New Year’s Eve marks my tenth anniversary of living with Loree Lough.
I was nearly three when she and
her husband adopted me from a German shorthaired pointer rescue agency.
In addition to overall neglect that led to Lyme disease, a chronic ear
infection, and heartworm, my former owner was an abusive beast who
broke most of my toes, a couple ribs, a leg bone or three, and my jaw .
. . and let the injuries heal on their own.
now, don’t feel too sorry
for me; my sad past buys me lots of leeway around here. I’ve grown fat
and lazy eating the best kibble money can buy and slumbering on big
puffy dog beds (there’s one in every room, I’ll have you know). Oh, I
inspire my share of grins and giggles, tossing the toys that fill a
gigantic dual-handled Longaberger basket in the foyer, but
(thankfully!) I’m not expected to perform tricks or wear silly hats or
“speak” . . . unless I have something to say.
Now, lest you get the idea that
my life is 100 percent hunky-dory, let me set you straight, toot-sweet:
Loree writes for a living. All day, every day.
Trust me when I say that alone inspires at least
one negative item to balance every positive listed above.
Take for example the peculiar
hours this crazy broad keeps. I mean really. Does she think she’s
fooling anybody, tip-toeing through the dark on thick-soled socks? I’m
a dog, for the luvva Pete, and my hearing is far
more sensitive than hers. Besides, I’m as nosy as your old-maid Aunt
Olive. Can’t take the chance she might be headed to the fridge for
cheese and crackers or a slice of cold pizza! (Just between you and me?
I have no idea how she survives on three-to-four hours of sleep at
night. That ain’t nearly enough for a thirteen-year-old canine.)
And then there’s the confounded
electric heater she keeps under her desk. It’s not bad enough the thing
ratchets the temperature up to 75 degrees. It whirrs and clicks and
pops, waking me from dreams of chasing rabbits and squirrels. When
you’re my age, “the catch” only happens when you’re asleep, so you
understand my frustration . . .
The constant clickity-clack of
her computer keyboard drives me nuts, I tell you. And so does the
rustle of quickly-turning dictionary and thesaurus pages. And that
awful rasping her forefinger makes, sliding down the pages to find the
“write” word for her work in progress? Like fingernails on a
She has no idea how embarrassing
it is to watch her “act out” the scenes she’s trying to describe for
her readers. All I can say is, thank GOD Maggie
Beagle and Dino Blacklab can’t see her leap into the air a dozen times
a day, because I’d be the laughingstock of the neighborhood.
If you tell her I shared this
tidbit, I’ll deny it: She doesn’t sit on a desk chair like other
writers. No-o-o . . . not my Loree! She balances on an exercise ball.
An iridescent purple exercise ball, no less. It’s
enough to make a grown dog blush, I tell you!
woman is a neat freak, capital N, capital F. While puzzling out a plot
point, she’ll alphabetize the spice rack and the pantry. Rearrange
furniture. Change out all the closets so that everything hangs in order
of length. And then she color codes it, chattering like a magpie the
entire time. Do you think she’ll drop a cookie crumb or a corn flake
while she’s snacking? Nope. Nosiree. Ain’t happenin’ under Mrs. Clean’s
Once a week or so, she’ll get a
phone call from a writer pal, and spend an hour doing something she
calls “brainstorming.” She’ll pace back and forth like a caged circus
tiger, saying things like “That’s brilliant!” or “I love it!” And she
wonders why I moan and exhale long, frustrated sighs . . .
Ten years, people, ten
years, and I haven’t been able to get it through her
plot-riddled head that I have a terrible case of TB (tiny bladder).
Does she think I like interrupting her keyboard
pecking with a nose to the elbow every hour on the hour?
and get this . . . she can
talk magazine and newspaper editors into “upping” their
price-per-column-inch by promising to connect them with more writers
who’ll meet every deadline, but she can’t convince the county to get
rid of these dad-blasted coyotes that prowl around in my backyard.
What’s up with that?
Some days, I’d trade my favorite
squeaky bone to be able to speak People for just five minutes. You know
what I’d tell her? “No matter how tightly you narrow your eyes and
lower your voice, you do not sound like a cowboy!”
While we’re on the subject of
“talking,” lemme tell you about the time I brought her a bird. I swear,
I didn’t mean to break its neck, but, well, I’m a bird
dog, y’know? And what did Loree say? The woman who makes her living
with words? Who has a dictionary that’s six inches thick? “Ick.” Yep. Ick!
And you know how at parties
there’s always that guy who laughs at his own jokes? You guessed it . .
. when Loree types something she thinks is funny, she snickers like an
ancient asthmatic. As if that’s not bad enough, she cries
when she writes sad scenes, too. I’d trade my next five dog biscuits if
I could holler, “It’s fiction, girl . . . fiction!”
Oh great. Perfect. Just what I
need after finally getting all that off my chest . . . a guilty
conscience: She sneaked me the crust from her bologna sandwich. (Dad
hates it when she does that.)
I know, I know . . . I shouldn’t
complain. The vet predicted I’d be dead by now because of the injuries
inflicted by my former owner. Yet except for a few creaking joints, I’m
healthy as the proverbial horse because Loree feeds and waters me,
files my claws, cleans my ears, and administers my meds, even when
she’s on a tight two-book deadline, like she is right now.
If I had hands, I’d applaud her.
If I had arms, I’d hug the stuffin’ outta her. But since I can’t do,
either, she’ll just have to settle for the “I’m So Cute” moments when I
tilt my head and look adoringly at her. ’Cause really, what dog
wouldn’t adore a gal like that!
Now if you’ll excuse me, my paws
are pooped from all this typing . . .
. . . and it’s TB time.
Happy writing, y’owl!