Nature has a way of stepping in at the most inopportune times to test us all – even the dogs in our lives. This is one of those times.

This Saturday, the famous Acorn was scheduled to make his debut here in my hometown. I can’t tell you how excited I was to bask in his reflected glory.

With his life story now a popular children’s book, the orphaned pup who rose from the streets of Cleveland to become a renowned advocate for deaf dogs everywhere was slated to sign pawtographs at Fireside Book Shop in Chagrin Falls. He was more than ready. Thanks to his adopter, Mary, he had mastered more than 30 signs and all his tricks – including the one where he jumps through a hoop with all four feet in the air like a Lipizzaner. His manners had been polished to perfection. He had even learned how to place his own paw print on the book’s frontispiece, though he relied on Mary and me to pen his signature message. His white coat gleamed, his eyes shone, and he had a new bow tie for the occasion. Yup, Acorn was ready to meet his fans and press some serious flesh.

Then the doctor’s report came in. After months and months of dealing with extreme allergies that made Acorn itch all over and created ugly sores in his beautiful pink ears, Mary had the answer she’d been waiting for. It was definitely not one she expected. Acorn, it turns out, is allergic to human dander. Yes, friends, this people loving dog is allergic to people. All except Mary. Thankfully, he has built up an immunity to his human mom.

What horrible timing. For months, we’d all been looking forward to this day, and many other personal appearances around the book release. And now, here we were with a star who couldn’t be touched. But not to worry. If there’s one thing we learn working with animals, it’s flexibility. The most important thing, of course, is that finally Acorn’s allergies have been identified and he should be back to cuddling with his human friends soon. In the meantime, the show at Fireside will go on as scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday.

Fortunately Acorn has had more photos taken of him than the entire Kardashian family and Mary has put together a slide show so his fans can get a glimpse into his private life. As his official biographer, I look forward to sharing his story along with the truly amazing woman who saved this wonderful dog by recognizing his deafness and developing the resources he needed to shine. Jenny Campbell, our own illustrator extraordinaire, who so perfectly captured Acorn’s wit and intelligence in more than 40 hand-painted illustrations, will be there too. And we even have pawprints that Acorn made at home.

I hope you’ll join us and pick up a copy of “Deafinitely Awesome: The Story of Acorn.” All proceeds from the sale of the book go to CITY DOGS Cleveland to help other street dogs like Acorn become the beloved family members they were meant to be.

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