A home for the holidays...and every day

November 2021

Local author Donna White felt “rescued” when she adopted her 2 dogs, Nip and Tuck, so in November 2020, she began volunteering for Paws for Love Dog Rescue. She quickly fell in love with what it did for dogs up north, so when she began looking for a project to keep her busy during the cold winter days of Covid lockdown, she got the idea to write a book based on the fostering experience. She pitched the idea on Facebook and within days, she had stories coming in from people all across the country. It didn’t take long to compile them into an anthology, and soon, with 40 stories and over 40 dogs (and owners) rescued, “How My Rescue Dog Rescued Me” was born.

“I adopted my first rescue dog, Tuck, a few years ago, and he never left my side for the whole first year,” says White. “I think he was afraid I would leave him. I got used to leaving the bathroom door open so Tuck could keep an eye on me and make sure I was there. He’s gotten better with my being gone on occasion, but he’s still my loyal pooch. Just like every dog without a home, once they experience love, they don’t want to lose it.”

White lives on a small hobby farm north of Kakabeka, with dogs, cats, horses, and a big garden. But fostering an expectant mother dog, teaching her to trust not only herself but her puppies into a stranger’s care, was something White wasn’t totally prepared for.

“When there are puppies to care for and a mama to help, that becomes your main focus,” she says. “There is something beyond words about watching a mama give birth and care for her puppies. She is self-sacrificing in everything she does and puts her puppies needs ahead of her own. Humans could learn a lot from animals and every day that I have a foster mama and her pups, I’m blessed with love and cuddles and pure love. It’s the best therapy ever.”

But the mama and puppies eventually find homes and White has learned how to say goodbye to these little souls that have wiggled their way into her heart. She has also learned that the only way to mend a broken heart is to foster another mama dog and start all over again. She has learned that lots of things – like dusting, vacuuming and household chores – don’t need to be done because there are more important things to do, like cuddling needy pups.

“It’s also been reaffirmed for me on how making other people happy, makes me happy,” says White. “When people come to get their puppy or dog, and I see the smiles on their faces and how much they love their new friend - I’m so happy for them and for this dog who now has a new life. That’s what the book is all about - giving new chances and knowing there will be love all the way down the new road.”

It’s a very fitting title for this anthology! As a fellow writer, I was honoured to be able to help with formatting and tweaking the cover, and I was not at all surprised when Donna told me she was going to use it (and the heartwarming stories within the covers) as a fundraiser for Paws for Love Dog Rescue. It’s a perfect gift for any dog lover, most especially those that have a rescue dog.

“I think you get a feeling of hope when you read the stories,” she says. “Hope and joy and contentment. You realize that dogs have a way of making things right in the world. Sure, things can be tough, but dogs show us that we can get through it when we’re loved, and they love us unconditionally.”

Anyone who loves a dog knows this to be completely true. Sales of “How My Rescue Dog Rescued Me” have gone so well that they soon needed a second printing, and with so many stories of rescued dogs/rescued owners, a second anthology is a distinct possibility. White has also followed up with a companion book, “The Last Will and Testament of Bailey Barnes.”
“It’s a heartwarming story about a dog who writes his will,” she says with a smile. “And because he doesn’t have many possessions, he gives his master special places to revisit and some sound advice. It’s a gift that anyone who has lost a dog (or any pet) will really appreciate.”

“How My Rescue Dog Rescued Me” and “The Last Will and Testament of Bailey Barnes” are available at all three Pet Valu stores, Kakabeka Depot, and Kakabeka Express. It is also available to be ordered online from the Paws for Love website at https://paws4love.ca/donations-and-support.

Heather L. Dickson is a photoshop guru, zoologist and author of 6 novels.

Visit her website at www.hleightondickson.com

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