Sunday, January 21, 2018

Lisa Overcash and Her Fur-ever Family

In this interview, author Lisa Overcash talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, My Fur-Ever Family.

“Remember their instinctual nature, and work with that, not against it.” ~Lisa Overcash, on pets

As a child, Lisa always wanted a dog and she got a red dachshund puppy for her fifth birthday. Before she married her husband, Lisa told him that animals would be part and parcel of their married life, should they do so, and while Lisa is thankful for his acceptance she also credits him with keeping her balanced where pets are concerned, as Lisa remarks that he is the one who keeps the family from getting too many animals for them to handle.

My Fur-Ever Family sprang from her passion for dogs and is based on her emotional support dog and certified therapy dog, a Yorkshire Terrier who has been with her for fourteen years now. The book tells the story of the Yorkshire Terrier from her point of view, and it grew out of people being interested in the Yorkshire Terrier and suggesting that Lisa write a book about the dog. While it is a children’s book there are some things in it, such as faith, love, compassion, cooperation and the importance of daily, healthy routines, that could appeal to adults as well, as there are concept within which can apply to adoption, be it for the four-legged or the two-legged kind. Where routines are concerned, Lisa notes that these create a comfort level for both children and pets, which helps create unity for the family unit itself.

She also remarked that the dogs helped her out by lying around with her as she wrote it out and listening to her when she read it out loud as she was writing it out - something that Lisa notes helped her catch any mistakes that needed to be corrected. Lisa also wrote the Spanish version of the book after publishing the English version, which is called Mi Familia Para Siempre, and she donates part of the proceeds of the sales of her book to national animal rescue organizations.

Lisa has gotten pets from breeders as well as have been rescued from animal shelters. She hasn’t had trouble with her rescued animals, as she has chosen those which were calm and relaxed, and once these get to her home the rescued animals are given love, time and attention as well as a space of their own, one where they can feel safe. Lisa has learned that establishing respect amongst the animals and her children is important where harmony was concerned, and emphasized that she has worked with the instincts of the animal, rather than against it. She then gave the example of young children wanting to hug a rescue dog once it comes in, which might overwhelm the animal. Lisa noted that she had the children sit on a couch until she brought the dog in and introduced the animal to the kitchen individually, with calm voices and touch, with the children reaching out with the wrist or back of the hand as well as to take note of the physical cues from the animal itself.

Lisa conducts the same sort of individualized introduction between dogs, cats and peacocks, and remarks that, most of the time, the cats stay upstairs while the dogs stay downstairs, and that the cats don’t go downstairs unless the dogs go to another part of the house, particularly if a dog doesn’t like cats. She got her present cats, both rescued animals, while they were kittens, which enabled the latter to become familiar with people, and she recommends getting animals young so for reasons of that familiarity in particular.

Lisa remarks that love and companionship are the big payoffs of having an animal nearby, as these give a lot of affection and tenderness; and if they are calm themselves, one can experience peace as well. She also notes that pet owners, as proven by research, have a greater sense of well-being and that pets alleviate depression, as the latter is linked to losing one’s purpose in life and that having a pet to look after gives that sense of purpose and motivation. Lisa remarks that therapy dogs bring a sense of contentment, satisfaction and companionship.

To would-be pet owners, Lisa recommends that they know what they are like, particularly where personality is concerned, and to look at different breeds of dogs to match the dog’s personality with one’s own personality; one would not choose a sedentary dog if one had an active personality and lifestyle, for example. She also notes that the would-be pet owner should do the homework in knowing the dog’s needs as well as such logistic matters as cost of veterinary services, as having a pet does entail some financial expenses.

Lisa is a proponent of adopting from a shelter and notes that she has seen such animals as pigs and chickens that were surrendered to the shelter, and she has had a lot of great experiences with these, where getting information on the adopted animal was concerned.

Purchase from Amazon: My Fur-Ever Family by Lisa Overcash

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