The Human Rescuers – What’s it all about?

In May 2019, my childhood neighbour and friend, Pamela Morrison, suggested I write a book about my animal art. At first, I didn’t think I had anything to offer the world of art books but within no time I had an idea – how about a platform for animal lovers to tell the world how much their pets mean to them! And in return for this intimate snapshot, I would paint a portrait of the animal, a photo of which would appear in the book with the story.

Those of us lucky enough to experience the full depth of the human-animal bond know that these creatures are akin to Zen Masters! They ground us, bring out the best in us, and essentially rescue us in our often crazy world. And so the book was christened ‘The Human Rescuers.’

I put a call out on social media, on local radio stations, and in local newspapers. An email was distributed throughout workplaces. Flyers were displayed in veterinary clinics and shops. The stories started coming in, beautiful stories expressing the love and joy that animals bring into our everyday lives, and through this love and joy, it is clear that animals rescue us too.

The book is a collection of 43 stories about dogs, cats, ponies, guinea pigs, a rooster, and even a crow – a compelling and intimate exploration of the human-animal bond. The portraits have been completed. In between stories, I have added interesting snippets of science about animal psychology, biology, and human-animal interactions that further illustrate the innate intelligence of these creatures, revealing we’re not as different as we think, although we animal lovers know this already.

I am in the process of proofreading right now. I’m used to writing, editing and proofreading as that’s part of my day-job as a science writer. But I’ve resorted to proofreading this book backwards because I can’t read it without crying no matter how many times I’ve read the stories. These are tears of intense sadness at the cruelty some of these creatures previously suffered and tears of sheer joy as they’ve nestled their way into their humans’ hearts.

All going well and assuming our world will have returned to some level of normalcy, the book will be launched with an art exhibition of all the portraits in October 2021. But in the meantime, watch this space as my dog Peanut and I update you on the book’s progress.

Susan Mills