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By the Way: From puppy farm to loving home


A tiny pooch with a heart-shaped patch of black on her tail end had a story to tell and a Nockamixon Township grandmother had a need to tell it.
The peak of the pandemic, said Bonita “Bonnie” Waitl, “when nobody went anywhere,” offered the perfect opportunity to write a book she had dreamed about writing for years.
Bitsy, an adopted Papillon-Chihuahua mix, now lives in her forever home with Bonnie and her husband, Bernd. But her journey has taken her from a puppy farm where she lived in a cage, never to walk on grass or play with a toy and forced to bear litter after litter of pups.
Rescued and turned over to the SPCA, Bitsy was adopted by the Waitls’ daughter. Vickie, who later lost her life to cancer. After that, Bonnie and Bernd adopted Bitsy and found themselves a whole lot of love. Their deep faith got them through the dark days but Bitsy’s antics were certainly helpful.
Retired now, Bonnie turned to her natural talents to write and illustrate “The Adventures of Bitsy B,” a book for children. It was an impressive venture for a woman who “just turned 89” and whose only writing credits were “work on the high school yearbook at the old Sell-Perk High School. She said, “I also won a literary prize in my senior year.”
She had, however, developed her accompanying artistic talents. When she was 12 years old she started to study with Pennsylvania impressionist Walter Emerson Baum, founder of the Baum School of Art and the Allentown Art Museum.
Bonnie not only wrote the book, she also did many of the illustrations, including the cover, which is based on her acrylic painting. A few other illustrations were done by artist Emily Brooks.
Urged by one of her husband’s friends, Bonnie submitted her manuscript and illustrations to Saratoga Publishing, a boutique publisher in New York. She saw her first copy of the book in September.

In the book, Bonnie lets Bitsy tell her own story. It is a touching and heart-warming tale as she details her dreadful treatment at the puppy farm, her adoption by Vickie, and her reaction to her first days of freedom and love.
She tells about her first reaction to grass. The toys, at first, frighten her, but she learns to like them, treating them like the puppies taken from her. For a while. she carries them out of her doggy bed each morning and places them back at night.
Her days darken as Vickie spends more and more time at doctor’s appointments and Bitsy is cared for by Bonnie and Bernd, whom she calls Grandmom and Poppy. They adopt her and she comes to love them but for a long while, she sits on the back of their sofa looking out the window, watching for Vickie to come home. On a happier note, she actually dances when she is excited.
She tells how much she likes the scraps of chicken and beef Poppy saves for her and the treats she gets. She minces no words about most other dogs. She does not like them. This is a direct result, she says, of the crowded conditions and having to scramble for food when she lived at the puppy farm.
To write a children’s book was only natural for Bonnie. She loved working with children, had taught Bible school and Sunday school when she was growing up in Perkasie. As an adult she had done office work, but her favorite job was as “a teacher’s assistant in the Palisades School District.” She said she loved working with special needs kids who needed a little help with learning. Also, as a volunteer, she had tutored prisoners at the Bucks County Correctional Facility.
She is just beginning to market her paperback book priced at $14.99. It is available on Amazon and locally at Bucks County Hair Co. and Day Spa in Nockamixon.

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