San Ramon novelist Dana Mentink spotlights the support and strength older dogs can provide through the tale of a pro baseball player and the mature dog he inherits in her latest book, "Sit, Stay, Love."
Released last week, the novel follows a professional pitcher whose life is forever changed after taking in his late mother's geriatric dog, Tippy.
"This novel was a combination of two of my favorite passions: dogs and baseball," said Mentink, an award-winning author who's also a longtime dog lover and loyal San Francisco Giants fan.
"I've always been curious about how a pro baseball pitcher copes with the massive pressure to perform and the public pressure when he doesn't," she added. "It was fascinating to juxtapose that reality against the completely unconditional love of a dog."
The local author, who has released more than 30 books, said "Sit, Stay, Love" was a deeply personal and bittersweet experience as her family's rescue dog of 14 years, Nala, died while she was writing the novel.
"It was a heartbreaking honor to be with her through her final days," said Mentink, who is honoring Nala's memory by donating 10% of the book's proceeds to Muttville, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on providing rescue, foster, adoption and hospice services for senior dogs and support for their owners.
"People who take in senior animals know their time with their fuzzy companion is short, and there may be special needs that need tending to," she said. "I'm pleased to contribute so that some wonderful old dogs can find good homes."
The novel examines important issues faced by many people, while also being filled with "fun, faith and plenty of doggie antics," according to Mentink.
"The key issue explored in this book is where does our self-worth come from? Are we defined by our earthly identity, valued by our salaries instead of our souls?" she said. "The novel is a faith-based answer to that question."
Mentink added, "It was great fun to feature a senior dog. They are often the ones who are left behind in the shelter, and they have so much love left to give."
"Sit, Stay, Love" was released April 1 through Harvest House Publishers.
Mentink has won multiple writing awards, including two Carol Awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers. She also writes the story for the annual San Ramon Valley Street Smarts youth storybook art contest on traffic safety.