Home is Where the Heart Is
by Sandra Orchard
Some days our home feels like a zoo. But pets have a gift for bringing out the best—yes, okay, and sometimes the worst—in all of us.
They manage to worm their way into our hearts through their hilarious antics and ever-ready, non-judgmental ear. Not to mention make us do things we’d never thought possible.
Take yesterday for example, I woke to a wide open front door, and the furnace going like gangbusters, and mentally spoke those infamous words—Close the door; we don’t live in a barn.
Little did I know that by evening we would be…more or less.
Love for a goofy goat, or for the daughter whose heart was breaking, because her pet couldn’t possibly survive another frigid night in the barn, can make you do crazy things.
Like not mind so much that your house smells like eau de goat.
Oh, and that mysteriously open door was thanks to the lock not catching when my son left for work.
To be honest, for most of the day, I blamed the dog for the frosty awakening, since it’s a trick she’s pulled numerous times. Despite being able to sit, shake a paw, and dramatically feign being mortally wounded when we say “bang,” she hasn’t mastered closing the door behind her. Go figure.
Most of the time this shortcoming is a minor inconvenience that’s our own fault for not letting her in at her first knock, ur bark, and it’s a far cry from what we endured the first few months after we rescued her.
She chewed everything from boots to porch posts. Then graduated to gnawing on my hubcaps!
Now in fairness, it’s not as if she ripped them off my car.
If she had, I’d have been signing her up for the next movie spoof on street crime in Harlem.
No, she snatched them from the garage. But really…what was my son thinking not putting them back on the car when he changed out the snow tires?
We’re talking puppy here. And well…hubcaps they look like giant Frisbees. Don’t you think?
She apparently thought they were the greatest thing since—well—rubber boots.
I must say to her credit that as soon as you told her not to chew something, she’d stop and wouldn’t do it again. My mistake was in only telling her not to chew hubcap number one!
As you can imagine, my husband, who’d admittedly lost a couple of boots to our adoptee, was a tad exasperated.
But the pair of them became fabulous fodder for Jake and Rusty, the widower firefighter and the mischievous pup Jake’s parents adopt for his son in Identity Withheld.
Thankfully, Kara, the heroine, has a gift for training dogs and appears destined to win over the frustrated father, if she can stick around long enough to not bring the danger dogging her to the family’s doorstep.
The heroine’s gift with dogs was modeled after my daughter, who loved and trained our pup—a pup that had been so traumatized when we first took her in that she didn’t even wag her tail—to a pet therapy dog adored by children, stressed-out college students and nursing home residents alike.
Of course, Rusty, the Golden Doodle in Identity Withheld, believes he’s the true hero of the story. Between you and me, he thinks Jake is jealous because Kara is always hugging Rusty instead of him. And after seeing those hugs, Jake had to admit Rusty was smarter than he looked. By the end, Jake might even conclude that despite how crazy they make us sometimes, a beloved pet is an invaluable addition to their home.
If I’d given Kate Adams, the sleuth in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series, a loyal dog, perhaps she wouldn’t be getting herself in so much trouble. Nah, what fun would that be?
Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of Deadly Devotion, Blind Trust and the soon-to-release, Desperate Measures, mysteries from Revell Publishing, and of numerous Love Inspired Suspense titles, including a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award winner. A mother of three, Sandra lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and self-proclaimed hero dog. In addition to her busy writing schedule, she enjoys speaking at events, teaching writing workshops, and researching new plots, when not doting on her young grandchildren. Learn more about Sandra’s books and check out the special bonus features, such as deleted scenes and location pics, at www.sandraorchard.com.
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