Wednesday, September 26, 2007

7th grader writes books about her service dog Mercer

Meet Mercer. Not only is he an assistance dog and the star of Marvelous Mercer, but his paw print will go on books sold this Saturday when he sits by the author's side at FAO Schwartz.

The real author, 12 year old Shea, has a rare form of muscular atrophy.

"Ever since 2004, when Mercer became Shea's assistance dog, they have been inseparable. At the mall, Mercer carries Shea's purse and will hand the clerk a credit card using his mouth and paws. At school, Mercer lies beneath Shea's desk, and when she drops a pencil, he gets it. They watch movies together, each with individual bowls of popcorn. When Shea goes to the doctor's office, he keeps her calm. If she's sick, Mercer won't leave her side.

Last Thanksgiving, while cleaning out her daughter's closet, Shea's mother, Megan, found six stories Shea had written about Mercer.

Over the past few months, the stories have become a six-book children's series. The first book will be sold exclusively at FAO Schwarz's New York store this month. It will also be available at and the websites for FAO Schwarz, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
On Saturday, Shea and Mercer, whom Shea calls her best friend and her puzzle piece, because he completes her, will sign copies of the book at the New York store. Each book will come with a plush toy version of Mercer, Shea's autograph and Mercer's paw print.

A majority of the book's proceeds will go to Canine Companions for Independence, based in Santa Rosa, Calif. The organization, where Mercer came from, plans to use its share of the money to give assistance dogs to Iraq veterans from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Some proceeds will go to the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation, based in New York City, and Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, based in Libertyville, Ill., for research. A portion will also go to pay for Shea's medical needs."
- via USA Today

In the books, Mercer goes out on adventures at night - but, of course, always returns to be by Shea's side.

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