I wanted to portray a mountain dog = a big dog. You know, one that might keep the bears away just by hanging out.
Don’t ask me why a black lab came to mind, but when I asked our local Therapy Dog chapter if anyone had black lab pictures I could use, my friend Mary replied, “Not black. Yellow lab!”
It wasn’t too late to change that small element in the book, and once I pictured Atlas, a couple of his characteristics crept into the book as well.