Living With Animals


Jennifer Skully author photoMy guest today is the wonderful Jasmine Haynes, AKA Jennifer Skully. She does such a great job introducing herself, I’m just going to let her take it away.


Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Kate! It’s a pleasure!

Just to let all you of you know who I am, I write humorous romantic mysteries as Jennifer Skully and classy, sexy romances as Jasmine Haynes. I love to include animals in my stories. My latest book, Can’t Forget You (by Jennifer Skully), features a lovable dog named Samson. He grew on me to the point that I had to give him his own voice in the story! In Somebody’s Ex (by Jasmine Haynes), Randi Andersen has a Norwegian Elkhound just like my very own dog, Star. And in another of my Jennifer Skully books, It Must Be Magic, my heroine talks to animals, with a special affinity for cats.

I could go on and on, but I really wanted to talk to you about living with animals, the great joy as well as the trials and tribulations. I have always lived with animals, from dogs and cats, hamsters, gerbils, birds, rabbits, fish, and a husband. Oh wait! He doesn’t count as a pet, does he! For the last 18 years, we’ve lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains, so we’ve had lots of feral cats adopt us, too.

For the most part, we’ve had cats. Over the years we’ve been home to many (not all at the same time, of course!): Buddy, Gort (so named because my husband and I love the old movie The Day the Earth Stood Still and Gort was the robot), Louis (she was named for Louis Leakey because she liked to sleep in what we called the Olduvai Gorge between my husband and I at night), Boneyard (because she was starved and all skin and bones when she came to us), Eddie (who was named for Eddie Munster because he truly terrorized his sisters Louis and Boneyard), CT (short for Crooked Tail because she had a big bend in her tail), and Whitey (because he’s black and we had to differentiate him from CT who was also black). And of course, there was wonderful Star, our Norwegian Elkhound.CT Sun Cat 1

I love my animals to sleep with me and stay in my office beside me while I do my work. And when I’m outside on the deck or in the atrium writing on my word processor, I love to have them out there with me, too. There’s just something so calming about a furry friend right near you. Of course, they can be a nuisance, too. Eddie Munster was such a cool cat to human beings, but he terrorized Louis and Boneyard. We have very high ceilings with rafters, and Boneyard sat up on a rafter so that Eddie couldn’t get her. Or she’d climb up my clothes in the closet and sit on the highest shelf. Louis couldn’t take it unfortunately and she ran away. Eddie and Star tolerated each other, except the time Star was sleeping with me on the couch, and Eddie walked right over her as if she were part of the sofa. That didn’t go over well, let me tell you. But no matter the nuisance they are, they always give you so much love. Star was such a sweet dog. She loved to walk with me in the redwood park, and she was always with me wherever I was in the house. And of course she slept on the bed along with the cats. Sometimes, I’d have a cat at my back, one at my knees, and Star in the middle between my husband and I (she liked the Olduvai Gorge, too).

The unfortunate thing about living in the mountains is that we have a lot of predators. We tried to keep them inside, but the cats wanted to be outside during the day, sleeping on the deck in the sunshine, even visiting the neighbors. My neighbor built a pass-through in the fence so the cats could sleep on her deck, too. Of course we always brought them in at night. But eventually we lost Buddy and Gort to the wild creatures. Louis came to live with us, but Eddie drove her out. I wonder if there’s a moral there, maybe 3 cats are too many. Or maybe you shouldn’t mix male and female. Boneyard wouldn’t come in one night when I called her, and we lost her, too. Eddie died 3 years later of stomach cancer. On a cold winter’s night shortly after Eddie passed on, CT moved inside. She was a smart little thing and knew how to steer clear of predators. She was a stray, but not feral, and was always very friendly to us. We have a flat roof and she slept up there so the coyotes couldn’t find her. Once she moved inside, she and Star were very companionable, sleeping on the bed together. She was a dream cat. I didn’t even need a cat box because she was like a dog and I let her out to go to the bathroom.

Jan 09 download 053Then tragedy struck and our Star died very suddenly. She had a brain tumor which literally took her in 4 days. We had no clue. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her. Although later the vet said that she’d been walking on her toes, which was a symptom. But it was a terrible shock. I don’t think I would have gotten through it if CT hadn’t been living with us and given us all her love and healing powers. She gave us another wonderful year and a half after that, but then she succumbed to intestinal cancer. My husband and I gave her subcutaneous fluids and put her on steroids, but alas, there was nothing we could do to save her.

After losing CT a year and a half ago, my husband and I decided we could no longer have animals. It’s too painful to lose them. Six cats and a dog was too much for us to take. We decided we’d have our little feral cat Whitey and that was it. Whitey loves our food and our deck, but he doesn’t love us. He won’t get within more than about 10 feet. And that’s after 5 years of coming 2 to 3 times a day for food. A year and a half with no loving animals in the house! Oh wait, we babysit my sister’s dog Elvis. He’s the cutest poodle. But still, he wasn’t ours. Still, we kept saying we just couldn’t stand the heartbreak again.

WrigleySo who do you think caved first? My husband! He’s such a softie. He dragged me to the SPCA. And there we found Wrigley (so named because she likes to wriggle around on the carpet, rolling all over and begging us to scratch her tummy). She was 7 months old when we got her, and 5 months later, she’s the darling of our lives. She sleeps with us, she lays on my desk while I’m working, and sits under my chair in the atrium. I do wish we could teach her to go outside to use the bathroom like CT, but so far, we’re keeping the cat box. The atrium is an enclosed area where no predators can get to her, but she still gets the sun. Gort used to be able to climb out of the atrium, but I’m hoping Wrigley won’t figure that out. Besides, to her, the atrium is huge after having lived in a tiny box for the first 7 months of her life. She’s adorable.

So the message of this long story is that despite the inevitable loss of our beloved pets, they bring so much joy and love into our lives. Despite the fact that I’ll have to go through the pain again, it’s still worth everything to have them here with us right now, bringing the sunshine into our lives. In fact, my husband has a summer cold, and Wrigley’s right next to him on the bed giving him comfort.


And here’s a look at Jennifer Skully’s latest, Can’t Forget You.

cantforgetyou_300There’s something very special about the house Maggie grew up in. It’s sort of…alive. With a mind of its own.

And it has plans for the people living there now.

All Maggie Halliday has left after the divorce is the family dog and the home her grandmother left to her when she passed away two months ago. Maggie’s got no other choice but to run back to her hometown of Cottonmouth, California, only to discover her high school sweetheart, Cooper Trubek, is living in the house, along with four other boarders for whom Maggie is now responsible. And according to Nana’s will, Maggie can’t kick any of them out.

Unless one of them commits murder.

Still grieving for her grandmother and trying fix up the house that seems to be falling down around her, Maggie’s got more trouble than she can handle. Then things go from bad to worse when Samson the dog starts digging in the basement…


Jasmine Haynes’s erotic romance Take Your Pleasure is free until the end of July on Kindle and most other retailers.



Categories: animals, Books, Cats, dogs, Dogs and cats, humorous mystery, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “Living With Animals

  1. Hi Kate and Jasmine,
    Loved the tales about the animals. You’ve had quite an assortment, Jasmine. I can’t claim the same, but since the age of 4, have usually had animal around- be it a cat, gerbil, snake, dog, pet rat or fish. At the moment, I have a rescue cat named Pete. I didn’t name him. He is a Turkish Angora and a handful. The month I adopted him, the “Cat Fancy” magazine came out with the feature article dedicated to this breed. The author’s statement was that the Turkish Angora was known for being the “athletic cat and was very easily bored”. How true. I’ve had him now about 11 years and while he’s slowed a bit, he’s still perking. He has long white hair and one blue eye and one gold. Apparently the gold eye keeps him from going deaf as blue-eyed cats are known for going deaf.
    Carol H. Smilgin (I put in the “H” because there are two Carol Smilgins who write. The other’s even on Facebook!)

    • Pete sounds great. Never heard of a Turkish Angora before. But I don’t envy you having to deal with his long hair. I have enough trouble keeping up with our medium-haired love.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I’ve had to put three of our dogs to sleep due to illness but have always been so happy that I have another one around to help me through the sadness.

  3. Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about my beloved pets, Kate!

    Carol, Pete sounds like a great cat! And probably a lot like Wrigley. She’s very athletic, too.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your dogs, Patricia. It’s such a hard thing to go through. But I’m glad you had another one there to give you the love. That’s what CT did for us when we lost Star.

    Animals are the greatest! They give you unconditional love. Even cats, who are very independent.

  4. Thanks so much for guesting Jasmine. Sounds like you’ve had a good collection of animals.
    We’ve had and lost a number of pets over the years too. The worst was losing two of our elderly horses last year. Still have one left, but she’s also getting up there. Still have the sweetest cat ever.

    • Jasmine Haynes

      It’s always hard losing our beloved pets, Kate. I’m sorry about your horse. But I learned through a year and a half of no furry friends in the house how much better it is when they’re around. So despite the pain of loss, I’ll keep on inviting them in! Glad you’ve got the sweet cat, too!

  5. Jasmine I agree it’s really hard to lose a pet, but the emptiness without them I think is even greater so we have a dog and two cats currently, but we see the end coming for our older cat who is 17 . She’s had a good life, but it will be hard to lose her. Great blog, BTW.

    • Jasmine Haynes

      Thanks on the blog, Kate. You said it just right, the emptiness without them is worse. I hope your 17 year old stays around for a few more years in relative good health. Even if all they do is sleep, they’re still wonderful company.

  6. Loved this post! I read it to my 90 pound puppy Max who always helps me with my writing.

    • Jasmine Haynes

      I’m so glad your puppy helps you write, too! Animals are the best company while we’re working.

  7. Jasmine Haynes

    Crossing my fingers for you and your cat, Kate C.

    • Thanks. And BTW loved all the photos. That Wrigley is a cutie!

      • Jasmine Haynes

        Aw, thank you, Kate! Wrigley is just so adorable! And I used that picture of Star as my desktop wallpaper for awhile. And CT, she just loved sitting on the railing soaking up the sun! So content.

      • Cats are so funny! I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed Samson in Can’t Forget You! he was a great character.

      • Jasmine Haynes

        Thanks, Kate! I’m so glad you liked Samson. He was very fun to write.

      • He was a great character in more ways than one!

      • Jasmine Haynes

        Thank you so much, Kate!

  8. I love hearing stories about people and their pets. Our pets are members of our family, and as I always say, “animals are people with four legs and a tail.” Thanks for the post.

    • Jasmine Haynes

      That’s so true, Angela, they are part of our family. They’re like our kids, since we don’t have children. And they each have their own personalities. They bring joy to a household.

  9. Lisa Salvary

    Good post. Wrigley looks adorable. I’ll be reading Can’t Forget You soon. I finished listening to Fool’s Gold.

    • Jasmine Haynes

      Thank you, Lisa! Wrigley is such a sweetie and we’re so glad we got her. I hope you enjoyed Fool’s Gold and will like Can’t Forget You, too!

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