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As I’ve probably mentioned before, my Little Black Dog is pretty unique, but then all dog owners think that about their dogs, don’t they? The fact is though, that there aren’t that many dogs like him where I live, so I’ve met very few. Imagine my surprise then, when I was befriended on Facebook by fellow author and dog lover Tara Chevrestt and saw what she was holding in her profile picture – a little black dog just like mine!
It turns out hers is not exactly the same, but similar enough to make me do a double take (as you’ll see from the photos here) and I was thrilled to discover that Tara had written a collection of humorous short stories about her three dogs, starting with Lola the little Peke. Reading these, I found myself nodding and laughing out loud time and again as her dogs have so much in common with mine! It was great fun and we’ve been comparing notes ever since.
If you’re a dog lover and you’d like to read Tara’s stories for yourself, they can be downloaded (see details below), but to whet your appetite I’ve invited Tara to be my guest here today. Here’s what she had to say in answer to my questions:-
Great to have you here, Tara, and I still can’t believe the similarity between your Lola and my Little Black Dog! Have you always loved dogs? Yes. I was always asking my parents for one when I was a kid. They always made me give them away the few times I was allowed one, however. We were moving, the dog was too big, it was always something … and they were never allowed in the house. So when I was an adult and facing a lot of alone time as my husband was preparing to leave for basic training in the Air Force, I told him, “I want a dog!” And I vowed I would keep this dog and treat this dog right and not abandon it. I also wanted a dog in the house with me as I’m hearing impaired. And that is when I got Lola.
When did you buy your first one (that was all yours)? My husband and I rashly bought a rat terrier at one point in our marriage and it didn’t work. We had to take the dog to my mother in law’s house because it barked too much when we left for work and we were in an apartment that didn’t allow pets. So when the time came to get Lola, I did a lot of research. I needed a small pet as we lived in a small place. I didn’t want a Peke, actually, but there was an ad in the paper for little Peke puppies and I sat down and researched them. I decided they were ugly creatures, but worth checking out. So we went to the house where the Pekes were for sale and Lola was one of just two little black females. The rest were brown males. They were five weeks old and were crated in a big crate. The breeder let them out and little Lola took three steps and then peed, took two steps and peed. She was so scared and so sweet looking! I fell madly in love. I cannot explain it. Looking at photos of her back then, I go, “oh she looks like a rat!” But she’s my rat. 🙂
Why did you choose that particular breed? The size. We lived in a very small apartment. However, if I had to do it all over again, I would choose her again. Pekes have terrific personalities, make good “hearing aid” dogs, are playful, loyal, fun. I wouldn’t change anything about my Peke. After getting Lola, however, I fell in love with toy breeds. Even though I have a big house and yard now, I still have a soft spot for the toys. I love to pick them up and cuddle them.
Like me, you see the dogs as “people” or personalities, can you give us a quick character sketch of each of your dogs? Lola is sassy. She doesn’t like being told what to do. If I verbally scold her, she literally looks over her shoulder at me and then sniffs really hard and shakes it off before sauntering away. She’s also spoiled. If she loses a rawhide in the sofa, she will stand there and bark until someone retrieves it for her. She also likes to dig in the carpet and growl. I call it her “establishing dominance” time.
Pudgy is my pug. She’s a girl, but everyone thinks she’s a boy. She’s “daddy’s girl.” She always chooses his lap and loves to play football and roughhouse. I’m not into roughhousing. I’m more into cuddling so she goes to daddy. She’s very sensitive, however, and she knows when we are talking about her. Her face gets droopy and she does her “head cocking” routine. She also loves being read aloud to. She’s highly intelligent and seems to know every “food” word.
Jazzy is the Japanese Chin and she is very timid. She acts like she is beaten on a daily basis, but I assure you, she is treated very well. I think Pudgy went a little overboard with the “I’m the Alpha here” thing and now Jazzy is timid as a result. I always thought she had an anxiety disorder as she is always licking her feet. She’s a sweet girl though, but also spoiled. She hates traveling. Every time I take her away from home, she seems to suffer great depression and feigns an ailment. The last time I took her to my mother’s in Montana, she suddenly had a hurt foot. I would be in the room and Jazzy would limp all over the place, favoring her right front paw. I would leave the room and she would be just fine. My mother told me she was faking it. I said, “dog’s don’t do that!” Well, I would enter the room again and she would favor her foot … but the other one! So she was faking it. LOL
What inspired you to write their stories? Thank Dog came to me one day after a very trying week at work (that part of the “tail” is true.) I was sitting in my recliner with Lola on my lap and I said to her, “I wish I could trade places with you tomorrow, you go to work and deal with those jerks and I will stay here and eat, sleep, potty, and lick myself …”
Well, the idea wasn’t long enough to form a novel so I never did anything with it. One day, I read a short story on kindle from MuseItUp Publishing and I thought, “this is a great idea! Short stories for 99 cents!” And inspiration struck me and I took my idea and made it into a short story with the intention of getting it pubbed and marketed at 99 cents.
However, while waiting for the publisher to get back with me, Pudgy began her “head cocking” guilt trip thing and I started feeling really bad. Why did I write a story for Lola and not for Pudgy? Or for Jazzy? So … I sat down and began writing their own stories.
In one of them, you write about the 100 degree heat you sometimes have where you live – how does a Pekingese cope with that? My dogs have enough trouble here in London! In Utah, we don’t get 100 degree heat. When I wrote Lola’s story, I was thinking of when I lived in Oklahoma. (That’s where I am from.) It was very hot and humid there! Lola did just fine there though. I had her hair trimmed on a regular basis. (They say if you have the hair trimmed, it’s better than shaving it down to the quick. Keeps them cooler.) The worst problem in Oklahoma was fleas. It seemed no matter how much repellent I used or how expensive the brand was, she would get fleas and fleas lead to tapeworms. (Shuddering)
If you had a bigger breed of dog, which one would you go for and why? Saint Bernard. They have always appealed to me. I was given a book by a teacher when I was in the third grade and it was about a Saint Bernard that rescues this family. They are supposed to be very smart with big hearts.
What’s the funniest thing your dogs have ever done? It’s gross!!! One time, my husband and I had a lady friend over for dinner. Afterwards, as it was going dark, we all sat on our patio in the fenced in backyard. All the girls were outside with us and my friend was sitting on the patio cement. We were chattering and drinking wine, oblivious to what the dogs were doing. Well, Pudgy was “taking a dump” to put it bluntly and this was not unusual as it was her backyard … but she had a “cliff hanger.”
Imagine our surprise when Pudgy suddenly appeared on the patio, walking around while in “squat position,” attempting to back up onto my friend’s pant leg. It took us a few seconds, but we finally realized she had a cliff hanger and was trying to wipe it on my friend’s leg! My friend began backing up as fast as she could and I was howling with laughter and wiping tears from my eyes. I don’t believe my friend ever sat on our patio again.
And what’s the worst? (Or maybe I shouldn’t ask??) Anytime they attempt to get loose and run away is a “bad dog” story. Lola just loves the novelty of being chased. Pudgy loves to pick fights with other dogs under the ruse of protecting me. Jazzy is just curious and I fancy at times, wants to find an owner more worthy of her presence.
Many thanks to Tara – love all those dog stories!
Dog Tails is available here:-
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