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Nancy Shouse grew up in Labrador, where she had access to few books. So eager was she to read that she devoured her textbooks at home in the summer, especially social studies and history. Nancy decided to write Any Pet Will Do as a tribute to her dying guinea pig, Rex. She found the time to rewrite the original picturebook manuscript into a novel while most of her family was away for ten weeks taking part in History Television's Quest for the Sea, a reality show depicting life in an isolated fishing outport in 1837.