After a career in education, Dallas Murdoch has turned her hand to writing the first in what she hopes will be a number of books for children.
From her century-plus old home, surrounded by her well-kept gardens and a haven of woodland in Upokongaro, overlooking the Whanganui River, she and her 5-year-old little dog Bella have joined forces to entertain younger readers.
Bella Ponsonby Moughan is a shih tzu miniature poodle cross, born in Whanganui.
Dallas' late husband, Mike Moughan, always put Ponsonby in a dog's name.
"He thought it sounded very flash.
"Bella has been a wonderful therapy dog: she sat with two or three people at the end of their life.
"She has been with me since she was a puppy."
Being a school teacher all her life, Dallas remembers the stories she and the children liked, and thought she might like to write something herself.
"I really enjoyed being a classroom teacher and as a new entrants teacher I read the same little donkey book day in and day out. I always thought I'd like to write a book, then one day, I thought I'd like to write one about this little girl [Bella]. That's how Bella and Ziggy, Peas in a Pod came about.
"I put a little bit of a social emphasis on it, about people who are looking for their sisters and brothers, who are perhaps detached from their family."
Dallas takes Bella for walks along the riverbank and the book's illustrations are based on photos she has taken alongside the Whanganui River, and Bella in the book is closely based on her own Bella.
"She was little, the smallest in the litter, and all her brothers had left and gone to their forever home, and she was all alone. A sad little puppy."
The book is about Bella and her human, "Mama", on their walks, looking for a lost sibling among all the other dogs walking with their people. They were looking for the other pea in the pod. Needless to say, they were successful, eventually finding Ziggy.
Some of the characters in her book are caricatures of people Bella and Dallas used to meet.
Dallas found her illustrator, Renata Afanasii, through the creative employment website, Upworks. Renata lives in Moldova, and the two communicated via email through the production of the book.
"It worked very, very well. She was excellent to work with."
Dallas says everyone to whom she has shown the book has commented on the high quality of the pictures.
"I thought she just 'got' it. I just loved working with Renata. I wanted her to make the text talk."
Dallas has ideas for at least another book, again using Bella as her protagonist.
Bella and Ziggy, Peas in a Pod is available from Paige's Book Gallery in Guyton St and Bamboo in Taupo Quay.