Jon Soeder, is a graduate with honors with two degrees from the University of Miami. Among Jon’s past accomplishments is his participation in a ninety five hundred mile Bicentennial relay run through the continental United States, awards for his work as a professional graphic artist and now national book awards as a published author.
Animals have always played a big role in Jon’s life. The stories that he shares in his book, “True Tails” provide many revealing moments and lessons he gained by having an open heart and open mind. The illustrations in “True Tails” are taken from earlier photographs or re-created in a manner that Jon felt communicated his love for his friends and rendered by his own hand.
“True Tails” was written for a passion and eye for detail, simply because there is so much that can be learned from his experiences, now put onto paper.
Jon currently resides in Ventura, California, pursuing his art , his writing and now this blog site.
As for writing this book, here is Jon’s comments:
why I wrote this book and why I am donating all of the profits to animal rights and animal organizations from the sale of this book.
Back in late March of 2009, I had been ‘channel surfing’ and came upon a series called “Whale Wars”. It was a reality television documentary of a small group of whale activists battling Japanese from killing whales.
What I saw only in one hour – the insanity of the Japanese Whaling vessel, plus the fact that these huge creatures are being hunted for ‘a delicacy’ – made me sick to my stomach. The truth is not that even the meat is needed for man’s survival or that some portion of the meat cures anything. Instead, some arguments are that people will lose their jobs in a small whaling village, or that these people don’t know any other vocation, or somebody just wants sushi. Another argument is that killing whales is part of an ‘ethnic tradition’ of a national culture.
In my opinion was gross act against a defenseless creature and truthfully a justification.
At that moment, while watching this program, I felt I had to do something about the senselessness and insanity in killing these creatures. I had to say something. Whales were friends. They were and are aware. Their species is over 65 million years old. We are just beginning to understand them. We have fished them and killed them and yet, scientists are beginning to see that whales communicate, save humans at times, and travel great distances around the globe with a purpose. Because man has not figured out how to communicate with them, some of us treat them like meat on a table.
Whales are not like cattle, where we grow them and replenish. It’s not even like we really need their meat as a species.
I have had very personal experiences with whales and other creatures. I felt that writing a book, telling what I had personally experienced, would be a way of raising public awareness. I had to step over the line, come out from my comfortable life and say something. Not just anything, but the truth I always knew and never spoke about.
All of the experiences existed. To help prove the point I shared intimate moments of my life. But it wasn’t just the happy moments. Having others there in those personal moments and experiencing what I was hearing and seeing, putting this down in my book, was a way that would make the book more real for everyone.
So the purpose and reason I wrote this book is for my friends, all creatures great and small. As the writer, I feel they have contributed to my story in a very big way. So I decided that half of the profits from the sales of the book would go to animal rights and animal protection. It’s how I can help them, my friends.
But it goes one more step-and it’s personal…
You see, in July of this year (July 22nd to be exact) I had a massive heart attack and survived.
The doctors referred to me as a medical wonder; 4 people my same age died the same week with the same exact symptoms!
Additionally, when the second attack came (I was in the Emergency Room) it turned out that the attending Doctor happened to be the same doctor who was caring for my mom’s heart condition. Before I passed out and my heart stopped, she gently grabbed my arm and held it as I said to her “I’m going”.
When I awoke, she was still with me but I was in surgery. There was another doctor who happened to be in the hospital that was given the title “Dr. of the Year” and the top heart specialist. He normally was not there on this particular day. As it turned out, I had a completely blocked artery and one other that was about ninety percent blocked.
All I could hear in the background was,”one minute fifty-five, one minute forty-five, one minute thirty-five…”
When I heard “one minute twenty-five” there was a rush of life that came into my body.
“Stent is in”, replied the doctor. He came over to me and said, “You are very lucky, my friend.”
What I found out the following day is that the time left was what I had left before I had permanent brain damage. The point is I was not getting any fresh blood to my brain until that very moment!
So I tell you this story because I know I am not done with my life. I have something to do, and it is personal. Too many coincidences to say “Aw, you’re just lucky!”
I can’t be just lucky that the ambulance was only one half a mile away when my mom called emergency. Or when they told her to get aspirin in me and she didn’t have any in the house. But my visiting niece and husband had aspirin in their suitcase. Or the fact that I did not have the complete heart arrest until I was in the Emergency Room , and just before they were to move me to surgery.
Doctors in the right place, medical help within minutes. People there and able to react at the right, and only right moment!
You see, having this gift is not something I plan to take to the grave. I didn’t have the gift just so I could talk to animals. I had the gift because it is to be used and help people understand and appreciate all life around them.
So, yes I am on a mission.
This site and these blogs are just the beginning.
There is so much more to be done!