Pets, Real and Fictional
Our beloved beagle, Bootsie, was a profound source of inspiration for me to complete THE DAWN. On a sunny, warm day in early February 2011, at nearly 14 years of age, he had to leave us. I’d been at work in the midst of revising the scene where Arthur and Camille meet again in Chapter 52. And so the noble spirit of that soulful hound persists until the end of the novel.
I would be remiss without mentioning the two abandoned cats that I adopted in the spring of 2008. They were victims of the sub-prime collapse; their owner left them when her house, adjacent to mine, was short-saled and she was evicted. My mostly Burmese black cat, Annabella, quite easily took the form of Gisele in THE DAWN. And Gabrielle is the Snowshoe who became Penelope in NOCTURNE. My 13-inch beagle, Bridget, has not yet been fictionalized, but she is a second cousin of the famous Uno and Miss P, and so that claim to fame will have to suffice for a while.
There was also our first beagle, Bonnie. Bootsie, the second beagle, was the triumph of hope over experience. Our veterinarian for Bonnie once had to spend a night of observation with this willful hound. She then told me that she’d never met a more obnoxious dog in all her years of practice and she sternly requested that I never bring her back for overnight care for gastroenteritis. When Bonnie died, this vet kindly assured me that this hound had been a loving pet, and I had to confess that she really wasn’t. Nevertheless, the young Bonnie, who somehow survived to the ripe age of 12, willfully found her way into the creation of Little Dell in NORTHSTAR; and later of Chiot in THE DAWN.
On 22 August
2015, our beagle Bridget journeyed to the other side where she joined her Hero, Bootsie, and – who knows – perhaps even Bonnie! I’ve no doubt that the lovely Bridget let the first beagle know just who
is really #1.
Welcome Home Chance!
We welcomed home Chance Beaumont Milligan on 14 October 2016, a rain-soaked Friday in northern California. Born on 2 July 2016, my Lucky Charm is quite a little guy!!
We are still early days in the knowing of our new beagle but little Chance is a Lanbur and already he promises to live up to his bloodline. It will be a wonderful walk in the park with this sweet, adorable, intelligent, playful, sensitive, curious, adventuresome and affectionate Chance, our Lucky Chance!
And he is quite the canine communicator: he talks not only with his big, soft, pleading eyes but with his big soft puppy paws, alluringly touching you! Want to come pet me . . . ? Rub my pink spotted belly . . . ? Maybe play with the stuffed sock . . . ?
Even before Mr. Chance arrived by my side to assist in editorial emotional support, I discovered the little guy was already working right along beside me! The various websites that I use during my work and down-time featured sponsored ads with photos of our future pup from the doggie placement service online where we decided to take a chance. And he’s a rare chance at puppy love!
For anyone in the U.S. interested in this wonderful organization, here is the link to this private breeder network which places their babies only with caring families. We are thrilled at the chance to offer a chance to anyone else willing to take a chance to find his or her Lucky Chance!
Easter 2017 Update
How are the cats getting along with Chance, the wonder beagle? They’re all a wonder to behold each day!
The cats certainly love his dog bed or, rather, the pet bed that became their newest cat bed. Chance has a tendency to devour any bed bought for him. He is what has been described as a “tenacious chewer” and so we have decided to forego purchasing the bed that can be chewed but not destroyed whilst he lays upon it. We grant him the option of any couch, chair or horizontal surface that he wants. There is a lot of Boostie in him!
As usual, the cats claim the front half of the property and the hound claims the back half, although I have seen the classic daring (“chase-me”) pose that Gabrielle strikes in front of the gate that divides the felines from the canine. It is always amusing to watch her go from demure to provocative in the space of 12 seconds. As for Annabella, whilst maintaining her calm Cleopatra pose, she keeps an EYE on this busy beagle who barks but has proven that he has better things to chew — like one of my favorite handmade placemats! I am sure it is the handmade quality that attracts him to the cotton. He is a natural fiber lover!
The cats reign supreme in their tiny terraced parterre of flowers. I still must chase away the occasional intruder cat. Chance has yet to become trained in the art of chasing cats we do not want on the grounds but cozying up to the cats who were here first — the cats we want and love!
Happy Easter to all cat and dog lovers!