Spotlight on Edwin Fontánez
Author examines animal-human bond.
By Linda Smolkin
Edwin Fontánez, who resides in Arlington, is an award-winning author and illustrator. Fontánez’s newest book, “I Promise You: An Introduction to Living the Animal-Human Bond,” explores the causes of animal abandonment and offers tips on strengthening the emotional bond between a person and his or her pet. In addition to “I Promise You,” Fontánez has written three other books, including a collection of poetry. Books are published by his company, Exit Studio, are in English and Spanish.
Q: The name of your recently published book is called “I Promise You.” How did you choose the title?
A: The title of the book refers to the implicit promise we make to an animal, whether we realize it or not, the moment we bring it into our homes. From my own point of view, I believe that the commitment to care for a pet should be as strong as the one we reserve for our loved ones.
Q: What age group is it best suited for?
A: Ages 10 and up should enjoy it, and it’s purposely designed to spark a dialogue on how to curb animal abandonment and abuse. The book offers some surprisingly simple tips on how to strengthen the emotional bond between guardian and pet. The stronger the bond, the lesser the chance the animal will end up in the street.
Q: Please describe your book to us in a few sentences.
A: “I Promise You: An Introduction to Living the Animal-Human Bond,” is a very personal guide about the proper and ethical treatment of animals. It is not intended to make people feel guilty about the small mistakes we make, but rather emphasize all the good things we do for our pets to maintain their quality of life. Hopefully readers will share the knowledge with other people, especially with those who plan to get a pet for the first time. The book was written based on personal anecdotes and my experiences as an animal caretaker.
Q: Did a particular event happen to make you want to write this book?
A: I wrote “I Promise You” due to the many experiences I’ve had rescuing animals; one of them led to the happy event of finding Chelo, the handsome cat on the book cover. But the event that really pushed me to take action was a horrible animal massacre in Puerto Rico in 2008, when nearly 100 confiscated pets were thrown to their deaths from a bridge. This event was a tragic example of my point: when there’s no emotional bond between man and animal, the latter is perceived as a disposable inconvenience. Although it pains me to know that animal abuse in many countries is rampant, it’s hopeful to know people are becoming more aware and taking action.
Q: What is the message/theme of this book?
A: The main message of the book is that all animals — even the ones destined for human consumption — deserve to be treated respectfully and humanely. A loved pet is one less animal roaming the streets, one less animal abused and one less animal abandoned. We initiate a loving relationship with our pets to love, care for and respect them because caring for a pet also has its rewards, such as affection and companionship.
Q: Are there any upcoming events, such as book signings or workshops, where people can meet you?
A: We’re still shaping up the series of activities, but readers are encouraged to visit www.ipromiseyou.net to acquire a copy of the book (also available in Spanish) and find out more about the initiative. We’ll be posting the schedule of activities within a couple of weeks. “I Promise You” was written from the heart, and I’m sure readers will see themselves in it too.