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‘Charlie Enzo Needs a Home’: La Jolla resident publishes her passions in book about a dog’s journey

La Jollan Amy Baklund and her new book, "Charlie Enzo Needs a Home: A Dog Rescue Story."
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Combining her love of travel with her desire to teach others about puppy adoption, La Jolla resident Amy Baklund has published her first book, a story for children called “Charlie Enzo Needs a Home: A Dog Rescue Story.”

The book, published in December, is about Charlie Enzo, a dog adopted by a family in Michigan but moved to a family with more time for him in California. His journey in a van across the country takes him to many stops, during which he learns about the various cities along the way.

Baklund said the book aims to inform people about what family dogs require.

“So many people were adopting dogs” during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, “and I felt like there needs to be an education. You don’t just get a dog. [There are] responsibilities that come with it, so I wanted to write about that.”

Baklund is an avid traveler who has visited 53 countries so far, and “I wanted to ignite that in kids. Your imagination is so vast, but do [kids] really get a chance to learn about what Charlie Enzo sees in every state as he travels from Michigan to La Jolla?”

The story also contains other influences from Baklund’s life: Charlie Enzo is inspired by a dog named Enzo in the novel “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” which Baklund said is one of her favorite books. The blue and white van in which Charlie Enzo is transported across the States is based on one the author has seen in her Barber Tract neighborhood.

Baklund, a marketing and business development executive, said she had “never written a book in my entire life, but I’ve kind of had it ruminating in my head.”

With her travel plans grounded by pandemic restrictions, Baklund thought, “I gotta make something positive out of COVID” and decided to put her story on paper.

“Reading was such a core of my childhood,” she said. ”I wanted to do something to keep that going with children. … I always was a babysitter growing up, so I’ve always loved kids. And I have this story in my head to tell, and I don’t know why …. but I had to get it out.”

Baklund said Charlie Enzo’s tale “just kind of fell out of my head.” It took her about three months to write it. “It was a fun adventure.”

When she’s not working, Baklund is practicing yoga or is in the ocean. “I live a few blocks from the beach, so I am in the water every day,” she said.

She’s also planning the sequel to “Charlie Enzo Needs a Home,” which she said will continue the dog’s travels around the country and impart lessons on family and diversity.

Until she starts writing again, however, Baklund is staying busy with a new puppy of her own, a Bernese mountain dog she adopted four months ago and named Lemon because “I have this theory in life that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

“Charlie Enzo Needs a Home: A Dog Rescue Story” is available at Warwick’s bookstore in La Jolla or at bit.ly/BaklundBook.