Canine turns hero in children’s book |

Canine turns hero in children’s book

Despite his funky name, Scooter is a remarkably silent dog.

The 7-year-old part-Dalmation belongs to Debbe and Bob Peterson, and he’s the icon and mascot for their Lazy Dog Ice Cream, in Nevada City.

Though Scooter is deaf and apparently is too low-key for a hero, he’s the inspiration for the high-energy central character of a newly published children’s book called “Sidecar Scooter.”

The Petersons came up with the idea of the book and commissioned Seattle-based writer Bruce Caldwell to write the story. The 31-page book is copiously illustrated by Charlie Hayward, a local cartoonist.

“Scooter himself and the illustrations are the biggest draws of the book,” Debbe Peterson said. “Kids books with animals have a great appeal, especially if the animals are cute.”

In real life, Scooter is, indeed, a cute canine. Like his character in the story, he rides the sidecar of his master’s bright purple Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, wearing a purple cap and goggles.

Bob and Debbe Peterson and their ice-cream business all are part of the story.

Sidecar Scooter begins with Scooter being adopted by the Petersons, despite his hearing disability.

The story describes how Scooter helps the police catch a burglar called “Stinky Feet Pete,” who tries to steal the Petersons’ ice cream recipes.

“The character of Scooter was my biggest inspiration,” Hayward said. “Because he is a quiet dog and has a disability, be comes almost like a Charlie Chaplin character who can’t talk and can’t hear. He goes on with life, observing things. But he also finds a way to be a hero.”

Hayward also lauded the character of Stinky Feet Pete in the story.

“He’s ridiculous, he looks different from every other bad guy we’ve seen,” Hayward said. “He wears a Hawaiian shirt and runs around in his underpants. He’s the kind of guy you’d love to hate.”

Caldwell said children are most likely to enjoy “the animals, the noises and the moderate bathroom-humor” in the story.

“My daughter is an elementary teacher and she’d read the book to her class and it was well-received,” Caldwell said.

Sidecar Scooter, published by Blue Gate Books in Nevada City, is now available on, eBay and at Scraps Dog Bakery on Nevada City Highway, Debbe Peterson said.

All proceeds from the book will go to Animal Save and to Tim Van Geem, a veterinarian at Mother Lode Animal Hospital in Grass Valley, Debbe Peterson added.


To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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