‘Rescued a dog on numerous published authors’ advice…’

My Twitter profile description says ‘Rescued a dog on numerous published authors’ advice. So far yielded few results.’ Except, some of this is a lie. I have rescued a dog – he’s a characterful Westie called Mac who was saved from the clutches of the pound by the RSPCA. I also sponsor a dog called Zola via the Dogs Trust that, due to circumstances, is not able to be re-homed. I didn’t just do this because dogs appear to be a popular pet with authors, but because I do genuinely love dogs. However, it does seem that there are a selection of authors out there in the world who swear by keeping dogs as pets, not just for the company during the solitary task of writing, but also to force them out into the world and do some exercise – lest they get ‘Writer’s bum’. Therefore, as you might guess, that first sentence is true. 


Mac, the rescued Westie

It’s that second part that’s a bit of a lie. Because it has yielded results. When I rescued Mac I was still very much in the early recovery stage of my ME/CFS. I needed an activity that was gentle, enjoyable and didn’t stress my body too much. I also needed something that was going to be essential to my daily routine (as a rule, I hate exercise). I’ve always been a dog-lover and have had dogs in my life since I was a child. Thus, when I found myself dog-less and disabled, my solution was to turn to the one thing that would guarantee me a smile. 

Since then I’ve gone from strength to strength in my recovery from ME/CFS and I’ve become a writer. No more an ‘aspiring writer’, no more a ‘writer that struggles to write’ (which was the original sub-title for this blog). I am a writer. And, interestingly, a lot of my ‘writing’ gets done on those gentle meanderings around country parks and along canal paths. Whilst walking my pooch, I let my mind wander and consider my characters, their pasts and their motivations. Sometimes, I even have mini-conversations with them in my head – and I’ll admit, once or twice I may have asked questions aloud…so long as no one else is in sight!

I take Mac on three walks a day. Two of these are generally around the half hour mark, allowing me to enjoy the birdsong (I have become adept at spotting blue-tits and robins on their perches) and giving me just enough time to contemplate the writing I might have to tackle back home.  Not only does walking the dog get me out of the house, it scaffolds my writing routine – I go out before I start writing, letting me prepare for the day ahead, and I go out again at the end of the writing day, mulling over what I’ve managed that day. 

Mac playing

How cute?

I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to achieve as much as I have so far without these opportunities to just think about my writing. Ideas have come to me when out walking that I would likely never have stumbled upon if I hadn’t been concentrating instead on the colours of the leaves, or navigating the least muddy path or even just listening to the brook babbling as I chuckle at my dog trying to avoid coming over the slatted bridge. 

So, yes, rescuing a dog has yielded many results; far more than I could have expected. I may have written my Twitter description tongue-in-cheek, but really, I can totally understand why having a dog can support a writing lifestyle. Not only do they encourage you to step away from the keyboard, but they’re also there for a cuddle when you don’t make the cut and are facing yet another rejection. They don’t care if you’re published – so long as you feed them, walk them and give them your attention from time to time.

Speaking of which…I’m off to play ball with Mac right now, as a thank you to him for being there and supporting my writing ambition, even if he doesn’t know it!


What about you? Do you a have a pet that helps you get your writing done – or do you have a cat who sits on your keyboard whilst you’re trying to work?
Let me know in comments – or, as usual, Tweet Me.



6 responses to “‘Rescued a dog on numerous published authors’ advice…’

  1. I have a dog that looks very much like yours, except on a slightly smaller scale. (He’s a Westie Mix. But shhh, don’t tell anyone who looks at him and thinks he’s pure bred. I don’t want to crush their moment of joy when they say, “Is that a Westie!?”) His name is Henry and he’ll be 11 years old on April 1st.

    Much like Mac, he enjoys going for walks, so much so that when it gets warm outside he’ll start demanding them at the appointed time. Can’t get anything done until we’ve had a nice leisurely walk…leisurely meaning we stop at nearly every tree to sniff it, and I enjoy an excuse to get out an experience the nice weather. Most days it seems he’s more of a hindrance than a help when I want to sit down and write. He likes to be the boss and tell me it’s far more important that I spend time with him than get any kind of work done.

    • That sounds very, very familiar. Isn’t it strange how well dogs can tell the time, even without a clock! It’s nice to hear that at 11, he still enjoys his walks so much. We think Mac is about 8/9 but he has an injury on his back leg so sometimes, if he walks too much, he limps for a few days. 😦

      Westie breeds are very demanding, and although I knew this before we rescued him, I never quite believed how much it is actually true! Whenever I take a break from writing he demands I play ball with him and usually my 20m break turns into an hour of playtime and treats!

      Great to hear about Henry (any pictures on the web so I can ‘coo’ over him! :)). Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope the weather stays nice for your walks!
      Take Care, Cat x

  2. A Cat who rescued a dog. Oh, the irony! 🙂

    I’m a cat person myself, although the ‘help’ they provide is questionable. Plenty of encouragement and solace for sure, but the actual writing process is more often than not hampered by a furry tail in the face or a quick snooze on the keyboard.

    Here’s the evidence:

    • Your cat looks like a slave-driver; definitely have to write/edit more with that steely gaze watching your every move! lol!

      Thanks for sharing. (And for pointing out the irony…don’t tell Mac I’m a cat, lest he chase me!).

      Take Care, Cat

  3. I too have heard this advice from writers and I can see the benefits. Unfortunately, I can’t have a dog right now but I hope to in the future! In the meantime, my cats don’t help me get out of the house but they do keep me company while I write! 🙂

    • There is something comforting about not being alone when writing. People are too distracting, but pets just seems to allow us to strike the balance between being solitary but not being alone. 🙂

      Hope you get your dog one day soon! Thanks for commenting! x

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