Done. Well, at least until someone along the process to publishing sends me more editing work. “Homeward: From the Appalachian Mountains to the Camden Hills.” 38 chapters. 336 pages.100,469 words. All finally in the hands of an editor in NYC, because of a dog.
As I was editing the manuscript for the upteenth time with moans and groans, I complained that I wanted to be done with it so I could write this and that. Oh, I had so many good ideas, such passion to get to other writing. For several days, I found every excuse in the world to avoid the last. I was tired and bored of my story and started letting the monkey on my shoulder tell me that no one will want to read it anyway. As a result, I did nothing.
So, what DID I finally do? I bought a puppy. Our menagerie already consisted of two dogs, Zut Alors, a big black Standard Poodle and T.S. Eliot, a Norwich Terrier. We formerly had five. The other three had died this year. The house seemed empty and quiet. My reasoning was that a puppy would inspire and require me to make a schedule and get my time organized. I would have to get up early to take her out, which would get me energized. House breaking her would mean frequent trips outdoors, which would get me away from the computer for a respite to stretch. I envisioned her lying at my feet while I worked, as Zut and T.S. Eliot had done as puppies.
The scenario didn’t quite work out that way. This was not a little, cuddly lap puppy. Cute, yes, but this was a German Shepherd puppy. Already at twelve weeks bigger than Eliot and a bundle of energy, mostly with her mouth open, ready to latch onto to anything that she bumped into, including our hands and shoe laces.
You may ask, so why a German Shepherd Dog? Especially since I had never owned or been around one. Immediately into many people’s minds, the image of an “attack dog” emerges. Friends threatened never to visit me again. When I told my husband I had purchased a German Shepherd puppy coming from Texas, he said, “I don’t like German Shepherd Dogs and certainly not one from Texas!”
My interest in GSDs had surfaced after reading books in which GSDs were featured as heroic war dogs in WW I and II, and the wonderful five dogs that Kuki Hallman owned and wrote about in her story, “I Dreamed of Africa.” I loved reading about the nature and intelligence of these dogs and their relationship with their owners.
Kahla arrived, bouncing and wiggling, after ten hours in her crate, at the Portland, Maine airport, without a leash. I assumed one would be included. Being shot out of a canon wouldn’t have been any faster or more unexpected. A thin, hungry adorable puppy looked up at me with frightened black eyes, one ear perked high, the other drooping down. I instantly fell in love. My husband was with me to drive back. I saw a terror in his eyes similar to Kahla’s.
Holding onto her until we could get her to the car where I had stored a spare leash was a physical feat. Bites, bruises and scratch marks on my arms testified to that. But, after a pee and a dish of food, she settled on my lap for the hour and a half drive home, sound asleep.
If you have ever owned a puppy, you know that the next few days involved only puppy this and puppy that, except with a GSD puppy, multiply that three-fold. My energy and adrenaline rose. I felt exhilarated and fresh. Released from my stuck place, I was propelled back into the final editing and finishing of my MS. If I get it published I should dedicate it to Kahla.
Okay. Manuscript mailed. Puppy fitting in and house trained. This has diverted me from my whining, but I’m getting itchy to write. Something. Anything. But, I can’t think of a thing I want to write about. The notes that I took the time to jot down appear insignificant and lacking the passion I want.
So, I’m going to write about animals since they currently fill my heart and space. My next few blogs will be about all the four-legged (and one two-legged) creatures that have been in my life—approximately sixty from 1950 to 2019—their personalities and what I have learned from them.
Kahla helping me with my drafts for the manuscript.