Shane Mutlow will be signing his book, “One Foot over the Edge: A Canadian Soldier’s Personal Account of The Rwandan Genocide” at End of the Leash Pet Boutique on Nov. 6. It highlights his time deployed in Rwanda and his journey towards mental wellness after struggling for 25 years. (Submitted photo)
One Foot over the Edge: A Canadian Soldier’s
Personal Account of The Rwandan Genocide
book signing event at End of the Leash Nov. 6
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday November 4, 2021
It has taken over 25 years for retired Canadian soldier Shane Mutlow to summon the courage to share his story with the world.
The trauma and suffering he experienced while in Rwanda in 1994 left him with mental health injuries that haunt him to this day. For six months, he bore witness to unimaginable horror - the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and saw an estimated two million refugees flee the country.
“One Foot over the Edge: A Canadian Soldier’s Personal Account of The Rwandan Genocide” recounts Mutlow’s story, his traumatic experiences in Rwanda including his own kidnapping and witnessing a friend’s suicide, and follows him as he tries to regain his mental health and find his footing again.
Writing the book was simultaneously a catharsis and a trauma as Mutlow had to recount those dark terrors.
“The reason why I wrote this is because I wanted to help others,” he said. “So if that works, then I feel like I’m just doing my job.”
Because he was unable to finish his career in the military, he said he feels this is his way to help his comrades and show that there is a light in the darkness.
“Now I have this opportunity to do that,” he said.
Response to the book, released in August 2021, has been overwhelmingly positive, and some of the proceeds from each sale goes to Fortitude Farms in Braeside Ont, to provide funds for veterans who wish to try equine therapy.
Ginger, a therapy horse at Fortitude Farms, became Mutlow’s lifeline, helping him slowly regain a sense of emotional balance.
“The only thing that worked for him was equine therapy,” said his wife, Justine Mutlow. “Nothing worked except for horses.”
His book has made the top 100 on Amazon and there is talk of turning his story into a movie.
A script written by Actress and writer Katelyn Wells has won awards for Best Unproduced Script at the 2021 Toronto International Women’s Film Festival, runner-up and honourable mention for Best Feature Film Screenplay at 2021 Lonely Seal International Film and the 2021 Screenplay and Music Festival in Boston, a semi-finalist for Best Feature Screenplay (historical) at the 2021 Big Apple Film Festival and Screenplay Competition in New York and Semi-Finalist for Best Feature Screenplay (historical) at the 2021 Big Apple Agents and Managers Networking Lab in New York.
While the book is a success now, he was initially terrified to release it.
“My worst fear was the response I was going to get from people I served with overseas,” said Mutlow. “All those people have become my greatest supporters.”
He was also contacted by strangers who opened their hearts and shared their feelings, many admitting a new awareness of what their loved ones had experienced and are still going through.
“It’s helping a lot of families,” said Justine, who has been with him every step of the way.
On Shane’s website, there are resources for veterans and military members.
“There is a huge network of veterans out there that you can just reach out to and contact them and they will help you,” said Mutlow.
Shane Mutlow will be at an official book signing on Nov. 6, 2021, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the End of the Leash Pet Boutique in Petawawa.
His website can be found at shanemutlowauthor.com.