Recently my dog Leonardo, who was the subject of my Nov. 2011 blog on senior pets, passed away. Though I miss him, I know he's having fun in Doggie Heaven with no achy joints to slow him down. But this is not a sad blog, I promise. To mangle a famous line from Shakespeare, I come not to mourn Leo but to celebrate his life.
I adopted him when he was six months old from a local Humane Society. Though our family had a dog when I was younger, he was the first dog I ever owned by myself. We both had a lot to learn! He was a pretty big boy, in spite of still being a puppy. He also loved to chew! Leonardo was responsible for the demise of a sofa, two armchairs and a dining room set. Not to mention innumerable chew toys.
He could be naughty. He liked to play "keep away" and would steal things hoping I'd chase him to get them back. I know chasing him only encouraged the behavior, but when I tried the opposite tack and ignored him, he'd nose me as though to say "See how bad I am?" When we went for walks, he'd start squalling if he saw another dog, a cat or even a squirrel. The neighbors did not appreciate the commotion and we weren't too popular for quite some time. Eventually he settled down—it only took twelve years! The same people who used to frown when we walked down the sidewalk began to smile and tell me what a "good dog" he was.
Leo didn't leave me all alone—there are other animal friends who share my home. I adopted my dog Iris from a local shelter. Too many pit bull terriers languish in our shelters because the breed is so misunderstood. Iris was one of them. When I first saw her, her ribs showed through her skin. The attendant felt it was because she was depressed—she'd been in the shelter too long. Well, Miss Iris is no longer underweight. She gained ten pounds in one year and she's now on the verge of becoming "pleasingly plump."
Several cat friends also live with me. Snickers was a homeless cat prowling the neighborhood, subsisting on bread and peanut butter neighbors left out for the squirrels. I began feeding her and she soon became part of my family. She's now downright chubby. I think her hungry time on the streets has transformed into a chow hound.
I found Topaz when out driving one evening. A tiny critter dashed in front of my car and it didn't look like a rabbit or a skunk. I pulled over and sure enough, a little kitten was huddled at the side of the road. She was frightened, but also hungry and luckily I had a bag of cat food in my car. I used the food to distract her and managed to catch her in my hat (yes, really!). She's been with me several years now.
I've gotten to the end of this blog and haven't said a word about writing. Well, some of the true-life antics of my pets have worked their way into my stories. My upcoming book "Her Perfect Man" features a very bossy cat named Groucho.
In memory of Leonardo I am offering a ten dollar gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press to a random commenter. Please leave a comment about one of your animal friends. If you're a writer, have any of your pets worked their way into your stories? Don't forget to leave your email addy so I can send the certificate if you're the lucky winner!
And don't forget to give your pet an extra hug today!
To learn more about Nona and her books, please visit http://www.nonaraines.com/
To purchase Nona's books from The Wild Rose Press go here