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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

A Girl, Her Dog and Her Faith

Feb 02, 2017 03:46PM ● By Kate Morgan

Barbara Johns

More than 10 years ago, Barbara Johns found herself alone in an unfamiliar place with only one friend to turn to. The Central Pennsylvania native had recently relocated to California for work, and her only companion was Abby, her then-5-year-old dog.

“I didn’t know anyone in California, I didn’t have a TV or anything and I was missing my grandchildren back in PA,” Johns says. “In moments of prayer and feeling close to God, I started writing stories.”

Over the course of about four months, Johns wrote the first four books of the children’s book series Heart Adventures with PuppyGirl, a Christian-based storybook series that stars Abby as PuppyGirl, the narrator, and Johns as Abby’s “BigBestFriend.”

“PuppyGirl and BigBestFriend go on journeys that become adventures of the heart, as each book has a special moment we hold in our hearts together. That is where JesusSaviorFriend comes into the picture to teach of love and grace,” Johns says. “These stories are all based on moments I’ve had with my dog.”

The books, which include titles The Lake, Wrinkle Twinkles, Gardens and Nobby Star, aim to introduce children to the tenets of Christianity through the familiar concept of Christian morals. Each book is based on a scripture verse.

“Abby is a registered therapy dog, and we used to do a lot of visits with elderly or ill people,” Johns says. “The book Wrinkle Twinkle is based on those experiences, and it teaches kindness toward people who are sick or hurting.”

Johns, who moved back to Central Pennsylvania last summer, sells the books on her website and at book shows, along with PuppyGirl mementos like nightlights, book totes and stuffed dogs. She also speaks to school and church groups, and is presently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies and Theology from Trinity College.

“Because the books are interactive, I can further my brand, which is to build a ‘Together Life’ for a child and their BigBestFriend, whoever that may be,” Johns says. “I have worked with foster children or children who don’t have parents. They sometimes need the messages of PuppyGirl most of all. I really love being able to do that.”

 For more information about Heart Adventures with PuppyGirl, visit

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