Friday, January 3, 2014

First Friday Pets

Texas & Dallas
DALLAS is a featured character in THE MARINE'S LAST DEFENSE. (I blogged about her on Dec. 13th.

Tim and I waited until we were adults to own our first pet. During my childhood my brother had a dog, my mother had cats, but I was never close...seems I never made a connection. That changed with Logan. Perhaps staying at home with him and raising him from a puppy helped. It probably helped that he was an amazing, sympathetic dog.

Texas and Roxie are the current Labs in the house. They rule everything, travel with us most of the time, or have a pet-sitter when they can't. Loving, fun, playful members of the family. (You can catch our adventures every Sunday on A Picture A Day.) 

Texas & Roxie
Most of you know that my husband and I foster Labradors. We look forward to another visitor in our home at the end of January. It's brought an amazing opportunity to us, meeting people, helping dogs learn to play, or learn to behave... Sometimes, you'd think that house-training an animal would be a chore, but helping an animal that's had such a difficult background is very rewarding. The best part of the process is when they find their forever home. (I've also blogged about this experience.)  

I hope you'll check out Dallas in my January release. I asked the rest of the CREW to celebrate with us by sharing some stories of their own pets. Thanks for joining us today.

Pets have always been a big part of my life--growing up, we had a dog, and we've always had a cat or two roaming around the house.  My younger brother had some more exotic creatures--a lizard, a snake, even a tarantula!--but I've always preferred an animal I can snuggle with.

I currently have 2 orange and white kitties--Josh and Toby.  They're spoiled rotten, and I just adore them (even if they are smarter than me!)

I really enjoy writing pets into my stories--in DEADLY CONTACT, the hero James has two cats.  I just finished a short story, where the heroine's cat plays a starring role.  After all, as anyone with pets (especially cats!) knows, it's all about them!

Animals have been a part of my life since I was a child. My mother let us have all kinds of pets from dogs to hamsters to birds to rabbits. We had frogs lay eggs in our laundry sink one summer. We had baby gerbils. We had turtles.  My first dog was a Dalmatian that my aunt and uncle bought while living in Australia. They came home to the U.S. and had to turn around and go back again. They couldn’t bring the dog back so we took her. Her name was Lady Tochliff of Perth I and we called her Toch (pronounced “Tock”). Her name was an aboriginal word meaning “trouble,” but she was the best family dog ever—she wrestled gently with four kids and yet played growly-hard with my dad. She recognized Dairy Queen and barked for a cone whenever we drove by the sign—and she knew how to turn door handles with her mouth and get out of the house. Cool dog!

My current dog is a border collie. She’s smarter than we are and lets us know her. Magic the wonder BC makes up games all the time. She’s 13 now, but she’s still in love with her Frisbee and is as insistent as ever that we play things HER way! I also have a horse named Jedi – a lovely gray Arabian I don’t get to ride nearly often enough!

This animal-loving gene has been passed down in spades to my children. They’re both grown. My son has three dogs and a cat. My daughter, who actually became a veterinarian has SIXTEEN animals: 4 horses, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 sugar gliders, 1 goat, 1 donkey, 1 pig, 1 alpaca, and 1 wallaby.

Is it any wonder I can’t even begin to write a book with no animals in it? My current book features a cat in it named Thirty-one, an orange-and-black tortoiseshell that looks like Halloween. I can’t imagine a world without strays, exotics, household pets and a cupboard filled with pet stain carpet cleaner! For pics of Magic, Jedi and all my grand-animals check out my website!

I had a puppy named Rooney when I was about 4. My mom didn't like him barking all night so we gave him away to another family. I also had goldfish when I was in grade school. Sadly they all died within a week.

A 4th grade teacher where I was teaching talked about a gray kitten she found on the road. She took him home, cleaned him up, and thought about keeping him. One day she brought him into her classroom (during summer prep) and I fell in love with him. He wasn't getting along with her other cats and so she asked if I'd be willing to take him if she couldn't get them all to get along. I seriously considered it and was ready to say yes, but she ended up keeping him. I still think about him...11 years later. 

I've only put a pet in one of my books. He was dog named Barcleigh and it just felt right for the character to have one.

I LOVE to write pets/creatures into my stories. Here's the breakdown:

AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY: Cassandra St. Cloud has two sporting dogs, Oscar and Psyche. Also, Scotland Yard's crime laboratory has a secret weapon to locate illegal shipments of dynamite, and his name is Alfred, the bloodhound. Named after Alfred Nobel, the inventor of nitroglycerin, the dog with the amazing nose becomes one of the on-going characters in the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard novels.

THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK: Phaeton has a pet gargoyle named Edvar the Sneaky.

A PRIVATE DUEL WITH AGENT GUNN: Finn rides his horse, Mister MacGregor, all over London, France, Spain.

And speaking of horses. The chestnut colored horse above is Bronson. Bronson came from a cutting horse ranch in Texas, and I bought him when he was just three years old. I competed on him for almost ten years. He is now retired, and living large at a ranch in Murrieta, California. He is amazingly athletic, with lots of heart. A great competitor and friend.

Despite the fact that I was madly in love with my husband when I married him, (okay, still am) there almost wasn’t a wedding.  He’s a farm boy, I’m a …well small town/average city girl.  Animals were both parts of our lives, but he wanted them outdoors, and I slept with my Boston terrier for 15 years – see the problem here?  And then when I did get my way, we found he was highly allergic.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  So I make up for this loss in my life by spoiling my granddog – Charlie pictured here with my son, Dave and his wife Melanie.

I also put them in books, and they’re always spoiled.   In Deadly Recall I had a cat named General whose owner thought he was the reincarnation of General Macarthur, and in Betrayed, I have a disobedient black Labrador retriever named Cordie.  

I've had pets all my life, have never been without a dog or cat. Other pets I've had include hamsters, gerbils, birds, and once a raccoon, but not all at the same time! I feel more connected to the world and more joyful when I've got my little pals around. I love horses and rode quite a bit when I was growing up, but never had the opportunity to own one. That's still a dream--to live somewhere I can have a horse and other "outdoor" animals.

Our children have grown up with dogs and cats and early on learned how to love them properly and how to care for them. Our current brood includes a black kitty named Ellie and a rambunctious pup called Freckles. My husband says I treat Freckles like she's a child. Not really. I don't expect her to clean up her room, do her homework, take out the garbage... 

Freckles loves the dog park. This is a daily trip we make, so long as it isn't raining or snowing. She enjoys the exercise and I'm more creative if I can get outside for a period of time during the day. When she's stuck inside, she plays with the cat...when she can find her.

THANK YOU AGAIN for sharing our pets with us.
We'd love to hear your pet stories...
commenters are eligible for a $10 gift card


Mary Preston said...

I'm without pets right now, but I remember one particular budgie growing up. Every time my Mother would walk past his cage she would say "Who's a pretty boy?" Before long if you went near him he would say "Who's a pretty boy?"
He was a pretty boy too. Apparently if you get the birds young they can learn to talk.


Anita H. said...

Thanks for sharing those pet stories! I had hamsters when I was younger but both died after about a year. Then we tried a kitten but it didn't work out so I never ended up growing up with pets.


Ada said...

I couldn't have pets when I was growing up because I'm really allergic to them. I've always wanted a dog, I think they're fabulous creatures but I have to admire them from a semi-safe distance or risk damaging my health. So I live vicariously through posts like this and shares from my friends :) Thank you for sharing your wonderful pets with us!

ahui89 at hotmail dot com

May said...

I had one when I was growing up. He was really my puppy and followed me everywhere. I even fed him French fries! We had to give him when we moved too. :(

Your photos of the pets bring back lots of lovely memories!

Angi Morgan said...

I could never own a bird. My daughter is petrified of them. It seems she heard them as she was growing up --between her outside wall and the brick-- and it made a bad impression.

Angi Morgan said...

Same here, Anita... Just never worked out for me. I never thought I'd connect with a dog like this...our first was rescued for the kids and quickly became mine.

Angi Morgan said...

Ada, my heart goes out to you.

Angi Morgan said...

Awe May... many of our rescues are from people in your situation. Loving family pets who had to be given up. I hope your dog went to a very loving family.

Quilt Lady said...

We don't have any pets right now other then fish in a pond and tank in the house. In the past we have had birds. When my son was young we had a small Amazon parot that would Chico pretty bird and would wave and say by by. When we would set down to eat you had better give him a plate of he would raise cain. He was a really cool bird but I couldn't take care of him and a todler so we had to sell him. I do miss that bird now.

Angi Morgan said...

That sounds cool. Perhaps there's another out there for you.

bn100 said...

Cute pets

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Angi Morgan said...

Thanks for stopping by, BN.

Lara Lacombe said...

How cool! I've never had a bird myself, but I remember my grandparents had finches when I was a little kid. I found them fascinating, so much so that I tried several times to open the cage so I could pet them. I let them out once, much to my grandparents' chagrin!

Lara Lacombe said...

A hamster was something we never had, but several of my friends did. They're cute :)

Lara Lacombe said...

My Gentlemen Friend is allergic to furry creatures as well. He won't stay away though, no matter how often I remind him. He'd rather sniffle!

Lara Lacombe said...

Aww, a dog that likes french fries--how funny! :)

Lara Lacombe said...

I've heard birds are supposed to be really smart. Sounds like yours was! :)

Lara Lacombe said...

Thanks, BN! Have a good weekend! :)

Maureen said...

We have two cats who we have had over five years. Our daughter insists they are spoiled and she is probably right but she has a puppy herself now and she her puppy is just as spoiled as our cats.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Angi Morgan said...

Spoil the ones you love !!
My dogs are completely spoiled. And Lara insists her cats are spoiled...but I don't see it.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Love these pet stories! Do geese count. I had a yardful today!

Linda said...

I love reading stories which features pets and/or where the hero/heroine have an affinity with animals. It gives a nice added dimension to the story.

We've always had dogs. Aren't they just awesome?

Angi Morgan said...

I love seeing the pictures of the deer that come into your yard.

Angi Morgan said...

I can't picture my life without a dog. I mean dogs. I'll always try to have two. They bond and have great times together.

Priscilla Price said...

“…has SIXTEEN animals: 4 horses, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 sugar gliders, 1 goat, 1 donkey, 1 pig, 1 alpaca, and 1 wallaby.” – That’s a lot of pets! Considering that these are only owned by your daughter. It’s not easy taking care animals but thinking of how you and your children save a life, it’s a good thing to take all of them in your family. Enjoy!