Unleashed Creativity: How a Dog Inspired a Love for Writing
What happens after retiring from a rewarding career as an elementary school teacher? Jeanne Rutkowski experienced a short period of distress. However, that changed after her youngest daughter, Diana, encouraged her to get a dog from the animal shelter.
Following her daughter’s advice, Rutkowski welcomed Mia, a mixed-breed Chihuahua rescued from Puerto Rico and brought to the U.S. with several other rescue dogs, into her life. Though there was an instant connection between the two, Rutkowski didn’t anticipate the influence Mia would have and continues to have on her life – Mia passed away last year from heart disease.
Rutkowski often shared stories about their outings including watching herons, deer and foxes on their walks around Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant’s pond. One day, a neighbor suggested she write about the stories she had been telling.
With no previous experience or interest in writing, she penned her first short essay, “Walking the Dog.” Since then she has shared a number of essays about her walks with her dog in Miller’s Grant’s resident newsletter and literary magazine.
The suggestion sparked Rutkowski’s love of writing. “It’s wonderful to find something I like to do [and] others enjoy,” said Rutkowki.
After moving to Miller’s Grant with her husband five years ago, Rutkowski has flourished. While she isn’t a social butterfly, Mia got her out of her home more often, and their experiences lead her to discover her talent and love for writing short essays. Although Mia passed away, Rutkowski’s love for her and writing lives on.
Enjoy one of Rutkowski’s short essays:
“Walking the Dog – Benches”
I was talking with my daughter, Diana, about the lovely plaques people attach to the benches going along the walkways here at Miller’s Grant. It’s such a sweet way for spouses and friends to honor those who have passed and have made a lasting impression of kindness and love while they were here with us.
So, I took a leap of faith and asked her if she would do the same for me. “It wouldn’t be a bench,” she replied, without missing a beat, “rather a Fido House, which would read – In memory of Jeanne who loved animals. Put your dog’s crap here!”