Karen Petit

“What miracles they are, these paws on our hearts.”

Karen’s Story


Truth is stranger than fiction.  That’s exactly what happened to writer Karen Petit. 

Before adopting Ivy, Karen was married to a man whose criminal activity left her life in shambles.  Coming home to find him drunk and abusive in September 2001, Karen first wore the label “victim” when she didn’t press charges against him and “defendant” when he sued her for divorce and alimony.

That’s when Karen rediscovered her inner sleuth—investigative skills honed as a former newspaper reporter and editor—to uncover the lies in her marriage and the truth about her husband’s secret life.  Along the way, she found a new persona—”survivor.”

But Karen’s troubles weren’t over.  Her mother was dying from a degenerate lung disease, and other family problems weighed heavily on her mind and heart.


Enter Ivy.


Rescued from a man who had threatened to drown her, Ivy was no stranger to danger.  The loving dog, a vivacious Lab-Chow mix, stepped in with all paws to rescue Karen and give her a new “leash” on life.

Their story took a turn when truth became fiction.  Within a month of coming to live with Karen, Ivy inspired the writer to pen the “Shandon’s Ivy League” Mystery Series for young readers and pet lovers of all ages.  The hit series follows the adventures of a group of pets who solve crimes and mysteries.

“A Paw on My Heart” is the inspirational account of a writer and dog who found their own story—a story of love and loss, to be sure, but also of resilience, healing and dogged determination not to give up or give in when life’s bite is, indeed, worse than its bark!


Copyright 2010 Karen Petit All Rights Reserved

“A jolt of grown-up reality opens this backstory of Karen Petit’s  ‘Shandon’s Ivy League’ Mystery Series, the droll doggie-and-friends detective adventures that have charmed readers of all ages. If it seems a hard leap from the chilling terror of domestic rage and violence to a warm and life-changing sanctuary in the friendship of a dog, Ms. Petit makes it convincingly here, and with grace to spare.” – Dot Jackson, Author, The Refuge

“Karen Petit’s story, harrowing but ultimately uplifting, will resonate with all those who believe in the redemptive power to be found in a pet’s reciprocal, non-judgmental affection.” – James D. McAlister, Author, King’s Highway

“It’s not just anyone who can take life’s losses and create art from it, but Karen Petit does, and with charm. Dog lovers of all ages will appreciate her and Ivy’s story, as well as the ‘Shandon’s Ivy League’ Mystery Series. What flowers are to the kitchen table, Karen’s stories are to the heart.” – Helen Schell, Creative Writing Teacher at Hand Middle School, where students are the test audience for Karen Petit’s mystery series

Reader Reviews