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12 May 2013 ·

Artists and Animals: Gary Long, Town Crier, and Tori

Once upon a time, two schoolmates used to go horse riding together through the hills and dales of Nova Scotia’s beautiful Annapolis Valley. One grew up to become a writer, an unusual enough profession – and the other became a town crier! (I must also add that the last time they met, long before they’d turned to those eccentric careers, the town crier was the best man at the writer’s wedding.)

Now, Gary Long, town crier for Berwick and Canning, Nova Scotia, Canada, answers my Artists and Animals questions: 
Have you ever been inspired by an animal, or animals in general, in your life or art? 

Animals have always inspired me to be a more compassionate, caring person. I tend to have more feelings for animals then humans sometimes.

What pets did you have as a child?

As a teen I owned horses and had dogs (many) cats, a donkey, goats, pigeons, ducks.

Do you have an animal companion now? How did it get its name? Does your pet have a story to share? 
Recently we had a cat for 19 years. She was all black and I named her Panther. A very intelligent cat and would sleep under the covers, curled up beside me, but only with me, never my wife. We now have a 13 month old Border Collie X named Tori. We got her from the local SPCA shelter. She had been left by the side of the road and someone brought her in. She still looks at specific vehicles as they drive by on the street, and I think she is wondering if that is the people who abandoned her. The SPCA had named her Victoria, but that was to much …. so Tori she became.

What would your pet tell us about you? Tori would probably tell you that she is very happy in her home (and a little spoilt), is loved by me and accepted by Sara ;). This is the very first dog for Sara.

If you were an animal, what would you be? 
A horse, of course!!

Any advice for people wanting a pet? 

Do research before buying any pet. If you are buying a dog, go to a reputable breeder, consider your lifestyle and family situation – a pet, any size, shape  form is a commitment and responsibility, just like a child.

Favourite animal books? 

Does Nim’s Island count? 🙂

Definitely! ((t’s my blog, I can make the rules.) 

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio