Tag Archives: dog

Heather The Hound

Heather The HoundIn September of last year, our beloved Joe The Dog (sometimes known as JTD) was tragically and unexpectedly whisked off to the Great Doggy Park in the Sky. He was chasing a squirrel at the time, and failed to notice the SUV bearing down on him. We like to think that he was at least doing something he enjoyed when he died.

The thing is, I looked on Joe as a canine muse. Twice a day, he and I would walk the beach or stomp through forest trails. He would sniff out the delicious smells, forage for crunchy snacks and, occasionally, play fetch or wrestle a bit. I would wander into my alternate universe, peopled by the characters and the stories that I had created. Here was the ideal opportunity to chew on plot tangles, develop personalities and play out dialogue and action.

His departure didn’t stop me writing, but it certainly did slow things down. I thought I might continue the walks on my own, but the motivation was gone and I found it hard to be accompanied by JTD’s ghost everywhere I went.

Time past. We decided not to get another dog. “They are such a tie,” we said. “They take up so much time,” we said. “They are so expensive,” we said. And yet. Without any previous discussion, we discovered one day that we were both thinking that the time had come. Enter Heather The Hound (HTH). Heather’s early family history is a blank sheet. She was almost certainly bred as a hunting dog (she is a Harrier mix) and then dumped somewhere in North Carolina or Southern Virginia. She was rescued from an ignominious death at the Dog Pound by our local Animal Welfare League and then we happened along. So far, both parties in the arrangement are ecstatically happy. I get my dog-walking time back, we have a dog to keep us company on the sofa when we watch TV in the evening and Heather gets a new pack which offers her comfort, care, security and love.

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Interview with Joe The Dog

We caught up with Joe The Dog sleeping in the sunshine on the deck of his house in Southern Maryland.

Sleeping? Not at all. Coiled spring, me. Instantly ready to bark at passers-by, grab an unsuspecting insect as it flies past, or leap up at the offer of FOOD. Is that a doggie treat you’ve got there? Sorry? A microphone? Dearie me. That’s not much good. I can feel myself losing the will to live already.

No. I’m not a character in the book. It’s a bone of contention. Hahaha! Did you get that? ‘Bone of contention!’ Anyway. All I get is a mention in the acknowledgements. I ask you. I mean, I take him along the beach every day, twice a day and that’s when he writes the stuff in his head. You’d think it wasn’t too much to ask to include me. But no. It’s not as if he’s even much good on the beach. I’ve never seen him cocking his leg, or pooping in the long grass, or crunching crab’s legs or any of that good stuff. And as for chasing a ball! Useless.

What do I think of the book? Tell you the truth, I haven’t read it myself. I like something with a bit more meat in the story. The odd chicken helps, too. And it has guns in it, as I understand. Dogs don’t do guns. It’s partly our lack of an opposable claw which makes the whole hold-it-up-to-your-shoulder-and-pull-the-trigger-at-the-same-time thing a bit tricky. But mainly it’s the noise. Scares the living crap out of us. We’d be no good on the front. Or the back, come to that. It’s hard to confront the enemy while lying on the ground with your paws over your ears and pooping uncontrollably all the while.

The author? What about him? Oh, he’s not a bad old geezer, I guess. Thinks he’s the alpha male in the house, though. Hahaha! That’s a joke. I go along with it a bit, of course. You know, submissive-tummy-rub stuff and occasionally following orders. But see when he’s fifty yards away and I’ve found a fine, chewy carcass on the beach and he calls me. Do I come? Do I Hell!

Okay. No problem. My pleasure. Now, stop kidding me around and give me a treat or I’ll take that microphone thingy and treat it like one of my chew-bones…

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