Thursday, December 18, 2014

For the Love of Dogs – Why I Wrote The Defenseless

These are my babies, Max and Chelsea. They are beagles and brother and sister.
I’ve loved dogs for as long as I can I remember. It’s safe to say I loved them all my life. In fact, my love for animals extends to cats, horses, cows, pigs, and really there is no end to this list. I love most furry creatures (except for spiders, though, which are my one fear).
You might have caught that I included pigs on my list. Well, here’s a story I don’t share with everyone…or at least I hadn’t until now. But when I was a little girl—it would have been before the age of six—my mother found me in the sty playing with the pigs. Of course, she freaked out, so she told me. It can be dangerous mucking around with huge sows, but me, all I remember is stomping in the mud and talking to them. What can I say? I guess I’ve always seen animals as an extension of the human family.
This love for animals came part-and-parcel with me my entire life, up to and including this point. I remember dogs being a part of it from the beginning. My first dog was Heidi. I was very young when she was a part of my family, but I remember she had sandy-colored hair—and lots of it.
When my parents moved from the farm to a large town, and some years had passed…I was a teenager at this point and they put a proposal in front of my younger sister and myself. The choices were take a trip to Disney World or get a dog. Well, hello, even as young people, both of us saw this one as an easy decision. We had been to Disney World already, and well, a dog? Of course it won!
So we ended up getting a Lhasa apso/Shih Tzu mix. He was black and white and we named him Checkers. I made him someone else’s pet in The Defenseless. I actually do include my dogs’ names in my books, but that could be another post.
Getting back to The Defenseless, though, and my deep-seated disgust for animal abuse and those who inflict this. In reflecting on this, I believe it goes back to my formative years growing up on the farm. If you’ve ever lived in the country, you’ve likely heard of cats being dropped off on the side of the road. This happened in the area we lived in on numerous occasions. I remember specifically an instance when we found three kittens. They were in bad shape and despite our efforts to help them, we were too late. I remember being very upset over losing them.
I do believe it was then that the seed for hating animal abuse was planted. To take something so precious, a life that looks to us for love, for food, for companionship, who loves us unconditionally, and hurt any of these creatures? This turns my stomach and can ratchet up my anger faster than most anything.
When I hear of animal abuse in the news, it has the ability to make me temporarily lose my sense of right and wrong. I still remember, years ago, hearing about a man who dragged his dog behind his truck. It took my thoughts to a dark place and made me wonder if I were capable of extracting the same treatment on the man. Like I said, nothing much can get me angrier.
It’s pulling from this real-life report and how it made me feel, that brought The Defenseless to life. The killer, who aptly named himself The Advocate stands as the animals’ voice. He brings attention to what they had suffered at the hands of the Offenders, of the men charged with animal abuse. He outworks on them what they had inflicted upon their dogs. And, yes, I do include repayment in the form of one man being dragged behind a truck.
I also worked with a woman who helped run an animal shelter in her past. She told me how abusers would slip right through the cracks of justice due to a technicality. And really, is there justice for abused animals when their abusers can get levied with some minor charges, a monetary fine, and are free to get another animal within a few years?
I utilized some of her experience in The Defenseless, again drawing from real life. Combining all the elements above, this novel is a close one to my heart. I stand strong in the defense of animals—of course this side of the law. But as I’ve grown spiritually, and as a strong believer in the Law of Attraction (LOA), I also recognize the importance of not fighting what I don’t want.
As Mother Teresa once said, “I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.”
When it comes to stopping animal abuse, the same principle applies. Instead of placing the focus on hating it, we need to be for animals having a safe and loving home environment. We need to educate people on how to best care for animals and let them know what commitment is required to care for their needs, help people make an informed decision before they adopt a pet. We must focus on the sweet animals who need our love and care. We must focus on the success stories. Of course, this doesn't mean we shut our eyes to the problem that exists either.
As Wayne Dyer mentioned in his one book, “You’ll See It When You Believe It,” every living creature makes up the universe. The universe, he broke down to mean “one song.” Just as a song comes together by each contributing member, instrument and singer, so too, we all have a role on this beautiful planet. Animals are included in this. Without them, well, life on this planet would be vastly different, and if I may say so, depressing, if not impossible.
With my novel, The Defenseless, I believe it has the ability to touch people who love animals and to make a difference. It calls attention to this ugly stain that, sadly, marks most communities. While there may not be a serial killer out there exacting revenge, it makes one wonder at what point this might happen. It awakens us to the possibility that we can’t close our eyes to animal abuse, or look the other way. What happens to them, affects us.

Within a day of the book being released, I received emails from a woman who heads up an animal shelter in Texas. She said, and I pulled a quote from an email: "You already helped....I plan to get a copy of that book to every politician in our town. Me talking won't carry as much weight as your book. I just want them to know that when we tell them something is needed we don't mean tomorrow or a year from now. Getting the council to understand that lives are at stake will help greatly!"

This is the type of difference I hope to make with this book. I hope people realize how serious the matter is. I also hope that its readers are pulled in and they get caught up in the investigation.

The Defenseless is available in eBook and Print.

And why not donate to your local animal shelter this holiday season?

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