Considering my love of animals, rescue organizations, and, of course, love stories, it’s safe to say the flash of inspiration that led to my writing A New Leash on Love was inevitable. While the dogs, shelter workers, and the shelter featured in the story are fictional, the inspiration behind them was real. Every day, amazing and wonderful stories are born in pet adoption shelters.
I also found daily inspiration from my family’s two rescue dogs, Hazel and Nala.
As a puppy, Hazel was found in a plastic trash bag along with eight of her siblings on the side of a road. Luckily, a concerned man noticed the wiggling bag and took immediate action. Not only did he get the litter to a caring rescue organization where the puppies were treated for neglect, he adopted one of the litter as soon as it was cleared. We adopted Hazel days later. My daughter singled her out from dozens of other dogs right away. Hazel was sweet, cuddly, and in need of some extra love. Not only was she the runt of the litter, but prior to being rescued, Hazel suffered an attack from another dog. Although Hazel was beautiful to us from the start, her facial injuries worsened as she matured and she needed extensive surgery. Thankfully, she’s been fully recovered for several years thanks to our wonderful, talented, and kind-hearted vet.
Our newest addition, Nala, was initially surrendered to a high-kill animal control shelter at just four weeks of age. Thankfully, she was picked up by a caring rescue agency and rehabbed for adoption. It’s hard to believe now, but when we adopted her at eight weeks of age, she was the scrawniest and most timid little thing, and getting her to eat wasn’t easy. Now, she’s a bit of a doggie vacuum and has the most eternally playful nature. My family loves that she’s a constant reminder not to take life too seriously and to always find some time for fun.
Let's hear from you! Have a real-life story about your adopted pet or a remarkable shelter that you’d like to share? Please e-mail me. I’ll be posting personal stories of readers in my quarterly newsletter.