Published DateGILMANTON — For her first book, Gilmanton resident Lisa Hasler decided to write a memoir of her first year with a new puppy. However, she couldn't write "Bridget: The Adventures of an English Shepherd Puppy" without describing life on her homestead farm, her many hiking adventures with Bridget, a cross-country road trip, or how a dog owner makes room in her life for a new companion while honoring the memory of one recently passed.
Hasler, who recently self-published her memoir, will be making a couple of local appearances for a reading, book signing and author's talk. She will be at the Gilmanton Year Round Library at 1:30 p.m. on March 16. On March 21, at 6:30 p.m., she will meet readers at Laconia Public Library.
"It started off as a journal," Hasler said of her book. A health and human resources professional who has for 20 years cultivated her own food, she is hoping to transition into a writer, dog trainer and commercial farmer as a retirement vocation.
Journaling was initially a writing exercise and a way to keep Bridget's breeder in Arkansas informed of the dog's progress. The entries chronicled Bridget's adjustment to Hasler's farm, with all of its chickens, cattle and vegetable patches. An avid hiker and wilderness explorer, Hasler also wrote of Bridget's adventures and new experiences throughout the region.
"For a year, I wrote about Bridget," Hasler said. During that year, Bridget attended Contra dances, began obedience training, tried agility classes and became certified as a therapy dog. The year also happened to include a road trip to the Rocky Mountains.
It was after the road trip that Hasler realized that her journal might find a wider audience. In sharing the entries with acquaintances, she discovered that readers found a vicarious joy in Bridget's adventures, cheering her on as she tracks lost cattle and shivering with her when she experiences her first New Hampshire winter.
The reader also hears about how Bridget consoles a neighboring dog whose human passed away, and how she helps Hasler find a tribute for Cora, Hasler's late bernese mountain dog who hiked all 48 of New Hampshire's 4,000-foot mountains.
"For the readers, the experience is vicarious," said Hasler. "It's kind of experiencing what it's like to spend a year on the farm, to take a road trip out west, to train a new puppy."
For information on how to order a copy of the book, contact Hasler at 267-7227.
CAPTION for BRIDGET in AA:
"Bridget," an English shepherd, photographed during one of her adventures in her first year with Gilmanton resident and writer Lisa Hasler. Hasler will be visiting two local libraries this month to read from and discuss her memoir, "Bridget: The Adventures of an English Shepherd Puppy." (Courtesy photo)