Those Doodle Dogs


Judy 2 (2)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.

Welcome Judy.


I have had and loved dogs all my life—a few Cairn terriers (which we showed) but mostly big dogs—collies, labs, a Labradoodle_Brown (2)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.Sophie on her first day with us (2)

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 peoSophie 8.30.2013ple 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.


 Danger-MD (2).

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.


You can learn more about Judy and her numerous publications at:  http://www.judyalter.com

And catch her blogs at:  http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com
and:  http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com

Categories: Books, Dogs and cats, Judy Alter, Love, Mystery, nature, Puppies, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Jack, Annabella and Me

I’d like to welcome Patricia Yager as my guest blogger. She’s a fellow horsewoman and animal lover.  And the author of MOON OVER ALCATRAZ, the moving story of loss, love and moving on. Read more about that below.
Today she talks about the challenges faced by another mother and one of her offspring.  Patti originally entitled her post: “What a Mom!! Annabella, That Is. Not Me.”  I think you’ll see why I changed the title when you read it. Take it away Patti!



PattiYSix years ago we mated our chocolate lab, Annabella, with a black lab. I wanted our children to have the experience of watching a live puppy birth, as well as caring for the puppies afterward. We made all the preparations for the pups. My husband built a birthing box so that Annabella would have a safe, clean and sizable area to give birth, we notified our vet, and we fed Annabella all the appropriate food and vitamins to keep her healthy and treated her like a queen.

Two weeks shy of her due date I found her in our bedroom in the dark –  hiding. I knew immediately something was wrong. This was just not normal Annabella behavior. Two weeks is nothing in human terms, but in a dog’s pregnancy, it shouts “premature”.

I phoned our vet, who is a mobile vet and doesn’t have all the accoutrements of a normal veterinarian’s office. He told me to take her temperature. It measured way over “normal” so he advised me to get her to any vet who could take x-rays. I phoned around for someone, anyone, who could take us on such short notice then drove her to a vet about fifteen minutes from our home. The x-rays showed pups but the vet couldn’t tell if all of them were alive. She urged me to go to an animal hospital that was prepared to deal with infant puppies and pregnancies.

I phoned a well-known veterinary emergency hospital over thirty minutes away with 24-hour care and brought her in immediately. They advised me to go home while they tried to reduce her fever and take x-rays to see what was wrong.

I’ll never forget the phone call I received at 11 p.m. that evening. The doctor (a specialist in canine pups) informed me one of the pups was dead and poisoning Annabella. If she didn’t operate Annabella would die. She wanted to know if we were prepared to: pay for the cost of exploratory surgery, and if so, should she try to save the uterus and Annabella or save the pups.

I told her to save Annabella, perform a hysterectomy, and if the pups died then so be it.

She phoned me two hours later. There had been eight male puppies (very unusual): one dead puppy, two others who couldn’t be revived, and five live puppies. BUT…the pups were premature and would have to be fed every two hours by hand in order for them to survive.

We picked up Annabella and her five puppies the next day. It seemed “I” was the only human who could figure out how to feed the puppies a bottle of special formula, by hand. My husband and two kids (11 and 7 at the time) couldn’t get the hang of it.

Enter one very dedicated surrogate mom – me.  By the time I force-fed one puppy the one ounce of formula they needed which took about twenty minutes, I’d go on to the next then the next.  By then it was almost time to start on the first puppy again. And so it went.  For about two weeks.  They learned to suckle after that time and Annabella was a good mommy.

Four or so weeks later we noticed one of the pups (actually the biggest and fattest of the crowd) wasn’t eating as much and his one eyelid was drooping and the bones at the top of his head looked more pointy and changed shape. I took him to the vet and they took x-rays.


We named him Jack – after One-Eyed Jack. I came home with pain medication and no diagnosis and one very sick puppy. He began to hide under the table near my area where I sat on the couch. He was in pain and the bones in the top of his head kept changing size. Back and forth and back and forth I went with phone calls to the vet and they had no clue what was wrong.

Mind you, by this time we’d spent thousands of dollars for Annabella’s exploratory surgery, stay at the hospital, and Jack’s x-ray’s and vet visits. My husband mentioned putting Jack to sleep since he was obviously in pain and not getting any better and the bills were piling up.

I refused. Until I got a diagnosis I was not going to let that pupster die.

Several days later I got a call from the vet – one of the radiologists took another look at the x-rays of Jack’s head. All twelve of the vets had studied this at the university but not one of them had actually seen it for real.Jack

Jack had Cranial Mandibular Osteopathy. The bones in the top of Jack’s head were expanding and contracting (hence the horrible pain he was in) BUT, it was not a death sentence. It was a self-limiting condition that should heal on its own within several weeks.

The bones in Jack’s head (hence cranial) are a bit more pronounced than normal and nothing anyone would notice, BUT, he also grew a golf-ball sized bone (hence osteopathy) structure under his chin (hence mandibular) that you can feel but not see due to the excess skin in a labrador’s chin area. We decided not to take him to see a plastic surgeon for that.

We have our Jack with us six years later, along with his mum Annabella. He doesn’t mind being made fun of by other dogs for his chin lump. He’s a bit socially challenged due to his life when he was a baby, i.e. he gets upset if anyone in the family hugs each other, he likes to nibble delicately on my neck when he’s excited to see me, he barks the entire time you take him for a walk. I chalk up all these “oddities” to Jack’s lack of social interaction when he was a pup and in so much pain and so very ill.

He and I are inseparable.


moonoveralcatraz-200Brandy Chambers is looking forward to the birth of her first child.  She and Weston move from San Francisco to the small town of Alameda to start a family, she’s writing her second book, and Weston has a fantastic job working on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge project.  Having this baby would make her already-wonderful life perfect.

But when the baby dies after a difficult birth, Brandy’s perfect life blows up in her face.  Stricken with grief, she and Weston pull apart.  This new distance leads them both to disaster.  Not until a chance encounter with her high school friend, Edward Barnes, does Brandy pull herself together.  Brandy and Weston agree to recommit to each other, striving to forgive infidelity and recreate their previous existence.

Everything is once again going according to plan–until Brandy discovers she’s pregnant.  While she struggles to cope with this new obstacle, Edward Barnes returns to town and discovers she’s having a baby, while Weston is torn between his love for his wife and his anger at her betrayal.  Can Brandy manage to keep her marriage to Weston together?  Will Edward be a part of Brandy’s life if she and Weston separate?





You can contact Patti at:

Twitter: @Patti Yager

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.delagrange

website: http://www.patriciayagerdelagrange.com

blog: http://www.patriciayagerdelagrange.com

Categories: Dogs and cats, Labs, Love, Puppies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

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