Hobbes is a seven year old dachshund. He is one of three dogs who live with Bruce and Tami Zeman. He is also part of the radio show duo known as The Wake Up Crew With Bruce and Hobbes on Farm Fresh 102.9 Radio in Bridport.
"I have the only morning radio show in the nation with a dog as a co-host -- and he is a domestic violence survivor," said Bruce Zeman.
The two met four years ago at the Homeward Bound Animal Welfare Center. Hobbes was in very bad shape -- abused by his former owner. Zeman brought him home, and it was this experience of helping Hobbes overcome his distrust of people that inspired Bruce and Tami to write their new book, "Hobbes Goes Home."
"He was bullied and picked on and hurt pretty bad and so we wanted to take that message across the state to bring the message to kids about bullying and compassion -- the humane treatment of animals," Zeman said.
It took two years to write the book and get it published. Tuesday night Bruce will read the book for the first time in public at Homeward Bound, Addison County's humane society -- and the place the two first met.
"Instead of hitting him, the man with the bright blue eyes gently rubbed Hobbes on the head and said, 'It's ok little buddy, I promise you no one will ever hurt you again,'" said Zeman, reading from the book.
"It naturally fit into the whole bullying topic because people that bully kids and bully animals bully other people, and it has become a national problem and we can't have kids killing themselves because they are being picked on," Zeman said.
The ultimate goal, Zeman said, is to read this book to students at every elementary school in Vermont. A dozen are scheduled already. It is an ambitious goal, which is why Hobbes will have some help.
Zeman says through it all, the main concern is Hobbes. That is why his younger brother sometimes steps in front of crowds if Hobbes is afraid.
"I would love to get a copy of this book in front of every Vermont elementary school kid and talk about how we can make a difference. One person can make a difference -- we are an example. I am a radio show host but anybody can make a difference. Vermont can be a national example on how to put a stop to bullying. It can happen, we just have to work together to make it so," Zeman said.
Zeman hopes Hobbe's story will show children -- and adults alike -- what can happen when bullying is replaced with compassion.
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