In 2010, after my dog Tucker died, I wrote a story about the morning we had to put him down. It was cathartic to write, even though I did so through a tsunami of tears. After posting it to my blog, I received the greatest outpouring of love from people that I’ve ever experienced. People reached out for weeks afterward, as the post was shared across social media. It seemed that everyone who read the story empathized with my loss.
Tucker was my wife’s and my first dog together. And he was like a child to us, before we had children. When his pack mate Sydney died in 2014, I wrote and posted another story. The grief of losing her was the same as with Tucker. And sure enough, the outpouring of love from readers was also the same.
That’s when it dawned on me that every person who invites a dog into their lives has to say goodbye to it. I’ve always said that the only beef I have with God is the length of a dog’s life.
Saying goodbye to a dog hurts. A lot. But it doesn’t stop us from inviting more wet noses into our lives because of the unconditional love they provide to us in a world that isn’t nearly as forgiving.
I’ve written hundreds of blog posts since 2008 covering a range of topics, but the ones about my dogs are by far the most read and the most widely shared.
People identify with the loss of their dogs. That’s why in 2015, I decided to create Gone Dogs.
Gone Dogs is a book of stories from people all over the world about loving and letting go of their dogs. Through crowdsourcing, we intend to compile a collection of stories that will move and comfort anyone who has ever loved, and lost, a dog.
Working in collaboration with my friend Laurie Smithwick, Gone Dogs will be a beautiful, hardcover, coffee table style book. But getting from here to there won’t be easy. We recently settled on the brand’s mark, which you see in the image above, and created a placeholder page on the website GoneDogs where you can submit your email to stay updated on the progress of our endeavor.
Meanwhile, we’re working on building the site, creating a mockup of the book, contacting publishers, getting all the legal squared up, and the other backroom things that go into a project like this. We’re also vetting organizations dedicated to helping dogs, as we intend to donate 10% of the profits from the book to help make the short lives of dogs a little better.
To make this project a success, however, we need your help. Because this is a crowdsourced effort, we’re not only relying on stories from all over the globe to make this a great book, but we need our networks and social media to spread the word about it. We intend to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to advertise a “call for submissions,” but we’re confident that this project’s success will ultimately come from word-of-mouth buzz created by people like you.
So please, if you can, start spreading the word. Here’s the website. We’ll do our best to get the submission engine up and running soon so that you and your friends can share your stories of how much your Gone Dogs meant to you.
We look forward to making this book the best tribute possible to the dogs we’ve loved.
Feel free to follow Gone Dogs on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
6 CommentsLEAVE A COMMENT
Sep 18, 2015
Excited about this project. I have no doubt you will receive an outpouring of support and stories. I know I miss my gone dogs.
Sep 18, 2015
Love this project. Reading this post gave me a chance to stop and remember Brownie, my little mutt of a best friend and protector, whom I lost when I 9 years old.
Sep 18, 2015
Love the title, the look, the whole idea. Cheering you on.
Sep 30, 2015
Hey Jim — this is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
My husband and I just put down a dog today, actually. He got her, a black lab Aussie shepherd mix, when she was a few weeks old, and he was 19. Today, she was a month shy of her 17th birthday. As soon as we got home, he sat down and started writing (through tears, of course). He’s a damn fine writer, and I’m going to encourage him to submit.
Oct 6, 2015
Thank you Eleanor. I’m sorry to hear about your dog. It’s funny how we *know* what’s coming, and we are still willing to risk our hearts for their love. I’m excited about this project. I look forward to reading his story once we get our submission engine up and running.
One Step Closer - Gone Dogs
Jun 24, 2018
[…] can now say that what started out as a dream in 2014 is about to become a reality later this year and I couldn’t be prouder. This book is going to be […]
My novel – Minor King
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