Young author raising funds to publish book about foster dog in Venice
By Haley Beyer
In June 2016, a friend of Anastasia Khromova’s brought a puppy to her sister’s nonprofit dog rescue, “Be a Voice. Adopt a Dog” in Los Angeles.
The puppy had been rescued from an animal shelter that had plans to euthanize her after she was diagnosed with Swimmer Puppy Syndrome. This rendered her limbs useless so she could only lay on her tummy with her legs straight out like a starfish.
Khromova and her family took it upon themselves to do anything and everything possible to help Stella overcome the disability. They decided to foster her and put her through physical therapy. Most dogs with this rare deformity do not get the chance to fight it. It is especially hard for bigger dogs to learn to walk with Swimmer Puppy Syndrome, but that didn’t stop Stella.
Because she is a husky, Stella’s motivation and energy levels were up from the day Khromova brought her home. After coming up with a brace/splint for Stella to wear, she took her first steps in just five days. As Stella learned how to walk and strengthened the necessary muscles, she needed the brace less and less.
At two months, Stella couldn’t move on her own, but at four to five months, she could walk and play just like any other dog. She still has the tendency to spread her legs to the side when she sleeps or lies down, but she doesn’t need any help to move around now.
Khromova’s family ended up keeping Stella, who just had her fifth birthday and is living life to the fullest. She is loveable, sweet, sassy, playful and everything a husky should be. She is very vocal, loves sleeping on her back and people watching, and copies everything the other two dogs in the family do.
Khromova, who graduated from Chapman University in 2018, has been working as a social campaign manager at MuteSix, a marketing agency in Westchester. When she graduated, she was gifted an iPad, which she began using to work on some illustrations of Stella. In just two weeks, she had illustrated and journaled Stella’s story.
“The illustrations were easy for me because they were based off real photos of Stella,” Khromova said. “The actual writing and making it into a book were the hard part.”
She then decided to make the illustrations into a children’s book and spent the next two years perfecting it.
“I never intended to make any money or write a book, I just wanted to share Stella’s story,” Khromova explained.
The book was meant to inspire and brighten the day of anyone that reads it. It took a combination of things for Stella to be successful, but neither her nor the family caring for her ever gave up.
“I hope readers take away three main lessons from this book: the beauty of giving, the power of strength and the importance of persistence,” Khromova said.
To help make a difference for other dogs in need, Khromova is working with Kickstarter to get her book published. Half of the profits generated from this campaign will be donated to Wags and Walks, a dog rescue in LA.
“I chose Wags and Walks because they have the resources to make a big impact. I’ve had multiple friends adopt from there and there is an overall positive experience within their organization,” Khromova said.
Kickstarter even granted the campaign the “Project We Love” badge, meaning it was highlighted for its creativity and featured across the entire website. The money raised will go toward publishing, printing and shipping 250 hard copies of the book.
The campaign has less then a week left, ending on May 9 at 8:31 a.m. PDT. The project is “All or Nothing”, so if the pledge of $6,500 is not reached, the book will not be published and all the money will be returned to the donors. At the time of this story, the campaign has currently raised $4,852.
Keep up with Stella’s adventures by following on Instagram: @stella.is.life and @anastasiakhromova. If you are interested in donating to the campaign, visit kickstarter.com/projects/anastasiakhromova/stella for more information.