...in updating my site since my beloved Newfoundland, Ishmael, was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma January 30.
She has been with me every day for almost ten years. I dreamed about her years before I got her. I woke up with the phrase in my head, "Call me Ishmael." I knew it was my future Newfoundland telling me what to name her. Okay, ridiculous, right? But I didn't know it was the first line of Moby Dick, a book I have never read. But my husband was reading it at the time, so I must've read his mind.
She's been in several of my books. In The Hinterlands, she was a leopard hunter in 1890s Nigeria. In Strangely Wonderful, a pirate dog in Madagascar. She popped back up in Sure as Shooting in 1840s California. My heroine was unable to conceive and wanted something to cuddle. I even stuck her in my future release The Grass is Greener because the heroine's brother wanted something to cuddle. And look. She is very cuddly.
She is seriously the best darn dog in the west. When I brought her home from the breeder in 2003, she only made one mistake indoors before realizing it was better to go outside on the lawn. She's never chewed up, destroyed, or damaged anything. I can leave cheese out overnight on a low table and she won't eat it. She doesn't drink from the toilet or eat the garbage or dig up flowers. If someone leaves the door open, she looks out and comes back inside.
When I had to go to Romantic Times in St. Louis in 2006, my screen saver of her was what I looked at every night. Sorry, husband. I tuck her in every night with her biscuit and monkey. I kiss and hold her and feel love emanante through me.
She's an absolute angel sent straight from heaven. I'm thoroughly devastated. I'll be writing very slowly in the forseeable future as I take care of her and try to make things as good as humanly possible for her. I'm not a very strong person this way--can't even finish writing this post, so I should go now.