Posts Tagged With: friends

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


We all want and need friends to share the ups and downs of our lives. Some may be family, some may be people we encounter along the way and some may even be animals. We treasure good friends and mourn their loss. Animals are the same way. They develop close friendships with their own species and with others. And they mourn when their friends go away too.

My family always small_6853393375had dogs and cats when I was a kid and they got along just fine. But it wasn’t until I was in high school that I saw a really close relationship between the different species. My mom had a little “dust mop” dog named Sandy and a big gray cat called Tom. (So, she wasn’t very inventive with names.J) The two of them got along great and loved to play. Tom would lie in the sun snoozing and suddenly Sandy would race across the lawn and run right over him. Of course, Tom jumped up and the melee began. They’d chase each other all over the yard, wrestle for a while, then run again until they were both exhausted. Then they stretched out, nose to nose and recouped. The next time it might be Tom who’d sneak up and pounce on a dozing Sandy. Watch out anyone who got in the way.

One day Tom didn’t come home after his night out and Sandy, who never left the yard, went looking for him. He found his friend in one of the new houses down the street where he’d been accidentally locked in overnight. Unfortunately, the next time Tom went missing we never found out what happened to him. Sandy mourned and moped around for weeks until Mom brought home a new cat to keep him company. But it wasn’t the same and they never wrestled and chased.

A few years back I saw a similar friendship develop between our dog and our two horses. Oreo was a typical Siberian Husky—loved everybody (worthless as a wsmall_389394090 cropatch dog) and always wanted to play. He spent most of his day down with the horses, where it was fenced, (he also loved to roam.) and they became good friends. He would become ecstatic whenever they ran and played. He’d run behind chasing them, then run ahead as they chased him back. The only problem was they didn’t want to play as often as he did, so he’d try to entice them into it. He’d dash up to them, yapping, and then crouch down with his butt in the air and bounce around in front of them, making an awful racket. If that didn’t work, he’d jump up and poke one of them in the nose or go around back and leap up to pull a tail. Eventually, he’d get a response. My horse Portia would come at him, striking out with her front feet. My daughter’s mare Duchess was much more dramatic. She’d flatten her ears and open her mouth and chase after him, looking like she wanted to kill him. He’d run away, looking over his shoulder with an idiot grin on his face. And of course, she never “quite” caught him.

They’d been together for three years when Oreo died in a freak incident. I wasn’t aware of how much the horses missed him until I brought home another Siberian a few months later. The first time I brought Trina down to see the horses, they raced up to us whinnying and nickering. Then they started sniffing poor Trina who had never seen a horse before. After a minute they stopped and got very puzzled expressions on their faces. It wasn’t Oreo. They hung around for a little bit, sniffing occasionally and then wandered off, totally uninterested in this new dog. The next day when I brought Trina down, they walked up to see us, took one sniff and left immediately. Even though she eventually lived with them far longer than Oreo, Trina never became their buddy. She couldn’t replace their friend.

Have you seen different animal pairing too? What’s the most unusual friend you’ve had?


Dog and cat photo credit: <a href=””>dugspr — Home for Good</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Husky photo credit: <a href=””>randihausken</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;


Categories: Dogs and cats, Horses, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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