Animal tales of hope, humor, loyalty

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Animal tales of hope, humor, loyalty

SYDNEY - Heard the one about the pair of ducks who moved into a New Jersey home? Or the doe that stopped a woman in the woods as her fawn was stuck in a fence?

Author Jo Coudert, who built her writing career in self-help books, could not resist these heart-warming animal stories, so she found herself heading into a new chapter in her career. Her latest and 10th book, “The Dog Who Healed A Family: And Other True Animal Stories That Warm the Heart and Touch the Soul,” consists of 19 animal stories displaying hope, humor, loyalty, compassion, and love, that she gathered over the years. The title story is about what happens when a family of five adopts three siblings with a troubled past and they adopt a dog, Shaneen, who eventually brings the family together.

American Coudert, 77, who published her first book in 1963, spoke to Reuters about writing and animals:

Q. You went from self-help books like “Advice From A Failure,” and “The Alcoholic in Your Life” to animals. Why?

A. One writes what comes to one’s attention and engages one. I’m working on a book now on aging so that is self-help. The animal books in some way were thrust upon me. People had good stories to tell me.

There are gaps of years between your books.

I am not a particularly fast writer but I wrote the first four books of my 10 books and my publisher went bankrupt so I had no publisher.

I then got very caught up in playwriting and was writing a lot of theatre but I could not make a living out of it. Then one of these animal stories came up, the one about two ducks. I thought it was a lovely story (so I wrote it for a magazine). People loved it so much that I was asked if I knew any more. I started to ask around and one story after another began to emerge. It was something I much enjoyed doing.

So the 19 stories in the book were all written for magazines?

These stories were written over about 15 years. I have been writing other things too. The publisher asked me for another one to make it 20 but I said you don’t realize how hard it is to find these.

How did you find them?

People would see my stories in magazines and then send me clippings from local papers as well about animals or contact me with a story about their own pig or swan. People love to tell those stories so I found it easy to do this. Reuters Life!

By Belinda Goldsmith

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