Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pathetic Stray...or Woman's Best Friend by Jannine Gallant


Did you know August 2nd is Friendship Day? I have friends...real life ones and online buds. Honestly. But I swear I spend more time with man's (or woman's) best friend than any of the human kind. Ginger hangs with me while I write then forces me to take breaks to take her for walks in the woods. Lately, she's been having an issue with her paw. Licking one of her toes until she has a raw spot. After two rounds of putting a sock on her until it heals, she'd still at it. Sigh. Trip to the vet, and tomorrow she gets to have minor surgery to get whatever's bugging her out of there. Neither of us will be having a great day...


In my most recent release, Every Step She Takes, I decided my tough heroine, Grace, needed something to soften her up a little--besides the hero. He does a pretty good job of that, too, but I digress. So, I decided to give Grace a stray on her hike through the wilds of Alaska. How she acquires her soon to be best friend is a fun scene...

The trail climbed more steadily than she did. Grace wiped sweat out of her eyes, pausing occasionally to drink from her water bottle or eat a handful of the trail mix Berta French had provided. Shaking the last of the snack into her hand, the light breeze sent the empty bag sailing off her fingertips. She turned to grab it and saw a streak of brown shoot into the bushes.
Pressing a hand to her chest, she backed slowly away. The handful of nuts, pretzels, and dried fruit rained down onto the trail. The bush shook, and a long brown snout inched forward.
If the animal didn’t get her, surely she’d die of fright. After the monster in the bush finished with her, they’d need dental records to identify her remains. Blood roared in her ears as she pictured the headline.
Careless Journalist Devoured by Rabid Wolf
Wary brown eyes and long, floppy ears appeared. The giggle that escaped her lips held an edge of hysteria. She clamped a hand over her mouth as the dog froze. Not a vicious woman-killer after all. Trembling, the stray from the lake belly crawled to the spilled trail mix and gulped it down.
Mindful of the pack, Grace squatted and held out her hand. “It’s okay, baby. I’m not going to hurt you.”
The dog sniffed her fingers and backed up a step. Ribs showed beneath matted fur with each breath the poor animal took. Mostly brown with patches of dirty white, the dog was probably some sort of spaniel mix. If it wanted to follow her, she didn’t mind having company. In fact, she welcomed it.
“Time to get moving, baby. Let’s go.” Standing, she trudged up the trail. Her new companion followed at a cautious distance. “Good boy.” She glanced back at the scrawny animal, tongue hanging, brown gaze focused on her backpack. He reminded her of the coyote in the old roadrunner cartoon. “I’ll call you Wylie. How does that sound?”

So, if you have a dog, hug your furry pal an extra time for Friendship Day. If you don't, maybe you could give your next heroine a dog to love. Neither of you will regret it! I hope you all have a happy Friendship Day!

Pick up Every Step She Takes at: AmazonBarnes & Noble, or Kobo. Find blurbs for all my books on my Website.

16 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Great scene, Jannine! I love the Wylie Coyote visual. :-) It's been years since we've owned a dog, but I got to babysit my boss's dog last spring and had so much fun. It's so easy to see why they quickly become part of the family. Best of luck with the newest release!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Let the writer beware regarding dogs. I put a dog in the funeral planner series and I had to give a growth arc to the ding-dang animal...plus I always had to think about where the dog was in every scene. Geesh! I had no idea what it meant to write in a dog as a character! But yes, Jannine, a dog does soften a character...and appeals to lots of readers. Good excerpt!

Jannine Gallant said...

Leah, they do become a huge part of the family. That's why I rearranged a trip to visit my mom and time off from work to accommodate Ginger and her paw!

Rolynn, it can be a pain. But I have a dog in every one of my books--it's sort of my trademark at this point! LOL I've forgotten about the dog for several chapters before...and then had to go back and write him in. Geesh is right!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Dogs in a book are great, as long as you remember to let them out now and then. ;-) We're approaching the first anniversary of the loss of one beautiful souled German Shepherd Heidi. I'll hug her in my heart. BTW Wylie is adorable.

Alison Henderson said...

Having always had cats, I've never been much of a dog person, but I know how close you and Ginger are. I'll be thinking about both of you tomorrow. Hope it's nothing major.

Jannine Gallant said...

We never forget them, Margo. BTW, I love Wylie, too!

I hope it's not a big deal, Alison. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Susan Coryell said...

We decided not to "replace"our Schnauzer when she died since we travel often. We "borrow" neighbors' dogs when we can! nice post.

Ashantay said...

I enjoyed the post and the excerpt. Want Wylie for my own!

Judy Ann Davis said...

Great excerpt. You made me missed having a dog around, but I travel too much to get another one. :-(

Jannine Gallant said...

Susan and Judy, it's very tough to travel when you have a dog. "Borrowing" is always fun! Thanks for stopping by.

Ashantay, Wylie is a character. You'll be happy to know m heroine gives him a good home!

Glenys O'Connell said...

Love the way you've introduced this and use it to give the character even more depth! We've had several furfriends, dogs and cats, who were rescues or strays, and they've been the best pets. Usually manage to work them into my books, too. We 've been moving around a lot and haven't had a dog for years - you've just reminded me that it's time...

Jannine Gallant said...

Now that you're settled, Glenys, go for it!

Diane Burton said...

I love dogs in stories, esp. since we don't have a dog anymore. By choice. This scene is really good, Jannine. Time for me to get that book.

Jannine Gallant said...

Glad you like the scene, Diane. I loved writing this book. I hope my writing is getting stronger with each one!

Tanya Agler said...

I love the scene with the dog. Big aww moment.

Lately my dog Vera has been licking her paw, and I'm wondering if she burned it on the hot pavement (I live in the South where the temps have been in the 90s) so we're going to keep her inside for a couple of days. I know she'll miss her walks but the pavement must absolutely be scorching for dogs.

Thanks for the blog. I love reading about dogs, both real and fictional. I'm definitely a dog person.

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tanya. Ginger had an infection in her paw. That's why she was licking hers. Now she's wearing the dreaded cone of shame...sad puppy. Hope your dog gets over her licking fast and can find some cooler places to walk!