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Bosko the dog promotes new children’s book

Author Dan Woll and his beloved Bernese Mountain dog Bosko will be at the Ellsworth Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 for Pajama Storytime. Woll and Bosko are pictured here greeting a fan at the River Falls Public Library. (Submitted photo)

ELLSWORTH -- Bosko the mischievous Bernese Mountain dog has made quite an impression on his owners over the years. So much so, that Bosko, along with his better behaved playmate Sarah, another Bernese Mountain dog, are stars of their own pair of books.

Author and former area school superintendent Dan Woll (of River Falls) and his daughter Shelley stepped into the realm of children’s literature with their first collaboration, a children’s book called “Sarah Saves Christmas” in 2013. They have now written and Shelley has illustrated “Sarah Saves Her Friends.”

Woll will appear at the Ellsworth Public Library, along with Bosko, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 for PJ storytime with Florence LaBeau.

Woll said the new story starring Bosko and Sarah has a new lesson, which resulted from visiting Dan’s wife’s parents in their later years.

“It's informed by Bosko and his relationship with Beth's folks who passed away two years ago,” Woll said. “They were in the King, Wisc. Veterans Home. Joe was a Battle of the Bulge (and a Bronze Star recipient) vet. Poor Bosko truly always seemed to be the ‘naughty’ boy, playing second fiddle to Shelley's dog, Sarah -- who was the most beautiful perfect Bernese ever.”

The Wolls brought Bosko and Sarah to visit Shelley’s grandparents frequently in the veterans home. They comforted the couple, and drew the attention of other residents. Sarah was the first dog to visit the veterans home, and when Woll got Bosko, he followed suit. Woll said he tried to emulate Sarah on those visits.

“The true story is that when we went to visit Beth's parents at King, Bosko became a new man, I mean dog,” Woll said. “He behaved perfectly and not only comforted Joe and Corinne but became friends with the other vets. Shelley and I crafted a story about how Bosko learns to help friends just like Sarah.”

Woll said sometimes kids want to be good, but somehow still end up in trouble -- like Bosko.

“It happens to some more than others and it is a defeating feeling,” Woll said. “Bosko was kind of like that. Sarah was pretty much perfect and Bosko is a lovable knucklehead. The point I was trying to make for kids is that when it seems like everything you do is wrong, the one thing you can do that is always right and which will make you feel good is to help others.”

Woll said Bosko enjoys interacting with children during their school and library visits.

“I believe he is happiest when he can soothe others and be a friend,” Woll said. “Not a bad way to be for a human either.”

There is no promise of a third Sarah and Bosko book, though Woll said his daughter has mentioned an idea titled “Sarah Saves a Puppy.”

Shelley adopted Sarah from the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of the Rockies Rescue Group in 2008. She has travelled all over with Shelley, who lives in Colorado.

Bosko lives in River Falls with Dan and his wife, Beth, loves to run, play, cuddle with people and comfort people in care facilities.

Dan, who was the superintendent of St. Croix Central School District for more than 20 years, started freelance writing for magazines and newspapers many years ago.

“Most of my time now is devoted to writing my second anthology of outdoor adventure articles which will be a sequel to my ’North of Highway 8’ and trying to place my first novel, ‘Death on Cache Lake’ with a screenwriter,” Woll said. “I am also working on a second mystery. I love visiting schools and libraries and being with book lovers of all ages to discuss any of my work.”

To learn more about Woll’s work, visit

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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