I am a writer and a speaker. Through these endeavors, I can make an impact. But, I also make an impact by my deeds.
My passion is pets, and I help various rescue groups. One way I assist is by transporting adoptable animals for different organizations. The middle of October I drove a Great Dane to Sheridan, about 160 miles north of Casper (where I live), and met the couple who was adopting him. I helped make that adoption happen for Big Dogs Huge Paws in conjunction with other transporters who brought the dog out of his foster home in Colorado. While in Sheridan, I met up with a woman who was transporting and transferring a Newfoundland from a shelter in Montana to Big Dogs Huge Paws for foster care and eventual adoption. Went north with one dog, returned south with another. I transport for various rescue groups when they have need for someone in central Wyoming and I’m available. I’ve helped English Springer Spaniel Rescue, Big Dogs Huge Paws, Boston Terrier Rescue, and others. I find great joy in knowing a dog’s life was saved through rescue and adoption and that I can have a part in that wonderful work.
I also support such organizations by donating a percentage of my book sales to them. Because pet rescue and adoption are my passions, and because I write inspirational dog stories for children and adults, I named my business, Waggin’ Tales. I therefore associate rescue endeavors with my writing and speaking business, so it’s only logical to “tithe” part of my earnings back to groups who do such great work – saving and helping companion animals.
My husband and I recently spent time at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, located in southwestern Utah. The organization began more than 30 years ago with a few couples who shared a common vision: ending the killing of healthy dogs and cats by saving lives through medical treatment and procedures and through adoption. To say these people had purpose, passion, and perseverance is an understatement! Now, more than 30 years later, they are growing, with offices and adoption centers in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and soon New York City. Best Friends impacts and empowers a movement. Through their endeavors and services, individuals and organizations can take part in conferences and educational workshops to grow or begin their own pet rescue groups, rippling the effect and mantra of “No More Homeless Pets” and “No Kill.” While at the site last weekend, I volunteered at Cat World – I spent time playing with and loving on several cats in need of new homes, and even walked a cat on a leash on the sanctuary grounds and took two others on strolls through the woods in baby/cat buggies! The day was filled with sunshine, blue sky, and twittering birds, appealing to both me and the cats! I definitely plan to return and volunteer again one day – and for a longer stretch than I was able to do last weekend!
As writers, we are able to make an impact, and coupled with our words, our actions and our deeds can influence positive change. Just as the founders of Best Friends, and the countless others who are involved in pet rescue have helped reduce the killing/euthanasia of healthy animals from 17 million during the 1970s to about 5 million today, we can all work together for the good of humanity and all of creation. Yet, as with that 5 million number, we can still do much better – and together, bonded by a common cause, purpose and passion, we will. But, to make that happen we need to inspire others: not yell, name-call, spit, and hate, but bind together in unity, as people who share a planet with each other and with animals.
Today I’m speaking with two groups of students at a private school. I’ll be talking about how humans interact with the environment and how we share things in common with nature and pets (the needs for food, water, and shelter, for example). I’m looking forward to hopefully positively influencing these kids because they are the tomorrow’s decision-makers … as well as influencers upon their peers and their families right now. I want these kids to know and appreciate the beauty of nature, the intelligence and sweet companionship of pets, and to appreciate both. I hope I can make that impact upon them… and on others in the future.
That impact can be upon strangers, our families, friends, even our pets. Our dog Cody became very ill the day prior to our scheduled leaving SW Utah. We rushed home (as rushing as one can do on a 13-hour drive) and got him into our vet the next morning. We’ve since learned Cody has a mass on his spleen — not operable at age 17 1/2, so it’s just a matter of time. Cody has been our dog for nearly eight years, and though somewhat plagued with health issues, especially after about age 14, I believe Greg and I have made a positive impact on his life, especially to have lived this long — many dogs don’t make it to 17+. We will continue to cherish and spoil him for as long as he is with us. Perhaps taking him to Best Friends and having this one last big adventure, will provide that big doggie smile til the very end.
How do you stir up and use your passions to influence positive change in your community, your state, your region, this country and/or around the world? Writers give voice through words on a page and from chapters in their own lives – add the written word to actions and you, too, can instigate a major movement for the common good!
Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, writes for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric Network), Crossroads, Creation Illustrated, and Our Town Casper magazines, and for the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She has a passion for pets and volunteers for and donates a percentage of her writing revenues to several animal welfare organizations. Her speaking engagements include presentations for children and adults about the lessons people can learn from pets. Visit her website at www.gaylemirwin.com.