People know me as a dog lover, but few know me as a writer.
If you’ve met me in “real life,” then you know I can be incredibly quiet. I’m actually great at making normal situations pretty awkward. That may be where my desire to write comes from. I suck at telling stories – at making conversation – so instead I write.
I have loved dogs as long as I can remember, the same is true about writing. My first memory of a dog is holding the water spaniel pup we got when I was 2 or 3 years old. She was a dark, curly fur-ball, and she and I didn’t grow too close. The older I get, I’ve noticed, the more attached I become to my dogs.
My parents bought a golden retriever puppy when I was 3. I remember visiting the breeder where what seemed like dozens of red dogs jumped and barked at me from behind a chain-link fence. We must have been going to choose our pup or to meet her parents.
I can’t recall life without dogs around, and it’s difficult to recall a time when I was unable to write. I remember drawing wavy lines and asking my mom what it said. I just assumed my “writing” meant something and that she would be able to tell me what. I like to think she told me it could mean whatever I wanted.
At that age, I had already lived with three different dogs. My parents had a tennis-ball obsessed black lab waiting for me the week I came home from the hospital as a newborn. I suppose Jessie had an important job – she taught an infant to love dogs.
One of my first journals was from the summer when I was 7 and we took a family vacation to the Black Hills in South Dakota. My entries are mostly lists of the different animals I spotted in the badlands, Custer State Park and “Bear Country, USA.” Among my mentions of black bears, deer, pronghorn and buffalo are several observations about dogs.
From that time, I’ve written pages and pages of fiction and nonfiction – a lot about dogs, some not. Some is good writing, most isn’t.
Just as dog lovers have to own dogs, writers have to write. And they have to be heard, too. Thank God for blogs, although I once heard the average blog has 1.5 readers. If I have three, I guess I’m doing pretty well (hi, Ma!).
At the moment, I am working on a book about the happiness of dogs, an exciting challenge for me. I will be looking at different human-dog pairs and how our dogs are happy no matter who they’re “stuck with.” As I move further along with this project, I will look forward to seeking feedback from readers of That Mutt.
Sometimes I have to remind myself how lucky I am to be able to accomplish my goals in life: Relax. Explore. Understand dogs. Write.
For me, there will always be early mornings, pen in hand, dog at my feet. There will always be late nights, glowing laptop screen, dog still at my feet.
There will always be more dogs to rescue, to train, to run. And when there are dogs, there is always more inspiration to write.