Monday, March 16, 2015

Writing and Reading About Dogs

Today I want to talk about something that is just as important to me as books and writing- dogs. I lovelovelove dogs, and unfortunately, one of mine passed away this weekend, which I briefly mentioned in my last post. His name was Charlie and he was about 13 or 14, and had been having lots of health issues over the past few months. Although it wasn't a sudden death, it has really shaken me and my family. I've had Charlie most of my life, and although his brothers, Max and Jack, are still around, things won't be the same without him.

I've been doing fairly well despite the pain of losing a best friend. But along with his death, has come a sort of reinforcement of my love of dogs. I'm taking extra good care of Max, who was very close to him. As well, having Max and my other pets around, has been helping me. Together we are all going to get through this.

But yeah, this is not meant to be a sappy post, and it will relate to books and reading, trust me. Along with my love of dogs, I want to talk about how they incorporate into my reading and writing.

When I was just a wee lass, I used to create many many books about dogs and pets. Some were informational books I would make with the help of my giant dog encyclopedia. Others were short chapter books where the main character would rescue dogs and live with them in mansions and other unlikely things.

Creating all of those books mixed together my favorite things- books, writing, dogs, and art!

When I got slightly older, shortly after we got Max and Charlie, I began reading dog chapter books. My absolute favorite series was Puppy Patrol by Jenny Dale. I received a book a month from a school book order, and I devoured them. By the end of my obsession, I believe I owned all of the books in the series.

What I really loved about this series, and several other dog books, was the rescuing aspect. I loved the idea of kids saving dogs. The kids in this particular series worked at a kennel, where they not only rescued, but trained and took care of all the dogs. 

As I grew, I began reading middle grade dog books, like The Last Dog on Earth and A Dog's Life.

During this time, I started writing my first real dog novel. It was about a girl who moved to a new town and found a stray dog in the basement, who she then took care of. And then slowly, she encountered more and more dogs that needed homes, and she hid them in her room where she secretly took care of them all. I hand wrote the thing in a floppy blue binder, with a cover page that read Dog House, and had a Googled image of a Bernese Mountain Dog. Of course, I never did finish it, even though my friends praised it, which was a first for me.

I also started writing out the stories of how I got my own dogs. I did that in a dog notebook, that I still have stashed somewhere. Now that Charlie is gone, perhaps I should finish those stories.

So it's no secret that dogs are a big part of my life, and that they have essentially helped me become the writer that I am, especially my babies, my boys, Max and Charlie. I hope Max sticks around for a while longer, and I hope I never forget Charlie. He was truly one of the best, most loyal dogs in the world. It feels so much quieter and empty without him, and I don't think I'll ever stop missing him.

 Paw Prints Emoji (Symbola Version)

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