Last May, Tricia O'Malley received a terrifying phone call from her husband, Josh. He told her their beloved Boston terrier, Briggs, was missing.
The couple searched relentlessly for 17 days for their dog. They received national coverage of their plight and printed more than 4,000 flyers.
"We weren't messing around," she says.
They also received death threats, psychic interventions, false leads, fake set-ups and the threat of dog fighting.
In the middle of their search, the O'Malleys received a call from a man who had heard about Briggs and offered them an under-nourished Boston terrier for $125.
The O'Malleys adopted this dog and named him Blue.
Finally, two weeks and three days later, Briggs was dropped off at a church on the same block as the O'Malley's home. Needless to say, it was an extremely emotional and life-changing reunion.
About six months later, Tricia started processing the experience through writing, which resulted in a 202-page book called "The Stolen Dog."
Boswell Book Company will host a book signing on Friday, July 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. Briggs and Blue will be there to "sign" books, as well. A portion of all proceeds is going to animal rescues.
"I was inspired to write the book because it's a damn good story and we've become involved in other stolen dog cases this past year and I now know that this happens all the time. This book is an opportunity for me to educate and to provide resources on our website," says O'Malley.
But it's more than a "dog story," according to O'Malley.
"It is about faith, a community coming together and above all else, believing that you can change the outcome of your story," she says.
O'Malley says she decided to write the book after people pulled their cars over while they were walking the dogs just to meet Briggs – whom they had seen on the news.
"People were so in love with the story – the happy ending and the community pulling together – it was really fascinating for people," says O'Malley.
But the deciding factor for O'Malley happened at a friend's rehearsal dinner when she told the story and people were totally engrossed with it.
"It was that night that I finally realized the story needed to be formalized," she says.
Although she has written plenty of marketing copy, O'Malley has never authored a book before. She and her husband are currently working on another book – one that's not about dogs.
O'Malley learned a lot about self-publishing in the process.
"I learned how drastically the publishing landscape has changed. I learned the ins and outs of self-publishing and am proud to be able to offer those services to authors looking to self-publish too," she says. "I love the freedom and versatility that this new publishing landscape offers to writers."
Most importantly, she says, she learned that her story didn't end with the happy return of Briggs, because it really opened her eyes to all the work that needs to be done helping others find their missing dogs.
"Creating something good from a bad situation has changed my life, potentially my career direction, and is helping others out as well," she says.
Writing the book was very cathartic for O'Malley.
"I definitely cried when I wrote this. And, even now, when I pick it up and turn to certain parts I get emotional. It's good for me. Writing is a wonderful release," she says.
So how are the dogs today?
"The dogs are doing great," she says. "People who would like to see how they are doing can watch this short video."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.