Golden Linings is published by AM Ink Publishing

The Inspiration Behind 'Golden Linings'

I've always been an animal lover and advocate. Throughout my whole life, I've always owned pets—from birds to fish to cats to dogs. My love of animals began when I was just a kid, when I discovered collies through Lassie and the books by Alfred Payson Terhune. 

Growing up, we had a menagerie of pets: a blue parakeet (Cutie), a goldfish (Lucky), cats (Fluffy and Pebbles), and two dogs, a golden retriever (Heidi), who we got as a puppy, and a collie (Heather), who was a rescue.

Our very first dog was a little beagle puppy named George. Back in the mid-1970s, when I was very young, my parents brought George home from a pet store, and we named her after a character in the Nancy Drew books. But George tested positive for distemper on her first visit to the vet and had to be put down. I remember how painful it was, even as a small child, to lose such a precious little life. I was in about second grade, and I can still see her sweet face to this day.

Heather came from a champion line, but she wasn't placing as a show dog, so her original owners neglected her. She was malnourished and temperamental, and in need of love and care. My Aunt Lynne, who has raised, trained, and showed dogs her whole life, found Heather for me when I was in sixth grade, and although Heather was not an easy dog to own, she was my girl. According to the terms in our agreement with the original owners, we could never have her spayed even though they were relinquishing her to us. They wanted her to remain "whole" despite no longer wanting her. Sadly, this was not in Heather's best interest, and it led to health problems down the road. She died of breast cancer when she was around eleven years old. 

Heidi was really my Mom's dog. They were inseparable. Heidi would even go after bees to protect my Mom. Heidi died of a brain tumor when she was around twelve years old.

As an adult, I continued to own pets: two Shetland sheepdogs (Lola and Papi—both rescued), adopted cats (Ellie and Charley), tropical fish, and another golden retriever (Copper). Like everyone, my life has had peaks and valleys. Some of my valleys were traumatic. I decided that I would always own a cat or a dog, or both. They provide therapy without question, without condition, with all of their hearts and soul. Just as they will always be up for a game of catch or wrestling with their favorite toy (or toys!), you can always count on them for emotional support. You cry oceans of tears in their fur, and they come back again and again to let you.

They break your heart only once, and that is when they cross the Rainbow Bridge. Until then, they give you their all. Our pets have all been such beautiful and good cats and dogs and fish and birds. Every single one left indelible marks on my heart.

As with many animal lovers, I follow a slew of social media accounts about animals. Unlike the days before social media, today we can see the suffering of abandoned and abused dogs longing for homes and love. My heart breaks for each and every one, and I wish I could rescue them all! I rejoice at the animals who find their way to loving homes and cry at those who are euthanized because it is too late. Those tragic stories always make me hug my pets a little tighter. 

When I published Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, I decided author profits would go to various charities in Bob's memory. Bob was an animal lover, so some of my profits go to shelters and other animal rescue groups. But then I thought, hang on. I'm a photographer. I'm an author. I have a publisher. I have the resources. I have connections. I'm creative. What if I were to write and publish a book about animals, for animals, where my entire author profits would go towards helping abused and shelter animals?

Those who know me know I am a doer and always in motion. When I get an idea, I don't walk, I run with it. I am high-octane when it comes to anything I believe in, and I am nothing if not driven. Sometimes, I have to recharge my batteries, but I never sit still for very long!

So I rounded up members of my family and some of my closest friends who own pets, and together, we began work on Golden Linings. I'm thrilled that Golden Linings is now published! Thank you to Voorhees Animal Orphanage and S.N.O.R.T. Rescue (Short Noses Only Rescue Team) for officially endorsing Golden Linings, and to all who contributed!

Carol M. Ford
Updated July 16, 2018