Red Deer author Harley Hay has written a fanciful novel about an “exceptional” dog named Harold. (Contributed photo).

Red Deer author Harley Hay has written a fanciful novel about an “exceptional” dog named Harold. (Contributed photo).

Harold the dog can talk and Red Deer is Alberta’s capital, in Harley Hay’s latest book

Red Deer author writes about an imaginary four-footed friend

Feeling the absence of a canine companion since his last dog “crossed the rainbow bridge,” Red Deer author Harley Hay decided to invent one.

His literary pooch — a space-ship/time-travelling character named Harold — is truly a wonder dog.

Hay’s self-published book, Harold is A Dog, out in time for the Christmas season, is set some 40 years in the future.

Through Hay’s science fiction lens, Red Deer has become Alberta’s largest (and capital) city, with a rapid rail connection to Calgary and Edmonton.

“The Tara Veer stop is located just across Highway 2,” says Hay.

In this metropolis version of Red Deer, a guy named Bud wants a pet he can relate to, and so he adopts a genetically modified dog from a University of Alberta research facility.

Harold can speak and also knows his way around an iPad with his paws.

“He’s exceptionally brilliant. He can drive a car and is studying for his master’s degree in sociology,” said Hay. “He’s studying the theory of Pavlov’s dogs…”

Over the course of 200 pages, Harold’s high-flying adventures will take readers to the moon and back. Harold will also be transported back a century to the 1960s, where he time travels to see The Beatles take the stage on the Ed Sullivan Show.

“He gets in trouble for knocking over Paul McCartney’s guitar,” says Hay with a chuckle, “and mayhem ensures.”

The Red Deer Advocate columnist had been writing with a certain kind of scruffy mutt in mind.

He spotted a dog with the exact look as his imaginary Harold being groomed at a local pet store. Hay was overjoyed when the pet owner allowed Miley to be photographed for the book’s jacket.

It turns out the distinctive, mixed-breed dog was among 201 canines who were in “terrible” condition before being rescued in 2015 from a property near Milk River.

Hay added that Miley has since become well-known and popular in the community: “She has white eyes and spiky hair and ears that stick straight out, like Yoda.”

His book, which is “for children of all ages,” made him resolve to get a new real-life dog in the new year.

It won’t be able to speak, of course — “but as one of my friends said, ‘All dogs talk, you just have to know how to listen.’”

Harold is a Dog is available at Chapters or from harleyhay.com. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Central Alberta Humane Society. Book signings with Miley are planned for January.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Books

Just Posted

An incredible closing ceremony capped off the 2019 Canada Winter Games. (File photo by SUSAN JUDGE/2019 Canada Winter Games)
2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy Fund Society hands out $655,000

35 not-for-profit groups across Alberta to get money

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services, says COVID ICU patients have increased by more than 100 per cent in the past month. (Photo by The Government of Alberta)
Record number of people in ICU: says AHS president

The head of Alberta Health Services says hospital staff are treating more… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon Wheat Kings, the team announced Monday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer Rebels acquire goaltender Connor Ungar, forward Liam Keeler in separate trades

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon… Continue reading

Alexander Michael Talbot, 29, was found guilty of operating a vehicle while prohibited, flight from police and vehicle theft in Red Deer provincial court recently. (Advocate file photo)
Man charged following police chases in central Alberta last summer is sentenced

Alexander Michael Talbot sentenced to 22 months in prison

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, exile Tibetans use the Olympic Rings as a prop as they hold a street protest against the holding of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, in Dharmsala, India. Groups alleging human-rights abuses in China are calling for a full boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which is sure to ratchet up pressure on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors, and sports federations. A coalition of activists representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others, issued a statement Monday, May 17, 2021 calling for the “full boycott,” eschewing lesser measures like “diplomatic boycotts" and negotiations with the IOC or China. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia, File)
AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

Canada's Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5 during the CP International competition at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Canada's most decorated show jumper has withdrawn from consideration for the Tokyo Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse questions a foul call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, April 26, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Nurse says it was the COVID-19 outbreak in March that spiked his team's chances for a post-season run.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris O'Meara
Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Danielle Goyette speaks to reporters during a press conference in Toronto on Friday, November 10, 2017. Goyette has been named director of player development for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and their American Hockey League affiliate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) falls on Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Staal, Niederreiter lift Hurricanes past Predators 5-2

Staal, Niederreiter lift Hurricanes past Predators 5-2

Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20) watches the puck get past Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) on a shot by Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway during the first period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Monday, May 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Marchand scores in OT, Bruins beat Capitals to even series

Marchand scores in OT, Bruins beat Capitals to even series

Toronto Maple Leafs former players Darryl Sittler, centre, Johnny Bower, centre right, are joined by Ted Kennedy's son Mark for a ceremonial puck drop with Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov, left, and Toronto Maple Leafs' Dion Phaneuf, right, before NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, October 8, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Leafs, Canadiens legends eagerly awaiting playoff series

Leafs, Canadiens legends eagerly awaiting playoff series

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Western MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

Western MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

Most Read