In January, Yahoo published a piece by a woman named Lauren Fern Watt titled "I Took My Dying Dog on a Bucket-List Adventure." The piece wasn't really an essay, per se, but some introductory text and eleven photos accompanied by captions that described Watt's relationship with her dying dog, Gizelle, who had been diagnosed with bone cancer. Watt was determined to make the 160-pound English Mastiff's last days her best days (and although the two ate lobster and doughnuts, went on boat and car rides, and cuddled profusely, who can really be sure if a dog with a terminal illness is having fun?).
The post quickly went viral. An interview with Watt on BuzzFeed garnered 1.1 million hits. Watt claimed to have received thousands of letters. And now, we can report that she has received a book deal to write about her life, and her life with Gizelle, in the "high six figures"—rumored to be $750,000.
That's a big deal for a dead dog. According to our sources, there's also a movie deal in the works.
So how will Watt fill an entire book when her slideshow was only a couple hundred words? By writing about the most universal of old chestnuts, love. Here's an excerpt from her 18-page book proposal:
In my book, I plan on discussing what Gizelle taught me about my relationship with Peter, and what it means to love people unconditionally, too. I won't go into the reasons why Peter and I didn't work out after two years here and now, but Gizelle eventually showed me that I should try to love my boyfriend like I loved her: unconditionally and without expectations to change him.
My love for Peter had many conditions, conditions I created to fulfill my own loneliness and fears. I had expectations of him, and when he couldn't live up to them, I'd allow myself to feel ruined.
I will also explore the theme of unconditional love for my mom, who was sick with the frustrating disease of addiction for most of my life and still is, and how I have learned to look at her with compassion despite her shortcomings. Gizelle loved me regardless of my imperfections, and this is an important lesson to remember, because of course, no one is perfect. I will also discuss what Gizelle taught me after she died, how I was there when the vet stopped her heartbeat with a poisonous syringe.
It's a good time to be a writer!
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