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Rambunctious dog becomes the subject of a children's book

The yellow lab was about a year old with a gimpy leg, a penchant for destroying things and a history of abuse, making her fearful. She had already been in three homes and it seemed like no one wanted her.

Who would want to adopt a dog like that?


Lisa Price did.


Around eight years ago, the now-retired gifted students teacher at Towne Meadow Elementary in Carmel decided her family needed another dog. She went to the Love of Labs rescue in Indianapolis and came home with a high-energy girl named Stella.


“When you rescue an animal, oftentimes you’re given very little information from the shelter. I’m not sure why Stella was surrendered,” says Price. “Perhaps she misbehaved. All I know is that she fell or was thrown out of a vehicle when she was two months old and had a rod put in her back leg, and that she was surrendered before she was a year old. When I got her, she was terrified of men, especially men wearing baseball caps. She still does have a bit of a fear of men, but not as pronounced.”


As a busy schoolteacher, Price said that at first she was gone a lot and Stella didn’t get the attention or discipline she needed.

Lisa Price says Stella is "truly, truly my heart."

“I think it was typical adolescent behavior, along with boredom, but she sure did tear up a lot of things in my house,” Price recalls. “She’s always been particularly fond of books, magazines, boxes or pretty much any kind of paper products. But with time, loving guidance and positive reinforcement, she overcame a lot of those destructive behaviors.


“To this day, though, she still has a fondness for cardboard boxes and my daughter’s shoes!”


At school, Price would share her dog’s adventures with her students who always wanted to hear, “What did Stella do now?” Eventually, they told Price that she should write about it.


The result is a cute children’s book called “Stella the Throwaway Dog,” with charming illustrations by Katie Jean Milburn, published by Rose Rescue Press.


“The kids really prompted me,” laughs Price. “I was jotting down stories and really went through the writing process with the kids.”


Through an art teacher at her school, Price contacted Milburn, who was a recent graduate from the Herron School of Art. It was a first book for both of them and quite a process, says Price.


“It took about 18 months. There were so many things to consider, like the right coloring and making it more cartoonish to appeal to kids. And because the book is based on my dog, my kids are part of the story, so I shared many photos with Katie because she wanted the kids to look like they did.”


Stella and the family cat take a nap together.

Stella also had to learn to get along with the family’s other dog, Joey, a female lab/boxer mix who is 10, and two cats. Stella, a purebred Labrador retriever, is nine years old now and will turn 10 in July.


“I’ve always had dogs and Stella is truly, truly my heart. She has a lot of energy for almost 10 but she’s through with all the crazy shenanigans,” says Price.


She has returned to her old school to read Stella’s story to the kids. "They’re loving it,” she says. “And it’s fun signing the books!”

The former teacher still volunteers for Love of Labs. For more about the LOL rescue, click here:


To order a copy of “Stella the Throwaway Dog,” click here:



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