The Pups & Purrs Series for Parents, Teachers, Counselors & Humane Educators

Kid reading the Book. Education


Humane education through storytelling

How to use the series:

pups and purrs series sunny weber author middle grade kids reading

Each book in the P&P series features Classic Coming of Age stories with multi-layered themes and messages for a wide variety of readers.

Ages 7-10 will enjoy the surface of the stories; ages 10-13 will begin to see the messages; ages 13 and up will begin to identify with the deeper themes.

Each book reflects issues children experience and the animal characters give voice to emotions that children often cannot. See the discussion guide on the Dog at the Gate page for ideas on how you can draw a child into helpful conversations.

The main goals of the series are:

To Help children who have difficulty verbalizing their life stresses but who can identify with animals. The animal characters experience the same issues: e.g.:  social isolation; personal identity conflicts; bullying; rejection; lack of power; decision-making; growing up challenges.

To Provide humane education for children: teaching what animals need; to develop empathy; seeking to see the world through animal eyes; assisting in the early development of altruism.

A major goal is to turn potential animal abusers around--avoiding the inevitable escalation to violence against people. Children begin abusing animals when they are abused, or see abuse modeled in the adults around them. The P&P series seeks to give children more constructive options through humane awareness of animals as sentient beings.

To Teach through storytelling and entertainment: by encouraging reading by featuring colorful characters and engrossing stories.

To Develop early problem-solving abilities/analytical thinking:  the animal characters show how to set goals and develop step-by-step accomplishments to attain those goals. They face the consequences of their decisions and grow in personal responsibility.

To Promote the humane treatment of all creatures and the environment by furnishing tools for parents, teachers, counselors, and humane educators at home, school, in therapeutic settings, and at animal rescue environments.

Pups & Purrs Audience

  • Middle-Grade readers (ages 8-14)
  • Readers who dislike/have difficulty with reading, by providing intriguing stories, in easy-to-read formats, with charming illustrations.
  • Parents who want to be able to share reading experiences with their children.
  • Teachers who seek user-friendly tools to encourage students to read.
  • Counselors who need animal character bridges to assist troubled children open up about their own life challenges—while identifying with the story characters.
  • Humane Educators who can share animal stories in shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries when children visit or volunteer.
The Dog at the Gate - How a Throw-Away Dog Becomes Special


Protagonist Max has ADHD and is therefore continually rejected. He faces neglect and abuse from people who do not understand his needs. He struggles with his self-esteem/self-worth. He must choose what kind of adult dog he wants to be: aggressive in retribution for his early abuse, or to hold out hope for love and a family who accepts him for who and what he is.

His new mistress channels his energy into constructive obedience competitions and helps him learn to focus. He must learn to fit in with the many species in his family. He continues to fear rejection if he cannot measure up.

When he becomes sick, he finds that the family values him for what and who he is and sticks by him. His final reward for positive decision making ends up with a “forever job in a forever home.”

The Dog at the Gate: How a Throwaway Dog Becomes Special

Age Range: 8 - 14 years
Grade Level: 3 - 8
Paperback: 246 pages
Publish Date: October 6, 2017
ISBN-10: 0996661247
ISBN-13: 978-0996661249
Awards: Moonbeam Children's Book, CIPA EVVY Children's Storybook, CIPA EVVY Pets

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Coping with ADHD, making decisions, setting constructive goals for a life of contribution.


Good decision making will be rewarded; goals must be set to be attained.


Loyalty, courage, patience, tolerance, faithfulness, devotion.

Hurricane Dog - A Tale of Betrayal, Redemption and Change

Hurricane Dog: A Tale of Betrayal, Redemption & Change

Age Range: 8 - 14 years
Grade Level: 3 - 8
Paperback: 240 pages
Publish Date: February 2, 2019
ISBN-10: 0996661263
ISBN-13: 978-0996661263


Pit bull mix Gator and puppy mill survivor Magnolia are abandoned during a Louisiana hurricane. They suffer dehydration and starvation after rescuers take their people to safety but leave the pets behind.

Saved from their flooded house, Gator and Magnolia recover but remain homeless. Nobody wants a pit bull. Gator’s resentment festers into intense hatred for Gavin, the boy who left them to die. He vows to never trust again.

Transported to Colorado with other refugee pets, Gator and Magnolia face the uncertainty of a new life. Eventually they are fostered by a kind woman who seems mysteriously familiar. Both dogs relax in their new lives until upheaval again throws them into chaos.

Overwhelmed by trauma, Gator and Magnolia cling to one another through change after change. Will they be separated? Will Gator forgive the Great Betrayal and love again? How will Gavin accomplish his life’s goal of changing federal legislation so that animals are rescued with their people during natural disasters?



Prejudices against pit bull dogs, people of color; snap judgments that ultimately prove to be unsubstantiated and untrue.


Bad decisions can backfire; faulty judgment blinds one to truth; forgiveness, flexibility, tolerance opens one to love; education is the key to accomplishing changes in the world; all children have the potential to contribute; every life is valuable—human and animal.


Loyalty may result in self-sacrifice, but devotion, patience, and forgiveness can enrich everyone’s life; it is important to set goals at every stage of life; courage is key to navigate change; passion to change the world for the better is a noble mission.

From Wild to Mild by Sunny Weber

From Wild to Mild: A Dog in Two Worlds

Age Range: 8 - 14 years
Grade Level: 3 - 8
Paperback: 240 pages
Publish Date: August 23, 2019
ISBN-10: 0996661271
ISBN-13: 978-0996661270


Eight-week-old Kaya is kidnapped from her backyard by a coyote who carries her to his den. She is meant to be food for the coyote’s mate and puppies. The mother refuses to kill her and raises Kaya with her own pups. Kaya notices differences between herself and her family and becomes insecure about her worth to them. Kaya’s coyote father bitterly resents her. He berates and criticizes her.

Two-year-old Kaya is trapped taken to a shelter where she remembers living with people as a puppy and adapts. Kaya is adopted by Laurie, a disabled woman who runs a sanctuary ranch for “special needs” animals. Kaya eagerly learns ranch work from Laurie, Manuel the Mexican helper, and old Jess, the collie.

She also finds her true talent: livestock herding. She is overjoyed to find her purpose in life and a family who needs and respects her abilities.

Kaya sees her coyote father steal an orphan lamb. Kaya’s natural instincts are to protect, not kill. She faces the dilemma of saving a prey animal from a predator.

Can Kaya’s instinct to protect overcome her abhorrence for violence? How will she save her lamb without fighting her father? Can she overcome her doggness and win in a world of the wild?



Searching for your true nature is hard work and can be uncomfortable; finding your true nature is a natural part of growing up; being true to yourself is often met with others’ attempts to keep you under their own selfish control; insecurity can result when you are not able to conform to the expectations of others; ultimately doing what you think is right for you is most important.


Growing up requires one’s own search for self. Discovering your true self takes time. Be true to yourself, regardless of push-back from others, although you must remain open to new ways of interpreting who you are as you evolve and grow. Evilness in others can be conquered with personal integrity.


Kindness can be found alongside cruelty; family can come in many forms; developing self-differentiation sometimes involves contradicting parents, authority figures, and peers; there are two sides (or more) of every story; analytical thinking can expose false facts; altruism defeats selfishness.