Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Write Puppy

As you know, I write sweet romance, always include dogs in my books and feature them on my book covers. Readers who don't know me ask, "So, are your books about dog characters who fall in love?" The answer is no. I don't write fantasy. 😃

What I write is stories about heroes and heroines who love dogs as much as I do and have at least one four-legged friend in their life. This came about because writing and a very special dog named Jiffy saved my life while I was chronically ill and bedridden. I had always loved dogs but found that my life just wasn't complete without a dog in the picture. It became clear that I couldn't write a character without a dog being by their side.

When you are writing characters, you must get to know all about them, including their past that might not even be included in the actual story, but makes the character who he/she is. I have charts and psychological profiles that I refer to determine what each character is like. I also use data to determine whether the hero and heroine would be a good match.

Now, thanks to Puppy Spot, I have a chart to help me choose the best dog for each of my characters. Or, maybe choose the worst dog for my character. There's nothing like conflict to enhance the story. LOL

Below is a flowchart that helps you choose the best puppy/dog for you and your living situation. Hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to check out Puppy Spot's website for more information about adopting. And while you are at it, check out some of the adorable puppies for adoption on their page: Puppies For Sale. Some of their pups have champion bloodlines! I have some personal favorites. I'd mention them by name, but I bet they get adopted before you even have a chance to see their pictures. These pages are another great source for picking out dogs for my characters. Having a photo really helps to describe them so they come to life on the pages of my books, and there are some great names: Rose, Irish Cream, PerseusBree, Hollywood, Rope, Layken, Ya-ya.

I got Green - 2: The Easy-going Playmate. I currently have three rescue, mixed-breed terriers.

Find out what breed works best for you and comment below. Tell me what you selected from the chart and what breed you actually have.

I am so pleased that Puppy Spot does not deal with puppy mills. You can find their promise at https://www.puppyspot.com/promise. Never purchase from a puppy mill even if you think you are saving a dog. This just encourages them to continue.

I believe it is our responsibility to take care of the pet population by spaying and neutering our pets. I also believe in stiffer penalties for those who abuse animals and believe unnecessary testing on animals should be stopped. Please consider adoption from reliable sources. There are already so many wonderful dogs out there who need a loving home.

I donate both time and money from my writing to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs. Please help where you can.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at: http://www.dragonflyromance.com 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Solving Our Dog’s Weight Problem

After the loss of our Schnauzer terrier, Sprite, we decided to rescue another dog. This was a difficult decision after all the issues we had faced with Sprite. He had been abused (causing brain damage), needed immediate surgery upon adoption, and very quickly started having seizures because of the abuse. Although we loved him very much, he never improved and we faced many trials throughout his nine-year life.

We heard about an event put on by Best Friends Animal Society at our local fair grounds. My husband took off work, and we headed up to look over hundreds of dogs available for adoption. I first spotted this cute little dog from the other side of the cages. She was in with a group of Chihuahuas. I kinda rushed my husband through the rest of the dogs to get around to other side to see her.

She was a small thing, only four pounds but nine months old. She was emaciated and had bites from the other dogs all over her. We asked if we could walk around the grounds with her. As we did, a young couple rushed up to us, claiming they had looked at her. The husband really wanted her, but the dog had bitten his wife. That made us nervous.

The pup apparently liked us, though. She cuddled in our arms and gave us a lick. Her paperwork said she was a Tibetan terrier mix. We looked up the breed on the Internet to see that they were a medium-sized dog that can get up to thirty pounds—not exactly what we were looking for. As small as she was, it was hard to picture her getting that big when she was already nine-months-old. We took her back inside and found out she was a rescue from Los Angeles. The Humane Society had rescued her from being euthanized.

Tibetan Terrier
We went through with the adoption.

We named her Chloe Rose and quickly fell in love with her. She started to get bigger and bigger, or should I say wider and wider? It didn’t seem like she ate much, but she had been starved. Five pounds, seven pounds, ten pounds… Her weight kept going up. Her little legs were so short. She started to waddle. Friends would come to the house and comment on her plump, little body.

I took her to the veterinarian where they did testing on her, mainly thyroid testing. Everything checked out. I asked why he thought she was overweight. He said dogs are like people, they come in all shapes and sizes. He gave us a script for expensive, specialized dog food that should balance her weight. Her weight didn’t change. She reached thirteen pounds.

During this time, we adopted two more rescue dogs. They are both taller than Chloe but weigh around seven or eight pounds. They eat more and are less active than Chloe. I thought I was going to go crazy trying to figure out why she kept gaining weight.

Shih Tzu

One day, I happened to be looking through a dog reference book. My mouth fell open when I spotted a picture of a Shih Tzu that looked just like Chloe. I quickly started reading about the breed:
  • The oldest and smallest breed of the Tibetan holy dogs
  • Lion-like appearance
  • Sat around the palace of the Emperor of China and barked to warn of intruders
  • Long, flowing double coat
  • Sturdy build, solid and compact — carry good weight
  • Intelligence
  • Friendly, lively attitude
  • Short snout
  • Large eyes
  • Height at withers (9-10 ½ inches)
  • Weight (9-16 pounds)
  • Short legs

Oh, my gosh! This is totally our Chloe! And as James Mumsford, an American teacher and composer, described the Shih Tzu: "Nobody knows how the ancient eunuchs managed to mix together: a dash of lion, several teaspoons of rabbit, a couple of ounces of domestic cat, one part court jester, a dash of ballerina, a pinch of old man, a bit of beggar, a tablespoon of monkey, one part baby seal, a dash of teddy bear, and, for the rest, dogs of Tibetan and Chinese origin." Hilariously, this is our girl!

No more diets. No more testing. No more calling her fat or chubby. She is solid and compact, the way she should be. Chloe is Chloe—perfect the way she is. Problem solved.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at: http://www.dragonflyromance.com