Friday, July 01, 2016

Friday Fun - One Word...Puppy!

Pink Heart Society columnist Barb Han is talking about the most adorable new member of her family - a puppy!

Researchers have touted the benefits of pet ownership for a quarter of a century (according to Web sites like Web MD). Rover—or in some cases, kitty-kittyis said to lower blood pressure, boost immunity and reduce anxiety. *laughs hysterically*

Those researchers couldn’t possibly have been talking about puppies!

I’d like you to meet our new family member…Kobi

Isn’t he cute?
And that cuteness has me wondering if being adorable is survival insurance. How could anyone stay mad at that face (even if he did just leave bite marks on the kitchen table leg before I could get the chew toy in his mouth instead)? Whoever said having a pet lowers blood pressure clearly wasn’t talking about high energy, constant-need-for-attention puppies. 

We picked Kobi out at a well-known and wonderful rescue organization a month ago. He’s a Belgian Malinois / Standard Schnauzer mix (they think). The first week home was…interesting. My writing routine was turned upside down for those first few days and I had a few moments where I wondered if getting a puppy was such a good idea. We decided to tackle watching him in shifts. I’m the only one willing to get up early, so I’m the 7-10 a.m. shift. Remembering the axiom, a tired puppy is a good puppy, I set out to exhaust him every morning. We start the day playing toys in the family room. Then, it’s breakfast and outside play.  

Our six-year-old Goldendoodle, Shaq, loves being a big brother and he’s helping to show the little guy the ropes. Shaq is a huge help. 

By day four, I started taking my laptop outside with me and getting in as much writing as I could before 9 a.m. breakfast. Once the dogs eat, they’re played out and ready for a nap. So, my last hour on duty is by far the easiest. If the boys have extra energy, I take them for a morning walk and that does the trick. 

A tired puppy is a good puppy. It’s so true. 

Having a puppy around the house reminds me of the first time I wrote a dog into a book. It was WITNESS PROTECTION and the dog’s name was Boomer. The heroine wanted to set down roots and have a sense of protection so she adopted a rescue. 

Boomer was the equivalent of Scooby-Doo, a favorite cartoon character from my childhood. Scooby-Doo was a huge dog (a Great Dane) that was literally afraid of his own shadow. My fictional dog, Boomer, wasn’t too far off base and mirrored my sweet dog, Shaq. 

The copy editor of that story kept asking, “What is the dog doing now?” You’d think that a dog on paper would be easy to keep track of. Apparently, not so much. I kept forgetting to include him in scenes. It was the first time I’d written a dog into a story—and much like getting my first puppy—I had a lot to learn. By the end of line edits, I swore I’d never write another dog into a book. *laughs again*

I love dogs. Some of my characters love dogs. And there was no way I was going to keep dogs out of my stories. My 10th Harlequin Intrigue, STOCKYARD SNATCHING, releases later this month in print. It features Denalithe O’Brien family’s chocolate Labrador Retriever

Now it’s your turn. Are you a cat or dog person (or both!)? I’d love to hear about your pets… 

Barb's latest book, Stockyard Snatching, is out this July:

A Texas rancher will do anything to protect a woman in jeopardy and the little boy who could be his son… 

With the ferocity of a tigress, Kate Williams desperately fights a kidnapper trying to snatch her adopted son from her arms. When rancher Dallas O’Brien sees the skirmish, he bravely saves the infant and his lovely mother. Single and new in town, Kate accepts the handsome cowboy’s offer of a safe haven at his ranch. 

Spurred on by their Texas-sized attraction, Dallas and Kate untangle a web of lies that throws the baby’s paternity into question. And Dallas wonders—could he be a father? Could he be a husband? But when bullets start flying, the real question is, will he survive to find out?

You can find out more about Barb Han's writing on her website and Goodreads. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest for regular updates and pretty pics!

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