Friday, November 16, 2018

Thankful Author 2018- Mary Gillgannon

I am deeply thankful for the pets who have shared my life over the years. My first cat, Tommy, let my eight-year-old self tromp around while he hunted mice and moles near our home in the countryside of northern Illinois. He wasn’t really child’s pet, and turned feral when we went on vacation and never lived with us after that. But I always loved him and was so grateful for the time he shared with me, making my often solitary childhood a little less lonely. 

Pets taught my children about love and nurturing. They hand fed Nikki (who just passed on at nineteen and a half) when she was a tiny kitten. They cuddled and cared for cat Daisy who lived to be seventeen and shared their entire childhoods with them. Through pets they learned responsibility and how to put someone else’s needs ahead of their own.

More recent pets have become huge parts of our lives. Benjamin is my writing cat, who often perches on my desk beside my computer and “chirps” for me to pet him. Australian shepherd Aengus also shares my office, lying directly in my pathway so I am forced to pet him as I go in and out of the room. When he isn’t in my office, he goes everywhere with my husband and garners attention from everyone with his incredibly sweet, friendly disposition.

But some pet relationships go beyond mere companions. My grown daughter’s cat Velvet came to her as a tiny kitten three years ago and has been her support animal through her terrible struggle to escape an abusive relationship and her emotional and physical recovery. During times when my daughter was distraught, ill, angry, even suicidal, Velvet gave her a reason to live, to get up each morning, to go on and keep moving forward.

Velvet recently disappeared for over a week. My daughter was frantic and scoured our neighborhood, put up posters and checked the local shelter every day. When Velvet reappeared the morning after Halloween, it seemed like a miracle. I can’t help but feel the spirits who are said to walk on All Hallows Eve understood how important Velvet was and guided her home.

Pets give us so much more than we can ever give them. They calm us when we’re stressed, ease our depression, lower our blood pressure and improve our health in many ways. People with pets live longer, and I know several cancer survivors who claim their pets are the only reason they made it through treatment and are alive today.    

When we lose our pets it feels like an amputation. Pets become a part of us and touch our souls in a special way. I think they are better than us, purer and more innocent. Their spirits are free of the cold selfishness that too often taints human interactions.

During this season of contemplation and gratitude for our blessings, I am thankful every day for the beloved animals I’ve known over the course of my life.   


One rapturous hour together sparks unforgettable passion between Lady Nicola and Fawkes de Cressy. The memory of their time together enables Fawkes to survive the horrors and perils of the Crusades, and gives Nicola the hope and strength to endure her brutal marriage. To save herself and those she loves, Nicola of Valmar she will sacrifice anything, even the unforgettable passion she shared with the bold young squire her husband sent to her bed four years ago.  

Fawkes de Cressy vows to rescue the woman whose memory sustained him through the horrors and perils of the Crusades. But Lady Nicola is surrounded by a web of sickening rumors that threaten to shatter his dream.With enemies everywhere, a battle-hardened knight and a secretive, wary woman must learn to trust each other to survive. They must dare to let the soul-stirring magic their bodies share grow into love. Or a desperate plot set in motion months ago will bring down Valmar Castle, shatter their dreams and destroy them both.

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  1. So glad Velvet came home and the blessing she has been for your daughter. Sounds like Benjamin is an excellent writing companion.

  2. You state it all so eloquently Mary. Pets teach so much and give so much comfort to us. So glad Velvet returned to the fold. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I often ponder why it's animals that teach us all about unconditional love, Mary. Perhaps it's their purpose here on earth. I am grateful and blessed by all the furbabies that have entered my life. Each one has left their imprint on my soul. Thank you for a beautiful post and happy to hear Velvet returned. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Mary, I too am grateful for the fur creatures who have agreed to share my life...even if losing them does leave a hole so very deep. I often say it hurts so much, losing them, precisely because the bond reaches all the way to the heart. So glad the spirits guided Velvet home!

  5. Loved your post, Mary. I too feel like pets enrich our lives. There's nothing worse than losing a family pet. My dog is almost 15 years old and hobbles around. We see the end looming, but it's hard to think of being without her. At least we'll have the comfort of knowing she has had a wonderful life. All the best to you and your family (both fury and not).