Author-signed copies of "Luna's Big Oxcident," a children's book based on a real Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, will be available in exchange for donations to the musk ox farm during First Friday. (Courtesy Image / P.T. Custard)

Local author tells the tale of 3-legged musk ox

Get an autographed copy Friday

Have you heard the story about the three-legged musk ox in Palmer?

If not, plan to stop by Picture This during the First Friday event downtown on July 2 to meet local author Trish Turner Custard and pick up an autographed copy of her latest children’s book, “Luna’s Big Oxcident.”

Readers will learn about the life of Luna, a musk ox at the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, where Turner Custard was once a volunteer farmhand. The book features illustrations by Anchorage artist Amanda Rose Warren.

“Luna crashed into another ox,” Turner Custard said of the accident that took place in March 2020, just as local authorities were issuing hunker down orders to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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As a result of the accident, Luna suffered a broken leg.

Farm staff feared they would have to euthanize Luna based on the location and severity of the injury. But, the veterinarian suggested amputating the leg in a bid to save Luna’s life.

“They amputated her back right leg and made a sling like a big hammock so she could still use her three legs,” Turner Custard explained in a phone interview Thursday.

Luna gradually healed, regained her strength and has learned to walk freely on her three remaining legs.

“The staff nursed her through it. One day they found she escaped the sling. Luna is probably the only three-leg musk ox in existence,” Turner Custard said.

But the story is not merely about veterinary treatment.

“It’s a gentle tale about differences, acceptance, and inclusion, with an important lesson for readers of all ages,” reads a news release describing the book.

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Supporting Luna

Turner Custard said that people involved in Luna’s care approached her about writing the book last October.

“I wanted it to be a story about differences and acceptance and they were all right there with me,” she said.

The book is getting noticed.

This week it received a gold medal Mom’s Choice Award, which honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.

“We’re very excited about that,” she said.

To raise money for Luna and her herd, Turner Custard will sign copies of the book and inscribe a dedication during this week’s First Friday event.

“People can give as much or as little or as much as they are comfortable. All money goes to the farm. It’s such a wonderful place,” she said.

Know & Go

What: Get a signed copy of “Luna’s Big Oxcident” with any donation to the Musk Ox Farm.

When: Between 4-7 p.m. on Friday, July 2.

Where: 230 S. Franklin St. at Picture This, located on the first floor of the Marine View on Ferry Way.

If you miss the event Friday evening, you can order a copy of the book directly from the Musk Ox Farm at www.muskoxfarm.org.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@gmail.com or 907-308-4891.

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