As most of you know, I have two cats (one of whom thinks she’s a puppy) and a Shih Tzu (who thinks she’s a cat), so wee little animals and their not-so-wee-little personalities are part of the fabric of my daily life. And yet, none of my characters have had pets (unless you count Adam’s horse in Taming Eliza Jane and Becoming Miss Becky.
That’s probably not a bad thing. Can you imagine Gallagher in No Surrender—out in the jungle fighting not only for his own life, but for his true love’s life, as well—slapping himself in the forehead and saying, “Oh shit, I forgot to feed the dog”?
But now my characters have encountered their first canine co-star. The hero of Holiday Sparks, my upcoming Christmas novella, has a dog—a big German Shepherd named Kojak. (The name holds a great deal of meaning for me, but I’ll save that for another day.)
I love big dogs, German Shepherds in particular. When Mr S and I started discussing a dog for the boys, I thought German Shepherd. A dog that’ll let a child use it as a bean bag chair, then rip the face off anybody else who gets too close is a win in my book. My husband was leaning more toward a black Lab because, really, is there a better dog for young boys than a Lab? Not really.
So how did we end up with a Swiffer pad on legs?
The couple whose camper was parked next to ours bred Shih Tzus and Mini was their last puppy. On the weekends, we’d play with Mini and she’d try to run around with SK, who she’d decided was her BFF. This went on for a while until, one weekend, somebody tried to buy Mini.
But…but…that’s our dog!
Weekend visitations were over. It was time to pay up or shut up, and there was no way we could let some strangers take our dog.
She doesn’t listen. She doesn’t fetch. You can’t use her as a bean bag chair (though you could probably use her as the bean bag in a bean bag toss game). She certainly won’t be ripping anybody’s face off. But there was never any doubt, from the first time we saw her fluffy little face, that she was our dog.
So…I digressed. I started talking about animals in books and ended up yapping about my own. Hopefully Kojak won’t take over the story the way Mini does. Rather than make this any longer, I’ll just close it out with a picture of Mini, doing her meerkat impression on the way to camp:
(Mini standing on her hind legs so she can see out the windshield. With her left front paw resting on Dad’s arm, she’ll stand like that for miles.)