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.