HELP WANTED: From a Distance

So much can change in a week, right? Our world turns upside down. Everything is different.

And yet it is still the same.

For me, there are still dogs to rescue, family to feed, books and blogs to write, and with spring, a garden to tend.

I am so hyper-aware (and incredibly grateful—to what? God? Fate? Timing?) that we are lucky. Nick can work from home and so far his job seems assured. I’ve always worked from home. Ian and Addie are here now studying remotely. Extra time with Ian in his last months at home and bonus time with my college daughter who I rarely see are a silver lining. My oldest, Brady, is holed up safe in Arizona working from his apartment at his first real job.


I know there are many people whose lives are much harder as a result of COVID-19. Others whose lives are in danger, and a few who wonder if their lives are destroyed. I am quietly counting my blessings and holding tight to hope that this world will recover quickly and be better prepared next time.

This pandemic has required a shifting of priorities and a willingness to accommodate and to be flexible, but mostly to be patient.

What’s most stunning to me, when I think about it is that for us, at least, it’s only been two weeks. Two weeks since schools shuttered and business ground to a halt. How could the entire world shift so dramatically in just two weeks?

While the news says this could go on for months; it already feels like it’s been months.

100 dogs coverAs a writer with a book scheduled to be released this summer, I should be working hard now to promote it. Saying clever things on Facebook, begging book bloggers to read an advance copy, setting up bookstore signings, planning my launch party. And yet, it feels inappropriate to advance my own cause now while so many are struggling.

I asked a friend about it yesterday when we were walking. She told me that since people are stuck home, telling them about my book right now is a great idea. A distraction.

I don’t know if promoting my book is as nice a distraction as the puppies I’ve been chronicling on Facebook, but I’ve decided to put my toe in the water. Checking in with a few book bloggers—would you like an advance copy? The copies have to be pdfs, though, because everyone in the publisher’s New York office is working from home. My editor told me that even if they could go in, the building isn’t accepting shipments so my galleys wouldn’t be there.

Not having bound galleys seems like such a small sacrifice, but if you’re a writer, you probably know the sacrifice that already went into creating this book. A bound galley in your hands makes the idea that incubated in your heart and then on your laptop real. I did it.

Every single time, the arrival of my book’s galley has been one of the most powerful moments for me as an author. The box arrives and I get a rush of happy-but-terrified. I’ve almost always opened the box in the company of a dog and then later that night opened a bottle of champagne with my husband. It’s a moment to savor. Missing out on it stings.

Mapping out a book tour that may never happen, or happen virtually (ee-gads!), is likewise disappointing. Same with setting up the launch party. Will it even be appropriate to have a party by July?

I suppose, when I think hard on this, the best response is to press on. Quite certainly COVID-19 will change lives and possibly require a new normal, but it doesn’t invalidate the work I’ve done. It might seem unlikely now, but this too, shall pass, I remind myself.

Soon enough it will be July. And I need to be ready because this is the most important book I’ve written. I want it to not only touch lives and hearts, but raise awareness, inspire change, and offer hope. Powerful stuff, deserving of my best effort even if right now it feels like the sky is falling.

Asking for help doesn’t come naturally to me. Oh, asking for help for shelter dogs or foster dogs or kids or other people, I’ve done that plenty, but this time I need to ask for help for me. That feels foreign and selfish and way inappropriate at this present moment in time. And yet, I’m taking a deep breath and I’m doing it because this book matters too much to me and I need you people.

If you’d like to help me spread the word about 100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelter and Rescue, here are a few things you can do:

  • If you plan to buy the book anyway, preordering it would be a HUGE help. Preorders inspire bookstores to stock the book and catch the eye of media. Here’s where you can find links to online retailers, but if you have a local bookstore, I implore you to order it there, they need your support now more than ever.
  • If you have a blog or a significant social media presence and would be willing to read/review/promote the book, let me know and I can get you an electronic galley. If you know someone with a big online microphone who cares about dog rescue, and you’d be willing to ask for their help on my behalf, that would also be awesome. An email of introduction would be perfect (
  • If you have a great idea for how I can market the book, please pass it along – I can use all the help I can get. It’s very hard to be heard above the noise in the present publishing world. Send me an email or message me on Facebook.
  • If you would like to host an event for the book, I love you already. I’m looking for places I can partner with a rescue/shelter and/or bookstore to give a presentation and sign books as well as help dogs get adopted or raise money for a rescue/shelter.
  • If you know a great bookstore that hosts awesome events (and bonus if it is dog friendly!), please pass along the name and location.
  • And lastly, word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool there is. If you are a dog-hearted soul who believes we can find solutions for the broken sheltering system, tell someone about the book. Here’s a great statistic- If just half of the people planning to buy a dog this year, instead chose to adopt through a shelter or rescue, we’d empty out the shelters in one day! If you’d like a few book promotional postcards to hand out, I’d be happy to send them to you.


Shew. That wasn’t easy. Asking for help never is, especially for some of us who think we can handle this world ourselves. At this moment in time, we need each other. We may have to stay six feet apart, but we won’t make it through unless we help each other. It’s taken me over fifty years to figure out I can’t do everything by myself. So, thank you in advance for any help you can give.

Meanwhile, please stay safe and sane. Hold those you love close, even if it has to be at a social distance.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.



If you’re curious about what I’m up to, check out my website,

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

And If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog. And if you want to know what is really happening in the animal shelters in this county, visit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at

COMING JULY 2020 from Pegasus books (available for preorder):

100 dogs cover

Available now:

Another Good Dog cover

Find out more about fostering dogs at!





Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and dog rescuer. I live in the darling town of Woodstock, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and three rescue dogs (who rescue me on a daily basis). Find more information about my books, my dogs, and all my writing adventures at

2 thoughts on “HELP WANTED: From a Distance”

  1. I just finished Another Good Dog this week and absolutely loved it! I will gladly do a review of it!! I can’t wait to read your new book and plan to order it!

    Liked by 1 person

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