Galunker, a Picture Book About a Pit Bull

Why write a children's book about a pit bull? Because these dogs are being massacred. One million pit bulls will be killed in shelters next year, and children can save them.
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The following is an excerpt from Galunker, a children's book about a misunderstood but lovable pit bull. Part Two has also just been published, and can be read here.


Why write a children's book about a pit bull? Because these dogs are being massacred. One million pit bulls will be killed in shelters next year, and children can save them. Because of misinformation and bigotry aimed at these dogs (no, their jaws don't lock), most are killed automatically when they enter a shelter. Galunker aims to rectify this.

Nobody is suggesting -- leastwise us -- that children should be exposed to dangerous dogs. All dogs are potentially dangerous, if they have an irresponsible owner: it depends entirely upon their upbringing. And a pit bull is no more dangerous than any other dog its size. Even a mistreated pit bull can be rehabilitated: one of Michael Vick's abused dogs ended up a therapy dog in a hospital. Galunker will include an essay directed at parents, with the facts -- rather than the myths -- regarding how to keep children safe.

This book has been written by Douglas Anthony Cooper and illustrated by Dula Yavne. Both have had their work published and shown worldwide, but there was no possibility that any conventional publishing house would touch a children's book about a pit bull. Hence it is being launched as a Kickstarter project, with the passionate support of pit bull advocates across American and Canada. The opening of Galunker will be serialized here, on the Huffington Post. And this is the first section.


Galunker was hated by all of mankind.
And it bothered Galunk. And I'll bet that you'd mind.

Because nobody likes to be hated, I deem,
No matter how hateful they happen to seem.

You would hate to be hated if you were a worm
Or a spider or lizard or rodent or germ.

You'd find this forlornsome if you were a snake
Who snuck through the forest and lurked in the lake.

(It is hardly your fault if you sneak and you lurk
If sneaking and lurking are just how you work.)

You'd resent this if you were a freak or a frog
And Galunker was none of these things.

Just a dog.


No, Galunker was not even hateful at all.
He bolted and bounced; he did not even crawl.

(And crawling is not such a rotten thing, too
If crawling is what you were brought up to do.)

But hated he was, and he always had been
For Galunker, though never his fault, Looked real mean.

His name was tattooed on the back of his ear
Which helped him look fierce (didn't help him to hear).

It was never his fault that the people he met
Upon meeting Galunker became so upset,

That they flinched or they frowned or they scrammed or they screamed --
He was not even slightly the way that he seemed.

And today poor Galunker was really a mess
So it's time that we started this story, I guess...


Today our Galunker was looking a lout,
Like a boxer returned from a bruisulous bout,
Which was not very far from the truth we'll find out.

Galunker was black-eyed, his paws were a wreck
As big as a bull was Galunker's great neck

And as loud as a bull his belaborous breath.
He looked like a dog who'd done battle with Death.

Which was not all that far from the case we shall see
(And Death had near won this, between you and me).

Galunker was plunked in the back of a van
Looking mean as can be, and in front sat a man

Who was cursing his horrible badness of luck
To have such a beast in the back of his truck.

That morning there'd been a spectacular raid
On a dog-fighting ring in the center of town

And our man was a catcher of canines by trade
And our man had been called by the cops to come down.

"We've busted the boys who were betting," they'd said
"And half of the dogs there are wounded or dead.

But this one's a brute and as live as can be
A dangerous dog-fighting dog, you can see.

This dog is a bully, a beast and a bruiser
A pit bull! Don't come much more scary than those are."

And you'd think that a dog catcher wouldn't be frightened.
His eyes though had widened; his face it had whitened.

A pit bull! He knew them from words that were murmured
Most darkly, between those who murmur such rumors.

He was new at the job, and his duty thus far
Had been helping a poodle escape from a jar,

Appeasing an Afghan stuck high in a tree,
And soothing a sheepdog who'd sat on a bee.

He had yet to take nary a pooch to the pound
For those circumstances had not yet come round.

(Although "shelter" was now the more popular word
Since "pound" sounded old-time and weird and absurd.)

He'd been hired just yesterday, Follicle Philty
(Yes that was his name), and now he felt guilty

Because -- though Galunker looked ugly and vicious,
(This pit bull that must have thought he looked delicious)--

He was still quite alive, and quite kicking you see
And the pound was no place for the living to be.

It was known through the town and the state and the earth
By every good citizen worthy of worth

That this shelter was no kind of shelter, alack:
No dog ever sent there had ever came back.


Galunker is being funded with the aid of Kickstarter. Because, as we say, no conventional publishing house will go near it. We were told: "You might as well write a children's book about meth."

Part Two will appear later this week in the Huffington Post.


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