Day 8: Children's author Tonya Cartmell gives a reading from her picture book "12 Days of Rescue" ... plus some follow-up thoughts
Do you include your pets in your holiday festivities? Do they make their own fun during this time by getting into mischief?
Our Christmas tree skirt is always askew from our cats Guinness, and Dublin playing tag underneath and in the tree. Ornaments often litter the floor from our dog Rescue’s tail sweeping the branches.
We hang stockings for the cats and dog which are of course filled by Santa Paws. They seem to enjoy trying to pull things out, sniffing and sampling each new gift. They all receive new toys and treats and sometimes there is even a new Christmas bandana for Rescue.
We decorate the backyard with Christmas lights for Rescue to enjoy in the evening. Although, her nose is usually on the ground sniffing so I’m sure it is mostly me who admires the lights when I go outside with her. Her tail wags from the moment we say “outside” till she is back on her bed, asleep in front of the Christmas tree.
All three of our pets are adopted from rescues or shelters. Rescue is 15 and now sports grey on her face, paws, and ears. Like many seniors she has the occasional bump or lump, is hard of hearing, and a little unsteady when she first gets up, but she still has a happy doggy smile and loves to give kisses.
Rescue holds a special place in my heart. My husband and I adopted her when she was brought to Canada at ten months old. She was born in a Louisiana shelter and pulled by a rescue organization there as she was on the list to be euthanized to make room for more dogs. She was so skinny and sat quietly in her crate as people walked around checking out the dogs. When we took her for a walk, she looked at me with her big soulful eyes and I was hooked. My husband went and filled out the paperwork to adopt her while I took her for another walk. She had never been in a car before and drooled so much my pant leg was soaked by the time we got home. Since that day she has loved for going for car rides, walks, and being anywhere we are. She also loves treats. Christmas dog cookies are one of her favourites.
Her story is what inspired me to write my first children’s book, Twelve Days of Rescue. The idea for the story came to me while I was watching a Christmas movie with her curled up beside me. I thought it would be fun to have a version of the Twelve Days of Christmas from her perspective. A book that kids and families could read and sing along to.
I’d like to share this video of myself and some of my family members reading Twelve Days of Rescue. Some of them may even sing. Rescue is also in the video giving me doggy kisses and there are other dogs enjoying the story too.
Rescue and I wish you and your family, including your furry members, Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas.
By day, Tonya Cartmell is a registered nurse currently working for a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. “I’m many things to different people: a wife, stepmother, nana, daughter, sister, friend, nurse, etc. But, the one thing I have kept secret from most is that I’m also a dreamer.” For as long as she could remember, she dreamed of being a published author. “Somewhere, in a box stuffed in the attic, is the first book I wrote when I was a child.” Turning 50 was Tonya’s “aha’ moment. It was time to stop dreaming and start doing and get her stories published. As Tonya says, “I was the only obstacle to obtaining my dream.” When her first children’s book, Twelve Days of Rescue, was published in 2020, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author. Her second book, Pa’s Hockey Sweater, was published in 2021. Tonya’s first middle-grade novel Second Hand Witch was published in 2022. Tonya holds a BA in Social Sciences from Brock University and is an Honours Graduate from the Nursing Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. She spends her time with family, both human and four-legged, when not writing or working. You can find her up at the cottage during the warmer months, relaxing by a campfire.
Find Tonya Cartmell: