When writing for children, Jennifer Mattox’s main goal is to inspire a love of learning.
That’s why the Blacklick resident chose a dog who helps care for sick children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as the focus of an article that appears in this month’s Highlights for Children magazine.
"I hope kids will see this amazing dog and be inspired to read and discover new things," she said.
"Doctor Dog" describes the work that a dog named Ansley does for sick children at the hospital. He is trained at a school called Canine Companions for Independence, and every day he helps kids who need speech therapy or physical therapy in their recovery efforts.
The idea behind the article first originated with her husband, John, who works at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
"After I came up with the initial idea to write about working dogs, he suggested the therapy dogs at the hospital," Mattox said. "When I found out that Ansley was doing something new and different, I thought it would make a great story."
The article is Mattox’s first in Highlights for Children, a national magazine geared toward children through age 12. The magazine goes to about 2 million homes, schools, libraries and offices, and has the largest circulation of any children’s periodical in the country.
She has sold a second article since to Highlights called "Big Bugs," though the publication date has not yet been determined.
Mattox has two young daughters, 2-year-old Camille and 6-year-old Hillarie, who helped her pick the topic of working dogs, she said.
Mattox said she took time off from teaching to be home with her two daughters and is focusing all her free time on writing.
"I plan to continue writing for children’s magazines and eventually expand to the book markets," she said. "I am currently working on a middle grade sports novel that I hope will soon find a publisher."