Nobody could ever be more critical of my own work than I am. I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog with a clear purpose. It was the mission that drove me, not the illusion that I was some kind of a writer.
Having gone through all of the health challenges, frustrations, and stumbling stones with our dogs, and seeing others trying to navigate the same labyrinth, it only made sense to me to try to make their journeys easier by sharing ours. Back at the beginning, I would have truly appreciated having somebody else’s experience to fall back on. I had to learn everything the hard way. I didn’t see a reason why others would have to as well.
I worked on the book in my spare time for two years. When I finally decided to go ahead and publish it, it wasn’t because I thought it was perfect but because I figured that if I were to wait to feel it couldn’t use any improvements it would have never got published.
I released it not because I thought it was perfect but because I believed it was ready to fulfill its intended purpose. My plan was, and still is, to see if people would be interested and then, should I cover some of my time, further improve it for a second edition.
Last summer, I watched one of my clients, a novelist, submit his book to every competition he could find. He won an award for both the cover I designed for him, as well as for the story. Inspired by that, and seeing that you cannot win unless you play, I figured I had nothing to lose by entering my book to a competition too. I mean, why not, right? So I did that and forgot all about it.
Imagine my surprise when I was tagged in this Dog Writers Association of America’s Facebook post.
I thought I was not looking at it right. Then I went to check it out only to find that the book won not just this one, but two awards.
- 2017 Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America for a book on health, behavior, or general care.
- 2017 Morris Animal Foundation Canine Health Award for the best science-based book about canine health issues.
I kept checking, and double-checking, expecting to find out it was either some kind of a mistake or hear the sound of an alarm clock. I’m still waiting for somebody to tell me that I’ve gone deranged somehow.
I’m still trying to figure out how to accept the fact. But it does seem to be a fact.
I did put my heart and soul into writing this book. I wrote it not as a reference book but rather a dialog with the reader. I did my best to make it accessible and easy to understand, from one owner to another. I did verify every fact multiple times and then worked with a veterinarian to be absolutely sure no fact is out of whack. I have seen it fulfill its purpose and even save a couple of dogs’ lives. That is what it’s meant to do. Save lives or suffering.
The impostor syndrome is still weighing on me. But I have gotten over worse things.