BROKEN BOW—Love, loss, a tribute to the United States Military, and more can all be found in a Broken Bow graduate’s story that is “much more than a dog book.”
A 2000 Broken Bow graduate, Rob Kugler returned home last week for a book signing of A Dog Named Beautiful which thoughtfully details Kugler’s experience as a Marine serving in Iraq, losing his brother Mike, and the road trip he took with his beloved dog Bella following her cancer diagnosis.
Kugler told KCNI/KBBN he was a little more nervous about doing a book signing in his hometown but said he soon realized there was no need to feel that way.
“As soon as I got there and as soon as I saw the people and they were excited to see me and I was excited to see them, we gave big hugs and I felt right at home right away. And I remembered that there’s no reason to be nervous because I’m home. People are so good to each other here and they showed that to me,” Kugler said.
As a storyteller and a photographer, Kugler gives hope to those who have also faced loss or struggled through dark times. On Wednesday, he shared personal stories of his writing and how it helped remove some of the stress he was feeling. He also told the audience that after losing his brother Mike, Rob changed his perspective on living life as if you don’t have tomorrow and that negativity does not have to overcome you.
“I would definitely love readers to learn from Bella as I did as far as resiliency against a disability or being different,” Kugler said. “I really want to let people know that they’re not alone in that.”
Kugler currently resides in the Pacific Northwest but plans to live by the words he writes on paper and spend time with his mom Kathy Kugler and other family members while he is in Nebraska–a place where he credits helping him become the man he is today who appreciates relationships and good conversation.
“There’s no place that means more to me on Memorial Day than the cemetery where my brother’s headstone is,” Kugler said. “It just feels really good to be back in Broken Bow and like I said, I’m definitely proud to be from here. I’m totally and completely blessed with the opportunities I’ve got to have in my life and places I’ve got to go and I don’t know if I would appreciate it if I didn’t have very humble beginnings here in Broken Bow.”