Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Write On...and on and on

I've been writing and writing, and the words are piling up. Thousands of them so far. So many that I'm dreaming in words now. I'm on 20 or 30 times a day tracking down the words with the exact nuance to express my thought.

Even though all this writing isn't for the blog, that doesn't mean I've abandoned it. I think about Carreen's Rescue Blog every day, especially when some juicy story comes across my desk that I'd love to cover, which happens frequently.

I still get my fix thanks to your emails -- story ideas, comments on old posts, words of encouragement. It's all fuel that feeds my creative fire.

Today, for the purpose of posterity, I've decided to post links here to some of the best-read stories on this blog. The ones that received the most responses. Those that pulled heartstrings and inspired change.

I have a big fat file filled with story ideas ready to go for when I get back to blogging, so please don't stop emailing me your thoughts and story ideas. I'm listening, and I love getting your mail.

I promise this isn't the last you've seen of Carreen's Rescue Blog.

Kids are fascinating to write about, because they all love animals, and they are motivated to rescue them with very little encouragement. When I go into a neighborhood and try to match up a stray animal with a family, the kids always know where a particular pet belongs. The self-starter kids in this story built an unsolicited mock animal shelter after crawling around inside my rescue vehicle.

When a nine-year-old girl living in a drug-addled area of a Prairie town saved a scorched puppy from a dumpster, her act of kindness motivated many others to give. They sent gifts, money and well wishes to a bullied little girl who had asked for nothing for Christmas, but got everything she had ever dreamed of in return. A Christmas miracle for a girl and her dog.

Last year, I wrote ten articles on the Canadian seal hunt, an atrocious event of animal cruelty that has 80 percent of Canadians recoiling in horror at the facts of it. Celebrities, regular citizens, even children have protested the cruel slaughter. Only Canadian politicians have missed the boat. Get the facts on the hunt and see some of the celebrities who have tried to end this bloodbath on ice once and for all. Special thanks to Nigel Barker, who stars in America's Next Top Model. He's a fashion photographer with a heart, and generously allowed me to use his stunning photographs of the seal nursery.

Katrina struck New Orleans and the floodwaters washed the levees away. The city was underwater. Residents tried to save their animals. But when they were shuttled to safety, government officials didn't let them take their pets.

Animal rescuers watched the footage on television in horror, knowing what was coming next. Dogs and cats clinging to trees, baking to death on rooftops in the excruciating summer heat, trapped at the end of chains, in attics. Swimming for their lives.

We had to get in. We risked our lives to penetrate a city locked down. Intruders were threatened with being shot, and we weren't excluded from those orders. Hundreds of us deployed separately from each other, but we joined together in the field to save 20,000 animals from certain, torturous death.

In 2006, the laws changed across the land to allow people to take their pets when they evacuate. And on Katrina's three-year anniversary, a monument was erected at New Orleans' City Hall of a dog and a cat. To honor the animals who died in the storm, and the rescuers who came to save them. I was on the scene, and made it back to document the mission.

As a rescuer, finding the perfect home for an animal is always a challenge. So when an animal uses his eyes to find his own home, it's a relief. Meet Wally, whose picture went from a rescue group in Tennessee all the way to a woman at a photo processing lab in Minnesota.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Taking a time out

I’ve been trying to compose a goodbye post in my head, a final piece to let you know that Carreen’s Rescue Blog is going quiet for a while. Obviously I’ve been procrastinating, because it’s been more than a month since I last wrote here.

In the meantime, I’ve had inquiries from readers wondering why I’ve disappeared, where I’m hiding and if I intend to show my words again.

It’s not that I’ve run out of stories to tell. I’ve got ample material. My file folder marked “Carreen’s Rescue Blog” has expanded like a muscle on steroids. I have boxes and boxes of stuff. So many boxes that I’m losing my living space inch by paper inch.

No, I had planned to sign off for a bit because I’m working on three lengthy writing projects that are occupying most of my mental real estate these days. As the blog grew, it was growing more difficult to manage along with these projects.

Still, I’m sure I won’t be able to resist posting once in a while. I’ve been in blogger withdrawal out here. And while the other writing I’m doing is grabbing my mind’s attention, I’ve never written for this long of a stretch being isolated from feedback. I’m realizing how important reader interaction is to me, and how it feeds my creativity.

I think that’s why I’ve been procrastinating. Because I’ve become attached to wordsmithing for you.

I won’t be going completely silent. There are stories that must be told, particularly those that continue a tale I've already started telling. I can’t stand an unfinished story.

There are already a couple of updates to report. There’s the loss of a man, the partner to my dear friend battling cancer. In an earlier story, you heard about her two cats, who are loyally standing by her through the ordeal. I had planned a follow-up on the love of her life, a man out of prison who has cared for Jewel through her illness. We never got to that interview. He died suddenly and unexpectedly last Sunday.

And there’s an inspiring gain -- a restoration of a family connection. I wrote about a homeless man living in his Ford Fairlane with his two cats. His daughter had been searching for him for years from California, and finally stumbled across his name in Carreen’s Rescue Blog. She emailed me, and I was able to put them in touch.

I hope to report more soon on these and other stories.

Until then, it’s farewell, but not goodbye.

Jewel's battling illness and grieving for her partner Keith at the same time. It feels overwhelming sometimes. She's grateful for the support of her two cats Ricky and Mokie (pictured.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

The world hopes to swim out of troubled waters . Photo of this duck passing under a sun-strewn bridge was taken by Janek Skarzynski at the Royal Baths Park in Warsaw, Poland (AFP/Getty).

Happy New Year!

The roller-coaster ride that defined 2009 leaves many people heaving a sigh of relief that a new decade is upon us. New promise, new hope. And a new beginning.