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Thursday, October 13, 2011

And a bit more about autumn...or maybe not

I was all set to wax poetic about fall in Michigan, but I think Liz covered that pretty thoroughly yesterday. Then I noticed it's what I talked about last year at right about this time. Hmmm. Even though I blog on the same day every month, this one always seems to take me by surprise and I never know what I'm going to write about until I sit down and do it. Usually very early in the morning on my blog day.
Well, pets are on my mind. As many of you know, I had to say goodbye to a 16-year-old friend this month. Grendel (above, cool in her shades) had been with me since before I started my writing journey, and after two weeks, it's still very odd to be in a room completely by myself. We also have a 2-year-old St. Bernard mix, Tyr (that's him on the lap of Tristan, one of his humans.) Tyr is a fantastic dog, but he's a little calmer and doesn't feel the need to follow me everywhere I go.

So, today is Tyr's 2-year check-up at the vets. This is a challenge because the dog weighs as much as the teenager and is mortally afraid of cars. (Among other things. Don't even THINK about blankets. Those are downright evil in his world.) So getting 170 pounds of chicken into a vehicle is ummm...entertaining at best. No idea how he'll be once we get there. It's been a while since his last visit and he was really still a puppy then. I'll pop in later to let you know how it went.

We also have an iguana named Chewie (for Chewbacca if you ask one son, El Chupacabra if you ask the other.) Chewie is a rescue like both of the dogs, but his story is more interesting. He was found wandering loose in a Michigan trailer park. He'd been chewed on by something--a cat is my best guess. His spines were all broken, he was missing toes, and still has huge scars on his back. I was working at a Nature Center then, and someone found him and brought him in, in a laundry basket with plywood bungee-corded across the top. The Center is only licensed to take native species into their rehab program, and iguanas aren't even close here in the snow belt, so no one knew what to do. This was just a few weeks after my mom died, so things were a little glum at my house. Both teens were reptile fans, so Chewie came home with me. 6 years later, he's 4' long, all his spines AND his toes have grown back, and he's happy as can be.

His cage (which is huge--that's my husband working on the inside before we put the climbing logs and heat lamps and humidifier in and the doors on. My father is supervising construction.) sits opposite my desk in our family room so I can sometimes have stare-downs with him while I type. Over the years we've also had goldfish, hermit crabs, hamsters, chinchillas (one for 15 years) and other lizards, but the current menagerie is just Tyr, Chewie, and it looks like a new puppy who--ahem--followed my 19-yr-old son home. Tyr seems to have adopted Mephisto as his (no photos yet) but I'm not sure Dad has come to this conclusion yet, so more on that later.

I've also found that my wildlife background and pet-loving lifestyle mean animals often find their way into my books. In All Hallow's Evie, out next week from Ellora's Cave, a Labrador puppy named Ghengis plays a role in getting his humans together. Of course in any of my shifter books, the critters are also the humans, but I wrote Dragon in the System,  my first Ellora's Cave sale, in the late 90s--well before I had an iguana of my own, but the heroine of that book has one named Q. A case of life imitating art? Who knows.

Check my website soon for a couple of great Halloween contests! You really don't want to miss Sam Cheever's Trick or Treating. Now, here's the blurb and the purchase info for Evie, the fifth book in my Holiday Hearts series. Have a great Samhain/Halloween, everyone! Hug your pets, and Happy Autumn!

All Hallow’s Evie
Holiday Hearts #5
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Coming Oct. 21,  from Ellora’s Cave

When Sam Holiday moves into his Victorian home the week before his thirty-fifth birthday, the last thing he expects is to find a ghost in residence. Especially a horny one.
Evie Bonnell has been hanging around since her death in 1916 because she has unfinished business. She died before experiencing sex. She’s learned a lot over the years and has decided single, handsome Sam is the right man to do the job.
Every year she manifests for several days before Halloween, and when she asks, Sam agrees to help. Each night, he teaches her a little more about sensual pleasure. Sam’s delighted that his demure ghost has turned into an eager hedonist, but not so happy that she’ll be gone after Halloween. Not only is she the hottest woman he’s ever had, but he’s afraid he’s fallen in love.
Now it’s up to fate and the Holiday family magic to find a way for the lovers to stay together.


Amber Skyze said...

I think it's great that you take in rescues. So many go without good, loving homes.
Looking forward to the new release!
Congrats, Cindy.

Nina Pierce said...

LOL! The puppy "followed" your son home I'm sure. It seems that's how we obtained most of our pets as well. Though I have to say, we never went the reptile route when the kids were little, but we had our fair share of hamsters.

Best of luck with the new release.

Katalina Leon said...

Cindy, I was wondering how you were faring after losing Grendel. It's so hard to not have a dog friend's company when they've been such a big part of your life.
We've had rescue iguanas as pets too. Keeping them warm and happy in their ever larger habitats was a big challenge.

jean hart stewart said...

Funny how pets can manuveur themselves into a good home. Loved the blog and your excerpt. Wish both had been longer!

Molly Daniels said...

We ended up with a cat named Oreo (now Double Stuff, lol!) because he 'followed' the kids to the car at the park. Pretty hard to 'follow' when he's actually being carried! Oh well...three years later he's still a valuable member of the family:)

And that picture of Chewie reminds me; I took some pics at the zoo last May with you in mind and forgot to post them! I'll try to do that next week.

Liz said...

great post Cindy! I love the looks of that HUGE dog! Lizards and such...not so much....but that's just me!
I'm so sorry for your loss earlier. My 2 standard poodles "guard" me while I work in my office, on the back patio or at the kitchen table. I know when I lose one of them it will be horrible. You're the best!
From just a few miles away


Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Well, it turns out that Tyr weighs a mere 125. We were disappointed. But he's healthy and now all up to date until next year, so YAY! And I got to have a nice lunch with the vet, who's also my cousin. :-)

Paris said...

I had to chuckle at the mom, he followed me home, story because my youngest did the same thing. My oldest brought home the class project--a salamander-for the summer and we ended up with another pet.

I don't think anything tops Chewie's story though and I'm darned glad they never found an iguana to follow them home, sheesh, at our house you'd be voted the coolest mom ever:)

Janice said...

I'm glad Chewie has grown back his spine and his toes. I didn't know they could do that. :)


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