Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Today Mom’s Choice is privileged to share an interview with Walker Jean Mills, author of the award-winning children’s book The Good Dog. The Good Dog is an allegory about how to love, accept, and show compassion to others through the eyes of a girl’s love for her dog, and we get to hear from the author herself how her own companion, Charlie, inspired her to share these lessons with the world. Read the full interview below!
MCA: Hi Walker! We are thrilled to be talking with you today. To start, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Walker: I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and attended Birmingham Southern College. After college, I wanted to be a “ski bum” so moved with friends to Jackson Hole, WY and eventually landed in Aspen, CO. I left Aspen for a few years to pursue my Masters in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University. I currently live in Snowmass, CO and work as an OT in the public schools. I am blessed with a loving family, supportive and fun friends, and my canine companion, Charlie.
MCA: What made you want to write The Good Dog? What was your inspiration?
Walker: To be honest, I had no intention of writing a children’s book. I was sitting on the couch telling my dog Charlie how good he is and the words just poured out of me. I wrote it in about 15 minutes. I do think the words were a culmination of life events, and God used me to share a message he wants all of us to hear.
MCA: Charlie sounds like an excellent furry friend. We would love to hear more about his personality and what makes him so special.
Walker: Charlie loves to greet- when someone walks into the room he is just beside himself, tail going crazy, some jumping, and just acting like that person is the most important person in the entire world. In essence, he is the ultimate greeter. He can generally read human moods- showing more affection when people are sad, and tends to hover around people when they are hurt. He is very mischievous- will at times get into trash, chase a skunk, run across a busy highway chasing a rabbit…He definitely has had some close calls! He loves the finer things in life: couches, bones, bacon, road trips, parties, morning and afternoon naps, and making friends with other dogs and people.
MCA: We can feel the love you have for Charlie! So, what type of response have you gotten from readers of The Good Dog?
Walker: The response has generally been very positive and supportive, from both children and adults residing all over the country. I have had a couple people pan the book (1 star on Goodreads) and a few others respectfully tell me they didn’t like the Bible verse at the end. But that is the beauty of America, that we can kindly voice our thoughts and opinions.
MCA: What is the overarching theme and takeaway from The Good Dog?
Walker: Love. Compassion. Kindness. People are in need of those things everyday, and they are often glaringly right in front of us.
MCA: Those are some excellent and solid themes- very aspirational! How do you think society would change if we all had the goal of showing increased compassion toward one another?
Walker: I think there would be less loneliness, pain, and hatred in the world; and there would be more glimpses of heaven here on earth.
MCA: Thank you for doing your part in bringing those slices of heaven to earth! I also see that 10% of the profits from your book goes to an organization called 4 Paws for Ability. Why did you choose that organization? What does it mean to you and to the community?
Walker: After writing the book I knew I wanted to donate a portion to a charity that illuminates the amazing gift that dogs are to humans. I came across 4 Paws for Ability while searching the web. I watched their video, and my heart was drawn to them. You can learn more about 4 Paws for Ability here.
Thanks to Walker Jean Mills for taking the time to chat with us!