Guest Post & Giveaway with Author Donna Alward

First Responders Series by Donna Alward

Today, I have author Donna Alward here with us talking about pet rescues and shelters. Her heroine in Into the Fire runs a small shelter.

Welcome to The Book Vixen Donna!

Author Guest Post

According to the Nova Scotia SPCA website, between April and June of this year there were 387 complaints made affecting over 1300 animals. The majority of those cases were concerning animal neglect. In 2011 there were 7 criminal convictions for Animal Cruelty. In the first half of 2012, in the provincial animal shelter alone (that would be the Halifax region, where I live):

  • 1932 animals were taken in
  • 1701 were released – either by adoption, claimed by owner or transferred to another shelter
  • 193 animals were euthanized – 7 of those were treatable, manageable animals
  • 36 died of natural causes
  • 152 remained in the system (including foster care)

That’s in a city of under 400,000.

Don’t these statistics blow your mind?

I have pets. I have a dog and a cat. The dog was planned. When we moved to Nova Scotia, we told the kids we could get a dog, especially as we were going to be living in an area where there was lots of room to run around. While we didn’t get our baby at a shelter, we did, in a way, “rescue” her. Not from a bad situation – she had very caring owners. She belonged to a breeder and was really what I’d describe as a “top end” dog. She’s a purebred, was in good health, she’d achieved certification in different obedience trials, had all her certificates for eyes and hips and moreover she was sweet as anything. Her only fault was that she didn’t carry litters very well and rather than attempt to breed her over and over, her owners decided she might do better in a caring home. Very responsible move on their part and lucky for us.

My cat though – he came to us from a definite rescue situation. In fact we told the kids NO CATS. My niece found Boo and took him home when he was just an abandoned kitten. My sister said NO MORE CATS. They already had 2 dogs and 3 rescue cats. But Boo was just too cute and he was ALL ALONE. And after some begging and pleading (more from my sister than my kids) we agreed to let Boo live with us. He is our “Mr. Boy” and lives a life of luxury.

I’m a big fan of rescue adoption. Two of my neighbours have rescue dogs – and in my experience dogs are much more difficult and time consuming in terms of behaviour issues. One has German Shepherd/Rottweiler mixes and both dogs are big and rambunctious and lovely (but with a few quirks). The other has rescued two Greyhounds. Our neighbourhood is FULL of dog people. I’d forgotten what an animal lover I was until I found myself in the thick of it. Now I have furbabies. Smile

So, when it came time to write INTO THE FIRE, the idea of an independent animal shelter grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I did a little research which believe me, was dangerous because I kept seeing kittens and puppies that I wanted to bring home! One in particular was an orange and white kitten named Marmalade. I put Marmalade into the story briefly – along with his siblings Jelly and Jam. I also couldn’t resist adding a dog to the story – a dog with fear issues but who seems to trust the hero, Chris, right away.

I hope that I have my furbabies for many years to come, but if we ever add to our family, I’m determined it’ll be from a rescue. There are far too many cats and dogs who need a good, loving home, no matter what their pedigree!

You can check out INTO THE FIRE, releasing TODAY from Samhain Publishing!

About the Author

A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist.

An avid reader since childhood, Donna always made up her own stories. She completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn't until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript.

Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her Harlequin career began, writing about cowboys and the west. Donna's debut Romance, Hired by the Cowboy, was awarded the Booksellers Best Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Romance.

With the Atlantic Ocean only minutes from her doorstep, Donna has found a fresh take on life and promises even more great romances in the near future!

Find the author online: website | blog | twitter | facebook

About the Book

Into the Fire by Donna AlwardTitle: Into the Fire
Series: First Responders, #3
Author: Donna Alward
Release Date: November 13, 2012 by Samhain Publishing

The heat is on...

The last person firefighter Chris Jackson expects to rescue from a burning animal shelter is Ally Gallant—his ex-fiancĂ©e. Even though three years have passed since she gave him back his ring, one look at her frightened face in the haze of a smoky building is all it takes for him to realize he’ll still do anything to protect her.

Ally’s put her heart and soul into the shelter, and she’s devastated when it’s destroyed. What's more, Chris is suddenly there for her in ways she doesn’t expect—ways she’s sure she doesn’t deserve—as she makes decisions about her future. Then there’s the not-so-small matter of the blazing passion between them that refuses to be extinguished.

But when Chris is injured while on a call, Ally’s reminded of all the reasons she walked away. Now she must look deep within herself to find the courage to put fear on the back burner and step into the fire—into love.

Warning: Adorable dogs, a hot firefighter and five-alarm passion. Fire extinguisher (or cold shower) highly recommended.

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Buy at Samhain’s website


Thanks to Donna Alward, one lucky winner will receive a Kindle copy of Into the Fire. Good luck to all who enter!

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Must be 18 years old or older to enter.
  • Giveaway open Internally. Void where prohibited.
  • Comments are appreciated, however, you must fill out the Rafflecopter form in order to enter this giveaway.
  • Please read TBV's Giveaway Policy before entering.
  • Giveaway ends 9:01 pm (Pacific Time) on 11/27/2012.
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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. This series sounds like my kind of read :) Hubby and I also "rescued" our three dogs. One was a stray he found while serving in Italy, so we brought that German Shepherd home with us. Our second dog we picked up one rainy night at PetSmart, quite by chance. Our last "child" was another stray that hubby found running loose on base. Sometimes I feel like we run a shelter, but thank goodness there are people out there who run private shelters. I just can't and don't want to think about the many cats and dogs that have to be put down because of irresponsible owners. Thank you for this guest post and giveaway!


  2. Sounds fantastic! I have furbabies too so I'm all for dog rescues :) Congrats on the new release!

  3. We have always been a dog family until recently when my dad's allergies got so bad we had to give up having a dog - I remember getting our first doe from a breeder - and it was somewhat of a rescue situation because the breeder was over breeding the dogs and all of them ended up sick with an incurable disease which eventually killed them all. Our second dog was a border collie/sheltie mix and we had "Lady" for a long time - she was such a good doggie - we got her from an owner who simply couldn't keep her anymore when she was three - she finally passed away of old age when she was around 19. Molly was probably my most favorite dog - we had sent my dad and sister to rescue a dog from the local dog pound and while mom and I had both agreed on a small dog - dad and my sister came back with a black lab/pit bull mix - unfortunately she got sick too and we had no choice but to have her put down to put her out of her misery. We haven't had a dog since Molly but when I get the chance to get another pet - I will rescue another dog - hopefully like Molly - only healthy

  4. that was a great story. i dont have any pets any more. i am a dog lover, but since i had to put my last dog down, i just dont want to face the heartbreak. maybe some time down the road. some great response you have already. thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Thanks for stopping by! I'm loving reading about the babies. Sherry, I hear you about heartbreak. Our furbabies become such a huge part of our hearts...

  6. i can not wait to read this book. I love animals and I married a fire fighter.


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