[If you’d like to start with Part 1: I am not a Dog Person, click here]
I may have mentioned it before, but I’m not a dog person. One of the beings I care for the most in this world was the topic of part one of this post, and the fact that he is of canine persuasion has not escaped my attention. That does not make me a dog person; I just love my buddy very much, and that’s what he happens to be.
So there I was, on the website for the local SPCA looking for a buddy for my buddy. I knew what I had in mind, and that the final decision was not mine, and I fully expected the search to be a long one. I am rarely won over easily. I had not yet considered that the Universe had coaxed my thought in this direction, or that it might have a particular rescue already in mind.
The first time I laid eyes on her, my heart went out although it was just a picture on my iPhone. I grumbled about how unlikely it was to work out as we drove Mammoth to meet her, but there was an image I couldn’t get out of my mind just the same. Despite all my grumbling, when I closed my eyes I saw an adorable little black dog running up to me and looking at me like she had been patiently waiting for me to come get her.
Guess what happened when we walked in the door? It was just as I had seen it; and after awhile with the three of us hanging out under SPCA supervision, we took her home for an overnight trial. She was all cuddles and loves and closeness, and we were befuddled but delighted that this little angel had not found a home with anyone else.
Then I took her outside. We had a small fenced yard at the time, with a gate that I knew would have to be modified to keep her from slipping under it and hitting the highway. We had a small portable dog fence that I could enclose most of the patio with, and the rest was enclosed by a wood retaining wall that kept the driveway from spilling onto the patio. At it’s shortest, the wall was better than double her height . . . and she seemed so at home and at peace already, the likelihood of her making the attempt seemed slim to none.
Well, sometimes I’m just plain wrong. We got outside, she looked at me and then the retaining wall . . . and she jumped. It would have been glorious if my heart falling hadn’t occurred in time with it; she didn’t even look like she was trying. When we picked her up I had asked her if she liked the name the shelter had given her, which was Suki, or if she preferred Ximena. She took right to the latter, and that’s what I called out tentatively to her as she trotted uncertainly toward the gate.
“Ximena!” Come here, sweetie . . .” I crooned. She took one last look over her shoulder, slipped easily under the gate, and headed for the highway. In my defense, I had to stop to unlock and open the gate; I also had to jettison all the accoutrements I keep about my person that are bound to be lost in the jostling of a full-speed sprint; oh yeah, and she runs really, really fast. They said she was twenty-three pounds at the shelter, but I think someone was leaning on the scale. When she runs she is but a little black blur; Ximena seems to weigh as little as the wind, and is equally difficult to get on a scale.
We clocked it later in the car; I chased her about a mile-and-a-half before we were reunited. I’d love to say I caught up to her, but if I could I would feel obligated to wear a cape and fight crime (well, at least the cape). I hadn’t given up, and I wasn’t going to; but I was gasping for breath and keenly aware that Dawn thought I was just chillin’ on the porch with our cuddly new friend.
I called her, still jogging up the busy two-lane highway and glancing down side streets and into yards looking for a little black shadow that was way cuter than all the other little black shadows. I called out “Ximena”, then “Suki”, then “Ximena” as the phone rang. Like that might work.
I was explaining what had happened and breathing in great gulps of busy two-lane highway fumes and jogging and calling out both names all at once when I saw her. A nice lady had pulled over, and somehow gathered the furry bundle of cuteness in her arms. She asked if she was mine, and I said we were watching her for the night . . . which was technically all we had committed to, although I hadn’t thought of it again till just now.
“What’s her name?” she asked. I didn’t have the breath or the patience to explain, so I told her that her tag said Suki. Soon I was carrying her, and wondering if maybe she did weigh twenty-three pounds after all. I unwound my belt to make an impromptu leash, and we walked home together. Many other adventures ensued after that; but if she ever gets out of the fenced area now, Dawn just calls softly to her and the little sprinting shadow comes running. We’ll save those other tales for later.
Right now I want to talk about Sudden Insight Publishing’s latest exciting project. Another family meeting resulted in an idea that we all took a liking to right away. Since Dawn communicates with a lot of other authors online, it made sense that her bright mind might think of an anthology to give some of us more opportunity to write and publish. We decided to theme the book, and are currently looking for seven to twelve authors to write a short story that ties in with the book or series they are currently working on. Well, not twelve . . . we already have a few . . . but we’re still looking.
Rather than divide profits between authors, Sudden Insight Publishing will be donating them to the SPCA. We admire and support the work they do, and we will forever be grateful to them for bringing us our beloved Ximena. Don’t get me wrong, now . . . I’m still not a dog person or anything. If you catch me kissing her on the top of her head or running in the yard with her, you might think different . . . but you’d be wrong.
The story I will be submitting to the anthology is a prequel, the story of how the Original Walker happened by the burn marks and burnt holes in his hat that he was sporting when he turned Paul. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I encourage you to read “Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels” at your earliest convenience. If you’re wondering why I titled this blog what I did and never once used the word “devil” save in that title, find the answer in “Walking Between Worlds; Book II: Rise of the Walker King”.
If you’d like to learn more about the Sudden Insight Publishing anthology benefiting the SPCA, please visit www.suddeninsightpublishing.com/anthology.html.