If you take even a cursory glance at my blog, web site or social media, you’ll see I am an animal lover, and in particular, a lover of rescue pets. I recently completed the journey of publishing my first picture book with illustrator Yis Vang, who did the cover for Coriander Jones. This book is my love letter to our very special rescue, Kayla.
My husband and daughter brought her home from the pound one Saturday, unannounced, likely because they knew I’d start chanting “NO MORE PETS!” But my heart broke for the little stray. She’d been found wandering a busy street, perhaps a casualty of the recession when people starting abandoning their pets with alarming frequency. She was emaciated, fear aggressive with other dogs, and painfully shy with people.
Fast forward a few years later and our girl was happy, healthy, and even a teeny bit overweight due to our compulsion to give her treats whenever she gave us that doleful look. My daughter started taking her to 4-H. Kayla learned that other dogs were friends. She even won blue ribbons and high points trophies against pure bred dogs.
We estimate that our grand old lady is about ten years old now. She started slowing down a bit and a little grey has creeped into her face. When she started limping late last fall, we took her in for a checkup. The vet diagnosed her with bone cancer, not the kind one can treat surgically or otherwise. We were, of course, devastated. Her diagnosis hasn’t stopped her from chasing the yard cats and begging for treats, and we are grateful for the medication that is giving us some extra time with her. Of the many animals I have had over the last fifty years, Kayla, I think, has the sweetest soul of them all. I started working on this picture book with Yis last year as a purely personal endeavor and so it’s bittersweet that it is coming out just as Kayla is in her twilight.
If you feel like checking out Kayla’s journey from sidewalk stray to beloved family member, the book is available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I will probably be doing a Goodreads giveaway soon. And, as I always like to get a plug in for our angels in fur coats, please visit a shelter next time you are looking for a pet.