A story you won't throw away
Children's author to stop in Edwardsville
By ANN NICCUM email@example.com
Published: Friday, December 3, 2010 11:38 AM CST
A California woman has made a local dog’s story into a new children’s book.
Laura Marlowe has written a book titled “Tommy the Throwaway Dog” (www.tommythethrowawaydog.com).
The book is about the abused puppy named Tommy, rescued last year from the inside of a trash can in Cahokia.
Tommy’s story began on Oct. 29, 2009, when an employee of Waste Management Systems was emptying a residential trash can in to his garbage truck in Cahokia and saw a lifeless puppy suddenly move. The employee immediately hit the emergency button to stop the compactor and called the police. Rather than taking him to St. Clair Animal Control where the puppy would have most likely been put to sleep, because he was injured, the authorities called Hope Animal Rescues – an animal rescue organization based in the Edwardsville/Alton area. Hope Animal Rescues said Officer Derek Ruberstell was responsible for that call that day that ultimately saved Tommy’s life.
Hope Animal Rescues took Tommy to the Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital for medical attention. Organization co-founder Jackie Spiker said Tommy was starved, beaten and had a cord that had grown into his neck tearing at his flesh causing his face to swell and leaving him unable to eat. She said he received medical attention and surgery for the wounds around his neck.
The story of the rescue hit the news across the St. Louis area and then nationally.
Marlowe said she heard about the story “by accident” as she was viewing online headlines, just as she does every day.
“The headline had to do with abuse of a dog,” Marlowe said. “As it concerned animal welfare, I decided to read the accompanying article, though I did hesitate at first as I knew it would sadden me. And I could not ignore it. Not only did the article sadden me, it horrified and sickened me. I cried.”
Marlowe added, “A few moments later I went to the website of the shelter mentioned in the article that was taking care of the dog at the time. I read further about the case, saw some incredibly graphic photos, and then was led to a video news story that provided even more insight. Straight away I made a donation toward the dog’s care. As of that moment I could not stop thinking about the dog and what he had been through, as well as the kind people who along the way gave him a second chance.”
Marlowe, an animal lover and writer, said she wanted to do something more to help.
“I felt deep empathy for this dog, not only due to the unspeakable abuse imposed upon him and the suffering it created, but also the fact that he was then literally thrown away, into the garbage, thought of as garbage, while he was near death. It broke my heart and pained me perhaps more than I can explain in words,” Marlowe said. “Shortly after I had read the article and the information on the shelter website, I thought ‘what can I do to help further create awareness of – and funds for – animal welfare causes and the work such organizations do, while at the same time educate people – children, especially – about the value of kindness and how our animal friends deserve respect?’ Then a light went on. And the children’s version of Tommy’s story was born.”
Marlowe said putting her two loves together was nothing new for her – writing and animals. She said for the last few years she has been writing children’s stories that include or revolve around animal welfare themes.
“I am naturally drawn, you could say, toward the creation of such stories, perhaps due to the combination of my passion for writing, love of dogs and involvement in animal welfare, and my inner child that relates to canines, as they are like two-year-old children all their lives. I write a lot of poetry as well, again something I am naturally drawn to and thoroughly enjoy.”
Spiker said Hope Animal Rescues did not know about the book until it was completed.
“We had no idea until I got en e-mail with a picture of the cover from the author,” Spiker said.
Spiker said the organization is thrilled about the new book and hopeful that it will help other animals in the future.
“There are many more Tommys out there that are suffering, many do not get the help they need like Tommy did, and we should all think of them, and do our best to be kind to all animals.”
Spiker said Tommy has healed from that day. She said he even found his forever home too.
“Tommy went home on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009 He is doing very well, very friendly, has no emotional scars at all,” Spiker said.
Marlowe will be meeting Tommy for the first time on Dec. 11 at a book signing she is doing at AfterWords Bookstore, located at 231 North Main in Edwardsville. The public is invited to come out and meet Tommy and Marlowe from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and get an autographed book by both of them.
The autograph is free from the author. The pawtograph is available for a donation of $4 to Hope Animal Rescues. Also, proceeds from the sale of the book ($12.99) are being donated to Hope Animal Rescues.
In addition, Marlowe will be reading the book prior to the book signing at about 12:30 p.m.
“I am looking forward to not only meeting and connecting with many fans and supporters of the book, but also to finally, after 14 months, meeting Tommy and his most wonderful new owners, who gave Tommy the best Christmas gift of all last December – a new and loving home.”
Marlowe said she is also excited to meet many others that she has contacted while writing and promoting the book, and especially the co-founders of Hope Animal Rescues Spiker and Kim Lee.
She has dedicated the book to Hope Animal Rescues, as well as Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital and the Cahokia Police Department.
For more information about Hope Animal Rescues or to learn more about Tommy’s story or see his before and after pictures, visit www.hoperescues.com.