Lakecity readers may notice the familiar name of Cassidy Porter in the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul, Life Lessons from the Dog.
Porter is an avid dog lover who works as a First Nations classroom support worker/education assistant with SD27 for the last eight years. A born and raised lakecity girl, Porter said that her love and talent for writing started at a young age. She grew up “very shy and quiet” with a family that was quite the opposite, leading her to internalize a lot of her thoughts.
At first recording her own thoughts and feelings mentally and later on paper, over time her writing evolved into story and song ideas. Porter said it can also be a cool trip down memory lane to read how she was thinking and feeling on specific days and events.
The publication of her short story Karma, named after her rescue dog, in Chicken Soup for the Soul marks the first time she’s had any of her works published. It tells the story of how she first found her dog abandoned on the Williams Lake River Valley trail and how their old rescue dog, Champ, grew to love and care for her. In the story, Porter observes it’s now come full circle as Karma is currently the old rescue dog at 15 who is helping their newest rescue dog.
“(Rescue dogs) really do know that you’ve helped them and Karma was only four weeks old (when we found her) but she’s been eternally grateful,” Porter said. “I think it’s really rewarding watching them realize they’re going to be in a home forever and blossom into their own little personalities, from scared and terrified to goofy and funny.”
Originally, Porter had intended the story to serve as a birthday present for her father, as he found Karma with her. As she started thinking about the story, she happened to notice online that Chicken Soup for the Soul was coming out with a cat and dog themed anthology series, with submissions due Halloween of 2018. After finishing the story, Porter submitted it and didn’t think anything of it for a few months.
Often when submitting a story, she said you never hear back from the publisher, but that this time she heard back in January she’d been shortlisted. Shortly after she found out she was in the book, which was awesome in an emotional way.
She hopes her story helps inspire people to give rescue dogs a chance as she feels that they often get a bad name in society.
Her love of animals is a deep one, as she tries to help out with fundraisers for the BC SPCA whenever she can, despite being “allergic to all animals.” Were it not for her allergies, Porter said she’d spend every day at the BC SPCA if she could, helping out and volunteering.
Indeed, on the songwriting front, Porter recently took the step out of her comfort zone to perform one of her songs at a hip hop concert held at CJ’s Southwestern Grill. She describes her music as genreless though she performed a “hip-pop” song for the evening.
“I’ve experienced a lot of loss in my life from friends and it’s just kind of therapeutic to write songs about that,” Porter said. “It just helps me get the thoughts, running constantly through my mind, out on paper and I just leave it there and stop thinking about it over and over again.”
Looking to the future, Porter said she’s tossed around the idea of writing a children’s book about a rescue dog and said she’ll likely submit again to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. One thing for sure, however, is she’ll continue to write songs and intends to continue her momentum and perform more. While it took a lot out of her, she loved it and said it’s something she’s wanted to do for a long time.
“I think (writing) is one of the best therapies you can have, especially if you internalize a lot of things like I do. If you don’t get your chance to talk you can just write it down,” Porter said.