"If one book can make a world of difference for animals, this is it!"
Pieces of My Heart — Writings Inspired By Animals and Nature
by Jim Willis
author of "How Could You?", "The Animals' Savior," "The Basset Chronicles" and other favorites.
Infinity Publishing.com (USA) and AuthorsOnline (UK) are pleased to present
Pieces of My Heart - Writings Inpired by Animals and Nature
From the Author:
"I wanted Pieces of My Heart to depict the whole range of our relationship with animals - the funny, the serious, and the sad. I hope my book will entertain, inspire, comfort, and educate, and I hope animal-people will use some of the suggestions and resources contained in the Appendix. Most especially, I hope all rescuers, advocates and groups will take advantage of the quantity discount arrangement with the publishers and use Pieces of My Heart to help raise funds for their own efforts."
As a "voice for the voiceless," Jim Willis touches human hearts as deftly as he bonds with the animals he rescues. His writings have inspired animal lovers around the world in over a dozen languages. Now, with publication of his collected writings in the USA and the UK, the Author has made a generous arrangement with the publishers that can benefit the fundraising efforts of all animal rescue, conservation and environmental groups.
In Pieces of My Heart - Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature the author paints an emotional rainbow with a palette akin to Thoreau, Khalil Gibran, James Thurber, Chief Seattle, and James Herriot. Pieces of My Heart encompasses favorites such as "We Are Their Heroes," "How Could You?," "The Basset Chronicles," and "The Zen of Cat," as well as a treasure-trove of new writings. Included is an Appendix of suggestions and resources for helping animals; and a Foreword by Dr. Marc Bekoff, author of Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Heart and co-founder with Dr. Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals/Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies.
Pieces of My Heart is a soulful, heartfelt tribute to animals and a plea for compassion. As you immerse yourself in its truths you'll reach for the nearest animal to hug, you'll smile through tears, and you'll feel the urge to run barefoot in the grass.
Prepare for a Warm Glow!
"Jim Willis makes a connection with the hearts and souls of animals that all humans should strive for. His writings read as if the creatures he so passionately cares for penned them. He powerfully reinforces the concept and importance of the human-animal bond, and that bond is evident in nearly everything he writes. Pieces of My Heart comes closer to speaking the minds of our non-human animal brethren and speaking up for Creation than anything else you'll ever read." — Dick Weavil, Publisher, AnimalTalk newsletter
How Could You?
Copyright © Jim Willis 2001, all rights reserved
When I was a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd relent and roll me over for a bellyrub.
My housetraining took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed, listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.
Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.
She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."
As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them, especially their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have defended them with my life if need be.
I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being your dog to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.
Now you have a new career opportunity in another city and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.
I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog or cat, even one with "papers."
You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.
After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"
They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you - that you had changed your mind - that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.
I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.
She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"
Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself - a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not meant for her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.
May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.
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