Books, Dogs, and Wild Hopes


I’m so proud and excited of the children’s books my publisher has written and I’ve illustrated. See! They books are here at Plum Tree Books. Plum Tree also published cards with my art!

If you know anyone (or school, organization, and such) that might like unique children’s books, please help us spread the word. And if you’ve got ideas about how to get these books to more people, let me know. Books need love!

I’ll illustrate another book too–about bees! Bees! Bees are awesome and very important.

So, I’m happy about these books. I’m happy that Plum Tree Books will publish my novel, The Blue Jar, in October. I’m terrified, and EXCITED! (All caps are necessary to capture my shouting.)

But life being what it is, you can’t have your ups without your downs. Chemo treatment is a down. Losing my hair is a down.

Yesterday morning we took our 17-year-old Porter dog to the vet. We had to say goodbye to him. Why do we give our hearts to these creatures when we know there will be tears? Yet, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to love another species. Really. We don’t have to love just people who are like us. We are capable of loving a creature who can’t talk, who can’t share our opinions, who can’t do anything but be our companions.

To remember Porter my son and I made a collage of photographs and we also made a grave marker. My son said he was avoiding certain spots in the house because Porter was last one in those spots. My son is having a hard time understanding why we couldn’t do more to save Porter, and he’s sad he didn’t know Porter as a puppy. It’s hard to be a ten-year-old boy.

I’m happy about the books.
And I’m sad Porter isn’t here.

2 thoughts on “Books, Dogs, and Wild Hopes

  1. Sophie

    We lost our 15 year old kitty 2 1/2 years ago. The last month of his life was sad and excruciating for all of us. By the time he passed away he weighed less than 5 lbs. We knew his time was coming and husband and I took turns sleeping downstairs with Isaac the last three nights of his life because he was unable to climb the stairs. He died of a kitty stroke – spent the last 2 minutes of his life in my lap surrounded by husband and sons.

    I still cry for him. (crying while typing)

    Our sons could not bear to see pics of Mr. Kitty nor hear his name aloud, but we did hold a little funeral for him. We bought a mailbox, packed it with his favorite blankets (I wanted him to be warm, cushioned, & comfy. Yes, I am aware.) and toys, and then placed his body in it so we could send him to heaven. I read Carl Sandburg’s poem, The Fog, in memory of Isaac’s beginnings with us in San Francisco:

    THE fog comes
    on little cat feet.

    It sits looking
    over harbor and city
    on silent haunches
    and then moves on.

    When I was 14 my dog, Buppers, was poisoned by some neighbors and died of juvenile kidney failure. Stupid parents did not tell me they were taking him to the vet; they just came home after the fact and told me. I’ve never forgiven them for that. He was my BFF. I pissed in the neighbors bushes for a year to get back at them. HA! Take that, Life!

    Despite the heartache of losing our furry friends, we found ourselves looking for another kitty a month or so after Isaac passed away. None of us could bear the thought of having Christmas without a kitty under the tree. Then we found our girl, Lucy, and Christmas was possible again. She’s a tripod rescue kitty. She lost her front left leg in an accident when she was only 2 months old. You’d never know it. She’s so damn FAST and funny and sweet and, boy, does she hold her ground. Right now she’s obsessed with a bunny that lives behind our shed. We are obsessed with not letting her catch it. Bunny is obsessed with taunting Lucy & then running away.

    How can we deny the experience of this kind of special love? The love of a pet is unique and grounding. We might get mad at a pet, but the beloved companion doesn’t argue with us or call us names. That right there is a vast improvement over my 12 year old son and his dang hormones. Dogs are loyal pack mates. I always believed that Buppers had my back. He literally did. He was a 150 lb. wolf/collie/shepherd mix. My dog slept next to me and growled at my stepfather when he came into my room @ night for nefarious purposes. Stepfather couldn’t be nefarious with a 150 lb. dog with the chompers of a wolf glaring at him. Double Dog Daring him. 😉

    Cats are different. We have a bookmark that says, “You’re nobody until you’ve been ignored by a cat.” Oh, so true.

    You have lost a pack mate, a family member, and a friend. I know your grief and it hurts. We invite other pets into our lives because once we have experienced an animal’s love, it is near impossible to say no to the opportunity to love again.

    You will love again. No pet can replace another, but our hearts remain open to love another pet as one of our one.

    I am so sorry for your loss. (((hugs)))

    1. That’s a lovely reply, Sophie. Thank you for sharing those stories. (Love that you pissed on the neighbors bushes. They deserved that and more. What horrible people.) My grandmother waited for hours to tell me the truth about my best friend, Jill, a wonderful German Shepherd. Broke my heart, and made me realize for the first time that my grandmother couldn’t really be completely trusted. I loved my grandmother and she was great in some ways, but as my mother had told, she was incapable of dealing with death.

      I know one reason I like you is the love you have for your pets. You understand what it’s like. I miss our Porter. He was such a good dog. The best.

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