Canine Characters 

Maybe it’s not so odd that dogs appear in all my books. I grew up with them. They fold into the fabric of my youth like my Aunt Kitty and my Uncle Jack. Memory images squared off in black and white. Color came later, with my Shih Tzu, Charlie. 

I heard that my grandfather loved German shepherds. Two of them have materialized from the vapors of my creativity. Since my first novel was really centered around stories from my youth, a regal shepherd suddenly appeared on the page, as if any subliminal thoughts of my grandfather were terribly incomplete without his beloved dog. Being a bit eclectic I tend to write in different genres. I have also written a fantasy novel that I’m soon about to sequel. In that book, a white shepherd was sent to lead my character, who just happened to be a witch, to the infamous Church of Loudon, where my heroine's fate lay buried in the stones. Needless to say, the white Shepherd was a saint, never showed his teeth, just his heart.

It’s not easy to write dogs into the dialogue. They don’t speak. Well, not usually. But they do provide a wonderful opportunity for description and humor. In my books, they attach themselves to me as they do in life: endearing, annoying and absolutely wonderful  little dominances, sprightly companions, balls of fur that gather and wind up on my black blazers, not to mention my walls.

I never had a Chihuahua but one just happened to materialize in my third book, coy and clever; she controls the characters around her with the iron hand of a five star chef. It’s difficult to think of a dog as being coy and clever but I have a Pomeranian who fits the bill. She lured me into adopting her by pretending to be docile and sweet. She always gets fed when she’s hungry and has literally learned the English Language. It’s a terribly egocentric interpretation of our language because it always has something to do with her little desires and it is always connected with food. She has even learned to recognize the music from The Today Show and begins barking at seven A.M., the moment she hears it. Today Show theme song translates into “Now she’s going to walk me and then she’s going to feed me. Big Bow Wow; let’s move it.”

I also wrote a science fiction novel. I did mention I'm eclectic, didn't I? Well, like a flying saucer sent to unhinge my world, into the story line came a wonderful old country mutt, the kind that little boys love. My plot, as you can imagine went back and forth between my main character’s befuddled adulthood (he believes he was abducted) to his all American boyhood, when the adduction took place. It isn’t his first grade school teacher who appears to him so many years later, nor even his Mom and Dad; it’s Crocket, the dog that had his heart to such a degree, that like the shepherds before him, this friendly old mutt comes back to lead the way home, to provide the answers sought.

 Interestingly enough, when I was single I had a dog named Starlight, a beautiful black and white Sheltie mix. A friend once said that in human form she would live in Paris and own a millinery shop on the Champs-Elysees. She’d be a flirt, a pretty little seductress. I could definitely see that. In my singleness she was my family, friend and companion; she filled the gaps left by disappointment; she always made me happy and took my attention off wallowing in everything that wasn’t working in my life. It is no wonder then that when one of my female characters in another one of my books, more contemporary and earthbound, gets separated from her spouse, she gets a dog, the kind you cuddle and name Elvis, someone whose ears perk up when you arrive home, whose heart beats just a little faster when he hears your key in the lock, a puppy dog who picks up your cologne and awaits your arrival with baited breath.

In the novel I’m writing now, a pug demanded his way into my creation, cute and ornery and as annoying as a fly at lunch. I never had a pug either but it hardly matters. I never had a King Charles spaniel but in another one of my books, she showed up, too. This little puppy fit the character who loved her, gracious and full of spunk. I guess I can always count on the writing process to reveal my take on the world. I’ve never met a person I’ve ever liked that didn’t warm to dogs. Why should I create characters that don’t relate to the wonderfulness of these magnificent beings? You can easily find your soul mates, your likeminded friends, the people you’d chose to make up your world if you could. They are the ones who can’t pass by a dog without a smile. I guess that in my writing, my world is of my making and within my world, dogs rule.