Gayle M Irwin

Gayle & Jeremiah,
her rescued shih tzu.

Why I Write Pet Rescue Romance Stories

Jul 10, 2023 by Gayle M Irwin

The stray that became Sam. Photo by G. Irwin

He had no name. The cocker spaniel was brought to the then Bozeman Humane Society in Montana, where I worked as Education Coordinator and Public Relations Assistant. Our shelter manager estimated him to be around two years old. We held him for the week required for someone to come claim him – no one did, so I adopted him and christened him “Sam.” We shared life for more than a decade. He was my protector, my confidant, my travel buddy, my friend.

His name is Jeremiah. The black and white shih tzu lived at a puppy mill, serving as a stud dog. Most days confined to a small cage, he knew little human affection or interaction. He and 30 other dogs were rescued by Hearts United for Animals and began learning more about kindness from people, socializing with other dogs, and playtime in a grassy yard. My husband and I adopted Jeremiah from HUA in September 2017, and he is now a cherished member of our family, enjoying walks in the neighborhood, quiet times on the couch, and travels to visit national parks and his human ‘grandparents’ in other states.

Her name is Sadie. The first four years of her life were spent as a beloved member of a family. The second four years she only knew outdoor living and little human interaction. The family’s dynamics changed, and they no longer spent quality time with her. Sadie had to learn to entertain herself in the yard and she soon developed obsessive-compulsive behavior. She wound up in a kill-shelter until volunteers with English Springer Spaniel Rescue stepped in. A foster family took her in and began re-introducing her to human interaction and compassionate care, hikes in the woods, and lazy times on the couch. My husband and I adopted her in 2021. She absorbs attention, loves walks and hikes, and though she still obsesses over light and shadow, she now also sleeps quietly in our offices, lying near Jeremiah and even our older cat!

Jeremiah and Sadie, waiting for another traveling adventure! Photo by G. Irwin

I began writing sweet romance books in 2017, publishing my first story in October 2019 coinciding with Adopt-A-Dog Month. I write these contemporary, later-in-life romance books that weave pet rescue and adoption into the story because I want to bring awareness to animals in need. I write these books for Sam, for Jeremiah, and for Sadie.

I also write these stories for Christopher and Spritz, two dogs at HUA I recently learned about. Pops, a terrier mix, once lived in a rundown meth lab; the time spent there took an enormous toll on the dog’s mental health. Christopher, a St. Bernard, had been severely abused before coming to HUA. Caregivers at the organization began a new program called the Adoption Academy, where one caregiver chooses a dog in great need of affection and socialization and focuses his/her time on that particular dog. The program shows great promise for dogs like Spritz, who came from a shelter in Texas, frightful and shutdown, and Christopher, animals that likely would not have survived living in a shelter environment.

I write my Pet Rescue romance stories for other animals, like Brandon, a 14-year-old dog left at an overcrowded shelter in Florida, telling the workers, “I don’t care,” when she was shown the numerous dogs waiting for homes and told older dogs are much less likely to be adopted; Jade, rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado after spending her entire nine years of life in a commercial breeding facility; and the dogs and cats at Black Dog Animal Rescue, which provides unique prison programs to socialize and train the pets coming into the rescue organization, helping the animals on their adoption journey.


"Oh, give me a home...!" Dog photo from

As an author, I desire to educate as well as entertain and inspire readers to act, to support rescue organizations, adopt animals, and realize the impact on animals that are used and abused, neglected and abandoned and need empathy, compassion, care, and love. I not only write with a purpose, but I also support rescue organizations in various ways, including as a volunteer transporter and by donating a percentage of book sales to such groups. Additionally, I adopt my pets from shelters and rescues – Sam, Jeremiah, and Sadie were adopted as were other dogs in my life: a blind springer spaniel named Sage, a cocker spaniel named Cody, a cocker/springer mix named Mary, and cats Ama, Murphy, and Bailey. I will always adopt – too many animals continue to be euthanized at shelters because of overcrowding, i.e.: irresponsible owners, people who can’t find pet-friendly housing, and lower adoption rates due to economic situations.

I write because I enjoy sharing stories. I write because there’s a need for sweet love stories. And I write pet rescue romance because there are animals in need of loving homes.


I hope you enjoy my books, and if you haven’t read the series yet or want to gift to a friend or family member, I encourage you to purchase and enjoy my sweet love stories that weaves pet rescue and adoption into the narrative.

My books are now available as a boxed set, complete with all five stories. Find the compilation in e-book format at your favorite online store by clicking this link:

The collection is on-sale for a special price of $5.99 during this Dogs Days of Summer release time! You’ll also have opportunity to download a free short story amid this collection of books set in the Yellowstone area of Montana and Wyoming when you purchase the boxed set. Learn more and buy here: