Welcome to my blog.
Do I tell you about the life of a dog writer? My life story? My adventures--or mostly, misadventures--with dogs? The newest in canine science and medicine? The controversies of the dog world? Purebreds in peril? Cool products that impress even me? Funny stuff? Writing
tips? Dog tips? If I were in charge of all things dog? Sounds good to me.
The life of a dog writer: I write. And re-write.
My life story: I was born. At the time, we had a family dog, a black mix named PeeDee. I only recall that if you pretended you were going to shoot him he'd run
after you, and it didn't seem like it was in a fun way. I was a very fast runner as a kid, and for that I credit PeeDee.
Whereas I spent my days avoiding PeeDee, my fifth year was spent in the constant company of Frisky the firedog. We could have starred in a movie about a girl and her dog. The only problem was that Frisky wasn't my dog. He lived down the street and eventually moved away---probably because his owners got sick of this weird kid running off with their dog every day.
I was six when PeeDee died and my mom announced we were getting a new dog, a Whippet, which she explained was a type of hound. I was no dog expert, but I knew enough to know the Hush Puppy dog was a hound, and (sorry, Basset Hounders---I was but a child) to declare I would never walk or play with such a beast.
Out came the encyclopedia (alas, no dog encyclopedia in those days!), opened to the hound page, and there, right next to the Whippet (which I did like the looks of), was the dog I really wanted: a Saluki. Honey, the Whippet, was my introduction to sighthounds. She was also my introduction to the fun of making up things, since other kids fell for my story that she was a deer. And she was my introduction to the joys of watching my dogs run---and run away.
Honey was followed by an Afghan Hound named Luna---who made running away into an Olympic sport---and a Borzoi named Tundra who I decided I should show in obedience. Did I mention Tundra also ran away? And that she did so from the middle of an obedience ring at a trial held on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, the bay she ran into and wouldn't come out of? Seventeen trials later (that's about 14 more than it should take, for those of you not into obedience trials. I am not a quitter.) Tundra had her AKC Companion Dog title!
Tundra was joined by my first Saluki, Baha, when I was 17. The first time I set Baha's 10-week-old paws on the ground, he ran away. I was beginning to see a pattern. I am sharp that way. I was also in college, an aspiring art major. But I saw the chance to take courses to help me answer questions about my dogs: "Why do they act like they do?" (Animal Behavior); "How can I train them to come?" (Animal Learning); "Could they be deaf?" (Animal Senses); "Crazy?" (Pyschology); "Maybe it's a brain thing..." (Neuropsychology); "Or just in their genes..." (Behavioral Genetics). By the time I was finished I had a Ph.D. in psychology studying dog senses and behavioral genetics. My Salukis were earning obedience titles and top rankings. They still ran away---they ARE sighthounds---but at least they came back. Sometimes.
As for the writing? I always liked the part of research projects that involved writing the proposals or the journal articles more than the parts that involved collecting and crunching the data. I figured if I could write it so I could understand it, then pretty much anyone could understand it.
Some people see dog writing as a tiny niche; I see it as a vast expanse of fascinating topics. I've just scratched the surface. And I'm itching to scratch more.
So join me in my doggy scratchfest! (No fleas allowed...)