By Amy Wenk
“True Buckhead gal” Elinor Rosenberg Breman has learned that best friends come in all shapes and sizes.
Inspired by the friendship formed between two very different dogs, the 86-year-old has published a children’s book called “Best Friends.”
“It was a labor of love,” said the great-grandmother, art enthusiast and 20-year real estate veteran. “It has a message that no matter how different you are in color or the way you look, you can learn to be best friends and you can love each other.”
Breman’s sweet tale of acceptance features illustrations by two of her great-grandchildren, Peyton and Ansley Rosenberg, who attend Davis Academy in Sandy Springs. The story stems from her experiences with the dogs.
Eight years ago her husband, Bill Breman, founder of Breman Steel and famous Atlanta philanthropist, died. Without her husband, Breman continued the community work on which the couple had focused since marrying in 1993.
Her primary interest is the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum on Spring Street in Midtown, which opened in 1996 and which she said she considers her and her husband’s baby. “As a proud parent, we want to see it succeed like you do your children.”
For many years, she has served on the board of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and has long been involved with the High Museum of Art.
Although her volunteer activities kept her busy, Breman said she could not help feeling lonely at times.
That changed when old friend Saul Mallen, from Chattanooga, moved to Atlanta.
With him Mallen brought Mutz, a caramel-colored dachshund he adopted after his wife died.
Mutz “saved his life really. He found somebody to love and take care of,” said Breman, a Chattanooga native who moved to Atlanta in the 1940s. Her former husband was Herbert Rosenberg, founder and president of the Buckhead Men’s Shop.
“I watched him for several years with this dog. That little dog just loved him to death. I thought, ‘You know, maybe I ought to get a dog.’ ”
So began her search for the perfect pooch.
She found her curly-haired canine at an adoption event at PetSmart in Buckhead. The apricot-colored miniature poodle was a rescued stud dog from a puppy mill in Cartersville. Breman named him Mr. Angel after her father.
“Why this dog wasn’t adopted sooner I don’t know, but he was pretty traumatized,” Breman said.
When she brought him home, she said, “I don’t know who was more scared, him or me.”
But once he settled in, his affection was more than she expected. Mr. Angel and “I just fell in love. It was like I was young and reborn again as my life has new meaning with Angel needing my love and care.”
The poodle rarely leaves Breman’s side; she takes him everywhere he is allowed, so he never misses a shopping excursion. His favorite spot is nuzzled in her lap or cuddled under her arm, where he can hear her heart beat.
“My interest in dogs has become much greater,” said the author, who also wrote and published “Rollercoaster Ride,” a real estate manual for new agents. “I think dogs have little souls in them … of children or someone.
“If you feel sad or if you don’t feel good, they know it. They sense it, and they just curl up against you and make you feel better.”
The friendship that formed between Mr. Angel and Mutz inspired “Best Friends,” which has sold 450 copies to date.
As Mallen and Breman spent time together, their dogs began to walk and play together.
“The story line … began to unfold during this period of acceptance as I noticed the two dogs began to tolerate and finally accept each other,” Breman said. “They became best friends. It reminded me of how we humans are all so different and how we choose to open our hearts up to some and close our hearts to others. The story carries with it a strong message of acceptance and love that children can learn from.”
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of “Best Friends” benefits the Atlanta Humane Society, located at 981 Howell Mill Road.
The book is $10. You can order one by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up a copy at the Atlanta Humane Society, The Temple, the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and the William Breman Jewish Home.