A Lucky Life: Tales from a conscious pet owner recounted in La Jollan's new book

Former La Jolla resident Bob Soltys and Lucky, a fourteen-year-old Jack Russel terrier, have done many things together. They have traveled, road tripped, walked, played … and written a book.

The book “A Lucky Life,” (Bob Soltys, 2016) is written from Lucky’s perspective. “He really wrote the book because I put myself in his place and tried to think of what he would do and what he would say if he could process words,” Soltys says, adding that words flowed from his hand onto the paper during this process.

Endearing and easy to read, the book features adventures and everyday stories of Lucky and his “Dad” Soltys. The cover picture of the book was taken in La Jolla, where Soltys and Lucky lived for four years before moving to Cleveland, Ohio. “I opened up the back door (of my car) to drop a book off at the library in La Jolla, and there he was, just radiant, and it was obvious that he was very happy. I tried to capture that with my camera,” Soltys said.

Soltys praised La Jolla’s good weather, the warmth of its people and the dog-friendliness of its businesses. In the book, “Lucky” writes, “Dad lived a short walk from the bicycle path running from the north end of Bird Rock through La Jolla and to the high school. The bike path splits near its north end, and the left fork leads to a small park where people bring their dogs in the afternoon.”

Passing through the pages of the first half of the book feels like walking a dog around La Jolla, with references to Warwick’s bookstore, the Village Barbershop, the since-closed Burns Drugs and other classic local businesses.

Lucky was abandoned almost 14 years ago by his former owner, and then saved from the shelter where after a three-day period he was going to be put down. He was brought into the shelter where Soltys adopted him. He said, “In many senses he rescued me, he made me slow down, and think about things … dogs really bring out the best in people … It was really eye-opening awareness-raising experience when I went to pick him up, he ran down the driveway and when I called his name he raced up the stairs and jumped in my lap and licked my face.”

Among many other adventures, “A Lucky Life” chronicles the trip to Colorado where Lucky almost died because of a heart condition. “I took him out to go to the bathroom – this is at about 11,000 feet in Montevista, Colorado – and he started screaming, and his legs gave out, and I though he died, it turned out that he just passed out,” Soltys said.

Soltys was moved when asked if he would adopt another pet after Lucky passes away, “He’s the son I never had, he’s my adopted son … I’ll figure that out three, four, or six months (after he dies), but right now, my task is to try and make the best of what little time he has left.”

Soltys said his intention was to write a “happy book,” and pointed out, “(Lucky’s) contribution to the book was his awareness, his thoughts for me, the way he would look at me …

“(Adopting a pet) is a wonderful experience and it really changes you, it really is a good reason for the question who rescued who. I’m hoping that the book would encourage people to go out and have pets,” Soltys said.

“A Lucky Life” is available online at bit.ly/2agt2bO

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