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Goodnight, Sweet Prince, see you soon…

My sweet boy, Chevy, the Goldendoodle, got very sick and was put down yesterday. This dog was the sweetest dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of being friends with, and I’ve had a lot of dogs.

He most likely will be my last large dog. We are getting older, and as you know, large dogs need a lot more attention and exercise. It’s not fair to them not to be there for them during the day. You’d think our lives would be winding down in our old age, but instead, we find ourselves busier than ever.

This past week has been a really tough one. I’ve been quite ill with a very bad bronchial infection and missed an entire week of work. I’m still not 100% yet, but I can’t miss any more work so hope to get back in the saddle on Monday. Have you ever been sick and mourned at the same time? It is absolutely the worst.

I don’t know how people do it without the hope of Jesus. I’m so grateful I have my faith.

I haven’t written on this blog in awhile for several reasons. For one, I don’t believe in putting drivel out there. I don’t want to waste my readers’ time. For another, I honestly don’t know which topic to write about and I get overwhelmed. I’m passionate about so many things, but which ones do my readers want to know about?

Another reason is technical issues with this site. Those are being rectified, and I hope to have a shiny new site in the coming months that will be a lot more user-friendly for my readers.

In the meantime, I needed to let you know that Chevy went home to wherever dogs go. I hope they do go to heaven. I hope that I’ll be reunited with my pets in the afterlife. Chevy got me through so many hurtful things these past eleven years. When I could find no comfort, when friends left me, Chevy calmed me. All I had to do was lean into him, bury my face in his soft fur, and I felt better.

I never felt scared or afraid with Chevy in the house. For a gentle dog, he had an enormously scary bark. He was my security alarm. When my family was away and I was alone, I never, ever had to worry about uninvited intruders. As soon as anyone so much as put a toe on the driveway, Chevy would sound the alarm.

He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He never showed an inch of aggression. But strangers didn’t need to know that. His bark was enough.

He hated swimming. He was scared of his own shadow when we got him. We drove all the way to Kentucky to fetch him. All because I’d seen my first Goldendoodle on a motorcycle trip to Mackinac Island with my husband. As soon as we got home I looked for rescues online. That’s how I found Chevy.

Chevy a few months after we got him and my granddaughter, Trinity

He hadn’t been well socialized and was kept in a cage most of his puppyhood. He was 11 months old when we got him and terrified of everything. He shook just going for a walk. He shook when someone new walked into the house. He was terrified of balloons. And the groomer. And water. And men he didn’t know. And he was afraid of women, too, but would warm up to them faster after a while.

Chevy wasn’t very brave, but he was my best furry friend. I do have a menagerie. I still have my pug and my Boston Terrier. And they are my friends, but Chevy was a heart dog. Chevy was my sweet, loyal buddy. He was a quiet presence. He demanded so little and gave so much to me.

He loved trash. Nothing delighted him more than getting past the kitchen gate to rummage in the trash bin. We’d come home to garbage scattered wall to wall. But he was so sweet, I could never get mad at him. It was our fault for leaving garbage at his disposal. Naturally, he thought we’d done him a favor.

He always had to carry something in his mouth. A ball. A sock. Trash. A shoe. Whenever we were missing a shoe we’d look in the backyard. Most of the time we’d find it there. He never chewed them up. He just carried them.

When we brought the kittens home four years ago, he kept track of them. One time I accidentally put a load of clothes on top of them in a laundry basket and Chevy emptied the basket to get to them. I was aggravated with him until I figured out what he was doing. He always had a good reason for doing things. He never did it for some dumb dog reason or for plain naughty reasons.

Except for trash.

When the twins brought home their pet rats about a year ago, Chevy was keenly attentive to them, and protective. He was like a nanny dog. Oh my goodness, this dog’s heart! I’d never had such a sweet dog. Jake, the Boston Terrier is a narcissist. And Frankie, my pug, he’s just into naps and laps. Chevy was the caretaker of our brood. I miss his big rug-like presence on my couch.

Chevy put up with Jake’s bossy orneriness. I felt bad sometimes because before Jake came (Jake has his own story of how he got here), Chevy was the boss. Jake would have none of that, of course. And Chevy sweetly submitted. Chevy was a lover, not a fighter. I never, ever saw him get angry. Ever. How many humans can I say that about?

I guess that’s why I love my animals so much. They never hurt me. They don’t care what I’m wearing, what I look like, or whether or not I meet a deadline. They don’t know if I’m rich or poor, fat or thin. Their only expectations are food, water, shelter, and scratches behind the ears.

Animals always put life in perspective for me. And Chevy was my soft place to fall these past ten years. It’s been rough. And he kept me grounded.

“C’mon, Mom, let’s snuggle.”

“Mom, you don’t want that whole hamburger, do you?”

“Donuts? Did you say donuts, Mom?”

“Chips? What chips? Ohhhhh, you mean the ones on the end table I didn’t think you’d miss?”

“Mom. Mom. Mom. Wake up. Wake up. I gotta pee.”

Chevy never once had an accident in the house except for once, and when he did, he was sick and terribly embarrassed. Toward the end, he was vomiting a lot, and he felt awful for doing so. We never scolded him because it wasn’t in his nature to leave a mess like that.

Unless it was garbage. That boy loved his garbage.

I keep mistaking the lumps of blankets on the couch for his presence. It’s going to take a very long time for this house to readjust itself around the vacuum of his absence. Amazing how one beast can change the atmosphere of a room. A house. A life.

I miss him. But I rejoice that I got to know him. And love him and cuddle him and run with him. He had the most beautiful run. There are so many things I wish I could do over. I wish I could have spent more time playing with him. I hope he forgives me for not doing that more.

And I really do hope he’s somewhere now frolicking pain-free and happy. And carrying as many shoes in his mouth as his heart desires.

I miss you, Sweet Prince. Rest in peace.

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Woof! Jake the Boston Terrier, Interviews Donna Winters

As you know, I love dogs and have three of my own. The most outspoken of the three is Jake, a rescue dog. Jake is a Boston Terrier that a fellow blogger willed to me upon his death all the way from Pennsylvania. And since this boisterous canine is more than able to speak for himself, I’ll let him take it from here.

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Woof! Welcome, Donna. I’m always excited to get to know my mom’s skin friends who enjoy the company of fur kids like me. Tell me, what in your childhood created a love for God’s creatures?

When I was very young, about four years old, my parents bought a Cocker spaniel puppy. I loved that dog, but after several months of training it, my mother was unable to housebreak it and it was re-homed with a family who had a nice outdoor doghouse for it. Soon after, my mother went back to teaching, and with both of my parents working full-time, my mother said it would not be fair to have a dog or cat and leave them home alone all day. Thankfully, my best friend from third through sixth grades lived on a dairy farm. Her family had cats and dogs. I slept over many, many weekends at her place and got my fill of pet cuddling. I always liked cats, but my husband forbids them. He grew up with a marvelous mixed-breed dog and wanted to adopt a dog early in our marriage, so I became a “dog person.”

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Author, Donna Winters

What in your childhood created a love for writing?

I was the kid who always wanted to write letters to relatives and pen pals. Other kids hated writing letters, and even my pen pals couldn’t keep up. No one else in our family was a writer so my mother was perplexed about me becoming a writer of book-length fiction. I explained it by saying that writing is one form of being creative, and many in our family are, or were creative, including my mother who went to her heavenly reward in 2008.

What do you write?

Mainly, I write for my Great Lakes Romances® series. The books are historical romances set in Great Lakes cities and towns, mostly in Michigan. You can find them at http://www.GreatLakesRomances.com.

What are your favorite:

Wild animals: Since I live in the north woods, I love seeing the deer. They are especially graceful and peaceful, making me wonder: why can’t all of God’s creatures, both quadrupeds and bipeds, be more like the deer?

Domestic animals: Dogs and cats.

What pets do you currently have?

Currently we have Babe, an American Staffordshire Terrier mix (some call the breed “pit bull”). She is ten years old and was rescued the day before her scheduled execution in June 2010. We also have Buster, a Siberian husky mix who is supposedly 14 years old but looks and acts like about five years old.

Tell us about your work with shelter animals:

I am currently working on raising awareness of Adventures with Vinnie so that people will buy, read, and enjoy an entertaining and somewhat informative book on shelter dog adoption. My earnings from this book will go to animal shelters. In addition, any shelter manager or veterinarian who wants to resell the title will get the biggest discount CreateSpace will allow me to offer them, which currently is 35% off of the $10 (full color) paperback price.

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Woof! Good work, Donna! How can we help?

Thanks for asking! There are many ways to help.

  • Read and review the book on Amazon and Goodreads.
  • Tell your local animal shelter to contact me about the reseller’s discount so they can use my book as a fundraiser.
  • Post your review on your Facebook timeline.
  • Write a blog post about it. (I’ll be glad to do an interview and book giveaway on your blog.)
  • Add the book to your blog sidebar for a while.
  • Share your review on Google+
  • Share your review on your other social media sites such as Pinterest, Reddit, and Twitter.
  • Tell your email contacts about it in a way that is not a spam pitch.
  • Offer to write a book review for your local newspaper.
  • Mention the book to your associates in groups you belong to such as civic organizations, school groups, and the like.
  • Give the book as a gift to your animal-loving friends.
  • Tell your veterinarian about the book and suggest selling it at his/her registration desk.

Where can your fans find you?

 Find my links at the bottom of my website home page:  http://www.GreatLakesRomances.com

Here’s some more about Donna:

Donna Winters lives with her husband and two rescued canines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She has nineteen books in print including fifteen historical romances, one historical novel, one contemporary romance, and two nonfiction titles. Learn more about her and her books at www.GreatLakesRomances.com.

Book Giveaway

Donna is willing to give away either a paperback or Kindle copy of her book to someone who comments on the post telling in a couple of sentences what he/she likes best about his/her pet. If you do not have a pet, tell about a pet you’ve met and liked, perhaps a dog or cat belonging to a relative, friend, or neighbor. Please be sure to leave your email address and add mine (bigwaterpub at gmail dot com) to your contact list so my winner notification won’t get caught in your spam filter.

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