Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I wrote Holly's Story

With the launch of my first novel so close (within the month), I thought now would be a good time to share what inspired me to write Holly's Story and give everyone a little bit of a "behind the scenes" look into my life as a canine foster mom.

Why I wrote Holly's Story

Most of us have had a four-legged friend in our lives at one time or another. Whether they were a dog, cat or some other type of critter, they brought joy, along with companionship, and unconditional love to us—the humans.

Throughout my life I have had mostly dogs or cats, and at the present time I have both.  My life with my pets is ninety-five percent of the time very harmonious.  The other five percent of discord time is usually due to human error—mine.  Two of my three Miniature Schnauzers are trained service dogs who have been invaluable in helping me take care of my ninety-three year old mother for the last ten years.  I frequently wonder how I managed before they came into my life.

I am abundantly blessed by my dogs’ devotion to my mother and me, and their jobs.  They bring peaceful, simplistic balance to my life.  It is such a joy to come home to find their adoring eyes and happy, wagging tails greeting me (that is if I didn’t take them with me as service dogs).  They are secure in knowing there will be good food, exercise, regular vet visits, grooming, plenty of love, pats, kind words, toys, and treats.  Therefore what I receive in return are happy, healthy dogs that bring me great pleasure.

I just naturally assumed that most pets lived the same way.  It wasn’t until I started fostering Miniature Schnauzers for the Arizona Schnauzer Rescue and other rescue organizations a few years ago that I discovered that this was not the case for far too many dogs and cats.  It quickly became apparent to me that my rescue dogs had experienced unbearable, heartbreaking traumas that resulted in emotional scarring no different than if they were human.

It was a rude awakening to discover the darker side of many dogs’ lives.  From my very first foster dog to the little foster dog that I have today, they have all come with varying degrees of heart-wrenching stories, ranging from sad to horrific.  Behind their sad eyes are looks of help.  Their tails wag—even if only just a little bit— in hope.  They have no other choice but to live in the moment and trust.  Day by day, little by little, their behaviors demonstrate the very traumas they were delivered from with emotions of fear, sadness, pain, shame, frustration, depression, anxiety and much more.

By my continuously speaking gentle words and showing loving kindness, the shy, cowering behaviors of abuse and neglect slowly decrease and the soft moans and sighs fade.   Dogs, like humans, are emotional creatures.  They feel deeply and are often put into (by no fault of their own) situations whereby they “feel” the same overwhelming sadness, grief and despair that we do.

These aren’t just mere words that we use to describe our own emotions, and the emotions we see in other humans.  They are the words we rarely associate with our pets and how they feel throughout their life’s journey.  These words are a reality for pets.  As a foster mother to rescued dogs, I have observed that each and every dog knew they had been thrown away.  I soon realized that I wasn’t just giving them shelter while they waited for their “forever” home, but that I was helping them through a very emotional time of healing from the trauma and the rejection in their lives.

Holly’s Story is based on a real dog that I had the pleasure of being Mommy to for over six months.  She came to me as a rescue in the spring of 2010.  Seeing the physical and emotional anguish she went through to heal, be loved and become a part of the pack so deeply touched my heart that it compelled me to share her story.  Even though this book is known fact mixed with fiction, it could only truly be told through Holly’s eyes and voice for the reader to fully understand the humanistic emotions we share with our four-legged friends with fur.


  1. Great post, Bessie!

    I'm looking forward to getting my copy!

  2. I always thought that animals had feelings and could almost see it in their faces sometimes. One of our dogs Larry has to wear diapers inside the house because he just can't control his natural urge to mark territory, but he really hates it, he looks embarrassed every time we put it on. This made me think a little deeper into their world. I'll be looking forward to reading Holly's Story. A friend of Tammy is a friend of mine!

  3. Congrats Bessie! I can't wait to read Holly's Story. I'll be sure to have my tissue handy...

  4. I can't thank all of you enough for your support. I am looking forward to finally sharing "Holly's Story" with the public.

  5. Wonderful post BessieMac. So enjoyed reading it. Years ago, my husband and I rescued a boxer. He had been so badly treated. He lived a lovely life with us but never recovered all of his confidence. A loud noise would frighten him. He cowered when meeting strangers when out on walks, especially men. His physical condition healed and his loving nature came to shine through but the emotional damage was done.
    Will Holly's Story be published in the republic of Ireland, I wonder Bessie?

  6. Thank you, Isaac! *wink*

    It's so hard to watch these innocent creatures in the aftermath of abuse.

    I've been fostering a boxer mix since the summer.

    I'm checking with Amazon now to see if you'll be able to order it from Ireland.

  7. If amazon posts it Bessie, they usually post on US and UK amazon!

  8. Thank you for posting that comment! I had found out the same info and then forgot to post it here. Appreciate it!