It was by chance that Gallant was at an animal control facility in Charlotte, N.C., 1996. Her mother's cats had escaped and found themselves "incarcerated" (as Gallant put it) and it was up to her to spring the cats from the slammer. Her only plan that day was to get the cats and try not to leave with any other animals. That's when she spotted Charlotte, who was being booked for a one-way ticket to doggy heaven.
Growing up as an only child in the country, Gallant said she was always surrounded by animals. Dogs, she said, were a favorite of hers since she received Patsy Dog as a child. When Gallant grew up, she jokingly said she dealt with elephants and donkeys when she worked for more than 30 years on Capitol Hill where she was a press secretary, legislative aide and staff writer.
Gallant would later find out that the dog she nicknamed "Fur Box" had been found wandering the streets of Charlotte. Officials at the animal facility had placed her in the "highly adoptable" area in the hopes that someone would take the then-9-month-old home. But there Charlotte stayed, until that chance sighting by Gallant. "She had a very engaging way about her," she said.
After that meeting with Charlotte, Gallant said it wasn't long before the pup was sprung, too, and bound for Harpers Ferry.
Since then, Charlotte has become somewhat of a local celebrity. Charlotte has appeared in various variety shows and for non-profit events.
"She's the Meryl Streep of dogs," Gallant said.
The dog's most famous starring role was in "Annie" as Sandy, a role she has reprised on various stages. In Charlotte's first performance, the girl portraying Annie had an unplanned chase through the audience to catch Sandy.
Gallant said she and Charlotte have a bond.
"It grew into a companionship that you can't replicate with a human being," she said.
With the publishing of "Charlotte the Wonder Dog," Gallant said she wants people to realize the impact a pet can have on a person's life. "And," she said, "the importance of caring about something or someone other than yourself."
If you go ...
WHAT: Author Carol Gallant signs her book "Charlotte the Wonder Dog"
WHEN: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Charles Town Library, 200 E. Washington St., Charles Town, W.Va.
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library, 101 W. King St., Martinsburg, W.Va.
MORE: "Charlotte the Wonder Dog" retails for $25 and can be purchased at the following West Virginia locations: Charles Town at Valley Hardware Co.; Old Opera House, Jumpin' Hava and Needful Things; in Shepherdstown at Four Seasons Books; in Martinsburg at Southwood Books and in Harpers Ferry at Country CafÃ©. It is also available online at at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The book is also available for $27.99 at www.dcgallantbooks.com. Profits from the book go to PAWS No-Kill Hospice/Sanctuary in Harpers Ferry.
Read an excerpt from "Charlotte the Wonder Dog" online at www.dcgallantbooks.com.