Donate $5- (the link is to your right on the desktop, don't know where it is on your mobile device but I'm sure it's there) for a chance to win a signed advance copy of Mr. Wilson Makes it Home!
My latest book will be released on February 3, 2015. I have an advanced reading copy sitting on my desk waiting for me to give it away, but to whom I wondered? Then I realized that today is Giving Tuesday and an idea formed in my head: what if I asked the people who I network with here, on Facebook, Twitter and my "other" blog, Rescuing Providence to use the Donate button next to this post as a way to raise money for one of my favorite animal rescue groups, NE All Breed Rescue and use the names of people who donate whatever they are comfortable with as a pool to pick a name from, randomly of course. I'll probably have Mr. Wilson pick a name from what I hope is a lengthy list, contact that person, sign the extremely limited ARC (advance reading copy) and send it to the winner on Friday, December 5th.
The following is from the book, I chose a passage that kind of ties my firefighting life in with my pet rescue life. It's a little sad, but was a vital part of the story that has as much to do with the past as it does with the future.
An excerpt from Mr. Wilson Makes it Home, (this is from my original draft, the finished book has been meticulously edited by Skyhorse Publishing)
We were lying on our bed one day, a rare occasion; idle time at the Morse Mansion is normally spent doing tasks that Cheryl has deemed absolutely imperative, when I discovered Apps. The TV came with a YouTube app., and the fun began. I entered “dog rescue stories” in the search box, and seconds later dozens appeared on our screen. For hours we sat, eyes transfixed on the screen, often tear filled, and watched story after story of emotional dog rescues. There was “Fiona,” a blind homeless dog who had been living near a dumpster in a trash heap. She was 100% blind, and the people who rescued her got her to an appropriate veterinarian who restored her sight in one eye. It was truly a remarkable story, and we watched it over and over. There were stories involving what we learned are called The Victory Dogs, they being the soldiers that fought in football star Michael Vick’s illegal dog fighting ring. Trained fighters turned loving pets, and all through the love of humans who took the time to resurrect their innate goodness, and let them be the dogs that nature intended them to be. Another story focused on a little hairy dirtball who ran away every time the rescuer’s came close, but was eventually captured, and given a haircut and a bath, and when she was done she looked like Mister Wilson’s sister!
Cheryl was next to me, Mister Wilson was next to us, his eyes rapt with attention as his brethren’s stories were told as the story’s kept coming. It was incredibly moving, and we all felt more connected to each other when we finally had seen enough, more connected to each other, and more connected to the people who dedicate so much of their lives to helping homeless animals.
I had spent the previous twenty-two years working in the inner city, and seeing the worst of what people are capable of. The things that people are capable of doing to each other are truly frightening. Shootings, stabbings, baseball bat attacks, rapes, and robberies- the list is endless. With all of the human suffering I saw as a firefighter and EMT the suffering of helpless dogs and cats had taken a backseat. Seeing dogs abused, and beaten and litters of puppies left in back stairways to die and worse, far worse, had become commonplace, and when there are people shot, or dying nearby the images of those poor suffering animals needed to be cleared before I could do my job. I had lost my ability to see the possibilities before me. The brain is like a sponge, it absorbs things for as long as it can, and when it is full, it simply stops absorbing. My brain was full, and I became a hard person, not oblivious to the suffering and neglect so many pets were enduring, but worse, seeing it and doing nothing to help. I was convinced that there was nothing I could do. We can’t even take care of each other, how we can take care of all the unwanted pets, I wondered. I had mine, and took good care of them, and the rest? I just couldn’t be bothered; the problem was overwhelming, and unsolvable. Or so I thought.
I left that job when I couldn’t do it anymore, and slowly my empathy is returning, as is my ability to dream what I once thought impossible. By doing a small part in a bigger scheme, I can help the plight of the animals I had been forced to turn my back on. Because I cannot save them all doesn’t mean I can’t help one. Or two.
We adopted Wilson, not knowing who would turn up in that truck from Arkansas. Did we get lucky, or are all, or at least most of the pets available for adoption as wonderful as he is? Of course they are! Each animal is its own miracle, and has a lot to offer to anybody willing to accept the gifts they bring. My belief that the universe is a good place, a place where love reigns supreme is re-affirmed every time I’m with Mister Wilson. His place in the universe is right here with us, and if lying on the bed on a lazy Sunday afternoon is where we are, then that is exactly where we are supposed to be. I cannot turn back time, and help the animals that I had to leave behind, but here and now, in the moment I can do my best to never do so again. Dogs live in the moment, I think, and from all I have read are incapable of remembering past events or worrying about the future.
Knowing this, and believing it for the most part, I can’t stop myself from questioning the validity of their supposed inability to remember the past every time I see Mister Wilson shy away from me as if I were about to strike him. Fear was introduced to him by somebody, and he has to overcome that fear and trust that whatever happened to him is not going to happen again, and is simply an ugly old emotion. Dogs may not have the ability to remember the way that we humans understand memories, but hidden in their DNA the knowledge that there is potential for pain every time there is interaction with a human exists. Lack of memory does not negate a dog’s realization that humans can strike out with little or no warning and hurt them, and for them to fully trust their new owners is next to impossible, and the fact that Mister Wilson does so as much as he does is miraculous.
I wish I knew what happened to him to make him quiver when somebody raises their voice, and to try and shrink into the floor, and not be seen, and become invisible. I wish I
knew how to erase those emotions from him, and let him fully appreciate the moment, and live his life knowing that nobody will hit him, or kick him, or toss him aside like an old rag, or tie him up in a freezing barn surrounded by his own waste, hungry, cold and alone. But I can’t. The only thing that I can do, that any of us can do, is to never let it happen again.
Anyway, the book moves on and a lot of great things happen, and lessons are learned and life keeps coming.
Please take a moment and give a little to the homeless pets and the people who care for them.
Me and Mr. Wilson will be picking a name on Friday, thank you for participating!