Last week I went to Berlin to visit my son. He’s been studying there for five months and I’ve missed him terribly and had been counting down the days to this visit. Being of a somewhat gloomy disposition, however, or perhaps just because I’m battle-scarred, I was convinced that something disastrous was going to happen before I got on the plane to Berlin. I anticipated a litany of things, but what I didn’t expect was that five days before the trip, I walked downstairs and found my dog lying motionless at the foot of the steps.
I’ll interrupt myself to say that the dog is now fine. He had a fever. He’s cured and panting right next to me. However, I didn’t know that at the time and there are few problems more terrible than seeing your beloved Golden Retriever staring at you mournfully and trying to figure out how to move that 110 pound unmoving friend to the vet. Thank God one of my best friends is a nurse and she figured out how to lift him onto a sheet and move him.
But the point of all this is that as I was sitting at the vet’s office, clutching onto Tino’s paw, I was thinking about how if it hadn’t been for my crazy dog, I might never have written a novel. He’s always been a tad high-strung, but when he was young he was an absolute lunatic. My husband had to walk backwards into the house because if Tino saw him full on he started to pee. That was just the least of it. So at one point, when he was at the vet and doing his best to climb onto the poor man’s shoulders, the vet mentioned to me that there were tranquilizers for dogs that worked in much the same way as they did for people.
That fact stayed with me and a few years later I was arrested by an image of a woman who is trying to decide whether or not to take her dog’s medication. Something in the humor and tragedy of that moved me, and that was the original start of my first novel, Pitch. Recently I went back and read through that scene and I thought how wonderful it is for writers that we get to write about those we love. Furry or otherwise.
So, thank heavens Tino is okay. And I had a great time in Berlin.
How about you? Do you ever write about pets?