There are two signs in my house that seem to catch people's eyes: “My Therapist has a Wet Nose” and “The Road to My Heart is Paved in Pawprints.” These speak truth into my life and reflect the truth in my life.
For more than 50 years, pets have impacted my life. From a Labrador retriever that was a hunting dog for my father and a steady pony for my two-year-old growing, unsteady body to the 10-year-old springer/cocker mix that now shares my home, animals have been part of my life. Not just dogs, but also cats, turtles, hamsters, rabbits, even a green reptilian anole lizard and a couple of white pigeons... I was responsible for their care and they provided companionship as well as laughter at times. From butterfly chasing through Iowa fields to explorations of Montana's mountains, from created “ponds” in the kitchen to streams in Wyoming, and from compacted aluminum foil balls to tug-of-war toys, the entertainment, explorations, and education my pets provided remains in the memory banks, if not in Kodachrome photos. My pets have taught me valuable life and faith lessons, tips and inspirations I share in my speaking and writing endeavors.
I share such a story in the newly released Memories from Maple Street: Pawprints on My Heart, an anthology released today by Sundown Press, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications. Within the pages of this book, readers will be inspired and their own memories of special animals ignited. The book features stories from a variety of writers about a variety of pets. My story is dedicated especially to Sage, the blind springer spaniel who launched my book writing career and impacted hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives through in-person/dog visits to schools, libraries, and bookstores, as well as to Cody, the cocker spaniel my husband and I adopted as a senior pet who had “worn out his welcome” as his body aged and the breeder no longer felt a need to care for him; Cody lived another 7+ years and is also the subject of several books and stories. I learned great lessons from Cody and Sage, including courage, perseverance, loyalty, and self confidence, among so many others. Animals can do that, you know – they can inspire and motivate us, they help us think about others besides our own selves, and they give unconditionally. Is it no wonder they leave pawprints on our hearts and serve as amazing therapists?!
I hope you'll check out Pawprints on My Heart. Visit the publisher's blog, learn more about the book, leave a comment, and you could possibly win a free copy of this delightful read. Go to http://bit.ly/29HtCi3 to read and learn more.
Nearly 80 million U.S. households have pets in the United States, according to the latest statistics from the American Pet Products Assocation. That's a lot of pawprints and therapy -- pets really do impact us humans, oftentimes for life!
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.