Here is my original inspiration story for Silent Seasons. It really hits at my “why” for all of the work I do, including creating this book.
Warning: this is a sad dog story.
I started writing Silent Seasons with the Book Creator program and New Degree Press last November. The first piece of writing that my development editor, Cassandra, read and reviewed for me is my book’s “inspiration story,” which didn’t make it into the book. Although I was going to include it in the Introduction, Cassandra and I agreed to leave it out because it was so sad and in the end, more disconnected from the rest of the book than I originally expected. I am saving my animal stories for the next book 🙂
One afternoon in November 2020, I said goodbye to my parents’ dog, Archer, on the kitchen floor of my parents’ house, located on a dead end road in a small town south of Buffalo, New York. Archer was a 100-pound Rottweiler in a lot of pain from the ravages of bone cancer at age 9. On this particular day, the last one he spent on this Earth, Archer was laying on my parents’ kitchen floor of dark green tiles while I lay next to him. He welcomed the warm touch of my hands, but was too weak and in too much pain to move much or get up. A large tumor had been growing on the back of his neck, at the base of his skull, for months now, and he struggled with doing much of anything anymore.
I petted him, and softly said, “It’s ok, Archer. You’re an amazing dog and don’t deserve to feel this type of pain. I will tell the world who you are, what has happened to you, who did this to you, and that so many more of our family dogs have died this way before you.”
Archer, being a dog, didn’t answer me back in words, but he always had a soulful, human way about him (especially in his eyes) and he looked at me in a knowing, resolute way. He remained calm and peaceful while I was talking, and I could feel his pain and fatigue while I petted him this one last time.
While we lay there quietly on the floor, rainbows flashed across his black fur as the sun shone light through a kitchen window at just the right angle. I noticed that it matched the new pair of black Vans with rainbow stripes down the side I was wearing.
I still wear this pair of shoes and remember my last day with Archer, and the importance of writing this book.
I’ve stayed silent about how the past six dogs in my family have died young of cancer because revisiting this truth is SO PAINFUL, but it is a big reason why I devote my life and work to environmental law, sustainability, and what to do about climate change. My family’s dogs have always been like “extended siblings” to me. Too many people and animals I love have died of cancer, and as an environmental lawyer and planner with 15 years of education and experience, I know it’s (largely) because we are all living in an environment that is steeped in low-grade (to high-grade) poisons.
I have stayed silent about what I see and what I know in my personal and professional life for too many seasons – literally years of seasons. I am writing this book to break the silence.
Silent Seasons is available as an e-book now, and a paperback within the next couple of days! Check out the “Book” page on this website for more information.