Annie Presley has released two books this year recalling the adventures of Sam, the family rescue dog. A third is planned for Spring 2021. Photo by Annie Presley

Rescue pet becomes focal point of storybooks by local author

“It was important to make sure Sam was our focal point. We loved him. And as a result of loving him, we learned to love each other.” 

South KC author publishes a story of Christmas and rescue pet’s adventures

By Kathy Feist

Sam Sees Santa Claus is an adorable story of an adopted family dog who waits for Santa on Christmas night “so he can help Santa find his treats.” But can Sam fight his animal instincts and resist the treats left for Santa and his reindeer? Will he tear open wrapped packages? Will he be naughty? Or will he be nice?

Author Annie Presley with her newly released children’s book Sam Sees Santa Claus. Photo courtesy Annie Presley.

This children’s picture book, written by local author Annie Presley and illustrated by former Hallmark artist John Keeling, is the second in a series that follows the escapades of Presley’s adopted family pet and new family. 

“These stories are all non-fiction, except the second book Sam Sees Santa Claus,” she says. “That is the only fiction book we have planned in the series about Sam.”

 The first book, Sam Gets Adopted, tells the true story of Sam, “a plain, old black mutt,” being chosen at the dog pound by Presley, her new husband Jay and his three young children, Albert, Ellie, and Mary.

Marrying into the family was a crucial time in their lives. she recalls. “It was important to us to make sure Sam was our focal point. We loved him. And as a result of loving him, we learned to love each other.” 

That was over 10 years ago. Sam died five years after his adoption due to cancer. With the youngest child now in college, the family keeps Sam’s memory alive by collaborating on the storylines. 

One storyline that is important to Presley is the importance of adopting rescue dogs, especially those with “Black Dog Syndrome.” Older black mutts are the hardest to get adopted. They are the ones who get euthanized the most often,” she says. “This is called Black Dog Syndrome.” 

“I hope this book always gets readers to think about adopting a dog,” she says.

The role of children’s author is a new one for Presley, a Loch Lloyd resident. Presley is better known as a political consultant. Presley founded the McKeller Group, a professional fundraising group that raised money for nonprofits and political campaigns. She was director of finance for the 2000 George W. Bush campaign as well as for Missouri Senator Kit Bond’s 1992 reelection campaign. In 2001 she became VP and Director of Government Affairs and Charitable Giving at UBS Paine Webber in New York City. Now, at age 61, Presley is happily retired from the intense political scene. “It’s a young person’s game,” she says.  The children’s book author can still be seen on local television as an on-air political consultant, especially during an election.

Presley founded ACE Publishing with Christy Howard in 2014. The two collaborated on a series of journals: Read This When I’m Dead; Read This On Our Anniversary, Read This On Your Birthday, and Read This About My House.  All four are fill-in-the-blank workbooks with prompted questions that inform loved ones of important family information.

Presley is working on her third book of the Sam series, Sam Goes Shopping, which she plans to publish next year. 

Currently, Sam Gets Adopted and Sam Sees Santa Claus can be purchased on Amazon as well as It is available in hardback ($14.25) and paperback ($12.99).

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