Today is launch day! Which means the first three books in my Buddy Files series are out. The Buddy Files is a series for beginning chapter book readers. It’s about a school therapy dog (well, he doesn’t actually become a therapy dog until the end of book 3…and he doesn’t actually go to school until book 4…but this is how I pitched the series: “a school therapy dog who solves mysteries”). Each one is a stand-alone mystery, told from the dog’s point of view. But then there’s another mystery that continues through the first three books.
Anyway…in honor of launch day, I’m also “launching” a new series here on my blog. Yes, despite the fact that I have only blogged about five times in the last two months, I’m going to attempt a blog series…about dogs I have known.
I’ll start with Peggy, the first dog to enter my life.
I don’t know if Peggy was the “trial kid” for my parents or what…but Peggy was in the house a good two years before I was. Peggy was not impressed when my parents brought me home. In fact, she was so unimpressed, it’s amazing I grew up liking dogs at all.
This dog growled at me whenever I crawled or walked into a room. (My mother doesn’t remember this, but I do!) If I sat down to pet her, she might randomly bite me. Really! This dog did not like me.
My mother swears Peggy only bit me that one time when I was about 18 months old and I crawled over to her bowl and ate her dog food. But I’m telling you, it was more than “that one time.”
My friends all had dogs that chased balls and sticks, did tricks and cuddled with them. Peggy could shake hands, but she didn’t chase balls. She didn’t do any other tricks. And she was not a cuddler. Except with my mother.
Despite the fact that she might randomly bite me, I actually liked sitting next to her and petting her while I read a book. And as I got older, she allowed me to pet her more and more often. I think it’s even fair to say that we eventually became friends.
Here we are before the 4th of July kids parade when I was 7.
Don’t misunderstand…I was NOT into this kind of stuff as a kid. I did not want to march in this parade. I especially did not want to wear that goofy costume (the dog has a matching cape…I’m not sure you can tell that from the picture.). I was afraid people would laugh at me. I was afraid Peggy would get away from me. I was afraid the crepe paper capes that my mother made would get torn and she’d get mad.
But this is how my childhood went: my mother decided I was going to do something…and I did it. So we marched in the parade. We even won first place. I’m sure my mother still has the ribbon somewhere.
Peggy died when I was 8. And that was my first experience with death. I remember I came home from school one day (she’d already had the tumor for a while) and my mother told me Peggy wasn’t going to last much longer. I went to sit with her and…she was already gone.
I promise these are not all going to be sad, dead dog stories. Every dog I’ve ever owned has taught me something…and I’m going to try and articulate that in each post.
When I think about Peggy, I think of her bark first. I still hear that sharp bark in my head after all these years. And then I think about how we came to like each other…in time.
I’ve known people like Peggy through the years, too. People who bark and even bite (well, metaphorically speaking)…I think Peggy taught me how to handle people like that. Take it slow…be nice (even if they aren’t being nice to you) and in time, things will usually work out.