Interview with Dr. Merrie Meyers, Second Chance Award Sponsor

May 30, 2024
By Anne Marie Duquette
Featured image for “Interview with Dr. Merrie Meyers, Second Chance Award Sponsor”

Special Award Sponsor with the Second Chance Award in the 2023 DWAA Writers Contest

View the Special Awards

Thank you for your sponsorship, which is very special to DWAA members.   Please describe for us the qualifications which must be met to be considered for your award.

The Second Chance Award should reflect the lives of older dogs that receive a chance for a new fur-ever home.  Submissions are open to articles, books, blogs, TV segments, radio spots, videos, columns or other media formats.

What prompted you to offer this award to other writers?  Was there a special dog or circumstance that sparked its birth?

Much to my mother’s dismay, I was gifted my first dog, Corky, by relatives on my 10th birthday.  A true companion, he found his way to our house via the local pound.  In fact, every dog I’ve had has been “rehomed” with me.

I gravitate to dogs in need of a connection.  Growing up, I was somewhat of a lost soul and appreciated the people willing to invest time in me.  It’s rewarding to pay that forward in a small way with my dogs.

Why do you think the focus of your award is so important?

I appreciate both the work of community shelters and breed club rescues. What they do, especially regarding hoarding and animal abuse, is so vital.  Every person involved in the rehoming process; rescuers, foster families and adopters, is a hero/heroine to me. And who doesn’t love a happy ending?

Have there been many entrants for your special award? Does this topic strike a special chord with others?  Is its topic obscure, well known, or does it just need more awareness?

This was the first year I sponsored this award.  With no publicity, we received a fair number of entries: nine.  I’d love it if there were more next year.  Hopefully this interview will encourage breed clubs and community shelters to submit more published articles about this issue.

Have you furthered your cause in other ways your award with the public—those outside of DWAA?  Or do you feel the wide scope of DWAA is a perfect fit? 

As the chair of the Writing Competition, my focus has been on the overall event and its publicity.  As we get closer to next year’s event, I will also make sure I promote my own award.

How big a part have dogs played in your personal and professional life?

Dogs have been a source of enjoyment and redemption in my personal life. The requisite daily walks, feeding, vet visits, and grooming helped me overcome the grief of losing my husband and adult son.  They have also provided loving support during several bouts with cancer.

On a professional level, without dogs, I wouldn’t have founded our local dog park, started publishing the park newsletter, or discovered DWAA.  My involvement with dogs also led to more than a decade of involvement with AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) and fund raising for our local Humane Society.  This led to the establishment of “Wags and Tales,” an in-school reading program.

What is the driving force that sparks your work with canines?

My two four-legged family members are the driving force that keeps me engaged on all fronts. They offer love and laughs.

What ongoing or future canine projects do you have planned? 

We’re planning some great improvements for the next Writing Competition.  And I’m always working on the next issue of Ruff Drafts, the DWAA newsletter which I’ve helmed for seven years.

What would you recommend to those who wish to apply for your award in next year’s contest?

Do it!  Share the excitement and emotion that comes with finding a “fur-ever” home.

To conclude this interview, what thoughts from the heart would you like to share?

It is my pleasure to provide this opportunity for creators to share their work.

Featured Image: Meyers with her current four-legged family members, Danny, a Bichon and Sunny, a JRT. Photo credit, Karen Radenbaugh.
Merrie Meyers and her JRT Mix, Scruffy, Walk for the Animals, Humane Society of Broward County’s signature fundraising event. Picture, courtesy M. Meyers
Merrie Meyers asks a student to read to her dog, Bailey, as part of the Humane Society of Broward County’s in-school reading program, “Wags and Tales.” Picture, courtesy M. Meyers

Merrie Meyers, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, is a 45 year communication college professor and successful grant writer. She has authored textbooks on fund raising in public education and delivered presentations on innovative communication strategies at workshops and conferences across the nation.

She’s been a member of DWAA since 2000 and the editor of Ruff Drafts, DWAA’s quarterly publication since 2017. In 2023, she chaired the DWAA Writing Competition and sponsored the Second Chance Special Category Award.