Monday, 2 October 2017

Meet the Furry Residents of the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter…

During my year-long stint as an animal care attendant, I learned so much about the procedures and daily routines of working in an animal shelter. Then, one day, I found myself wondering what the animals would say if they could talk? How they would act and sound? What did they really think of humans? So, chasing down the animal voices frolicking in my head, I decided to write their story. The result is, Lost and Found, the first book in my teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls.

All the shelter animals in Lost and Found are based on an animal I cared for in some capacity at the shelter. Now, trying to come up with each animal’s unique voice wasn’t that hard for me, since I went by the personality of the cat or dog. I observed certain quirks, how each animal behaved, what were they afraid of, what they liked, and so on. What I found was that every animal (even kittens born in the same litter) was different. Just. Like. People.

When I was ready to sit down and write their story, I compiled a list of shelter animals that readers would emotionally relate to and connect with. Many came to me as a surprise, others were firmly planted in my imagination from the very beginning. Below are the names of the main shelter animals who I decided to animate in Lost and Found, and the roles that they played:

WHISKEY: The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter observer’s real name was Whiskers, but I thought that might be confusing when describing a cat’s anatomy. Whiskers was an old, calico cat who was on medication to keep her alive. She always tried to mooch food from us during lunch, and there seemed to be an air of wisdom about Whiskers, as if she truly was the sage of the shelter.

NOBEL: This bouncy Husky-Doberman cross was the pack leader of the shelter dogs, and was named for the town of Nobel where he came from. He was hard to handle at times, so we had to walk him outside and around to the kennel runs so he didn’t go off on the other dogs inside. Nobel had the most amazing blue eyes, and was truly a top dog in every respect. At least I think that’s how he thought of himself!

Good ol' Louis
GEORGE: The little white cat with grey markings on his ears and tail was very timid and shy when I met him. He was left on the shelter’s steps, along with his twelve siblings, and was the last to get adopted. George got along with all the cats on the floor, and would go around and scoop up any meat leftovers in the cat bowls. He seemed the perfect choice to be the underdog, er cat of Lost and Found.

LOUIS: Everybody loves Louis! Seems people relate to his goofiness and the innocence that this big Rottweiler-mix exhibits. The real Louis used to spin around in circles when we let him out for a walk. He also had a hate-on going with some of the dogs on the floor, so I removed this part of Louis’s personality to make him more lovable and easy-going.

SHADOW: Yes, there was a vicious beast named Shadow at our shelter, though she came in with two friendly kittens. Whoever put Shadow and her family in that box and plopped a log on top must have pissed her off good. No wonder she didn’t trust us humans! We had to use welder’s gloves to handle Shadow because if we didn’t, she’d lunge and spit at us while we tried to clean her cage. Shadow made the perfect antagonist for Whiskey and George, and I truly enjoyed giving her a believable voice readers love to hate. The real Shadow eventually calmed down enough to get spayed, and found a nice home with an old lady.

Poppy - one of the leaders in the animal shelter
BRUTUS: Found in a live trap, Brutus (known as Scar) came to us with red, raw ears infested with ear mites. Poor boy. At first, I was intimidated by his monstrous size, but soon grew to love him! Unlike his tough, fictional counterpart as the leader of the lost cats, the real Brutus won the hearts of the shelter staff with his charm and cuddly manner. Brutus ended up being adopted by a student studying as a veterinarian technician. Now that’s what I call karma, and it was a happy/sad day to see him go!


So there you have it, a glimpse at the shelter animals who inspired me to write Lost and Found. I wished I could have written all the animals into my book, but as you may guess, there was far too many. Which begs me to ask that if you’re thinking about getting a dog or cat to add to your family, then I urge you to adopt a pet from your local animal shelter. Trust me, there’s an animal with a personality type that will fit every household looking to give a forever home to an animal in need of tender loving care.

8 comments:

  1. Great descriptions of the animals, Sharon! And kudos to you for helping those who cannot speak for themselves -- at least not outside of the book world. :)

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    1. Thanks, Helen and Lorri! Loved getting inside their furry heads for that book. Cheers!

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    1. Takes awesome to know awesome, Sloane! Cheers!

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  3. Our dog, Dot, is a rescue dog and we love her to bits.

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    1. Yay! You're one of the good ones, Darlene! Enjoy her!

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