Sunday, May 2, 2010

what my book "Tails from the Shelter" is about

I walked both these dogs today, along with Mongo and Lenny. The brown dog is Sophia a new Chesapeake Bay retriever, her sister who is a tad darker is also available for adoption. The black dog is Chewy, he is the one who likes to stand on top of his modernist dog house, he's in the post on the modernist doghouses.

This is basically the query I sent to a publisher. I'm open to any feed back on my query anyone would like to offer. I also sent a sample chapter.This particular publisher didn't pan out. I'm wondering whether I should self publish or continue looking for another publisher.

I started volunteering at our local no kill animal shelter 10 years ago after losing my beloved Labrador retriever. The book I wrote is the book I was looking to read and could not find, when I first started volunteering. I was unable to find information explaining how to work with frightened and disheartened dogs that had been abandoned and traumatized, except for some general information and one particular chapter in the wonderful book, “Beyond Obedience” by April Frost . This is an authentic telling of the stories of my working with the frightened, abused, neglected and harder to place dogs. The cute, adorable, young and purebred, the small to medium sized, spectacular and unique looking dogs get adopted relatively quickly, the larger, older, impaired, neurotic, average looking and black dogs take longer. My book is the true life story, with some altered identities, of the behind the scenes goings on of my local no kill animal shelter which is located in a small college town surrounded by a rural farming community in North Idaho. The story is also somewhat of a memoir that parallels my story of overcoming eating disorders as it relates to and overlaps with my being drawn to work with abused and neglected dogs. It is a story of triumph, of overcoming through giving, of reaching out to the dogs and helping them through. I have included a variety of stories differing in tone that give a representation of the humor, sadness, success, and both positive and negative outcomes of the dogs and people in my community. Although they are primarily stories of the dogs, they also relate the nature of the human beings that the animals come in contact with so they tell of the positive and negative intersection of animal /human ties. I have also included a lot of observations and training tips for both working with this special subset of dogs and for volunteering at animal shelters in general, as well as a spiritual approach to basic obedience training. I cover the stories of the different dogs I worked with including everything from; frightened, abused, neurotic, handicapped, dogs that were returned multiple times, a dog with anorexia, and heroic dogs that helped the people around them. I spent from 5 to 15 hours a week, volunteering to walk and train and spend time with the dogs. They are the stories of dogs and people on the edge, some turn around, some do not. My book also sheds light on the hard work performed by the dedicated staff and volunteers of our Humane Society, and the difficulties they encounter working in a no kill shelter as well. Inspired by the books of the late Caroline Knapp, particularly, the book, Appetites. I pick up where she left off, delving a little deeper into multi generational family dynamics, healing the self through helping abandoned dogs, performing a community service and helping to reconnect people and dogs while tying together stories over a ten year period in a small semi-rural college town community . The book was written in the spirit of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle , living in the moment making observations finding out what the individual dogs needed in a Zen Buddhist spirit of witnessing. I feel that the book has broad appeal on two fronts; 1) telling the stories and giving insight into the dogs adopted from the no kill shelter, many have adopted from shelters. This gives them an idea of what some of the dogs have gone through prior to being adopted. 2) It is my story of finding a positive way of overcoming a dysfunctional family and overcoming eating disorders in a way that helped both me, and the neglected dogs. I see this as a philosophy of efficiency, meeting the many needs, of all involved at once, on both a physical and psychological level. So although the book runs the gamut of emotions all in all it is a positive real life story of overcoming on many levels, by reaching out to help others in a spirit of community service. Raw, deep, humorous, profound, both heartwarming and heart wrenching, this book has it all. Thank you for giving it a chance

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