If you've read any of my books, or even the descriptions, you probably realize that dogs play a role in each and every one of them. (And this from a self-described cat person LOL.)
In my first book, Finding Chance (Mondo Publishing 2007) a girl named Alice finds a lost and hungry dog. Here's a great illustration from that book, by talented artist Nancy Lane.
In The Horse Jar (Mondo Publishing 2009) a girl's hope and dreams and plans for a horse of her own become all tangled up, when an incident with her best friend's dog, a dachshund named Spunky, changes everything.
In The Girl Who Remembered Horse (Musa Publishing 2011) a horse novel set in the future, dogs are also figured prominently in the plot, and play an important role in society.
In my two most recent novels, a lost yellow Lab bring together two teenagers, and a character named Aunt Trudy volunteers at the animal shelter, and also raises a houseful of strays, including cats, dogs, and horses (Six Degrees of Lost Musa Publishing 2012.)
My newest release, Walking the Dog (Musa Publishing 2012) is a story about two kids dealing with some very adult problems, and features therapy dogs, animal shelter dogs, and a special animal shelter cat.
I guess I put my words where my heart is. I feel strongly about rescuing animals. I have volunteered at our local shelter - walking dogs and petting cats - and somehow those experiences seem to sneak into my novels. With the thousands of homeless animals out there, waiting for their special someone, it breaks my heart to see puppies advertised for sale on Craig's List, when there are so many animals being put to sleep at shelters across the country. (Maybe would-be dog breeders should spend a week or two volunteering at their local shelter. It might open their eyes.)
But enough soap box from me. Because of an ad on Petfinder.com about a medium female retriever mix with this description: A sweet girl, brought in by animal control. She was just covered in fleas, poor thing, so we treated her right away. She is young, around 10 months, and deserves a home where she will be well cared for. - I stopped by the animal shelter on my way home from town.
As I entered the double doors where large dogs were barking loudly, I saw her huddled up on a thin yellow blanket. Behind a chain link gate, she shivered, scared out of her wits. She was smaller and more fine-boned than I had expected, and absolutely beautiful. As we slipped a leash on her and brought her out of the kennel and into a quieter room, she stopped shaking and looked into my eyes. As I stroked her soft coat and ears, her tail wagged slowly. I was smitten.
She had a three day waiting period at the shelter, to see if an owner came forward. No one did. Someone else had put a "pre-adopt" on this dog, but when the day came to pick her up, they didn't want her either. But it didn't matter. I knew she was mine from the moment I laid eyes on her. It was love at first sight. When the shelter called, I was up there as fast as I could drive.
Isn't she beautiful?
We named her Jessie.
Thinking about adopting a new pet? October is a good time. Make it a point to stop by your local shelter today. You just might fall in love, too.