Rancho Santa Fe resident’s lovable basset hound inspires a children’s book

Carine Chitayat and Pablo.
(Copyright Carine Chitayat)

Everywhere Rancho Santa Fe resident Carine Chitayat brings her basset hound Pablo he makes people happy. With his long-hanging ears, kind eyes, droopy face and friendly personality, people just can’t help but smile at the sight of him. To share Pablo’s love and a wonderful message for kids, Chitayat wrote a children’s book called “Pablo the Basset Hound” and self-published it through Book Baby: “It’s something I had in my heart.”

The book is a departure from Chitayat’s daily work—since 2003 she has been the co-founder and CEO of the Adopt a Family Foundation, an organization that brings emotional and financial support to victims of terror in Israel. Adopted families in Israel are matched with a family in San Diego and the nonprofit provides support as well as long-lasting personal connections.

Chitayat welcomed Pablo into her home nine and half years ago after she found him as a puppy in San Luis Obispo.

“I love, love dogs,” said Chitayat, who likes to say that when she moved to the United States from Switzerland 32 years ago, her first friend in San Diego was her dog. Her last dog was a Great Dane and after her kids left home, she wanted a smaller dog and had always admired the basset hound: “They’re just the cutest.”

Chitayat had dreamed of writing a book, especially a children’s book as she had so many messages she wanted to pass on. Finding herself with a little extra time during the pandemic, she wrote the book and worked up the courage to share it with others.

Raising two daughters in America was different from her upbringing in Switzerland and she saw how much stress they went through and how much pressure they dealt with as they navigated through school. She tried to always encourage them and support them to pursue anything they wanted and use their natural gifts.

“Walking around with little Pablo, everyone always says what a cute dog he is and remarks on his ears,” she said. While the long-hanging ears may seem funny, they actually serve an important purpose for tracking as hunting dogs. That is part of the message of her book: “Every dog has a purpose, every child has a purpose, their own personality, their own strengths and they should be seen and recognized for that.”

Pablo and the book inspired by him,
(Copyright Carine Chitayat)

While Chitayat stays pretty busy with Adopt a Family, she said she has some other potential books in mind. So far she has had book readings and signings with Pablo at a school in Palm Springs, the Chabad Jewish Center of Rancho Santa Fe, and Chabad of Rancho Penasquitos and hopes she will be able to do more.

“He’s just a dog that gives so many smiles,” Chitayat said. “That’s something I really wanted to do, bring some happiness and share some love and smiles.”

Find the book on Amazon at