One of the unexpected pleasures of being an editor at Red Room has been enjoying the sweet profile photos some authors and members put up of themselves posed with a special animal. Whether it’s a beloved companion or a brief acquaintance, this a community that loves its furred, feathered, or scaled friends, and loves writing about them.
(Note: This page will remain featured on Red Room’s Originals page, and we want to have everyone whose profile photo includes an animal to have a chance to talk about why he, she, or it is special. If we missed you on this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your page’s URL and a fifty- to seventy-five word story about the animal with which you’ve posed. Thanks!)
The dogs in that picture by Lisa Croft-Elliott (a noted dog photographer) are "graduates" of the Masschusetts SPCA shelters. Most were pitbull mixes and each had found a loving home. That was the first time I'd met them and they took turns kissing me. :-) The little Pug on my lap thought he could fly. When I wrote "The Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs," I wanted my author photo to reflect the fact that there are dogs in need of a "new leash on life." That photo has received more comments than any other. All those happy, smiling faces truly reflect the human-animal bond.
–Darlene Arden, author of five nonfiction pet guides, and one of the few lay members invited to join The American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians
How to understand the childish impulse to punish the world for a hurt not yet healed? How to explain it when an adult succumbs, savoring but never owning the words: “I’ll show you, world. I’ll show you how badly you hurt me.”
Eddie was gone. Eddie-puss. The tabby who taught me about family. And (whispered) no #$%!ing way was I getting another cat. (Whispered) @%&* you, cosmos.
I’m just looking. Window shopping at the shelter. When the cosmos sees how badly I've been wronged, when it makes amends, maybe then ...
The litter of four black-and-whites want to come out and play. They’re four months old and they’ve been here nearly three months. A needle waits. One of them has a poufy face and a mustache. The other, the lone male, is eating a piece of poo.
They don’t know about @%&* you, cosmos. I’ll call them Maddie and Tibor.
Higgins the Pug
Our ten-year-old son wanted a Pug. “No way – those terrible little dogs the Duke and Duchess of Windsor own!” But he found a litter for sale in a trailer park north of town. The owner, cigarette dangling, showed us how she’d warm the puppies by stuffing them in her bra. “Great dog for a boy,” she insisted, “built like a brick s***house.” Who could resist?
You never know what might change your life. For me, it was something that weighed five pounds, a Jack Russell Terrier puppy named Molly. She taught me to be persistent as a puppy and as tenacious as a terrier, traits you need if you ever want to get a book published. With Molly by my side I haunted beaches till I had the perfect pictures for my photo book Salty Dogs published by Wiley.
Farm-sitting in the South of France. Zazie’s mum was short of milk, so we were bottle feeding her. Between feeds, she did her lambsome bit, frolicking at my feet while I wrote what would prove to be my first published novel. She would join us for walks across the fields, gambolling alongside the dogs, and coming to heel when we called her.
Back to the farm the following year, warmly anticipating a moving reunion. Zazie didn’t recognise me. Come to that, I didn’t recognise her, either. Looked decidedly scraggy. Both of us.
I liked this photo because my dog Jimmy appears to have stopped in for a visit on his way back to Neptune. By the by, he is the star of my new novel. The other three dogs are Puppyboy, Hedda and Ginger. I have written about all of them and most nights all of them sleep with us. Puppyboy is the alpha. He has ball OCD. I wrote about him in that piece that they played on This American Life. I got Jimmy and his wife Ginger a few years ago when they were stranded at my vet's because their original owner went to jail for Ponzi schemes. I couldn't bring myself to tell them this disturbing news so I told them that he died a hero in Iraq after he threw himself on a grenade for the good of the platoon. Hedda came from a dog rescue called New Leash on Life which operates out of a converted house that apparently was built to be used for porn shoots in the '80s and was confiscated by the government. As I have proven, my dogs are way more interesting than I am.
The gorgeous furry muse sharing my photo and writing life is Serendipity, a seven-pound Siamese wannabe stray I adopted more than twelve years ago. She's my office assistant, sleeps on my printer, and stalks the fax machine. Seren also rules my 95-pound German shepherd Magic with an iron paw.
This is Madelaine, the smallest of my six. She came from a county pound in Arkansas; although young, she was about to be euthanized : overcrowding. Our Sanctuary has rescued many dogs from there (http://www.tarasbabies.org/). She was terrified, shaking at the sound of any voice.
She's still fearful of strangers and terrorizes anyone who hopes to visit, though is much better. But at home? She's a playful clown and has me laughing every day.
–Kunzang Drolma has been published in several anthologies and was a Varuna Writers Residency fellow in Australia. She's looking for a publisher for her first book, which is about the relationship between her life in northern Arizona and her spiritual path as a Buddhist nun.
My wolf Tiwa is a Canadian timber wolf whom I adopted as a pup when the older males in his pack were mistreating him, probably because he was the largest male cub in the litter. As an adult, Tiwa now weighs 160 pounds and is overly-large, even for the timber wolf, which is among the largest of wolf varieties. It is very hard to find a home for a lone male wolf, even a cub, because they are not easily accepted into a new pack. Tiwa came to live with us here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado five years ago, and he is the second wolf we have adopted in this way. He is a beta-type personality, so he easily accepts leadership but is not submissive. He has a gentle, loving spirit, and is a great ambassador for the preservation of wolves, as he presents a beautiful and human-friendly example wherever he goes. I feature my previous wolf companion, Mountain, in my WILD Mystery Series, but Mountain was an alpha-type personality, unlike Tiwa, and that made for enormous adventures as described in my books! The two wolves in my life have taught me much about how to live and what is truly important. It's not an easy path, as one has to change almost everything in order to accommodate a wolf, but for me, it has been well worth every inconvenience. He is my friend, my companion, my beloved brother in spirit.
–Sandi Ault is hard at work on the fourth book in her series of mysteries starring intrepid Bureau of Land Management agent Jamaica Wild.
I am in love with someone the size of a pickling cucumber. Iris has now lived past her expiration date; the average lifetime of a rat is about 1,000 days. From the day I brought her home, a five-week old pup smaller than my cell phone, I have loved her, doted on her, and been inspired by her. I'd like to have a bracelet that reminds me WWID: Would What Iris Do? Her world is a benign place; she has never known fear. She is curious, intrepid, and always in a good mood. She is affectionate, smart, and has a great sense of humor. My students made a video of her doing the Broccoli Dance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrnGwahvYwk). You could do worse than to be in love with a rat.
Our dog, Lucky. By world standards he is considered a mutt, a cross between a German Terrier and Chihuahua, but by our standards he’s first class.
We rescued Lucky at an animal shelter seven years ago, and he says thank you every day in his own soft ways. If a family member is sick, he is there, snuggling, waiting, comforting, leaving only long enough to drink and do outside business.
Girl or Boy ? ‘Caleb' or ‘Kierra'? Is this Golden Doodle puppy, born at Camp Good Dog, a boy or girl? Two puppies were cuddled and rewarded and rotated to get this photo. Now, two years later, the pups are big loving well behaved dogs who make their families proud, but back then ‘Kierra' was called ‘Strawberry' because she kept raiding the strawberry patch! See more photos of parents and pups & other animals too at www.campgooddog.com.
–Deborah Wolfe has published two books about dog training and with radio shows, podcasts, and DVDs, "trains cats and dogs leaving happy owners in her wake."
My Westie, "Iona," was five months old when I adopted her—a tiny, happy handful then; now, a happy, energetic, and sturdy little girl. Her original name was "Stuffins," but that did not quite reflect the beautiful northwestern territory of her heritage, Scotland. One of her owner's favorite places, the Isle of Iona, was the inspiration for her name. Iona runs so fast I imagine she will certainly turn into froth for my latte.
–Cori Brown is an aspiring writer from Poway, California.
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