Pens, Paws, and Claws would like to welcome Laura Vorreyer and Dexter to the blog!
Tell our readers a little about yourself and your writing.
Hello. Thanks so much for stopping by and getting to know a little about me.
My book, The Pet Sitter’s Tale, is my first book; it’s based on my 15 years as a professional pet sitter and dog walker in Hollywood, California. I was inspired to write the book by my many friends and acquaintances that heard my wild and unbelievable pet sitting stories and said to me, “I can’t believe it, you should write a book.” And so, I did.
Tell us about your pets. Are any of them models for pets in your writing?
My dog, Dexter, is featured prominently in my book. Dexter is my canine-soul mate. I recued him when he was just a puppy. He had been thrown out of an apartment window and run over by a car. I adopted him sight unseen and never regretted it for a minute. Dexter has been with me through thick and thin, for better and for worse and takes up residence in the office with me when I’m writing. He often sits under my desk and is a great sounding board for ideas and yes, for snacking inspiration.
My book is collection of stories and in my story entitled, “I Confess” I talk about loving Dexter more than the person I was in a relationship with at the time. Many women have told me that they can relate to this story.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
A script. My desire is that my book will be made into a major motion picture. (Isn’t it everybody’s?) Even so, currently I am working on a script for the screen adaptation of The Pet Sitter’s Tale and a children’s book, which is a new concept, altogether. A black Labrador named Leo inspires the children’s book. I used to regularly walk Leo for a client. The client lived in a wonderful neighborhood full of lush greenery and beautifully landscaped gardens. Walking Leo inspired me to write a children’s book about a dog-named Leo that becomes a protector of the Earth and a role model for children.
Did you have childhood pets? If so, tell us about them.
Ginger was my first dog. I write about her extensively in the beginning of my book. She was my first love and best friend. Coincidentally, Ginger was also a black Labrador. I’ve always felt that people gravitate towards the types of pets they had as children and I’m no different. Even though Dexter is a Chi-weenie, I would love to have a Black Labrador. My second dog growing up was a black Lab; too, his name was King. King also made it into my book. I believe it was when I was a child that my love of dogs was developed. I was quite isolated growing up and created an entire world where just my dog and me existed.
How do you use animals in your writing? Are they a character in their own right or just mentioned in passing?
Animals are mentioned in every single story in my book. Sometimes they are the main character of the story and other times they are not. Having been a pet sitter for so long, I often think of the animals as the main characters, each with their own voice and personality.
Why do you include animals in your writing?
I got some great advice once and that was, write what you know. Well, I know animals, after fifteen years a s a professional pet sitter I’ve become a pet expert.
I been fortunate to observe the role of the pet in a family’s life and seen first hand how a pet can become so much more than just an animal living in the house. Amongst its humans. I include animals in my writing because without them, I’d have nothing to write about.
What’s your favorite book or movie that had an animal as a central character? Why?
I find that many movies, which feature animals, are too sad to watch because the animal usually dies at the end of the movie. (I hate when that happens!) I love, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective I especially love the scene when Ace is hiding all the pets in his apartment and the landlord comes over, I have definitely been there. I love that movie. The one book that stands out in my mind as having an animal as the central character is, The Art of Racing in the Rain. By Garth Stein. In this book, the narrator was Enzo the dog. What a great book. I think this is the first time I read a book and thought that the perspective of the animal was captured really well and also the dog was so completely loveable in his innocence and loyalty. What a treasure!
What’s your real-life funniest pet story?
It’s in my book; you’ll have to read it. Begins on page 102
When did you know you were a writer? And how did you know?
When I was a little girl. I loved to write. I would send long letters, keep journals and enter writing contest (especially poetry) every chance I’d get. As I got older, writing became too much of a time commitment and I stopped writing for the pure joy of it. Instead I became an avid reader and devoured tons of books. About ten years ago I started writing again and haven’t stopped.
What’s the number one item on your bucket list and why?
To vacation in Italy. Not just for a few days but for a few weeks or maybe even more. I would love to spend time in Venice, Italy. This has been a dream destination of mine forever, as long as I can remember. My relatives on my Father’s side are from Sicily so I would love to spend some time in Sicily, too. Put me down for a few months in Italy and I’m good.
What are two things you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
First, don’t compare yourself to other writers. You can be inspired by them, motivated by them and encouraged by them but don’t try and be like them. Copying someone else’s writing style will not guarantee success. Remember, their good writing does not take away from your good writing. Remain true to your own voice. Write the best you can for you. There is a big enough reading audience out there for everyone to have a fan base.
It’s all right to be jealous of someone else’s success, just don’t act on it.
Secondly, have compassion for yourself and for others. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t wake up every morning and pound out 2,500 words before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee. It’s okay. Do the best that you can and enjoy the journey!
Laura Vorreyer is an entrepreneur, who pioneered the dog walking industry in Hollywood over 15 years ago, and is the author of the new book, “The Pet Sitter’s Tale.” She is the owner of the pet care company Your Dog’s Best Friend, a premier dog walking and pet-sitting business in Los Angeles. Laura has taught pet-sitting and dog walking classes in Los Angeles and is also a passionate advocate for animal rights. She remains dedicated to pet rescue.
Laura’s road to pet-sitting began when she packed up her belongings and moved from Chicago to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a make-up artist for big-time movie stars. Rather than dabbing powder on the pert noses of up-and-coming starlets, she found herself without a union card (something she didn’t know she needed for a career as a make-up artist) and, therefore, couldn’t find work. Moreover, it seemed as if everybody she met was a make-up artist. “There were more make-up artists than actresses in Los Angeles!” she quipped.
Before she knew it, in order to just get her foot in that coveted door, she was heading to the set of a seedy adult film to apply make-up in ways she never – ever – expected. It was at this point she started to question her choice in career paths. A chance meeting on the set of a legitimate film led to a life-changing conversation. A well-known comedienne happened to need a dog walker and since Laura loves dogs, her career showering pets with love and care was born.
Never dull, sometimes hilarious and occasionally terribly sad, Laura found that her career of looking after the rich and famous’ furry family members was captivating enough for a book. Recognizing this, she got a good chunk of her anecdotes down on paper and produced what is a combination of the books “The Nanny Diaries” and “The Devil Wears Prada” with the can-do spirit of the film “Legally Blonde.” “The Pet Sitter’s Tale” is funny, inspiring and relatable to anyone who has ever loved an animal. About her path to her career, Laura explains, “I have been many other things, but none as satisfying or rewarding as a caretaker for other living creatures.” Anybody who has loved a four-legged furry family member can relate and will laugh and cry along with Laura’s compilation of stories of her 15 years in the pet care business.