From Condemned Dog to Story Star!
Guest blog by Genie Gabriel, author
I’ve always loved dogs. Fur against my face and the soft smell of a dog curled protectively around me existed before my first memories of this life. My mom tells stories of me as a toddler, sleeping with my head pillowed on our Collie’s belly.
After I graduated from high school, I moved to the city to claim a job and my own life. For about a year I moved from apartment to apartment, rediscovering my life wasn’t complete without a dog. My search for furry companions found results in a variety of sources–a neighbor’s litter of puppies, a stray dog my parents found and, finally, I discovered shelter dogs.
My first shelter dog was a Border Collie. His golden eyes mesmerized me, and I knew instantly he was smarter than most people. However, my heart ached because I couldn’t take every dog home with me.
Over a progression of many years, I volunteered at the shelter, became an employee at the shelter, and even tried being a doggie foster parent.
My greatest strength and biggest challenge was becoming emotionally attached. Sounds like writing a character in a book, doesn’t it? Loving a dog was easy. Then came the tough part. Letting my foster babies go brought many tears and prayers their new families would keep them furever.
After I realized fostering wasn’t a good fit for me, the Universe showed me another way I could help–by taking dogs who would have otherwise been euthanized.
This included a Cocker Spaniel I renamed Rascal. He had been adopted, then brought back to the shelter for biting. I saw him when he was returned to the shelter–he snapped at our intake worker. After a day in the shelter, he settled into being a happy dog again. Then I realized he really was the same dog I had connected with months earlier when I picked him up from his neuter appointment.
However, with his history of biting, his chances of being adopted were slim to nothing. He had three paws in the euthanasia room when I asked the kennel manager to give me a few days with him.
From the first night, he slept on my pillow. Though he got along well with the other dogs, he was terrified of most everything, and it was obvious he had been abused. When he became terrified, he started wildly snapping at everything and nothing.
However, it wasn’t me who helped him the most, but one of my other dogs, a Shepherd/Lab mix. Whenever Rascal panicked and started snapping, Stewart stood over him and put him in a head-lock between his front legs. In that position, Rascal couldn’t hurt anyone and finally wore himself out and realized he had nothing to fear but his memories.
Though it took a bit of time, Rascal gradually became one of my most mellow dogs. He’s now been part of our pack for over five years and is featured in my latest romantic comedy novella, NO MORE POODLE SKIRTS.
So what’s my next doggie adventure? I’m currently writing a nonfiction book about my life with dogs that I plan to self publish. I’m hoping it will sell well enough to help fund some acreage for an expanded dog sanctuary where my furbabies can chase smells all day, then enjoy a home-cooked meal before settling in front of the fireplace for a nap.
Do your dreams include dogs?
And here’s her new book release!!
Rogue Phoenix Press
To purchase, click here. No More Poodle Skirts
After drifting for years in the innocent age of the 1950s, a woman struggles to join today’s world by finding a career and a new love, with some help from her zany family.
I love your cover!! And what a charming story about your dog Rascal. He is such a darling dog! We’re in the process of looking at shelter dogs, to add another to our household. That’s simply the best way to go!
Hi, Roxanne! Thank you so much for hosting me today! I’m so excited and honored to share Rascal’s story with others who love critters. And bravo for you for considering a shelter dog for your family. All of my current doggie herd have had previous homes, but it hasn’t taken them too long to get me trained. 🙂
And now that breakfast is done and my morning chores are done, my doggies are allowing me some time at the computer. So I’ll be back throughout the day to chat with commenters.
I love hearing stories from others who have pets who came to them through a shelter or other unique ways. Please share your stories if you feel moved to do so!
Cute cover! What a great story and great life Rascal found with you. My dad’s new dog came from a shelter. She’s a boxer/border mix. We were looking on the internet at the dogs available in his area and the minute he saw her photo he wanted to know more about her. We went to pick her up and discovered she was partial to women. So while I was at his house, I ignored her, making her go to him when she wanted attention or food. Now they are a great pair!
The new book looks good! Wishing you many sales of both this book and the one that will help you live your dreams!
Thanks for stopping by, Paty! So glad your dad found his companion at a shelter. My shelter alumni are awesome!
Having met the menagerie who run Genene’s house, I can attest to the sweet disposition of Rascal. All her furry housemates are individual characters and so much fun to talk to and listen to. Great to see you’re writing about your ‘unique’ living situation. Best of luck self-publishing and wishing you a mountain of sales.
Thanks for dropping by, C.L.! Each of my furbabies is indeed unique and they definitely run my house. 🙂 Works out well for all of us!
Once more, many thanks to Roxanne for hosting me today, and to everyone who stopped by. Hope you all have a furry friend to relax with!
What an inspirational tail, er, oops… tale. 🙂 Wonderful.