The Singing Dog Walker (Part 1)

My first dog, Inky, was not the typical car-ride-loving dog. She balked at the idea, and she also had a tendency to run away. After just a few months of Inky love, Mother made an announcement. We were moving from Illinois to Virginia, and Inky couldn’t come with us. She wouldn’t put up with the long car ride, and even if she got in the car, she was likely to bolt at the first opportunity.

I was only five, and parting with Inky was a tough introduction to doing what was best for a pet. It would be decades before I owned another dog. I had two cats as a child, and as an adult I became a cat lady. Cats fit a busy teacher’s lifestyle better than dogs.

With a lifetime cat experience of six cats and some research on dogs stored away, I figured becoming a dog owner couldn’t be too difficult, right?

Wrong. I was totally unprepared for having my quiet life turned upside down! I adopted Angie the purported “beagle mix” in August 2016 from Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation. The coordinator steered me to Angie, a sweet dog from Puerto Rico. That was Saturday. I could see her Sunday afternoon and adopt her on the spot if I wanted.

I dashed out of Bible study that morning right after the final Amen and made it to PetSmart within the hour, my heart beating rapidly in my throat.

Sensing that I was a rookie, Angie was skeptical when we met. I attempted to maneuver my new fur girl around the slick floors of the store as an employee helped me outfit her. Thank goodness the adoption representative didn’t shadow us—I was sure she’d rethink her decision, even though I’d already paid the adoption fee. Finally we were in the car, and in a half hour, we were home.

Now what?

How do you think I did? I’ll tell you about it in my next post.

What was your first month as a new pet owner like?

Inky & Pammy
Pam and Inky

 

The Worst Summer Ever

Hot and rainy, this summer doesn’t even begin to register on the scale of bad summers. Nothing can top that awful summer when I wasn’t allowed to check any books out of the library. Not. One. Single. Book.

Since I’m a writer of fiction, allow me to fudge on the details a bit. I probably served my sentence in the summer, when time crawled for this non-athletic introvert. We’ll say it’s the summer before fifth grade. Perfect. That’s the same summer Mother made me memorize the multiplication tables the weekend before school began. Let’s make it the day before school began. Oh, unhappy Labor Day, stuck in the bedroom until 9×9 always came out 81!

In the olden days, when this tale occurs, the only other source of books besides the library was a bookstore! When you find out what my literary crime was, you won’t even bother asking if my mother let me go to the bookstore.

What was my crime? Too many overdue library books and a fine that broke my piano-teacher mother’s budget. We’ll say  $3.65! Gasp! In the interest of authenticity I double-checked my estimate. After all, I’m no Dr. Evil, holding the world hostage for a million dollar ransom. Okay, Google. What would $3.65 be in today’s economy? $29.20? (http://www.in2013dollars.com/1965-dollars-in-2018?amount=3.65) Not bad for someone who learned her multiplication tables so late in life!

So now you know the scandalous reason I was banned from going to the library.

What’s a suffering bookworm to do after she rereads her meager personal book collection? Write some stories of her own? Of course.

And now for the true confessions. I’ve always loved to write as much as I loved to read. My mother and my teachers were generous in their encouragement of my writing. In fifth grade, with the times tables under my belt, I wrote and starred in the class American history play, Ghosts! Ghosts! Ghosts! In junior high, I wrote a two-book YA series, Everyday Escapades. (If I become famous, no one will find it.) In my thirties, I tried my hand at freelance writing and had a handful of articles and poems published.

I wasn’t quite ready for prime time.

Fast forward into the present. I’ve done some more living, losing and missing the mark. Thankfully, God has kept a strong grip on me through all the ups and downs. Fiction helps me share what He’s taught me. My characters are women and men confronting challenges in their lives–people like us. I invite you to let them entertain you and encourage you.

Root for the heroine or the villain–it doesn’t matter.

Anybody can grow…in grace.