My Other Writing Life

This one has an injured leg and will probably never be adopted, so he is staying with us. Unless YOU want him....

In the world of reality, I write nonfiction articles for Examiner.com. I don’t make much doing that. I would say it’s only gas money, but with the price of gas so high, and the cost of groceries going up, income from Examiner.com is just about enough for a fresh, virgin notebook once a month from the local dollar store.

This month hasn’t been particularly productive, mainly because I am working on the prequel and sequel to Memory’s Child and mainly because the Examiner stuff is almost exclusively about pet rescue. There, I do my best to use whatever writing talent I have to talk about dogs and cats in our local shelter. Usually, the articles are accompanied by a slideshow of available pets at the pound. I also write and do a regular “Pet Tips” video, gratis, for the television station’s “neighborhood” web pages.

The shelter killed 21 dogs today, including one tiny one I thought was safe and would have taken in a New York minute so she could have more time to get adopted.

Last week, it was 17. We need a bigger shelter, yes, but we need more people to adopt from there. That’s why I spend hours and hours writing the articles and making the videos and slideshows.

What I am doing is having no effect. My inability to convince readers to go down to the shelter and adopt or foster a pet and keep it alive weighs heavily on me. I hate Wednesdays, when the killing is done. I hate looking at the photos I put in slideshows, knowing almost all of the dogs I look at are doomed. I hate my inability to make a difference, even though I know that shelter killing is a nationwide problem and a national disgrace.

I’m ready to quit. My husband, who has to live through my grief and my anger week after week, is ready for me to quit. But if I don’t write about the dogs and cats waiting for homes, who will?

A dog in one of the Pet Tips videos was adopted by a viewer. We’ve done six videos, so that’s one out of six. As far as I know, nobody has ever adopted a dog because they saw it in one of the slideshows.

So I’ve helped to save one life. While I do celebrate that, it isn’t enough. We aren’t rich and we have a house full of rescues already. I can stash a dog for a few days past euthanasia day until a rescue can find room, but I can’t keep any more or foster them long term.

Really, my time and my words are all I have to give  to the rescue effort. I wonder if anybody would notice if I give up and shut up. Most days, I’d rather lose myself in writing fiction, anyway, where the world is at least partially controllable.

I’ll think about that tomorrow.

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