Service dogs inspired Frey’s second book

In everyday life, Sarah Katherine Frey faces challenges that most people can’t imagine. But she continued to look for a silver lining.

The Edwardsville resident, who has battled a serious illness since the age of 12, has published her first children’s book, Alice Eloise’s Book, in January 2021 after launching on Kickstarter in October 2020. A silver lining: The Story of a Stupid Service Dog”.

Her second book, A Dog in the Zoo? will be published in 2023. Pre-orders are available on Kickstarter at

“As an independent author, I have been challenged and delighted to be involved in every step of the publishing process—including funding our print run on Kickstarter,” said Frey, 31, a 2009 Edwardsville High School graduate. We did this two years ago with our first book, using pre-order funds to send our book to print, and now we’re doing it again with our second book. We set an initial goal ($7,000), and with the help of our readers, we’ve surpassed it.

“I’m glad we’re off to a good start, but I’m also excited to see where the launch of this event will take us,” she said. “It’s available to pre-order until November 3 and all our raises will go to print the books because the cost of doing so is very high.

“We sent the book to our editors in March 2021 and we send Starting illustration in July 2021, weStill working on them,” Frey said. “WeSo excited to finally be able to share this book and our mission with the community. “

Frey’s first book explores the journey of Alice Eloise, her service dog and loyal companion for 10 years. Alice Eloise is a double doodle dog with one Goldendoodle parent and one Labradoodle parent.

Even before the first book came out, a trip to the zoo with Alice Heloise was an easy choice for the subject of her second book.

“The illustrations and Alice Eloise’s interactions with the animals are so adorable, and we wanted to focus on that humor and sweetness,” Frey said. “But we also wanted to provide an educational message for kids about service dogs and what they do.

“It’s also a social and emotional lesson that helps them in their daily lives. The first book focuses on Alice Eloise overcoming challenges to become a service dog, but every cloud has a silver lining, even if you’re struggling , there will always be some positive thoughts.”

The message of the first book remains the same Dogs in the zoo? But with a new twist: “Being someone’s silver lining.” “

“Whenever you see people around you struggling, you can step in and be their silver lining,” Frey said. “Alice Eloise met people at the zoo who, for whatever reason, didn’t have their day the way they wanted. She stepped in and was a silver lining.”

At the time of writing his first book, Frey’s target audience was 3- to 11-year-olds. She was surprised how many adults also enjoyed the book.

“Whenever you’re promoting a book and people ask about age ranges, it’s advisable that you don’t say ‘everyone’ because there’s said to be no book for everyone,” Frey said. “But it’s great to find out that a lot of people like our book.

“One of the best things about this is being able to connect with people through these books. We were at the Edwardsville Public Library Book Festival a few weeks ago and a 12-year-old girl came up and gave us a big hug. She talked about how inspiring we were for her because she has experienced health issues herself.”

Given the challenges she faces on a daily basis, Frey says her health has been relatively stable in the nearly two years between the publication of her first book and her second.

“Life is evolving, and I’m trying to keep pace with it, but in my teens and early twenties, the health thing was messy, to say the least,” Frey said. “When Alice Eloise first came into my life, I wasn’t in great shape and it was the most challenging period of my life. She and I have grown a lot during that time , I hardly knew better days were yet to come.

“We still have a lot of struggles, but I’m more or less stable. I’m trying to get back parts of my life that were affected during those chaotic times.”

When she was 12, Frey came home from a riding camp with the worst sore throat of her life, along with swollen, painful lymph nodes and a fever. Strangely, the horse she rode and cared for at the camp mysteriously died the night she became seriously ill.

Frey’s illness was diagnosed as a staph infection, but even after the active infection went away, symptoms persisted for months, and she hasn’t been the same since then.

That winter, Frey went to the emergency room multiple times with a fever and inexplicably high markers of inflammation.

In early 2005, Frey sprained his ankle in dance class. The next morning, her feet began to discolor and warm violently, and the pain intensified to the point that the lightest touch of a cotton ball would make her cry.

Frey was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), also known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a neurological pain condition. This caused her body to constantly send pain signals that intensified even after the initial trauma had passed.

Thanks to aggressive treatment, Frey’s ankle got better and she started dancing again.

Before long, Frey lost his appetite completely and developed excruciating stomach pains. She could barely eat and was malnourished as she lost weight rapidly.

Frey traveled to Chicago, where hyperbaric oxygen therapy provided much-needed relief. But when they stopped working, the RSD pain was all over her body and her gastrointestinal symptoms worsened. She and her parents traveled the country seeking any help they could find.

When Frey had surgery to place a catheter port, she woke up with the most painful reaction she had ever experienced, leaving her paralyzed for a week and limited to a few steps for the next month.

Her right arm was held in a hyperextended position and has been in excruciating pain ever since.

In February 2011, Frey found himself in a hospital 1,000 miles from home with a fever, low blood cells and spikes in liver enzymes and inflammatory markers. She suffered for two weeks and would not have survived if her mother hadn’t insisted on consulting a haematologist. She received a blood transfusion, which temporarily relieved her symptoms.

A few months later, when Frey had nearly the same event, a bone marrow biopsy revealed that she had hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a very rare life-threatening condition often found in young children .

The only potential cure for HLH is a bone marrow transplant. Frey was too weak, so her doctor tried a gentler treatment. Thankfully, she responded.

To avoid more extreme interventions, she did her best to remain stable, receiving blood transfusions as needed, and taking extra care to prevent infections that could predispose her to outbreaks. The same day Alice Eloise came to live with her in her new home, Frey was discharged from the hospital with an HLH flare.

Frey wrote a manuscript for her first book a few years ago, but the project was shelved for a while because she was ill and had lost her left arm.

“I have been on total parenteral nutrition (TPN or IV nutrition) since I was 19 years old and I initially had 9 hours a dayt injection,” Frey said. But around 2015 or 2016, I had a flare-up of HLH and over the years I hadReceive TPN IV nutrition 24 hours a day.

“I have difficulty holding things because of my arm disability, which is very limited. When Alice and my dad or a friend and I go out for a walk, someone has to carry my backpack. I’m happy to say that in my With the help of the doctor, we were able to free me from the infusions. We worked up to six hours a day, which was just three hours off my original length of time.”

For Frey, the time away from IV nutrition has been liberating.

“It was so exciting to be able to go to church with Alice Heloise and walk around freely,” Frey said. She and I could walk around the neighborhood on our own,” Frey said. “We now feel like we can conquer the world with this newfound freedom. “

“Although it’s stable, I’m going to see the doctor next month to see if they can do something with my arm. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but if you don’t try, you never know. Thankfully The thing is, I’m fortunate to have a personality that can handle it. I don’t give up easily, and it helps me push the boundaries of what we can do.”

Frey has many short-term and long-term goals. But for now, she’s focusing on marketing “Dogs in the Zoo?”

“We meet three nights a week with our illustrator (Kit Laurence Nacua), who is in the Philippines, and the book is totally different because we’re watching him do live illustrations for these books, which is a real joy,” Frey Say.

Kit has become one of our best friends, and through this process with him and some of my mentors, I am amazed at what we can learn along the way. “

For Frey, the learning process includes graphic design.

“When we started, all I knew was writing and telling our stories, but little did I know there were so many other elements,” Frey said. “I found myself struggling to learn graphic design skills so I could do a lot of marketing on my own.

“It turned into me wanting to learn how to format books myself, and I ended up getting caught up in my first book. I’ve been learning with my illustrator in the two years since we launched our first book How to animate our illustrations, I want to keep learning as much as possible.”

Frey is already making plans for her third book.

At this point, all I can tell you is that this is a Christmas book with a title to be determined,” Frey said. As a team we have a lot of ideas and weGreat to see where they take us. “

“Dogs at the Zoo?” will be available via, and hardcover will be available on Amazon in 2023.

Locally, the first book is available at Happy Up Inc., 6654 Edwardsville Crossing Drive Suite A in Edwardsville and Four Muddy Paws Pet Supplies, 2127 S. State Route 157 in Edwardsville.

The book is also available across the river at Fiction Neighbors in Webster Groves, Betty’s Bookstore in Webster Groves, and the Mercy Hospital gift shop.

The second book will likely be available at all five retail locations when it comes out in 2023.

We plan to reach out to zoos across the country to see if they are interested in letting us into their gift shop,” said Frey, who will appear at the Leclerc Park Festival in Edwardsville on Oct. 16.

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