Why I Write About Animals

An Unexpected GraceIn the last few weeks as I’ve promoted An Unexpected Grace, people have asked why I write about animals.  My answer is simple:  There’s no way I could not write about them.

I was born on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, and I have always been supremely sensitive to creatures.  My father took me as a child to western movies; and when cowboys dug their spurs into horses’ sides, I cried so hard that he had to take me to the lobby.  During a drought in Texas, where I grew up, I worried the whole summer after third grade about the thirsty deer, raccoons, and squirrels.  All my life I rescued dogs and kitties.

As an adult, I became a freelancer for magazines but never thought of writing about animals.  Then I had an accident and injured four disks in my spine.  Unable to work for months, I lay on my office sofa with Beatrice, my beloved beagle, loyally cuddled up beside me, and I didn’t know if I’d ever be pain-free enough to write again.

When your career is hanging in the balance like that, you do some serious thinking.  And I slowly realized that I’d been frittering away my life, writing about subjects that had meant nothing to me – and I’d left my heart behind in the dust.  I wondered, what’s the meaning of my life?  Beatrice reminded me that, no matter our species, meaning comes by loving and helping others.  One day it occurred to me that I had always loved animals more than anything — so I should write about them and try to improve their lives.

I vowed that if I were ever strong enough to work again, I’d align my heart with my career.  And that’s what I’ve done in articles, nonfiction books, and now a novel. I’ve tried to show how worthy animals are, how important they can be to us, how much they have to teach.  Every morning I get out of bed, knowing I’ll work for something bigger than myself, and trying to give back to the world the love and kindness that animals have given me.

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10 Responses to Why I Write About Animals

  1. Suzanne H. Kerr says:

    Beautifully said, Kristin! I’ve known you for many years, and your interest in animals–their natures, personalities and well-being–has always inspired me. We have much to learn from our furry friends. Keep up the good work . . . xxoo Suzy

    • Kristin von Kreisler says:

      Thank you so much, Suzy! Yes, we have much to learn from animals. I’ll keep trying to get out that message.

  2. Sarah G. says:

    Fantastic! We should all be so lucky to find our passion.

    • Kristin von Kreisler says:

      Sarah, sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have found something I love so much to do.

  3. Mary Garland says:

    I can well remember you writing of Beatrice & how she comforted you & it really struck a chord with me as my beagle, Bagel, did the same with me after my back injury. Animals are truly amazing as they sense things that most humans can’t. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing about these unique animals with us!

    • Kristin von Kreisler says:

      Thank you, Mary! I’m glad you remembered my dear Bea. And thank goodness Bagel was there for you. I appreciate your kind words!

  4. Donna Corriveau says:

    We have different birthdays, but our early concern for animals is the same. Thank you for your dedication to your craft, and for using it to help animals. I give copies of “For Bea” to others, because it is a way to spread the word about the plight of research beagles. It still gives me encouragement as we try to deal with our dear Vinnie’s memories of his time in the “vivarium”, as they called the block garage-type building where the MSU research beagles were kept in rows of stacked cages. And now, you’ve followed up with a great novel! And another great message!

  5. Kristin von Kreisler says:

    Thank you so much, Donna! It makes me so happy to think of Bea still being an ambassador for lab animals. I really appreciate your care for them and your support of my efforts!

  6. Andrea Warren says:

    So touching, Kris! Beautifully written, as is everything you write.

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