Local author and business owner Heather Lehrman has big plans for her dog Herbie, a Boston terrier who will not tolerate being bullied—or let others become victims of bullying—and hopes to soon see him on screen.
Not the actual canine, but the character based on her beloved pooch of the same name in her book, Bullied at the Dog Park. The book was published in 2014 and her longtime vision of making it into a television series is getting closer.
“I am producing an animated TV pilot based on my book in hopes of getting a development deal with a TV station,” said Lehrman, who will hold a premiere cast party at the end of February.
The owner of In Home Pet Services of Gold Coast wrote the book with the animated series, Herbie and the Smushies, in her head.
She held a kickstarter campaign at the end of last year and raised enough to get the project rolling.
Her book is based on a real experience she had with bullying one day at a dog park with Herbie.
She used her network of dog owners to determine that it is a problem and thought that by using characters, it would be a good way to spread the message of anti-bullying to children.
“I wanted to help get the message out in my own way about the effects of bullying,” said Lehrman. “This book teaches children valuable lessons about treating all dogs (and people) with respect, and the importance of simple kindness.”
She has been promoting her book and recently attended a literacy week event at Ocean Avenue School in Northport.
“The school bought every child a book, which came out to 339 books,” said Lehrman. “They gave the book out the day before and a lot of parents and kids had read it already. I received great feedback from both.”
“As part of our district’s newly developed Strategic Plan, we are committed to teaching our students the importance of kindness, respect and tolerance,” said Sabina Larkin, principal of Ocean Avenue Elementary School. “It is our goal to communicate a consistent message through professional instructors and presentations. The message we send to our children about anti-bullying is one that must be taught very carefully, and Ms. Lehrman’s presentation discussed a critically important social and emotional topic.”
“After I read Bullied at the Dog Park at any school function, I go around the room and ask the kids ‘who can tell me who has been bullied and what happened?’ Many of the students raised their hand and I receive the same response from all of them: ‘Be nice to everyone’ and ‘never leave anyone out’,” Lehrman said. “Those two phrases put a big smile on my face every time I read my book because that is the message I am trying to get across to these kids at a very young age.”
Lehrman is eager to continue spreading her message at other elementary schools; anyone interested can visit www.facebook.com/bulliedatthedogpark.
“I hope to see this book in every elementary school, since it’s such an important topic,” said Lehrman.
In Home Pet Services of Gold Coast, with clients from Locust Valley, Oyster Bay, Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glen Head, Roslyn and Manhasset, offers a variety of services including dog walking, pet sitting, pet taxi, pet CPR and fist aid and puppy/ kitty care.
Visit www.inhomepetservices.com or find the book on Facebook for more info.