April 27, 2013

A Passion for Animals

Author Sarah Sauer shares the inspiration behind her new book
What Do You See When You Look At Me?

When I was little, I dreamed of owning my own horse and being a vet at a zoo. I loved animals and I felt a special connection to them. However, all that changed suddenly when I was diagnosed, at age seven, with brain cancer.

During my chemo, radiation treatments, and rehab, I looked to  my animals for comfort and strength. When I couldn’t walk, my parents took me to hippotherapy and I felt freedom and hope while I was riding on the horse. Eventually, I got my own horse. In fact, in order to get me to cooperate during my treatment, my parents promised me a new animal for our barn after each treatment cycle.

It was when I feeling sad because the treatments hurt, I couldn’t go to school and be with my friends, and I lost all of my hair that I turned to my animals. They would quietly come up to me and comfort me. Somehow they just knew. My horse would nuzzle me, my llama would give me kisses, and my dog would lick the tears from my face. They did not care that I couldn’t walk or that had no hair. They just loved me for who I am. They loved me unconditionally. But after my treatment was over, I was worried that my animals would not recognize me without my hat!

Even though I knew my dream of being a vet was over, I would not let go of my dream of working with animals. I volunteered at the Louisville Zoo, but soon learned that because of my limitations, I really could not be a zoo keeper. So, after a lot of thinking, praying, and discussions with my family and teachers, I realized that I could combine my love and passion for animals with my love of talking to young children about animals. I enjoyed when the kids would come to the petting zoo and I could teach them about the tortoise, donkey, and goats. I wanted young children to feel the same love and respect I have for animals. I hoped that they would grow up and want to be protectors and supporters of animals and nature.

My passion for animals began at an early age.  When I was about five-years old, my parents gave me my first disposable camera. They asked my sisters and me to take photos while we were on vacation. When we got the film developed, all my pictures were of dogs, birds, and any other animal I saw!

It was during my high school photography class that I learned of and developed my photography skills. My teacher, Ms. Iles told me that she saw a talent in me to tell stories through my pictures. So when I was given an assignment in my early childhood class to create a project that would show my goals in my chosen profession, I turned to my animal photos and decided to put together a children’s book that would show the beauty of each animal.

I want to teach children to look at each animal and see more than just an animal—to see the detail, the wonder, and the emotion of each animal. And so, I now have my first children’s book, What Do You See When You Look at Me? I hope that when children look at and read my book, they will come to look closely at all animals and develop a love and appreciation for all of God’s creation.


  1. Thank you for letting Sarah share about her debut picture book and love for animals on your blog.

  2. It was a pleasure hosting Sarah. We're practically neighbors——though I live in Lexington, I grew up in Louisville and loved visiting the Louisville Zoo!

  3. Thank you Randi for featuring my book! And yes the Louisville Zoo is a great place to visit!

    1. Sarah,
      I hope you will consider writing another guest blog for the Children's Writer's World again! Also, keep in mind that I offer inexpensive advertising for books on both of my blogs!