Brittany Whitehead: The Adventures of an Author
Story by Cindy Reid
Photography by Leidy Lester
Some things are just meant to be. Eyes lock across a room and the rest is history. That’s exactly what happened to Brittany Whitehead when she first saw the sweet pup with the soft brown eyes.
“I immediately knew Hannah was our dog,” says Brittany. She had gone into PetSmart to get food for their rescue cat Pumpkin Spice Latte where she saw Hannah, a mixed breed shelter dog, at the Georgia Animal Rescue and Defence, Inc. (GARD) table.
“Hannah had been at the shelter for 508 days. Joy Bohannon, GARD’s President, had found her on the side of the road, malnourished and abandoned,” says Brittany.
Hannah had been successfully treated for heartworm at the shelter, but that stigma made prospective adoptive families nervous. Not Brittany.
“God put this dog in our path,” she says. “I was adamant and that is not my personality. It was a snap decision.”
But Brittany’s husband Reza was a firm no. Reza (Georgia Air National Guard Recruiting Supervisor for the 165th) had recently taken a full-time position at Hunter Air Base.
“We had just moved here from Atlanta, and I felt we were too busy to adopt an animal,” he says. But he had to acknowledge there was something special between Brittany and Hannah.
“The connection was right there,” he says. “More than when she met me! It was an aha moment.”
And there was a good reason to expand their family. “Between moving to a new town and changing schools, it was a lot for our son Landen at the time. He was dealing with anxiety,” says Reza. They did research as to what could help him and some of that research pointed to adopting a pet.
In short order Hannah was adopted by the Whitehead family. They added to her name, making her “Hannah Banana,” and as hoped, their sweet pup gave Landen new responsibility and purpose.
“Hannah turned Landen’s anxiety into joy,” says Brittany. “She was a blessing from the start.”
By the Numbers
The Whiteheads are a busy family with a lot of energy and a very big heart. Reza and Brittany have been married 12 years and they have four children. Landen, who is now 15 years old, Lilly (13 years old), Leela (10 years old) and their newest addition, baby girl Lennox, who is eight months old. The family has three rescue pets—their cat Pumpkin Spice Latte, dog Hannah Banana and guinea pig Cookie.
Brittany has published two children’s books, with plans for a third, and together Brittany and Reza have created a party rental business.
Adventures in Writing
The books got their start naturally. “The animals always follow me in the morning. Leela, our youngest at the time, hated getting up in the morning so I would walk to her room with all the animals, and I would make them ‘talk’ to her.” Says Brittany, “I gave Hannah a sweet voice, and it became essentially a skit we would do in the morning. It was funny and cute, and I wanted to share it with everyone.”
Reza says, “My wife said, ‘I want to make this into a book.’ I said, ‘cool babe,’ because it was a great idea, but I thought it would take about six to twelve months because she is not a professional book writer. She knocked it out in two days! Her first book.”
By the end of the first week Brittany had an illustrator and publisher company. Altogether the production took two months.
The Adventures of a House Pet is a story of friendship, trust, playing, love, family, and more. Take a journey through the perspective of a rescue animal that longs for a family, and a pet that wants world domination (take note, the world is their family’s home).
Adventure is the theme, and this lovely story will give you that and more. Your child will enjoy seeing the shenanigans of Pumpkin (the villain) and Hannah (the hero rescue animal), and learn how rescuing a dog can not only change a family, but how we see each other and help each other out!
The Adventures of a House Pet: Pumpkin’s Plan
This second book gives you clear insight into the mind of a jealous, crafty and ambitious cat called Pumpkin.
She surrounds herself with only those who she considers will be useful to her plan to take over the world. But who will help her achieve all this? Does she succeed with her plan? Does she learn any lessons in the process? Find out in this edge of your seat edition of Adventures of a House Pet.
Pumpkin the cat stars alongside Hannah in both books. “Originally Pumpkin was definitely not a fan of Hannah. She would look at the dog like ‘what is that?’ Over time she’s mellowed—now she tolerates Hannah!”
The books are a planned series of three separate titles with the third due out next year.
Creating a Legacy
“Having the books published was a lot of fun for the kids, especially Leela, who loved taking the book to elementary school. She really likes being a shining star—just like her dad!”
Brittany says writing the books was important to her because they create a legacy for her family and they bring awareness to animal rescue groups.
Literacy is vitally important to Brittany, who buys children’s books for herself out of a love of children’s literature. She says, “It is so meaningful for parents to read with children that I specifically have words in the books that parents need to explain to children, so as they read, they participate.”
Community and school groups are encouraged to reach out and schedule an event. “We love partnering with community and pet adoption groups. I do readings and when appropriate bring Hannah. She loves kids and the kids love seeing her. They ask, ‘where’s Pumpkin?’ but we leave the events to Hannah!” says Brittany.
She has also added a line of plush “Hannahs” and “Pumpkins” which can be purchased online or at events.
Party with Pippy!
Reza says, “Brittany’s entrepreneurial spirit and the process of creativity is her bread and butter.”
In a completely different direction than book publishing, Reza and Brittany took their love for entertaining and rehabbed a 1972 horse trailer into a ‘dry hire’ mobile bar. Non-alcoholic drinks are often bland afterthoughts at events. Pippy Lou’s fixes that by creating individually tailored mocktails that are “Instagram worthy” and the highlight of any event. This is a real treat for those who want to hang out and enjoy a delicious nonalcoholic drink.
Although they do focus on mocktails, Pippy Lou’s drinks can be made into alcoholic drinks when the hosts provide the alcohol.
They are available for private parties, special events, weddings and community functions. The trailer is also available for rent on its own.
Pippy Lou’s was recently at the Ellen Claire Soapery Grand Re-Opening, serving the Ellen Claire Blue Breeze, and at the Ottawa Farms Pro Rodeo. They will be at the 2023 EWIB Holiday Extravaganza, hosted by Effingham Women in Business and other holiday events.
The Fur-Ever Family
“We love being together,” says Brittany, “we’re happy just eating snacks and watching a good TV show all together. I sit on the couch with “my twins,” Hannah and Lennox, one on each side.” Brittany says Hannah was excited by Lennox’s arrival. “She wants to play with her. Hannah has been bringing Lennox toys in her mouth since she was two months old. When the baby cries, she comes and finds me. It’s very sweet! Like the dog in Peter Pan, she is definitely a ‘Nanny Dog’.”
Brittany says she would love to branch out and create a non-profit. “That’s something we are trying to figure out. We care deeply about animal rescue and families, and we would love to help everybody.”
Reza says, “We want to really make a difference, to feel we created something that fills a much-needed niche.”
For now, the family stays busy doing book and Pippy Lou events, because “we love hanging out and supporting each other,” says Reza.
As the book says, “rescuing a dog can not only change a family, but how we see each other and help each other out!”