MISSOULA — On National Pet Day, a Missoula teacher shared her story of adopting a pet from a local shelter, through a recently released children’s book.
“A Place to Call Home” tells the story of author Lisa Lang’s experience adopting a dog from the Humane Society of Western Montana and inside the book is filled with beautiful illustrations by an artist from Kyiv, Ukraine.
Lang wrote the first draft of the book over a decade ago, shortly after adopting their dog Murphy, who died a few years ago.
She said she didn’t have the confidence to publish it at the time, but after a few years of teaching, that all changed.
“As I gained more experience teaching and reading countless children’s stories, I gained more confidence in it and thought maybe I could turn it into something people could enjoy. and could relate to,” Lang said.
She took over the project last summer and hired illustrator Diana Bezukh, who coincidentally is from Ukraine.
“She’s a wonderful artist, and it was wonderful to work with her,” Lang said. “Sad though the struggle they have to go through right now and I hope other people maybe see her working and want to work with her as well.”
Bezukh is currently living in a hostel in Poland but plans to move to Canada. Her parents, however, are still in Ukraine. She continues to work on her art at and says she feels stronger to continue her career because she is trying to attract support for her country.
In addition to supporting Bezukh, a portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the Humane Society of Western Montana.
The Humane Society’s executive director, Marta Pierpoint, said she was grateful to Lang for including the things the Humane Society does to help animals have the best possible life while at the shelter.
“We always love follow-up stories, any follow-up story,” Pierpoint said. “But when someone goes the extra mile and says, ‘I had such a good experience, I want to pass it on’, that makes us doubly happy.”
Lisa Lang once read a book to her students, so they know it’s about her. And like Murphy, they’re grateful she brought him home.