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Karlin
22nd June 2006, 10:55 PM
From the Miami Herald:


DOG-GONE CUTE

Miami Beach has a new top dog, so to speak. Abbey, a loveable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is the focus of a new children's book entitled Abbey the Cavi in Miami Beach by local author Lisa Balaam.

The colorfully illustrated book, written in verse and geared toward 4- to 8-year-olds -- describes the puppy's playful adventures in and around Miami Beach after her owners, ''Mr. and Mrs. B.,'' go off to work.

Abbey strolls the boardwalk, stops for a baguette at a French bakery and frolics at the beach with friends Danny the Dolphin and Carlos the Crab before running into a storm (literally) and finally making it safely back to her owners' condo.

In real life, Abbey is the 1 ½-year-old pooch of Balaam and her hubby, Steven. The couple, who live on Ocean Drive, acquired the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as a 12-week-old puppy. ''We wanted a small dog we could take everywhere with us,'' Lisa said. ``Cavis are royal dogs, bred to sit on the lap of a king.''

Born and raised in Wisconsin, the 35-year-old first-time author says she decided to write (and self-publish) the book about Abbey, who is her first dog, because ``this little puppy has brought so much joy to so many people in Miami Beach that I wanted to share her with the world.''

According to Balaam, more than 2,000 copies have been sold since its March debut (it fetches $19.95 at area retailers). Plans are under way to print an additional 10,000 copies, as well as to create additional books based on the Abbey character.

Let's hope fame doesn't go to the puppy's head. ''Lately when I walk Abbey, she's getting to be recognized,'' Lisa said. ``She goes to book signings with me and has a paw-print stamp to autograph her books.''

To learn more, visit www.balaambooks.com.