My Animal Writing Life

I have two passions in life: Writing and Animals.



This has been true my whole life.

The first things I ever wrote were animal stories — in fact the first competition I ever won as a child and the first story ever published was an animal story — about butterflies. This fuelled a dream to become published even at the tender age of nine when I wrote my first novel. I remember wondering what it would feel like to have it published, to get that letter that said “We want to publish it.”

It was a long time before the publishing dream was realised. Still waiting on the ‘novel’ one. But many other dreams were surely realised along the way — including getting a place at Liverpool University Vet School. Just health issues that stopped that dream half-way through.

But still, many more dreams were realised between then and now.

I first met the lovely Richard Adams when I started to campaign for the baby seals at school. We have been friends for many years and I have been to his house a fair few times. So it was wonderful he wrote a story at the age of ninety for Gentle Footprints and this book was where my deep love of animals and writing brought it all full circle. I remembered the other day that I also used to write to Gerald Durrell when I was at school — animals and writing again!

Gentle Footprints is what started my friendship with the amazing Virginia McKenna OBE and brought about Paws n Claws and now I write to Lauren St John and recently the lovely Gill Lewis who wrote amongst other things Sky Hawk — wonderful book. And of course Brian May too through that book who I met at Hay and we email sometimes.

It’s these things, and what I feel I have to do for the animals that makes me know my life is on the right path. Truly. And the next novel is indeed based on the short story that was published in Gentle Footprints. 

I’m having a ball with this, even though there is a deep and important message in what Born Free and another project I am now involved in, do — it’s about the animals. That’s it. They need us.

At the moment the Paws stories are with the first round judges and boy the feedback has been wonderful — these children get it and it makes me so happy to think they too are discovering the joy of writing at such a young age, and animals. Never forget the animals.

We also published Writers for Animals last year that helps three animal sanctuaries in Britain. Please check out this book on Amazon — it needs sales!   LINK


So what is this new project … well the full details will come later. But I have been commissioned to write a new wild animal story for a collection to raise funds for Save the Rhino — and boy those funds are needed.

This is the Facebook Page for the new press and while it’s not my publishing company I have been invited as one of the team and I am heavily involved. Once again it’s about the animals and all profits go to them. Please ‘LIKE’ the page. And you’ll get to hear more about it as we work through the process.  LINK

I don’t know what life will bring, what other beautiful animals will cross my path, but I do know life has been enriched by them in ways no one would think possible.

When the writing and the animals come together it’s the feeling inside that tells me I am on the right path.

I have always been on the right path.

Let me tell you something totally from the heart: if I didn’t have my cats Cagney and Lacey that came to Lee and I as kittens — rescued from the Cats Protection League a year before Lee died, I don’t think I would have come out of that dark place I found myself in, in such good shape. They say animals come to you for a reason and I think they did and they are still my best friends … and now we have Rosie to complete the four.

What is life without writing? What is life without animals?

Cagney and Lacey — thank you.  My angels.

Rosie — thank you.

And all the animals I have had the pleasure to know and love.

Poster dog


So that is my animal writing life … I wonder where it will lead … but as long as that road has more than one set of footprints, mine and lots of pawprints, I know I am truly blessed.

I have two passions in life: Animals and Writing. Equally.


I will love you



Filed under Angels, Animals, being a successful writer, Born Free Foundation, Dreaming, Facebook, Gentle Footprints, Living the dream, Passion for life, Passion for writing, Paws Animal Writing Competition for Children, Paws n Claws Publishing, Wild n Free Book

5 responses to “My Animal Writing Life

  1. How great to be able to combine your two passions in this way. I’m sure writing is better when the author really cares about the subject.

  2. Lucy Oliver

    What a lovely piece Debz, and you’re so right about the joy animals bring.

  3. Inspiring and interesting as always Debz. Sorry been off the radar for a while with various things. I will share the links in this post with all my mums group and definitley purchase one for an upcoming birthday we have soon. Totally agree about cats. I lost my two boys quite close together, nearly a year ago and they had both reached 17 and a half. Miss them.Thanks for sharing . Take care. Jo

  4. Animals are special aren’t they? Touching post.

  5. This post is so heartfelt and beautiful, thanks for sharing. Just last night I enjoyed a lovely cuddle on the sofa with my beloved Staffie X dog, Baxter. He has become extra protective of me since I got pregnant, and he is a brilliant big brother. I could not be without my animals that’s for sure.

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