As If in a Dream

Author Ellen Shane with pups Sherlock and Jackson

Just like all children, Emily Shane’s dream was to own a puppy, and Emily was determined to own one one way or another. Lucky for her, her wish came true.

Her mother, Ellen Shane, shared Emily’s story with a new book called, “Emily’s Gift: The True Story of Sherlock and Jackson,” written in her daughter’s memory.

“Emily, just like her sisters, absolutely wanted a dog. It was her dream and, of course, that was never going to happen in this house,” Shane said. “That’s what this whole book is about and the title is very significant because the dogs were Emily’s gift to us, because we got those dogs in December and she was killed in April. These puppies brought life to our house and it was almost like a living extension.”

Emily Rose Shane was struck and killed by a motorist on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu on April 3, 2010. She was 13 years old. Shane said she has had the idea to write a book since 2012, two years after Emily’s tragic death.

Although the puppies, Sherlock and Jackson, weren’t rescues, Shane said her husband Michel refers their puppies to rescues because, in a sense, they rescued them.

“They were from a family who had three dogs, and their dog became pregnant and so they didn’t want any more dogs so they were looking for a good home for the puppies,” Shane said. “While they’re technically not rescued, they are because they rescued us.

“So things kind of came together in an interesting, long-term way. At the time that I wrote the book, back in 2012, I had an outline for a series of books all about the dogs, so this is actually the first one,” Shane said. “I’ve started the second one and I have a long way to go on it, but there’s going to be other books and they’re all true stories and they’re all about our daughter.”

Shane said she sent the illustrators photos of her family and her design and they created exactly what she wanted.

“As I saw it in my dream—I saw this yellow banner with the words ‘Emily’s Gift’ on it, and the true story and I saw a little caricature of the dog sitting under. They got it so perfectly, it was as if they saw my dream,” Shane said. “They captured what I envisioned.”

In a time when many events and gatherings have been canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Shane said the annual Emily Shane Foundation fundraiser has been postponed until next April 2021.

The Emily Shane Foundation was founded in memory of Emily. The SEA (Successful Educational Achievement) Program, part of the foundation, was created to provide one-to-one tutoring and mentoring sessions to middle school students who risk failure in the mainstream classroom and have no other resources available.

“The only cost to them is that they have to do one good deed, an act of kindness for another person, and so that’s how we kind of tied in Emily,” Shane said. 

Shane said the foundation started as a website to share good deeds, and that’s when the SEA program was created.

“People were doing remarkable things in Emily’s name to help others,” Shane said, adding, “When she [Emily] was a kid, she cared about people. She cared about others, it was just who she was. I had to have a supply of nutrition bars in my car, so if we saw a homeless person, she could give it to them—she had to give them something.”

“Emily’s Gift” is a chapter from the lives of the Shane family. It explores the steps Emily and her family took to understanding the responsibilities of dog ownership, parental consent and caring for a new family member.

All proceeds from the book will go directly to the Emily Shane Foundation. “Emily’s Gift: The True Story of Sherlock and Jackson” is available to be purchased through KP Publishing Company.


For more information on the Emily Shane Foundation, visit: