their unconditional love & whimsy spirit. How do YOU Do The Toki Poki?
I Do The Toki Poki by being an advocate for rescue and differently-abled animals. Many of our dogs came from horribly abusive situations. Penny, in particular, had extreme separation anxiety. With love, patience and understanding, our fur babies have blossomed into happy, healthy animals that crave the attention and affection of humans. I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless and shed light on the importance of adopting animals from local shelters and rescue groups.
I Do The Toki Poki with Penny by spoiling her with clothes. Penny absolutely loves to get dressed up! When she sees me with a new outfit, she hops around wagging her tail wildly. Penny always seems to know that the clothes are for her. Her favorite fashion items are her many dresses.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Penny is a very mothering dog. Four years ago, my husband and I rescued a two-week old kitten from the middle of Main Street in our town. From the moment we brought the kitten home, Penny became her guardian. She remained by the kitten’s side both day and night. When the kitten slept, Penny would wrap her front right leg around the kitten and sit on guard until the kitten awoke. She would growl if any of her furry siblings came to close to the sleeping kitty.
Penny continues to play the role of mother to any animal that appears in distress. While volunteering at the APA of Missouri, a woman brought in her pet piglet. She decided to show the children how upset a pig gets when it is flipped on its’ back. The piglet began to frantically squeal. As soon as Penny heard the piglet’s cries, she began whining and tried to jump out of my lap to run to the piglet’s side. Penny immediately inspected the piglet once it was placed back on the ground and began to administer kisses.
Here are some Penny Fun Facts:
- Penny loves to chase the laser pointer! She will follow the dot onto furniture, up and down stairs…everywhere!
- Penny chases flies! Once she knows that a fly has entered the house, she will not rest until the fly has been caught. We even witnessed her snatching a fly out of the air and then eating it.
Thank you so much for sharing a little about Penny today and what led you to share her message with everyone in your book.
Thank you, Toki Poki, so much for his wonderful honor!