Kay Whaley wanted to do something for her grandchildren, and in this case, she went barking up the right tree.
Sydney Tours Eufaula is Whaley’s new children’s book and centers around the dog’s travels throughout Eufaula, pursuing a cat during the height of tourist season with the annual Eufaula Pilgrimage as a backdrop.
Whaley is the director of grant development at Wallace Community College-Sparks Campus. Sydney, illustrated throughout the book by Eufaula artist Kathy Hamrick, is one of the Portuguese Water Dogs owned by Eufaula veterinarian Dr. Jim Gardner and his wife, Anne.
Sydney Tours Eufaula star Sydney is an 8-year-old Portuguese Water Dog. She is quite accomplished, having won grand champion confirmation titles and well as water championships.
Soon after Whaley first thought of the idea for the book, she noticed Sydney on Anne Gardner’s Facebook page.
“I saw pictures of (Sydney) on Facebook that were pretty neat, such as being with them when they were rolling Toomer’s Corner after an Auburn win,” said Whaley, president of the Barbour County Auburn Club. “My grandchildren love stories, so I started trying to do something for them.”
Whaley and lifelong friend Hamrick began collaborating on ideas for the book, and Hamrick began putting sketches of Sydney on water color.
“This book would go nowhere if we didn’t have Sydney in it,” Whaley said.
Sydney has made the rounds in Eufaula, visiting many of its stores, and even the Carnegie Library, according to Whaley.
“We’ve taken her socializing... a lot,” Whaley said. “I think she was out with us about three hours one day. She is a happy and affectionate dog with a pension for mischief. The book is a fresh look at our hometown and the potential that is there. It’s particularly for the children. We don’t want to lose what is so special about Eufaula.”
The book will be released Wednesday, June 26, during a luncheon (begins at 11 a.m.) at Shorter Mansion, where Whaley will sign books and Sydney will be available for photographs at a booth. There will also be door prizes at the event. The books are $20 each, and all proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Eufaula Heritage Association.
Tickets for the luncheon are available in advance by calling Shorter Mansion at 687-3793.
Christie McCloud, whom Whaley has worked with at WCC, did the layout for the book. It was printed at Birmingham’s Rocky Heights Print and Binding and that company is using Sydney Tours Eufaula as its Book of the Month through July.
Whaley said there is a likelihood of a sequel to the book.