Throughout her life Siri Zwemke has worked in many fields and along the way has worn many hats. Zwemke has been a legal secretary, caterer, teacher, mom, animal rescuer and with the March 2019 release of her book, “Rescue Meez,” has just added author to her long list of accomplishments.
Zwemke is most noted for her tireless work in animal rescue, specifically Siamese cats. For more than 20 years, she has operated the Siamese Cat Rescue Center (SCRC) at her Locust Dale residence. The rescue organization has been highly successful, placing 12,002 cats in homes since opening the doors in 1998. The non-profit is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of Siamese cats.
Zwemke decided to write a book to share her experiences, both good and bad in the world of animal rescue.
“When I started this, I knew a little about cats but not so much about running a business, especially a non-profit,” said Zwemke. “I have always been an animal lover and what started out as helping a few shelter cats soon became a full-time passion. Along the way, I quickly learned how emotional and frustrating it could be. I learned so much about myself along the way. Writing the book is more than just a memoir. It’s my way to share the good and the bad of the experience. As Darrell and I get older the physical demands of this get harder so it’s time to shift our focus to education, supporting and mentoring. The book is both a way of looking back and acknowledging the changes in our situation and animal rescue in general.”
Zwemke tells the story of her transformation from crazy cat lady to successful operator of a national non-profit sharing stories that are all at once educational, sad and funny. Both Zwemke and her husband Darrell say that the book started as a way to look back at the organization and how it evolved.
“I just fell into this,” said Zwemke. “We’re both so proud of the organization and what SCRC does. Telling the story about how we got to this is part memoir and part instruction manual. This has been a long journey. It started as the crazy Siamese lady looking for every Siamese cat in a shelter in Central Virginia and became a successful non-profit rescue with satellites from Maine to Florida and into the Midwest with over 900 volunteers and a volunteer transport system. Over time animal rescue as a whole has changed, too. Spay and neuter programs have reduced the number of homeless animals and large urban shelters are now shifting their focus to adoptions decreasing the need for our services.”
“While the book is often a lighthearted look back at some of her mistakes it doesn’t say anything about all the things she has gotten right,” said Darrell. “The truth is SCRC never would have become what it has without Siri as the driving force.”
The book’s conversational tone, self-deprecating humor and often hilariously funny vignettes about her cats and the characters that often accompany them have made the book popular, so much that it rose to the top of the best seller list on Amazon for new releases and has a consistent five-star rating on both Amazon and Goodreads.com.
Amazon reviewer Nancy G. Alford called the book a must- read for animal lovers.
“Siri’s story is fascinating, deeply revealing and honest about her struggles and mistakes both personal and professional,” said Alford in her April 30 review. “Though I was familiar with SCRC as an adopter and volunteer transporter this book shed new light on the other side of things including the legal requirements, the physical design of the shelter and the challenges of getting cats from difficult situations.”
“Rescue Meez” is available for purchase from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other book retailers. A Kindle version is also available.