Hey, romance addicts. We have another great post from author Gayle M. Irwin. She is letting us know about her pet rescue romance series and the important role of animal rescue. Adorable animals and couples falling in love? Sign me up!
by Gayle M. Irwin
Each May, the animal welfare organization, American Humane, designates a week in May as Be Kind to Animals Week. I chose May 2020 to release the second book in my contemporary Pet Rescue Romance series, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, for that reason.
In the book, I showcase a variety of animals that receive kindness from the primary and secondary human characters. The book is based on a real animal sanctuary found in my state: Kindness Ranch. This rescue organization takes in animals that have been researched on, including sheep, cattle, horses, dogs, and cats. At times, the group also has rabbits, goats, and pigs. Some of the animals that come to Kindness Ranch are adoptable after a time of socialization; others will spend the rest of their lives at the ranch, being loved and cared for in large pastures or buildings that replicate homes. No matter where they live, these animals are given a second chance at life outside a testing facility.
In my story, Compassion Ranch serves the same purpose: providing a second chance for the animals that come to the sanctuary. The novella also highlights the main characters’ second chance at love, having known each other in high school but traveling different journeys – until they meet later in life at Compassion Ranch. One is an organization staff member (Mike) and the other (Erin) comes to volunteer. Animal rescues and adoptions take place throughout the story. The setting is in Wyoming, but in the northwestern part of the state near Yellowstone National Park; all the books in my Pet Rescue Romance series are set in the Yellowstone area.
I’ve visited the real animal sanctuary, Kindness Ranch, three times, including staying overnight at one of the organization’s yurt cabins. People are welcome to visit, to stay, to volunteer, to donate funds, and to adopt. The setting in eastern Wyoming is quite beautiful, with rolling hills, pine forests, and open prairie. Wildlife abounds here, and spending time with the rescued animals is delightful!
Another reason I chose to release Finding Love at Compassion Ranch last May is because ‘kitten season’ occurs in the spring, and June is Adopt-a-Cat Month. This specially-designated month is recognized not only by American Humane, but also by other animal welfare organizations, such as the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). In my book, the main female character, Erin, adopts two cats. I also have two cats, whom I adopted as kittens nearly 16 years ago. Two felines I encountered during one of my visits to Kindness Ranch, as well as my sister-cats, inspired me to create a scene about Erin adopting two cats for her college-aged daughter.
I encourage you to support your local animal shelter, humane society, or pet rescue organization. According to the ASPCA, each year nearly 6.5 million animals enter animal shelters and humane societies across the United States; 3.2 million are cats and kittens. Sadly, nearly 860,000 are euthanized due to illness, owners not claiming their lost/stray animals, and overcrowding due to lack of adoptions and reclaims. Whether through adoption, fostering, donations of supplies or money, or volunteering, these groups need our help to help the animals they serve.
I donate a percentage of book sales to pet rescue organizations like the ASPCA. Best Friends Animal Society, and Kindness Ranch. I hope you’ll consider adding Finding Love at Compassion Ranch to your summer reading list, knowing your purchase helps animals in need and introduces you to Wyoming’s Kindness Ranch through what transpires at the fictional Compassion Ranch … and to which I dedicated the book.
Thanks for sharing, Gayle! All right, romance addicts, check out an excerpt from Gayle’s book then get to clicking!
This excerpt showcases an adopted dog, horses from the ranch, and wildlife on the property as Erin and Mike relax by a campfire.
A fire crackled amid the ring of rocks Mike had gathered. As Erin sat next to him, gazing upon the meadow, warmth enveloped her. The horses stood nearby, munching on grass. Shadow lay to her right. The blaze took the chill from the late summer evening, but Mike’s presence, with his arm draped across her shoulder, also warmed her physically and emotionally. The meal and wine filled her stomach as well as her heart and mind. Erin realized she hadn’t felt this relaxed and comfortable in more than a year, since Daniel’s diagnosis. Now, here she was, in a beautiful part of the world amid an animal rescue sanctuary, doing positive work and experiencing the love of a kind, caring man.
Mike’s whisper close to her ear disrupted her thoughts.
She looked at him and then in the direction on which he focused his eyes. A herd of ten elk, cows, and calves captured her attention. Her eyes widened as she inhaled deeply.
“Oh, wow!” she whispered.
Shadow responded either to their voices or to the smell of the animals, for she suddenly sat up.
“Easy, girl,” Mike said in a low, but firm tone. “Stay.”
Erin captured the dog’s leash, affixed to her red collar, in her hand.
“Thanks,” Mike acknowledged, still speaking in a soft voice. “We’re seeing females with their young. The males will start coming out, and they will be bugling soon.”
“What does that mean?” Erin asked in a quiet voice.
“Usually in early September the bulls, male elk, come into what’s known as the rut – the mating season. They make this incredible noise, called a bugle, that announces to other bulls it’s time to fight for females. It’s an amazing sound and an incredible experience to witness.”
“I’d love to see that sometime.”
Mike’s gaze turned to her. “Whenever you want to come back in September, I’ll bring you back up here, and we’ll do just that.”
She smiled and snuggled into his shoulder. After a quick pat to Shadow’s head, Erin returned her gaze to the majestic wild creatures. A contented, soft sigh escaped, and she felt Mike’s embrace tighten around her.
Amazon – Print: https://bit.ly/2XhZbq3_CompassionRanchPrint
Amazon – Kindle: https://amzn.to/2AM7sLk
Apple Books: http://bit.ly/2QqcpBH_AppleCompassion
Books 2 Read: https://books2read.com/u/4j2RNZ
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for both children and adults. Her sweet, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, Rhiann’s Rescue, and My Montana Love. Gayle volunteers for various dog rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups. Learn more about her and her writing and follow her bi-monthly blog on her website: https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/GayleMIrwin
Pinterest (under Waggin’ Tales): www.pinterest.com/gaylemirwin
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/gayleirwin