If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, March 9, 2017

My Best Friend, Maggie


Last week my best friend turned eight years old. Maggie is my beautiful collie. I have human friends, but my long time best human friend died over six years ago. I have other friends, but none like my friend Phyllis who was willing to do anything I suggested no matter how weird it was like taking clogging lessons. We were on the phone talking about anything and everything almost every day. When my oldest son died, so many people avoided me because they didn’t know what to say, but Phyllis called and came over often. I’m very close to my siblings and have other friends, too, but it’s not the same. We might go weeks without talking to each other which is just as much my fault because I’m usually busy writing or doing something else. But Maggie is always close by usually napping or wanting some love or a treat.
 
The Albert Payson Terune books

I’ve been in love with collies since I was a young child and discovered the Albert Payson Terhune books about collies written in the 1930s. I still have some of his books I’d bought or were given to me for Christmas. Also, my mom used to tell us about Fuzzy, the collie she and her siblings had while growing up.












Dusty with my little sister Cathi

When I was sixteen a stray collie mix showed up and I kept her. I took her for long walks in the woods. Unfortunately, four years later when I got married and moved into an apartment, my parents gave her to a farmer because they didn’t want to take care of her. I grieved about that.

Over the years I had several other collies I adopted or got from an ad in the paper. Scotty was a beautiful male collie that one day followed a pack of dogs that ran through our yard chasing a deer. He was hit by a car a mile away. Up until then he’d always stayed in the yard or the woods close behind us.







This isn't Eliza but it looks like her.


My husband picked up a stray female collie less than a year old on the street where he worked. It’d been pacing up and down the sidewalk all day so he brought her home. I put an ad in the paper and no one answered. She had tumors on three of her legs, and the vet said that was probably why she’d been abandoned. He removed the tumors and spayed her. I named her Eliza Doolittle, and she was a wonderful dog. She mothered kittens the barn cat had, and even curled around a sick chicken to keep it warm. She loved playing hide and seek with a goat one of my daughters had. We went for walks in the woods every day. When she was about the age of my Maggie, she developed leukemia. There was no treatment for that and as long as she was still eating and running around I kept her. When she started going blind and obviously wasn’t feeling well, I had her put down.


We had two German shepherds, an old one we agreed to keep when we bought the house and they didn’t want to move the old guy. He died a few years later. Then my son brought home a German shepherd puppy that ended up being my pal since my son was a busy teenager. When I moved to the small farm I live on now, I took him with me, but he was old then and had developed hip dysplasia. When he had trouble getting up, I had to have him put to sleep while I petted and talked to him.

Because I was teaching full time, I decided no more dogs until I retired. However, the year before I retired I changed my mind and answered an ad for collie pups on a farm north of us. My best friend Phyllis went with me to see the puppies. There were two small female pups left, and Phyllis helped me choose Molly. She also lent me a dog crate so Molly became the first house dog I’ve ever had. I don’t remember any problem house breaking her. If she had any accidents, I’ve forgotten them.
On one of my hikes with Molly.

I fell in love with Molly, and we walked in the woods every day I wasn’t teaching or that wasn’t raining or too bitter cold. If I let my chickens out, following her collie instincts, she’d herd them back into their coop. Once she found a litter of tiny bunnies in a nest under one of my rose bushes. I took her into the house and put the little ones back in the nest. The next morning while I was doing barn chores, I realized she wasn’t with me. I checked and she had every one of those six or seven little ones lined up in a row and was washing them. Then she started tossing one like a toy but not biting down on it. I put her in the house and put the bunnies back in their nest, but figured the mother would have nothing to do with them with dog drool all over them. They didn’t live.
 
Pavarotti is still alive & well and loves broccoli.
One time when I was cleaning my canary Pavarotti’s cage, he escaped and started flying around the house with me and Molly chasing him. Eventually, I caught him and put him back in his cage. Molly stood there staring at him for a short while, and then trotted to the sliding glass door in the sun room facing the bird feeders a few yards away. She stared at the birds under and on the feeders, and then trotted back into the laundry room and stared up at Pavarotti. You could see the wheels turning in her brain when she made the connection between the canary and the outside birds.

Molly developed grand mal seizures shortly before she was five years old. She was put on medication that helped for a while, and then had a massive one late one evening after all the vet offices were closed. In the morning, a grandson put her in the back of my car and I took her to the vet’s office. Her hind quarters were totally paralyzed. They kept her for a few days. She could rise up a little on her front legs, but couldn’t move her back legs at all. I was told it would be permanent. So I agreed to have her put to sleep. I knelt down beside her and sang a song I sang often to her, You Are My Sunshine, and while I cried, she licked the tears from my cheeks. She died peacefully. I brought her home, and my son buried her in a garden close to my house where now the ashes of my daughter’s twenty-three year old long time diabetic cat is buried, too.
I had to teach Maggie to get up on logs when we first went out.

My California daughter, Mary, wanted me to get another collie immediately. She thought I needed a guard dog. I wasn’t ready for one, but I checked out collie rescue sites. All the available collies were old or had health issues. After just putting down a dog, I didn’t want to have a collie which might not live long. So my California daughter located several local breeders. Neither one had any puppies for sale, but one said she’d have some in the fall. She contacted me in September and said none of her girls took, but she had an eighteen month old female who didn’t show well and was willing to sell her. So my best friend who went with me to get Molly, went with me to see this collie, a beautiful tri-color collie named Twin Cities Born to Dance. The breeder had bought her as a puppy, but she didn’t show well. She pointed out all her faults, which I didn’t see or care about, and she sold her to me with the stipulation that I have her vet checked and spayed, and I agreed to do it.
Maggie and my ponies Puffy and Phoebe get along quite well.

The next day she called to ask me how she was doing. I told her fine, but she never barked. She told me it was because she had all her dogs muted. Collies do have a shrill bark, and she had neighbors near her. When Mary called and I told her about Maggie (which I named her) being muted, she wanted me to take her back and get our money back. I told her since she paid half and I paid half, she owned the back half and I owned the front half and I didn’t care if my half barked. Maggie does bark, but it’s not a shrill bark and more of an out, out, out sound. As I got to know Maggie better, I realized the reason she didn’t show well wasn’t any of the things the previous owner pointed out. She was shy. Large crowds with lots of noisy people and barking dogs would have her go into the ring with head and tail down. She wouldn’t be prancing like Molly did. Over time Maggie became less shy and quite friendly. Not a good guard dog, but I don’t care. It’s not what I was looking for anyway. She’s sweet, friendly, loveable, and in the more than six years I’ve had her she’s only growled once at a rowdy little puppy I was caring for one weekend when my daughter-in-law was away. That one growl calmed the hyper little puppy down.
Moggie and Brat Cat in Maggie's bed keeping her out.

Actually, Maggie is a guard dog, sort of. She protects me from rabbits, squirrels and makes sure the garbage man leaves our garbage container behind. Also, she lets the Amish know horses don’t belong on the road always from a distance, of course. However, if any squirrel or rabbit stopped and turned around, Maggie would bark at it wagging her tail wanting to be friends. She befriended a stray young barn cat that appeared one day.The only animal she was afraid of for several years, was one of my two cats, Brat Cat, who would leap out at her hissing and batting at her with her non-existent front claws. The two four year old tabby cat sisters were declawed when I got them, but Maggie never realized that and would go slipping and sliding across the hardwood floors trying to escape. Now they’re all friends, sort of. It they get too rowdy racing around the house she barks at them. If they take over her bed, she walks away.

Henny Penny who runs free  and Maggie are good friends.

Although Maggie doesn’t really protect me, what she does is make me a healthier person going on morning walks with me weather permitting. From many articles I’ve read, a dog or cat is healthy for older people keeping them mentally alert and just petting a dog or cat is therapeutic. I know she makes me smile and I love her as much as she loves me.






Maggie sleeping in my library where I'm writing.








Do you have or have you ever had a dog?

What about a cat?

10 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

Even since I've been an adult, I've had pets (I always wanted them when I was a child, and we had a few short term ones, but they never worked out with the family.)

Presently we have one dog (our Hamish died in January and we are deciding whether to get another dog or not) and six cats. None of the cats have been deliberately acquired--they just show up. We take them to get neutered and a rabies shot, then if they continue to hang around, they become "our" cats. Six is about four more cats than we'd really like to have, but we have almost seven acres, so it's not too crowded. Some of our cats are really old--we've had one for sixteen years, and she wasn't young when she showed up.

As we get older, we are re-thinking the twenty year commitment that a new pet may represent. We may turn to fostering kittens, which we have done before.

Grace Topping said...

What a lovely blog. Animals give us such unconditional love. But, as you've learned, it is so painful losing them. My husband and I don't have any pets, but we do so much dog sitting for our daughters' dogs that we might as well consider ourselves dog owners.

Margaret Turkevich said...

In Georgia, everybody had a big hunting dog riding in the back of a pickup truck. When our miniature poodle, who had raised three babies, died, the kids asked for a big dog. Because of allergies, it had to be a poodle. So we acquired what turned into 60 pounds of canine determination. Toby chewed holes in the sheetrock, window sills, and every cleat and shin guard he could find, unzipping soccer bags to acquire them. Any food on the counter? Gone, including the wrapper. Houseplants? gone. Green persimmons on the trees in the woods? a delicacy. A regular at soccer games and cross country meets, he was the team mascot.

And now we have two standard poodles who chew on ethically obtained elk antlers.

Jim Jackson said...

I've met Maggie, and she is a very fine dog.

Gloria Alden said...

KM, I hear you on getting an animal that might be around twenty years, much more likely with cats than dogs. I know I'll be lucky if Maggie lives four more years. Large dogs don't usually live as long as little dogs. My daughter had a diabetic cat who lived to be 23 years old, and she traveled all over with Mary when Mary was a travel nurse.

Thank you, Grace. Having pets can be a burden, too, not only in caring for them and losing them, but in finding someone to take care of them when you go on vacations. Fortunately, now I have a friend who will house sit nights and feed them mornings and evenings. I pay her, of course, but it's worth it. Even if I just go to the grocery store, my dog is ecstatic when I get home as if I've been gone for days and days.

Margaret, how long did you keep that dog that would have been such a problem? At least the ones you have now seem to be good companions. Like collies, you don't often see standaard poodles anywhere.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Toby was with us fifteen wonderful years. The kids adored him. He calmed down considerably when he was about three.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gloria, I once heard a writer say her manuscript wasn't considered worthy unless her cat sat on it. LOL I also like that you include dogs in your Katherine Jewell mystery series. They tune in on our emotions like nothing else, and provide such comfort. I like the picture of Maggie with Henny Penny. What a funny pair of friends they are! Laura

Warren Bull said...

My mother was allergic to the pollen furry animals brought into the house.

Carla Damron said...

Maggie sounds lovely. We have four fur-kids, and they fill our home with joy. And hair. Lots and lots of hair.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, that's a long time for a large dog to live. I'm glad he settled down enough for you to enjoy him.

Laura, somewhere I have an even cuter picture of Maggie and Henny Penny lying down near the back door not more than a foot or so apart staring at each other, but I'll be darn if I know where that picture went.

I have a slight allergy to cats, too. I'm okay with them to some extent, but after I pet them, I have to wash my hands before I touch my eyes. Also, I can't have them too close to my face.

Carla, I hear you about the fur. Actually, Maggie doesn't shed any more than most dogs, it's just that her fur is longer. Fortunately, she only sheds certain times of the year.
As for the cats, I don't notice if they do shed. They bath themselves all the time.