Little evidence indicates that pets live in the well-kept Winspear Avenue home. But the truth is, two cats, two dogs and a couple of goldfish co-exist peacefully with Maxine Wilson-Perry and her husband, Maury.
In the spacious den, the sheet covering the sofa serves as a constant reminder of another four-legged friend. It is where Blue -- one of the couple's pit bulls -- died in 2008 of a neurological disease.
The couple -- who consider the pets their children -- turned their grief into a celebration of Blue's life when Maxine Wilson-Perry decided to write a book featuring Blue as a character and donate all proceeds to the Buffalo Animal Shelter and various groups.
"I just want to let people know, if you find a cause and you're willing to do something, you should do it. Just be a part of the solutions," the first-time author said.
Most of the proceeds from "The Haunting of Dr. Andre C. Brass" will help offset such costs as shots, spaying and licenses, incurred by clients who adopt pets at the shelter, said Kelly McCartney, director of the Buffalo Animal Shelter.
Some of the money will help pay for equipment and medicines beyond typical supplies, McCartney added.
"Some of the animals have special needs. They have medical issues," McCartney said, describing a pug whose medical bills from surgery became too costly for the owner, who eventually surrendered the animal to the shelter.
Wilson-Perry became acquainted with the shelter when she tried to adopt a dog that had been used as bait to train combatants in a dog-fighting ring. The adoption didn't pan out because one of her other dogs was too protective of Blue when all of the animals were brought together. But the experience left her wanting to do something to help the shelter.
"The Haunting of Dr. Andre C. Brass," a steamy romance novel, originally was to be a nonfiction, how-to guide on living with disabled canines.
Wilson-Perry and her husband have firsthand experience with that. Blue was diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia -- which affects balance and coordination -- at 2 1/2 months old. As the disease progressed, walking without tipping over became more difficult for Blue, and he had to be hand-fed. By the end, Blue was sofa-ridden, except to use the bathroom.
After that experience, writing a how-to guide would have hit too close to home for Wilson-Perry, who said she kept crying when she started writing. So the book turned into one of her favorite genres. The romance novel is fictional, but the dog character is based on Blue, an American Staffordshire terrier.
The book, released last September, has sold a little more than 300,000 copies so far.
So far, Wilson-Perry has donated $565. More money will flow once she gets a tally of online sales and royalties in the new few weeks, she said.