The author of Buckley's Story, Ingrid King, was kind enough to answer a few questions.
What inspired you to share Buckley’s Story?
I have always believed that animals are amazing teachers, and I’ve been fortunate to have a number of these animals in my life. First and foremost, animals teach us about unconditional love, but they also teach us to stretch and grow, to reach beyond our self-imposed limits, and to expand our consciousness. Buckley taught me all of that, and more. She changed my life in ways I never could have imagined, and I realized that some of the lessons she taught me were really universal lessons about opening the heart and living a joyful life.
I wanted to share her story, but it’s really more than just her story. There are three layers to the book:
It’s the story of how her presence in my life and the lessons she taught me led me to make some major changes in my own life.
It’s also my story of what it’s like living with a pet with a terminal illness - in Buckley’s case, it was heart disease – and all that comes with that: making treatment decisions, maintaining a positive outlook in the face of a poor prognosis, and ultimately, having to make end of life decisions, and coping with the loss of a beloved animal companion.
And finally, it’s a story about the deep connection between animals and humans – a connection that is eternal and transcends the physical dimension.
Your book is subtitled “Lessons From a Feline Master Teacher.” What do you feel was the most important lesson you learned from Buckley?
It's hard to pick just one, but if I had to, I'd say "Follow Your Bliss." Buckley was one of the most freedom loving little cats I ever encountered, and as I spent time with her, her freedom loving spirit started to rub off on me. I've always been an independent spirit, but that side of me wasn't being expressed in my work life yet. When I met Buckley, I was managing a veterinary hospital - a job I took after fifteen years in Corporate America. I loved my position at the animal hospital, and I had far more freedom to make and implement decisions than I did in my corporate jobs. Working in an environment where everything mattered to me - the animals, the clients, the staff - was very rewarding, but it still wasn't the same as working for myself - something I had been thinking about for quite some time. Buckley helped me develop and embrace that side of myself through her example. Eventually, I left my job at the animal hospital to start my own business. Now that I've had a chance to experience for the past few years what it's like to be completely in charge of my life, and to do work that I'm passionate about, I'd have to say that this was the most important lesson.
In Buckley’s Story you explain that you didn’t name her and don’t know how she got the name. Did you ever try to rename her?
Buckley came with her name, and when I first met her, I didn't like it at all. It seemed awfully masculine for such a small, female cat. But after she had been with me for a little while, I couldn't even think about changing her name. She was Buckley, and she would remain Buckley. She acquired a series of nicknames over the years, ranging from Miss B to Baby B to Buggsy to Bugselina.
How have your experiences working in an animal hospital shaped how you interact with your cat, Amber?
I think I may be a little more in tune with even subtle physical changes I notice in her than the average cat parent might be, simply because I have a good understanding of how certain conditions might present themselves in terms of symptoms. Unfortunately, this can be a very mixed blessing. On the one hand, it allows me to stay on top of her good health and determine whether something requires veterinary attention or not, but on the other hand, I can also get a little carried away. Sometimes, too much knowledge is a dangerous thing! Knowing all the things that can go wrong with a condition makes it that much harder to stay positive!
What book (your own or someone else’s) has had the most impact on your life?
At this point, I'd have to say it's Buckley's Story. Writing and publishing it is the culmination of a life long dream of writing a book. It's also the realization of truly expressing my authentic self in the world in all aspects of my life. It has changed me in ways I never could have imagined when I first met my little cat.
You’ve continued to write The Conscious Cat blog. Do you plan to write more books?
Currently, I'm focusing on writing and editing The Conscious Cat. I love providing reliable and well-researched information on pet health and other topics related to conscious living and holistic health to my readers. In addition, The Conscious Cat is also a great site for cat lovers and others interested in animal-themed books, interviews with authors, and the feline lifestyle
That being said, yes, there will be more books. I have several ideas, but nothing that is fully formed yet, so it's a little too soon to talk about them.