Posted 3 months ago
(Image: Sharon Keeble)
By Leila Marshall
Author Sharon Keeble has talked about her inspiration for her new book, My Rescue Pet Rescued Me – a book telling the incredible stories of people whose rescue pets transformed their lives.
Sharon used to live in Manchester but moved to Clermont in Florida for a new job as a journalist for the National Enquirer magazine.
She has always been passionate about animals and wrote a book a few years ago entitled My Rescue Dog Rescued Me which was inspired by her daughter Molly’s dog. Molly has cerebral palsy, and Alfie the rescue dog really helped her at a time in her life when she was struggling and being badly bullied at school.
Sharon’s new book, to be published next month, is a sequel to the first. She said: “I got thinking about dogs and all animals that we adopt and how they are so great for people. I thought, maybe we should just do an update to the first book but do it with pets in general. There are some incredible stories, with all the different animals that people have adopted. There’s a tiger, a duck, guinea pigs, a pig, a turkey, and a donkey.”
Middle daughter Molly with rescue dog Alfie (Image: Sharon Weeble)
Her family and own experiences once again inspired her second book. Sharon’s husband Dave was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2017 at just 45 years old. Their youngest daughter Faith, 11 at the time, really struggled with her dad getting so sick. Sharon said: “She wanted to be home all the time with her dad because we have to watch him. Dave’s had the disease for five years now, and you know, everyone has had to watch the deterioration in his health, unfortunately.
“We noticed Faith didn’t want to be with her friends and stayed home all the time. For a little girl, it’s really hard, and my husband is in a wheelchair now, he can’t do anything for himself. He used to play with all the kids, basketball, soccer, and horse riding.”
It got to the stage where Sharon was so worried about Faith being sad all the time as she spent most of her time in her room. Faith had always wanted a dog of her own, and the family had three, but she wanted one especially for herself. So, Sharon surprised her and adopted Micco.
Sharon said: “I thought, this could be it, this could be the thing that helps her – and it did. Micco is a German Shepherd, which is actually a Native American Indian name for ‘Chief’ but he’s like the furthest thing from a chief – he’s such a baby. He’s lovely though, he has the biggest heart.”
Journalist Sharon already has another book in the pipeline about dogs, as she loves them so much. They have four at the moment, including terrier mix Beau, who was found at the side of the road when he was six months old. Then they adopted another terrier, Alfie, who is middle daughter Molly’s dog. Alfie was a rescue dog at a shelter that was burnt down, and he was one of the five who were rescued. Sharon said he was lucky to be alive. Then there is Kai, an Australian Shepherd cross, and miracle dog Micco.
Sharon said: “I’ve always had dogs in my family, and my parents never bought a dog, they always rescued. I prefer rescue dogs because they need a home, and there are so many in the shelters.
Youngest daughter Faith with Micco (Image: Sharon Keeble)
“They need another chance, and I’m hoping the books I write inspire people to give them that chance. Because if you read some of the stories, they’re just an amazing breed. Rescue dogs are a breed of dog in themselves, so I hope it’ll inspire people to go for any animal. Go and adopt.”
Sharon spoke to many people whose rescue animals changed their lives for the better. She spoke a lot with Carole Baskin, whose sanctuary is an hour away from Sharon’s house, and that’s how she found Gina. Gina found love and harmony in a tiger. Sharon described her story: “This lady, Gina, had lost her home and lost everything because she was a drug addict. In her former life, she had a really good career as a nurse, but then she got embroiled in the drug world. She got addicted and lost everything and was even sleeping in a car.
“Gina had a friend who she would stay with sometimes, and she saw an advert for a rescue in Tampa in Florida, not far from where I am. She’d always loved animals and thought, maybe this could help her. This tiger charity would take anyone and give them a chance. So, she went there, and she met a tiger called Alex, who really took to her, and she would see him every single time she stopped there.
“He’d come to the front of his cage, and she’d talk to him. Alex really changed her life because he was so sweet. Of course, tigers are not really like that but he really took to her, and that kind of love from such a big animal, it really helped Gina. Now she’s training to become one of the trainers.”
Speaking about her book and the people she had met along the way, Gina said: “I’m so lucky, I feel so fortunate to have met so many people with these incredible stories.”
My Rescue Pet Rescued Me is available for pre-purchase on Amazon and other online booksellers.