Today I’d like to welcome Judy Alter, best selling author of the Kelly O’Connell and Blue Plate Cafe mysteries. You can read a short excerpt from her most recent release, DANGER COMES HOME, below.
First, in keeping with the animal theme of this blog, Judy is going to talk about her “doodle dogs.” I’m sure you’re just as curious as I am as to what those are.
I have had and loved dogs all my life—a few Cairn terriers (which we showed) but mostly big dogs—collies, labs, a couple of Irish wolfhounds, bearded collies, and most recently, an Aussie. When I first saw a labradoodle, I fell in love with the gentle giant—he reminded me of my Irish wolfhounds. I decided then and there I had to have one, cost be darned. They were bred to be hypoallergenic service dogs and have the dispositions to make great companions.
By the time I was ready to get another dog (I still had an aging Aussie), it wasn’t cost that did me in—it was age. My older brother, a physician, advised sternly that a woman of my age (seventy-plus, thank you very much) had no business with an 80 to 100 lb. dog. He was right. I didn’t even walk Scooby, the Aussie, because he pulled me down twice in his unquenchable need to herd everything from school buses to strollers, from UPS trucks to motorcycles. Reluctantly I agreed.
Then I found a kennel that raised mini Labradoodles—bred from miniature poodles. I studied the Web site, corresponded with the owners, and finally sent a deposit. The big day came when the puppies were ready to meet their forever families—and for us, it was a family affair. One son, two daughters, and three grandchildren went with me. The Labradoodles were six weeks old and had just wakened from a nap; they were loving and sweet but quiet, and not one wormed its way into my heart. The owner casually mentioned she had one bordoodle left (border collie and poodle) and brought in a black bundle of energetic playfulness. She chased balls, she played with toys, she licked each of us in joyful exuberance—and she got her spot in my heart right then. She was eight weeks old, and we brought her home that day.
Scooby, the Aussie, would have nothing to do with her at first, but gradually they really bonded, and he undertook to train her a bit. I only saw him turn on her once, when she tried to steal his treat, and she scooted away quickly, whimpering. When Scooby died, she grieved, slept in his bed, and briefly abandoned her house manners.
Sophie is two-and-a-half now, still full of exuberance. When one of her favorite people—my daughter, my grandson, the lawn guy, or the groomer—arrives, she is ecstatic with enthusiasm, barking, growling, howling (I’ve never known a dog with so many vocal intonations). She loves to play in the house and chase critters outside. I don’t walk her because at 35 lbs. she would easily pull me down in her zeal to chase another dog or a squirrel. Other than that and jumping on people to tell them how much she loves them, she is well behaved—sits, stays, housebroken, crate-trained, a joy to have. When I work at my desk, she lies at my feet—until she decides she’s had enough of that and it’s playtime. Then she gives a “ruff” and presents me with a toy to toss.
I always think I love the current dog more than any other (except one classic collie I will never forget), but, truly, I do love this dog.
Every night, we sit on the floor and have a little conversation and a lot of petting, and every morning we wake up to a little talk. It starts the day off right to say good morning to my doodle dog.
Now here is a bit about Judy’s most recent release, DANGER COMES HOME. Available on Amazon and other Ebook retailers.
In Danger Comes Home, dogs, drugs and death take Kelly O’Connell on a wild ride with a runaway girl and her abused mother, a relapsed former gangsta, and a drug-dealing gang in her own neighborhood. Add in an imperious recluse for variety, and as usual Kelly’s life is anything but calm. Husband Mike Shandy is right: she has a talent for trouble.
And so we chattered away about plans for the summer as we rounded the corner onto Magnolia. Pony Tail leaned against the building, idly watching us, and didn’t move. Thus began the longest two-block walk I’ve ever taken. I couldn’t ask Mona if she was as wired as I was, but I felt as though my back had a bull’s eye painted on it. Each time we took a step forward, I told myself we were that much closer to the office, but half of me didn’t believe we’d ever make it. There were people on the street ahead of us, and I didn’t dare turn around to see if Pony Tail—or anyone else—was behind us.
“You’re walking too fast,” Mona said. “Dead giveaway, slow down and tell me what you’re cooking for supper tonight.”
Wow! She’s better than I am at this. She’s probably had more practice.