Rob Kugler will return to the places where he grew up when he presents his book, A Dog Named Beautiful: A Marine, A Dog, and a Long Road Trip Home at A to Z Books in North Platte.

Kugler will sign copies of his book from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 13.

When Kugler returned from war, he had given years of his life in service to his country, and also lost a brother in the fighting.

Lost in grief, Rob found solace and relief in a creature who never failed to put a smile on his face — his chocolate lab Bella.

Bella became the friend Rob needed, and they spent their days exploring nature and taking photos. Bella developed a limp in her front leg and it turned out to be cancer, and the prognosis wasn’t good. She was given 3 months to live. So, rather than wait for her to die, they set out on the road for a final adventure. Bella lived 18 more months, swimming in the Great Lakes, in the Atlantic off the shores of Acadia National Park and down to the Keys and up the Gulf.

Rob and Bella met remarkable, life-changing men and women who were quick to make friends with the incredible three-legged dog.

A Dog Named Beautiful is a book of inspiration, hope, love, tears and laughs.

“Reflective and poignant…. Love, devotion, and slobbery kisses abound in this heartwarming story of a man and his treasured Chocolate Lab,” Kirkus Reviews says.

Kugler, a former U.S, Marine staff sergeant, grew up in Stapleton, Arnold and Broken Bow. His grandparents lived in North Platte. He learned how to skip rocks at Lake Maloney.

Places like Cody Park, Merricks, Fort Cody Trading Post, and Cedar Lanes Bowling are forever a part of his story, he said.

“I’ve been blessed with the opportunities to see and do more things than I could’ve ever imagined, and I’m not sure if I would appreciate those experiences as much if I didn’t start off with the humble beginnings of life in small town Nebraska,” he said.

These days when he’s not on the road, he splits his time between the Pacific Northwest and Logan and Custer counties in Nebraska.

A Dog Named Beautiful was published on May 7 through FlatIron Books at MacMillan.

Those who have already bought a book can bring it with them to be signed and stamped with Bella’s custom-made paw print.

For those who don’t have a copy, they will be for sale at A to Z Books that day, June 13.