The Most Adorable Dogs Ever

By Karen Jurgens

Growing up, I developed allergies to everything clothed in fur and feathers. That basically meant no horseback riding and no indoor pets. But there was one bright spot. The doctor said I might tolerate a French poodle.

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My family’s first poodle was a silver toy named François. He was a grumpy little guy who endured my affection but preferred to lie in my dad’s arms while he sat at the kitchen table and read the newspaper. After my mother chose to have his glands surgically removed, the poor little thing caught a staph infection and eventually had to be put down.

My dad took his death very hard. So hard, in fact, that we promptly found a new puppy.  Our second was a black toy we purchased from a show breeder in Lexington, Kentucky. With his jet-black coat and long legs (the reason why he couldn’t be a show dog), we named him Bojangles—Bobo for short.

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Having Bobo pacified my dad, but this sweet boy was utterly devoted to my mother and she to him. He traveled everywhere with my parents, by plane or car. He later developed a quirky security attachment to one of my mother’s purses, so she let him sleep next to it. When they stayed in a hotel, Bo knew that his mommy would be back because he had her purse.

But that wasn’t the cutest part. He also had a baby blanket he carried everywhere he went. When it was time for bed, he would snatch it and prance upstairs to my parents’ bedroom where he usually slept. After a few rounds of chasing his favorite squeaky toy, “Mousie,” he would be ready to cuddle on his blanket and go to sleep.

The Most Adorable Dogs Ever by Karen Jurgens

At the age of twelve, little Bo lost his hearing and his eyesight. Understandably, he developed severe anxiety. To help relieve it, the vet scheduled him for cataract surgery. That morning, the anesthetic affected his heart and halted the operation, and he died the next day, on Thanksgiving Day.

Many sad years passed without a poodle in our family. But when my daughters were very young, the right time came to add a new pet.

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Babette was a large white toy, and like the others before her, quite beautiful. Although not nervous or high-strung, Babette developed a territorial nature that had to be controlled. She was born with the propensity to snap before she thought, so we all had to handle her carefully to avoid being bitten. I was her “handler,” understanding her body language the best. Whenever I bathed and groomed her, I always knew she had had enough when she gave that warning growl. We always listened and left her alone—except once. When she snapped at my nose as I kissed her head, that was the last time I ever lavished her with casual affection.

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But she certainly possessed her adorable moments. One Christmas Eve she stayed up all night guarding the presents around the tree as if they all belonged to her. So, on every Christmas and birthday, she also had to have her own presents. We would loosely wrap up chew bones and squeaky toys, and while my daughters opened their presents, Babs would open hers, chewing and tearing off paper until she reached her gifts. Afterward, she would guard them for days, and we knew better than to bother her.

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My daughters both took piano lessons, and Babette absolutely loved to listen to them play–so much so, that she would sit on the cushion with Cait while she practiced.

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When she was younger, she tolerated being put into doll cradles and strollers. She also loved to watch the girls swim but refused to ever get in the pool herself.

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At the age of almost fifteen, her health began to go downhill. Like Bo, she developed heart trouble, but in her case, she died peacefully at home on her favorite ottoman. My mother had recently had her groomed, so she was absolutely beautiful in death. We still have a tuft of her fur that her groomer had packaged inside a glass Christmas ornament years earlier. Every December, we still lovingly hang it on our tree.

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We haven’t adopted another poodle since our sweet Babette, and it has been an empty eight years. However, we do plan to look for a new puppy this summer. Again, it’s time!

Writing Prompt: The most adorable thing about my dog/cat is …

This will be my last regular post for Writing Prompts. I regret having to say adieu, but I will still be around as a guest blogger from time to time. Many thanks, Jennifer and Betty, for an enjoyable and adventuresome two years. I have been truly blessed to be part of the Writing Prompts Crew.

 

Doggy Love at First Sight

By Betty Boyd

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She was so fragile and small among the other litter of eight Chihuahua’s, an air of uniqueness that attracted my friend to this standout puppy. She was ailing, and needed of a lot of help and love, so Janet came to her rescue.  She named this adorable pup Ginger.

Ginger had to go through three operations. At least one of them made her very weak, and she almost didn’t make it. Janet’s love for this new puppy helped Ginger survive.

This breed of dog is generally sicklier than most.  It is a balancing act to make sure that their immune system is protected.  Janet’s faith and her love prevailed.  Ginger grew stronger and stronger with each passing day.  However, she had a major setback when an infection occurred.  Ginger faced several rounds with a vet who really did not want to help, but my friend triumphed, and Ginger once again became healthy.

Ginger has lived with my friend for over a year. During this time, she has drawn closer to this amazing dog.  Janet has grown children with lives of their own, and no husband. So, a void has been filled and Ginger provided the love that was needed.

How true it is that our pets are part of our families.  Ginger has become part of my friend’s family. Janet has never given up on Ginger and has been rewarded with a love that will never die.

Writing Prompt:  Imagine how your pet enhances your family…

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3 Questions Wednesday with June Foster

june-and-her-kindleToday I’m pleased to welcome my friend and author, June Foster, as our guest today.

Hi June! So glad you dropped by so we can get better acquainted. Here’s the first question: 

What inspires you?

June: Interesting question, Jennifer. I get inspired by God’s creation and His hand in our lives. I can see His workmanship in a glowing orange sunset splashed across the sky. I see the Lord’s work when a person I’ve known makes a radical change because he’s asked Jesus into his life.

In writing, I get inspired when I’m creating a character and suddenly know how I can portray him as someone who’s faltered then finds victory in the Savior’s love.

That is inspiring. Now, here’s a scenario for you:

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

June: I love this question. I believe I’d take my place with the others in the box as royal purple. Purple is a color often associated with kings, and since I’m a member of the kingdom ruled by the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, I would best represent Him by wearing a purple.

Purple is a beautiful color. Last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

June: Because both my mother and aunt were teachers, I figured that’s what I’d go for. I taught elementary children for 34 years but never realized the Lord would call me to write novels after that.

A noble profession. Thanks so much for dropping by, June!

June has offered a Kindle copy of her latest book, Restoration of the Heart, to one blessed person who leaves a comment.


restoration-of-the-heartThough a Christian, Luke Chamberlain ignored his values and indulged in his beautiful fiancé’s world of alcohol, parties, and nights at her apartment. After rededicating his life to the Lord, he vows never to fall into the lifestyle again. When the state of Idaho’s Tourism Department offers his construction company the contract to renovate Silver Cliff, an 1890’s silver mining ghost town, he accepts.

Janie Littleton studied history in college because life in the past is simpler than the uncomfortable reality of the present. With her extra pounds, eye glasses, and mousy brown hair, no man would find her attractive. When she’s offered the job of project historian at the restoration of Silver Cliff, she accepts. But as Luke Chamberlain shows an interest in her, she doubts his sincerity. To make matters worse, someone claiming to be the miner who founded Silver Cliff in 1890 intimidates her with frightening midnight visits.

Can Luke convince Janie he’s in love with the godly woman she is? Can Janie hold onto her faith as she’s harassed by frightening appearances of old Ezra Barclay who died a hundred years ago?

Link for Restoration of the Heart:   http://tinyurl.com/jad7smk


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An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June has written fourteen Christian romances with more to come. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word.

 

Pets: A Connection of Reader to the Story

By Fay Lamb

cat-71494_1280When I sit down to start a work in progress, I rarely have secondary characters in mind. My focus stays on the main characters and building their plots. As the story grows, the secondary characters come onto stage and show me their roles in the lives of the characters. Sometimes those secondary characters are pets or animals that parallel a character’s strength or weakness.

The way a character relates with the animals in their environment tells a lot about them. To date, I have included two cows, some chickens, a dog named Cletus, and a wild bear tagged Bumblebee.

In Better Than Revenge, the heroine owns a small farm. The care she and her son give to the animals shows much about the heroine’s character. She is a hard worker who’s brought up her son, teaching him not to slack his duty. She is caring, and when she is focused on keeping her son safe, he is much in tune with the care of the livestock, showing that his mother’s love has not been lost on him—and that’s a very important part of the story.

In my romance, Charisse, Cletus is a golden retriever. He is responsible for literally having the hero, Gideon, run into Charisse. Cletus’s unconditional love mirrores that of the love that the hero has for his heroine. In attempting to keep her secrets hid and to hold to her anger with regard to her husband’s death, Charisse is not easy to love, but like a dog with a bone, Gideon doesn’t surrender easily. Cletus also becomes a bridge that ties the hero to the heroine’s young son, a boy who, in his sadness, has forgotten how to laugh. At least, until Cletus mowed him over with wet sloppy kisses and a game of catch.dog-1082307_960_720

In my latest novel, Everybody’s Broken, Shane Browne has inherited a valuable piece of untamed mountain. He guards it and the wildlife with vigilance. When Shane begins to include the heroine’s young, twin sons on the hikes he and his daughter take up the mountain, they encounter Bumblebee.

Teaching the boys how to respect nature, Shane shares with the boys what to do in case the old lumbering Ms. Bumblebee advances toward them.

Yet Shane has a sense that Bumblebee is drawn to the boys. She deliberately steps into the clearing, always staying a respectful distance from them. If possible, he believes that she performs for them, but she never seems a danger to them. At least not until …

Bumblebees reaction to and her actions toward the boy mirror the feelings of protectiveness growing in Shane, and when Bumblebee does the unthinkable, Shane must trust that the bear knows what’s best for her adopted “cubs.”

In the two series that are written now, unless they come onto stage of my imagination and surprise me, I do not expect to have another animal. While I used Bumblebee to heighten the suspense for my readers, I can state that the one thing I will never do is to bring an animal into a story simply to play upon the emotions of a reader. An animal must always connect to the lead characters and advance the story forward. It is only then that they can become an emotional attachment.

A cheap shot for me, as an author, would be to take the rug out from under the reader and allow that connection to sever. Like it or not, most people will become attached to a four-legged character more readily than they will a two-legged one. As a reader, when a pet or another animal dies in a book, that’s all for me. Even if I continue to read, the message of the story is lost on me. My heart is broken. I feel I have been played, and I’m not delving too deeply into that story to have the author rip out the remaining pieces. Therefore, a reader might experience a suspenseful moment or two, but they can take a breath and relax. The animals in my stories aren’t going to die.

Now, the two-legged creatures …?


Fay LambFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released.

Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

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Precious Pup

by Harriet E. Michael

They say a really great dog may only come around once in a lifetime. In my life, Buckles was that dog. He was a brown English Field Cocker. My husband drove to Chicago to get him when he was just a pup. He was the runt of the liter, the leftover puppy, the one nobody else wanted. The first time I laid eyes on him, I thought he was either the most beautiful pup I had ever seen or the ugliest—and I wasn’t sure which. He looked a little like a baby cow. But soon it became clear to me that he was indeed beautiful! So much so, that in the years that followed, people always commented on how striking he was.

But the best thing about him was his personality. He was gentle, loving, obedient, and completely non aggressive with children or anyone. But when he got out in a field hunting with my husband, he was a great retriever—aggressive, obedient, faithful and worked tirelessly.

My husband’s high school friend and hunting buddy, Jim, liked Buckles so much he made the trip to Chicago to get an English Field Cocker for himself. She’s solid black and named Ziggy. One of Jim’s reasons for getting a female was to someday get a puppy out of Buckles.

That is where we ran into trouble. For reasons unknown to us, Ziggy and Buckles were not able to conceive. Over a period of four years, at every possible opportunity the dogs were put together hoping Ziggy would get pregnant–but to no avail.

Ziggy was getting older and Buckles was quite old, so in desperation, Jim took the dogs to a vet and had Ziggy artificially inseminated by Buckles. And that is how at eleven years old, Buckles became a father and we were given our pick of the liter. buckles-and-colt

Buckles and Colt (father and son)

Each time we went to Jim’s house to look at the pups, I was, of course, hoping to find one just like Buckles. There were no brown pups–only solid black ones and white with black spots, so I had to judge by their personalities. The personality was more important to me anyway. My husband wanted a male and there were four possibilities. The first time we were there, when the pups were only a few weeks old, one little solid black male kept wagging his tail. I picked him up and he immediately stretched his little neck to try and nuzzle against me–something Buckles did!

“Look!” I exclaimed pointing to the mannerism we both knew so well. My husband took the pup out of my arms and held him up, placing the pup’s nose against his nose. The little guy’s tail wagged a mile a minute. I laughed and took him back. Holding him to my nose, I told my husband to look at his tail. Then we held each of the other male pups and none had either mannerism–none tried to nuzzle and none wagged their tails when held up to our noses.

On the next visit, this same little black male came running to us, wagging his whole body. Again, I laughed. Because, again, this was a Buckles’ characteristic. Buckles was double jointed and when he wagged his tail, which he did most of the time, it looked like his back legs had come unhooked from his body and the whole back part of him would move back and forth vigorously.

It only took two visits to know which pup was most like his father in personality, and that’s the one we wanted! We have not been disappointed. He is laid back, sweet-natured, gentle, and loving–just like the old man.

A couple of Christmases ago, we had one very old, very sweet, brown dog who we have loved completely for going on twelve years and one small, active, happy, precious pup running circles around his dad. On Christmas Eve when I saw that adorable puppy running to my husband with a chewed string of lights in his mouth, bringing it to him and proudly dropping it at his master’s feet, like a faithful retriever should, I didn’t even get annoyed with him. Instead, I laughed and thought how blessed we were to have one of Buckles’ pups running around our house, chewing up our Christmas lights.

They say a really great dog may only come around once in life … but then again, they may be wrong!

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Writing Prompt: What was your favorite pet in your lifetime? What made him or her special?

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