Scruffy Dog of the children’s book “Scruffy and the Egg” was not always scruffy. He used to have well-groomed chestnut fur and a bright blue collar with a shiny gold tag. He used to be Fluffy Dog.
In her debut as an author and illustrator, L.A. native Angela Sanchez tells the story of the dog’s transformation as he loses his family and home, navigates life on the streets and befriends and adopts a lost egg.
The cohesive, expressively drawn book, which Sanchez crowdfunded and self-published last year, has a surprisingly optimistic tone considering its exploration of difficult circumstances and homelessness.
The book is also partly autobiographical.
Sanchez, 26, grew up in Glendale, where she shared a two-bedroom apartment with her father, an architectural draftsman by trade.
For a single dad with no safety net, familial support or four-year degree, the Great Recession was a devastating financial earthquake.
Sanchez was a junior at Herbert Hoover High School in fall 2007 when an eviction notice appeared on the door of her apartment. A week before Thanksgiving, police officers came knocking.
“At the time I didn’t fully understand what the prospect of going homeless meant,” Sanchez recalls. “My dad had lived in that apartment for 25 years. I had lived there all my life. It was home. To lose it was a big blow.”
Sanchez and her father spent the 2007 holiday season hopping from one motel to another. By January their credit ran out and they landed in an emergency church shelter. The rules of the shelter were strict and comforts minimal. They slept on military-style cots a few feet from strangers. There was no privacy, no shower and no breakfast.
The high school junior kept her homelessness a secret from everyone at school except a supportive principal and a handful of advisors who helped her with her college admissions essay.
“I didn’t tell my teachers because I wanted to be treated like every other student,” she says. “I didn’t want to drag homelessness with me into the classroom. At school I got to be the smart kid. That was my identity. I didn’t have to worry about anything else.”
On the weekends, Sanchez and her father had nowhere to go during the long hours when the shelter was closed.
You don’t realize how much time you spend in your home until you don’t have one anymore. – Angela Sanchez