Rancho Santa Fe resident releases illustrated book about ‘yoga dog’

"Nugget the Nomad" was written by Janet Lawless Christ and illustrated by Ryan Hernandez.

Rancho Santa Fe resident Janet Lawless Christ and her organization, JoyWorks Network, recently provided facemasks to local residents in commemoration of a new book she released.

The promotional event was held at Banc of California in Rancho Santa Fe on Sept. 11. The book, “Nugget the Nomad: Adventures of a Yoga Dog,” came out a week later. It was illustrated by Ryan Hernandez.

Janet Lawless Christ

Adults received JoyWorks branded masks and children received masks with a drawing of the story’s main character.

The book is based on a real-life story. Christ used to bring her dog, Diego (nicknamed Nugget), to yoga with her. He even had his own yoga mat. One day, in an attempt to break up a fight between Diego and one of her two other dogs, Christ broke her back in two places. While she was recovering in the hospital and undergoing rehab, Nugget needed to stay with a series of different caretakers.

Someone she knew offered to take Nugget for a weekend. Christ was about to refuse the offer before her friend assured her that “Nugget’s a nomad, he’ll be fine.” That’s when she came up with the idea to honor her dog’s resilience with a book.

“He thought he had this great little life,” Christ said, referring to the fictional version of her dog presented in the book. “He went to yoga with mom, he had these two brothers. All of a sudden everything came unraveled, and although he had to go different places, he held onto his joy and he got through it.”

Christ said she started the project a couple of years ago before putting it on hold. She picked it up again after the COVID-19 pandemic began. Hundreds of copies were preordered ahead of the Sept. 18 release date through word of mouth, she said. A portion of the profits are going to Thrive Animal Rescue, which provides assistance for abandoned animals and finds them new homes. Many of the dogs they assist are older, like Nugget.

Christ said the book will be translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Farsi and Japanese.

Christ also said she liked the words JoyWorks together, because “anger doesn’t work, resentment doesn’t work, bitterness doesn’t work. Joy works.”

“Something about this message at this point in time is resonating with people,” she added.

Her next illustrated book, “Busy the Bee,” is based on a creative solution that The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe came up with to solve a bee problem without exterminating them.

For more information about the book, visit