Being Present for Your Pets

sunshine-and-leafMore often than not, we receive stories from people who write about their pets after the beloved companion has died. Although these stories are wonderful tributes, we wonder if the person might have written while their pet was still alive.  Note: Leaf (dog), Sunshine (bird), and Speedy (cat) are featured in the images in the blog.

The process of writing causes the writer to become aware and observant. It brings the past and future together in the present. Although it has been cathartic for us, too, to write about pets who are no longer with us, there is something immensely satisfying when we take the time to be present to our pets right now.

speedy-1

In the present moment we can express our gratitude for the joy they are bringing to our lives. When Allen wrote his New York Times bestselling memoir A Dog Named Leaf, it was emotionally fulfilling to be able to take a walk with Leaf, photograph him playing at his favorite dog park, and tuning in to who he is to us today.

There is always a tinge of sadness in writing about animals, even while they are living. We know their life spans are shorter than ours. We know this immensely good thing will someday end. But writing and sharing
stories about them, while we can still pet and play together, replaces fears of loss with admiration and gratitude for the blessings.

sunshine-1Let’s see what new and inspiring stories bubble to the surface as a result of living in the present and rejoicing in the blessings of now.

 

“Anatole France said, ‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.’ We agree with that statement. And we heartily invite you to join us in exploring the world of Angel Animals.”

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What do you think about emotional-support animals?

EMOTIONAL-SUPPORT ANIMALS

The April 22, 2013 issue of TIME Magazine had a thought-provoking article about emotional-support animals (ESA), “Comfort Creatures: Support Animals Help Patients, but That Lizard May Be Against the Law.”

The National Service Animal Registry (NSAR) certifies service and emotional-support animals and has registered 7,000 of them since 1995. The NSAR certifies dogs, cats, pigs, birds, mice, rats, hedge hogs, iguanas, rabbits, and goats. These animals can then wear vests or patches and have ID cards to prove they are necessary to the people they serve.

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Mental health professionals can prescribe an animal’s companionship for patients to help them cope with emotional and psychological symptoms. But health departments can counteract the diagnosis with laws that restrict farm animals. Neighbors can and do report pet owners who they believe are keeping pets or traveling with them illegally.

According to the article there is a confusing gray area about what constitutes a service animal and who needs them. With physical disability, everyone can see why the person needs the animal. With emotional issues, the reasons for having a service animal may not be visible. “Complicating the issue further was the growing diversity of critters aiding people with physical disabilities: boa constrictors that warn their owners of oncoming seizures; capuchin monkeys that help quadriplegics eat and drink; parrots that verbally calm owners who suffer from bipolar disorder.”

Allen and Leaf

Allen and Leaf

The article doesn’t mention a further complication – people who make up their own vests and badges in order to self-certify a pet. Sometimes, this is due to the fact that someone with a disability is on a long waiting list to receive a professionally trained service animal or can’t afford to pay for one. Someone wrote to us that she couldn’t bear to be without her dog and had “faked” a vest that allowed the dog to go everywhere with her.

What do you think about emotional-support animals? Have you had an animal officially or informally who offered you so much emotional support that you had to have him or her with you everywhere?

A Dog Named Leaf — Strange, Mysterious, Wonderful

“If you’ve ever doubted animals have souls, this book will open your heart and mind to truly believing we are all connected. You will never doubt again. Your life will be enriched far beyond what you could have ever imagined and you will have author Allen Anderson to thank for it.” A DOG NAMED LEAF is a great gift idea for the dog loving friends and family in your life!
–Barbara Techel, Joyful Paws

A Dog Named Leaf

A Dog Named Leaf

Have you explained a situation to an animal? What were the results?

TALKING TO A DOG ABOUT DANGER

A family of coyotes has taken up residence in our quiet city neighborhood. They live in the wooded area of a nearby park. We see them roaming up and down alleys and between houses early morning and late at night.

Because our little cocker spaniel Leaf is a tiny fellow, it concerns us that he could get hurt if one of the coyotes attacked him.

As many of you regular readers know, Leaf has a unique personality and a mind of his own. He’s the kind of guy who needs explanations. It doesn’t work to give him a command. He’s like a teenager in that he requires a reason. When he understands what you want and why, then he complies (usually).

So we have been looking for an opportunity to tell him about the coyote. Every night one of us goes outside with Leaf before bedtime to stand guard in case the coyote is roaming our neighborhood.

Last night, the coyote walked down the alley behind our house while Leaf was in the backyard. Our alpha dog barked at him. The coyote wasn’t fazed by Leaf’s bark but saw Linda watching him from our back deck. Her glare persuaded him to walk in the opposite direction.

Linda called Leaf back to her with urgency in her voice. He stood on the porch while she explained about coyotes. She said something to the effect: “He is a dangerous animal. He will hurt you. If you see him, run to the deck as fast as you can. Bark and bark and bark.”

Leaf has a way of looking deeply into the eyes of the human who is talking, if he’s interested in what she has to say. Last night, he was interested. He saw the coyote for himself and got a good whiff of his scent. He instinctively knew that this predator spelled trouble with a capital T.

Have you explained a situation to an animal? What were the results?

You can post your answers at our Angel Animals Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/angelanimalsnetwork and “Like” Angel Animals while you’re there.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family
www.angelanimals.net

 

ANIMALS CAN’T SPEAK OR WRITE – BUT NOW YOU CAN

Dear Angel Animals Readers,

We are sharing this special edition of the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. We only do these a few times each year when we have something new and exciting to tell you about. After all the years we’ve been pet book authors, we are so happy to finally be able to offer you our hearts and minds on the subject of writing about pets and animals.

Have you ever wanted the advice of someone with experience who is eager to help you fulfill your dream?

ANIMALS CAN’T SPEAK OR WRITE – BUT YOU CAN

We’re using this special edition of the Angel Animals Story of the Week to introduce you to WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH: Writing about Pets and Animals for Love and Money. It is our downloadable, comprehensive course for people who want to write books, articles, stories, and essays about animals for publication or pleasure.

Check out our new website that tells all about this one-of-a-kind writing course. Go to  www.allenandlindaanderson.com to download WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH now. You’ll love the 14-day return offer.

Never before have the authors of fourteen published pet books, many of which have won awards and become best-sellers, actually revealed the secrets of writing successfully in the specialized field of pet writing.

We are excited to finally be able to tell you about the techniques and hard-earned experiences that helped us sell over a quarter million books through retail outlets and online bookstores. Our pet writing keeps us in touch with you and thousands of others who read the online Angel Animals Story of the Week newsletter.

Did you know that our books are published in multiple languages, by major publishers in New York and the United Kingdom, and sold in bookstores and online around the world?

Some of you may remember that our 2010 pet book, Dogs and the Women Who Love Them, was listed as one of the top sixteen dog books by O Magazine.

Our seminal book on animal rescue, used in disaster-preparedness training and college classes, won the prestigious American Society of Journalists & Author’s Outstanding Book Award. You may have noticed our books featured on the Today Show, Montel Show, Animal Planet, NPR, USA Today, and the Washington Post, among others.

Betty White, Carson Kressley, Joe Mantegna, Richard Simmons, Tippi Hedren, Willard Scott, Brigitte Bardot, Dr. Allen Schoen, DVM, Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, and numerous other animal-loving celebrities have endorsed our books.

Now we have meticulously gathered together experience and insights we gained since beginning Angel Animals Network in 1996. We are excited to share with other writers the shortcuts, pitfalls, techniques, and challenges of writing about pets and animals.

In today’s world, we know from practical experiences that pet writing can serve as a welcomed additional source of income. Even in a down economy, with two out of three American homes having pets, and most people viewing pets as family members, the market for pet and animal books remains insatiable.

Why do New York Times best-selling authors, such as Susan Orlean, and celebrities, such as Shirley MacLaine, write animal books? These are authors who have written about many topics but they know that people today can’t get enough of the unconditional love, laughter, and fascination animals bring into our lives.

Why, when so many other books are floundering, do pet books remain successful?

It’s simple. Do the math.

If you have a pet, you want to read a pet book. If you don’t have a pet, you want to read a pet book, because it helps to fill the hole in your heart a furry friend would occupy. That’s a lot of people who want to read books, magazines, blogs, articles, essays and website content about pets and animals.

Go to www.allenandlindaanderson.com to download WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH now. You’ll love the 14-day return offer.

We’re introducing to you today the most unique writing book ever! And that’s no exaggeration or hype.

You won’t be able to match this book with any other writing book for its practical information about writing, publishing, and marketing. WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH has all the basics and so much more in its three-part course.

A 150-page Manual Filled with one-of-a-kind information about writing, publishing, and marketing that you won’t find anywhere else; includes real-life examples from professional pet authors.

A 115-page Workbook Loaded with 74 exercises and writing prompts that will lead you through every phase of writing about pets.

A 10-minute Audio Recorded Podcast Our chance to talk to you about how we started at mid-life with love for our family pets and built up a business as successful pet book authors who could help animals everywhere with our writing.

Features that make the eighteen modules we wrote for you into a delightful and ONE-OF-A-KIND course are:

* how to observe and write about your pet’s personality
* what your choice of a pet might be saying about you
* the noteworthy aspects of a multi-pet home
* how setting and context affects what you write about pets
* hints for making choices about dialogue and action when animals don’t speak in words
* putting human-pet relationships under a magnifying glass for revealing the delicious details
* discovering the journey you and your pet are taking together
* tricks for transforming your pet writing into page-turners that people have to read
* developing a professional style and voice for pet writing
* becoming aware of animal activists’ hot-button issues you haven’t considered
* enhancing your pet writing (and publishing opportunities) with animal photography
* editing and rewriting with a cat on your lap or a dog at your feet
* overcoming hesitation about publishing what you write
* finding and interviewing ordinary people, authors, experts, and celebrities who love animals
* deciding on the form that best suits your writing about pets and animals
* six proven elements for writing a pet article that gets published
* how to choose an intriguing title for your pet book, story, or article
* overcoming pet-writers’ block and getting unstuck
* finding time and making space for pet writing
* having realistic expectations about pet writing and publication
* how to build a pet-writing career from nothing to selling what you write
* becoming a pet expert that readers respect
* the intricate and complex world of self-publishing pet books
* why self-publishing a pet book is no longer a second choice
* finding a publisher to make an investment in your pet book and writing career
* writing a dynamite pet book proposal
* how to write, syndicate, maximize, and monetize a pet blog
* finding a reputable literary agent to represent your pet book and build your writing career
* eight signs that an “agent” may really be a con artist
* best ways to market, promote, and sell your pet book and pet writing
* why you should think about hosting a pet-writing contest
* building an amazing platform with media attention BEFORE your book is published
* bibliography of pet books for analyzing craft, styles, and formats
* benefits of having a writing coach for achieving your pet writing goals
* and SO much more…

Want to take the first steps toward mastering a form of writing that will connect you with animal-loving people around the world and across cultures?

Want to honor an animal who has meant much to you?

Want to use writing to acquaint potential customers or clients with your pet business or service?

Go to www.allenandlindaanderson.com

Join us in making the world a better place for animals and people

through the power and love of the written word. Animals can’t speak or write – but YOU can.

Let us help you make those dreams come true.

Sincerely,
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family

****

DUAL JOURNEYS

(Excerpted from WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH: Writing about Pets and Animals for Love and Money by Allen and Linda Anderson, Angel Animals Network, 2011. All rights reserved.)

From Part One: Writing about Pets and Animals, Module Five, The Journey — Person and Pet

Pet books and stories, especially memoirs and personal experience accounts, depict the journey of a person and an important animal in the person’s life. Readers get involved in the emotional elements of the story when the main characters — the person and the pet –change and grow.

A simultaneous dual journey involves a person and a pet having experiences together over the same time period. Each of them moves from a beginning of their relationship to the climax and resolution of their most pressing crisis. Then the story finishes with an ending either of their time together or of the main conflict they faced.

A parallel dual journey may happen simultaneously or at different times. In this type of story the pet and person share an issue, such as fear of abandonment. Together they help each other resolve the issue. Some parallel dual journeys involve pets and people who both have the same or similar illnesses or serious challenges to battle.

A separate but equal dual journey is one in which the person or pet has significant experiences happen before or after they are together. This type of dual journey usually occurs when a beloved pet has died, and the person continues on with life, possibly with another pet.

At some point in any dual journey, the lives of the person and pet must intersect. This is when the person comes to understand the roles he and his pet are playing for each other. The discovery is likely the person’s Moment of Truth in the story.

In the popular book MARLEY & ME, the dual journey structure was a logical way to tell both the author’s and the dog’s stories in one book. John Grogan and his wife Jennifer embarked upon a journey of getting married, finding jobs, and starting a family.

Their journey intersected with that of a rambunctious yellow Labrador retriever named Marley. The pet grew up in the course of the memoir from an untrainable puppy to an adult dog with serious issues that impacted the Grogans’ marriage and family life.
EXAMPLE:

The dual journey of Marley & Me is simultaneous.

Marley’s journey shows his oversized fears and drama as he becomes an indispensable member of the Grogan family.

John’s journey is that of a young man who at first, is focused on a career and new marriage. He becomes a respected journalist, father, and somewhat successful tamer of Marley.

John’s Moment of Truth or climax and resolution occur when Marley is about to die. It is then that John realizes and states with clarity to Marley that this ever-loving companion was a good dog.

The trick in a dual journey story is to not lose one thread while the other is unraveling and unfolding. Pet memoirs, even the best-selling books, have reached various levels of success with this dance. The best ones choose to feature events that include both the person and the animal.

Even when the animal is not part of a chapter, the person refers to the pet or remembers something that brings the animal back into the picture.

***

From Part Two: From Writing about Pets and Animals to Getting Published, Module Eleven, What Form Should Your Pet Writing Take?

Worksheet # 11-2, Try This Prompt
The Road Not Taken

Choose an experience from the period of your life when you and the animals you want to write about were together. This should be something that really rattled you and maybe even changed the entire course of your life. Write about it with as much detail as you can.

Tell how the experience moved you into another path or direction.

Now write about what your life would have been like if this experience had never happened or had turned out differently. How would it have been if the animal had not been part of it?

Compare the two accounts and see if you have a deeper insight into why you had the experience. Why did things turn out as they did? What did the animal contribute to the experience?

***

From Part Three, Publishing and Marketing Your Pet and Animal Writing, Module Fourteen, Self-Publishing Pet Books

So why bother self-publishing a pet book?

Although bookstores may have a policy of not carrying self-published books, sometimes independent and even chain stores will buy a few from local authors. They will shelve them, as long as the author will lets them return unsold the books. Don’t be discouraged. Stopping by to chat with a bookstore manager can encourage him or her to carry your book or even to schedule a book signing.

But pet books have the advantage of selling to a specific niche market — animal lovers who buy books. This means they sell well in places other than bookstores.

Here are just a few of ways that self-published pet book authors sell their books:

* Pet supply stores may sell self-published pet books, especially those written by local authors.

* Often libraries will buy self-published pet books from local authors and even offer them the opportunity to make presentations about their books for library patrons.

* People buy animal books as gifts for their animal loving friends.

* When someone adopts a pet or loses a pet, friends often give them a pet book.

* Pet books sell in gift shops and anywhere people buy gifts.

* Self-published authors can use part or all of their profits to support their favorite animal charities. They can donate books to animal shelter silent auctions, where animal lovers get to know the authors by seeing the books on display and reading about them in the auction brochure.

* Animal organizations sometimes buy books to give as rewards to their top donors.

* Authors sell their pet books at a discount to animal nonprofit organizations that in turn, sell the books to raise funds.

* Animal books aren’t limited to being sold to the general public in bookstores. They sell in pet supply stores, at fairs, as part of workshops and speaking engagements, and anywhere people who love animals gather.

* Sometimes a pet book author strikes a deal with a pet product, or service company and the company buys the books at a discount to offer as incentives for buying their product or service.

Get creative and you’ll see a multitude of places, people, and outlets that would be great for selling your self-published pet book.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:

Can you envision yourself as a pet writer? What will your writing do to help animals, other people, and you?

WHAT PEOPLE WHO TOOK A PET-WRITING COURSE FROM ALLEN AND LINDA ANDERSON SAY:

“I have a more hopeful feeling of being published than ever before. I was given tons of new resources and I feel very hopeful for my writing future” –GP

“Wonderfully practical with real world advice and guidance. I am excited. Adopt me! The Andersons are GREAT mentors!” –SK

“Thank you for all the quality information for the starting writer in the pet world. I now have all I need!” –BLW

“So many resources for writing and getting published. It could be used for any type of book or article.” –SRT

Go to www.allenandlindaanderson.com to buy and download your three-part pet writing course now.

We welcome you to the wonderful world of writing about animals.

***

Note: Immediately after your purchase you will receive an email with the link to download WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH.

 

What does your choice of pets reveal about you?

With the start of 2010 we wanted to once again ask the basic question “What does your love of animals reveal about you?”

The following are a few highlights of a study done at the University of Oregon.

Question: Why would the University of Oregon College of Business Administration be profiling 667 pet owners?

Answer: People with pets are major players in the world of business. The pet supply industry is vitally interested in what will make you buy that designer dog dish or French day bed.

Oregon’s College of Business Administration graduate students, under the leadership of Lynn Kahle, head of the marketing department, tried to figure out what your choice of a pet says about you. With that essential information, marketers can appeal to your sensibilities and convince you that Precious really does need a plastic bowl with a lid that doubles as a Frisbee.

Here’s what they found with their questionnaire:

–Dog people tend to be more honest and forthright than most other people. They are loyal and religious;

–If you consider yourself to be a cat person, you probably are a bit of a loner yet have fairly high job satisfaction. You tend not to toe the line when it comes to the rules and rituals of an organized religion;

–People who are primarily attracted to fish as pets are more optimistic than most and not as materialistic or concerned about social status.

Kahle concludes, “A more thorough understanding of the motivations, values, and lifestyles of pet owners can help marketers design more effective advertising approaches, both for pet products and in advertisements for non-pet products.” (“We Lavish Love, Money on Our Pets Study Reveals Psyches of Animal Owners” by Ranny Green, Seattle Times, 1993)

So the gathering of this kind of data is how pet commercials are targeted directly at what excites and interests you — not your animal companion.

Well, we have a slightly different take on the subject. We think that not only do animals often reflect a person’s psyche, they also mirror their souls, or the amount of love in their hearts. It’s our opinion that a person who says, “I don’t like animals,” is experiencing a disconnect between the heart and the mind. Ask any animal lover and they will tell you: Animals are our hearts.

Have a little fun with two surveys we wrote that will help you gauge which type of pet most mirrors your personality.

Visit www.angelanimals.net/quiz.html for “Pet Personality Quiz”.

Visit www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Pets/index.aspx for “What’s Your Pet’s Personality?”

On another note, in consideration for animals who struggle to stay alive and be rescued in Haiti, remember the animal organizations that are going there to help.

To keep informed about the animal side of the situation, subscribe to the newsletter provided by www.kinshipcircle.org.

United Animal Nations and other animal welfare and rescue organizations are sending their rescue teams to Haiti. They have formed an umbrella organization called Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). To learn more about this and donate, go to www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=670
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

Note: To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com

Have you been able to help a pet find a new, safe, and loving home?

Finding a New Home

When a person must separate from a pet who has been a member of the family, it can be heartbreaking. It eases the pain if the person helps the animal relocate to a new home.

We often get calls from people who must give up their pets. They are heartbroken, and the only solace they have is that someone responsible will love and care for their animal friend. Sending a beloved pet to an animal shelter, where his or her fate will be unknown, is unbearable.

This week, we received a call from a young woman who is being deployed to Kuwait in early February. She had made arrangements with someone to care for her Great Dane while she would be out of the country. The deal had fallen through. Now, she has only a few weeks to find a new home for the dog.

By now, she has enough leads to help her with this dilemma. But we wanted to share one with you in case you know someone else in her situation. Guardian Angels for Soldiers Pets, www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org is set up specifically to foster pets of soldiers who are leaving to serve their country.

As people age and have to move to assisted living or places that don’t allow pets and with housing foreclosures that force people out of their homes, the displacement of pets has intensified.

We encourage you to look around in your communities, churches, and neighborhoods for those who could use a paw up in finding new homes for their animal companions. It may only take a few phone calls or a bit of internet research. You could save some lives and ease the burden of those whose hearts are aching.

On another note, in consideration for animals who struggle to stay alive and be rescued in Haiti, remember the animal organizations that are going there to help.

To keep informed about the animal side of the situation, subscribe to the newsletter provided by www.kinshipcircle.org.

United Animal Nations and other animal welfare and rescue organizations are sending their rescue teams to Haiti. They have formed an umbrella organization called Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). To learn more about this and donate, go to www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=670

Have you been able to help a pet find a new, safe, and loving home?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

Note: To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com