“My dog doesn’t have a story,” my friend announced. Carol looked at me as though she had taken a huge bite from the center of a lemon wedge.
I had just explained to her that I was working on some amazing pet-story projects for clients. With Carol’s declaration that her pet had no story, I asked two simple questions:
- How did you happen to choose Casper?
- Has he ever experienced any medical issues?
Her response was a rapid-fire machine-gun blast of enthusiastic tales, with one poignant anecdote leading to another.
When Carol finally paused to take a short, deep breath, I had to say it. “I thought that your dog had no story.” I gave her a sweet, sympathetic smile so she would recognize that I wasn’t being obnoxious.
Shrugging her shoulders, she replied, “I see what you mean.”
Whether Fido or Felix became a household member as a puppy or kitty or arrived later in life following your welcome rescue, preserving the story of a pet does not have to be an overwhelming task.
Whether you are capturing pet tales for purely personal reasons or for potential commercial aspirations, two helpful tips for capturing those special memories of our furry friends are:
- Take your time. It is not necessary to complete the project in one single writing session. Consider the individual aspects of your pet’s typical behavior and preferences. What makes him unique? What are her favorite activities? What tugs at your heart when you think of him?
- You do not have to achieve literary genius status to write about your pet. If you are having difficulty creating the stories, jot down several notes about her life and obtain an inexpensive hand-held recorder. Relax and speak about your pet and her story as though you were telling these tales to a dear friend. Your thoughts and memories can easily be transcribed into a document. Enhance with the insertion of photos, and polish and shine with proper editing.
There are two instances when delaying this project is a practical choice:
- He is still a baby. It is premature to write the life story of a puppy or kitten, but you have a distinct advantage. You have ample opportunity to journal about your young pet and capture many details that you might otherwise forget. When Max or Tinkerbelle is at least two years old, you will then have a collection of journal entries as resource material from which to formulate your stories. If you continue to periodically journal throughout his life, you will enjoy the work-in-progress as your pet matures.
- Your treasured pet has just passed away. This is a time of grieving, and it might be too painful to tackle the project at that time. Our pets are just like family members, and we love them even more than we care about some of our relatives! If working on the stories of Mortimer or Jessie is simply too difficult, give it some time. As special memories enter your mind, jot them down as brief entries on a designated pad, journal, or notebook. Collect and save them for a day when the loss is less fresh and distressing. You will always miss your pet’s presence, but a time will arrive when writing these pet tales can be therapeutic. Eventually producing the stories may also help younger family members cope with and understand the cycle of birth, life, and the eventual passing of animals and humans.
We are blessed with the time that we are given with pets and family, and their life stories truly deserve preservation.
“Some people say that pets are perpetual work and a demanding responsibility. When a pet passes, I may swear that I won’t get another, but before long I miss having a furry friend who is always happy to see me. I am never without a pet for very long!” —Anonymous
Mary Anne Benedetto is an author, blogger, ghostwriter, Certified Lifewriting Instructor, and speaker. A passionate advocate of capturing our lifetime memories as a legacy to future generations, she also developed a simple method of capturing recollections of treasured pets. Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps! and her additional titles are available on Amazon, Kindle, and Nook. Visit http://www.awriterspresence.com for all publications and links to various formats. She is the author of Eyelash, Never Say Perfect, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing, From Italy with Love & Limoncello.