|Mary Jane McKittrick|
Mary Jane McKittrick spent a quarter of a century creating packages for television, broadcast news and corporate communications. That sounds pretty exciting to most of us but perhaps not so exciting to Mary Jane. She has always loved animals and she found her true vocation when she discovered that she could work with animals. Inspiration hit when she was living on a horse farm in North Carolina. Raised in Southern California, she always had pets and has learned from them throughout her life. Storytelling is also part of her new life. She has created a series of children's books, the Boomer and Halley book series. And she has created the website, www.petsteachus.com You'll enjoy exploring the website because, as most of us know, Pet do teach us! Among the many things we learn from our pets is that we learn to nurture them. Mother's Day for Mary Jane will be much like mine. There are no human children to send us cards or take us out to lunch or bring us a present. Instead, we have the unconditional love of our four-legged kids (two-legged for those of you with birds). We very much have a maternal role and we are just as much mothers as any woman who has given birth or adopted a child. Our children are of a different species but we love them and they love us just the same. It's a bond that should never be broken but strengthened and cherished for what it is.
I was fortunate enough to interview Mary Jane McKittrick. As usual with an interview here, my questions are in black, her answers are in my usual brown. Enjoy! And Happy Mother's Day to all of us!
Why did you start Pets Teach Us?
It’s a natural progression from my book series aimed at helping children learn important life lessons from their animals through humorous stories. The Pets Teach Us!™ project has broader demographic appeal. Whether it’s the child with a first pet, to the elderly woman living alone with her dog, most people can relate to stories about the amazing contributions animals make in our lives. I see this project continuing to expand in ways I probably can’t even imagine at this moment.
What do you hope to accomplish?
The goal of the Pets Teach Us! ™ project is to help people recognize that some of the best self-help experts you can find are probably chewing on a bone, chasing a mouse, or fluttering in a cage at this very moment. The insights, unconditional love, and inspiration our animal companions bring to our lives should not be overlooked. Pets Teach Us! – What Matters Most in Life. We hope to build a community of people sharing their stories, and helping one another live more fulfilled lives.
Why did you leave the entertainment industry?
Well, some might argue I’m still in it! I’ve gone from behind the scenes in TV production, to in front of the camera hosting various shows, then transitioning to anchor/reporter/producer for three TV network affiliates. After working in corporate communications and consulting, I’m back with a book series designed for animation television, and the Pets Teach Us!™ project which has the potential for multiple media applications.
Do you have companion animals other than horses?
I also have two cats. But, I was the kid who brought home goldfish, kittens, parakeets, hamsters, even a duck. My childhood Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, is the inspiration for one of the main cartoon characters in my award-winning book series for young children, Boomer and Halley. Halley is Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat. The two, four-legged “children,” of Harold and Edna Sanders are always into something prompting an opportunity to address life lessons. The blended family of humans and animals learns and laugh together in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.
How many horses do you have?
I’ve had many horses over the years. I currently have just one. He is a really big guy who’s taught me the value of cooperation versus confrontation wins! It’s very difficult to win an argument with a 1400 pound animal. He is also very funny and is one of the main characters in another project I have in the works.
What would you like to say that, perhaps, has never been asked before? What would you like people to know?
I’d like people to know that the time-honored saying, “You’re never too old to learn,” is a mainstay as it relates to our relationships – not only with humans – but also with our animal companions. I learn something new all the time, just by paying attention. For instance, one day I was especially stressed out over a situation in my own life. I knew I was uptight, so I tried to relax before I entered the barn to feed my two horses. They took one look at me, and I was busted. The big, red gelding turned around in his stall and showed me is backend. The black mare ducked her head down and pretended to eat her hay. It doesn’t take words for communication to occur, it just takes awareness.