The children in three third-grade classrooms at Dana Elementary received a special treat recently when Grandma Tink, aka Ethel Landers, arrived in her paint-splashed apron to read and gift each child her recently published book on animal care.

Grandma Tink is a fixture at Dana Elementary – as a volunteer she’s painted a total of seven murals on the school walls plus led art classes. This time she spread the message of how to properly care for animals, especially dogs and cats. Her book is called “Every Puppy Needs…”, subtitled “Cada Cachorro Necessita…”, and is written concurrently in English and Spanish at approximately third grade level.

“I’m 67 years old. Writing and illustrating this little book and gifting it to children was on my bucket list for the past 15 years,” explained Landers. “I created the prototype in 2003 while finishing my art degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo but wasn’t sure how to get the project funded. Then last year I discovered the website GoFundMe and realized many generous people loved my idea of saving animals one child at a time."

So Landers established the goal of writing, illustrating, publishing and then gifting 1,000 copies of her book to children living in areas where animal over-population and abuse and or neglect are probable. Over 50 donors supported her idea and by August 2017 the book was in print and being gifted to others. It also is available to the general public on

“My dream is to receive enough public support to read and gift books to every 3rd grade child in Santa Maria, Nipomo, Guadalupe and Oceano. So far we have the received gifts covering the cost of 1,000 books,” said Landers.

Wanda McDonald, an animal advocate and past board member of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, will take the lead on reading to children in Santa Maria while Landers covers Nipomo. Claire Sheehy and John Humann are key donors for the project.

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“I’m hoping to soon partner with a local animal-focused non-profit so the program can be expanded via grant funding. So far all supporters have given from their hearts without the ability to gain a tax deduction for their gifts. But isn’t that what it’s all about anyway - giving from the heart?” asked Landers with a smile.

For more information about “Every Puppy Needs…” written and illustrated by Grandma Tink, contact Landers at or write to