Gayle Irwin is an author, animal rights advocate, and animal rescuer. Her passion for writing parallels her passion for creation, especially companion animals. She volunteers with various pet rescue groups and donates part of her book sales income to such organizations.
Knowing that pets benefit people in so many ways, from lowering stress and saving lives, and that pets need people to care for them, Ms. Irwin volunteers for pet rescues and shelters. More than 9,000 companion animals are killed every day in America’s animal shelters, estimates the nationally-acclaimed animal rescue group Best Friends Animal Society, and nearly 10,000 puppy mills operate in this country, according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
This is Be Kind to Animals Week so it is only appropriate that we highlight Ms. Irwin, her books, and how animals play such an important part in our lives, especially dogs and cats.
LESSONS & JOYS FROM PETS
THAT WE CAN LEARN
Companion animals mirror positive character traits, such as empathy, devotion, and friendship. Their service to humans is well-known: companion, guide, rescuer, therapist. Dogs are known to sniff out cancer, calm PTSD, bring smiles to people in hospitals, and ease the loneliness of those in nursing homes. No wonder so many people love pets!
Cute but imperfect, Jeremiah, my recently-adopted Shih Tzu, wouldn’t be welcomed in a prestigious dog show … but, he’s most-welcomed in my home and my heart. Jeremiah was born into a puppy mill situation. He spent the first three years of his life living in a tiny cage, unsocialized, not groomed nor provided vet care, and given low-nutrition dog food – a primary reason for the tooth decay and eventual extraction. His principal task when old enough was to stud puppies, generating income for the people that confined him. He and other small dogs were rescued from the deplorable conditions and pup-producing lifestyle in 2016.
Jeremiah came to live with my husband and me and our other pets, a dog and two cats, but he came tarnished. He wasn’t potty-trained, he was timid, and he experienced trust issues. He’d never been on a leash nor lived in a home. Within three months, our new little furry friend blossomed into a delightful companion. Patience, love, and compassion brought forth his beauty – as did regular baths and haircuts. He may be blemished, but he’s beautiful. Like many dogs and cats, Jeremiah can teach people life and faith lessons.
As a writer of inspirational pet stories for children and adults and a lover of God’s creation and creatures, I am aware of the multitude of lessons we can learn, especially from dogs. My latest children’s book, Jeremiah Finds a Home is a story is one of trust and confidence; the story is told through Jeremiah’s perspective. Timely and relevant, Jeremiah’s story can bring greater awareness and compassion for companion animals, which hopefully will lead to much-needed change: less puppy mills and more pet adoptions. A Kind Dog Named Mary, is a children’s book about Mary, which was trained as a therapy dog and through her interactions with humans and pets, she showcases kindness and compassion.
My mission as a writer is to create animal stories which teach life lessons and inspire positive change. I’m an advocate for pet adoption. My hope for this, and all my books, is that the flame of inspiration will flicker in my readers and they, too, will discover and apply the lessons we can learn from pets, the characters in my stories. I write about important character lessons: courage and perseverance.
Karen Ingalls writes: All of us who follow and read this blog, have had or are having a serious health or personal issue. As many of you know I use the word "challenge" instead of crisis, problem or issue.
I know my cat named Smokey, which I had for many years was very sensitive to the energies of people. Some of my clients wanted him with them during their counseling session during which they petted or hugged him. Twice my cat sensed bad energy from two different people and stayed away from them.
I sometimes wonder if Smokey had been with me in 2008, would he have sensed my ovarian cancer. I do know my loving and petting him would have been therapeutic.
Please share in the comment section below how animals have impacted your life. As always we can learn from one another.
A writer of inspirational dog stories for children and adults, Gayle M. Irwin is a contributing writer for seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including The Dog Really Did That?, The Spirit of America, and The Dog Did What? Her devotional-style memoir, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, was released in 2012.
Whether for children or adults, the books I write highlight important character lessons, such as courage and perseverance as shown in Sage’s Big Adventure and Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned With My Blind Dog, both about Sage, a blind springer spaniel who lived with me for more than a decade.
A freelance writer for more than 20 years, Gayle writes short pet stories for Colorado’s Prairie Times and regularly contributes to Wyoming Rural Electric News. She maintains a weekly pet blog on her website and writes and distributes a monthly pet newsletter.