I’m happy to have Kristy McCaffrey here to share a very touching dog story, and her new adventure romance, Deep Blue.
Marley The Rescue
By Kristy McCaffrey
I’ve always been a dog person. My heart is forged with memories of my canine companions throughout my life: Rommell, Raquel, Buckwheat, Chaco, Shiva, Sparky. Gone but never forgotten. One thing I had never done, however, was rescue a dog in jeopardy. I’d thought about it, of course. I’m an empathic person, which is probably why I like to write stories, but it was that very trait that always filled me with anxiety just thinking about visiting the pound or a rescue shelter. The suffering of so many is a crushing reality that is difficult to bear some days.
Last October, my family and I lost our beloved chocolate Labrador, Ranger. Although he’d had health issues for a number of years, his loss was still sudden and devastating. One week after his 13th birthday, we were forced to put him down from a broken leg due to bone cancer. I wasn’t prepared for the grief that hit me. I had lost dogs before; I knew how it went. But Ranger had been different. I had promised him I would take care of him. In the end, though, I couldn’t. Something happens in your soul when you must break a promise—a terrible schism of guilt.
My husband and I had long talked of rescuing older dogs, knowing how difficult it was for these animals to find a loving home, but it’s a bittersweet goal—just when you bond with them you’re likely to lose them. But if I’ve learned anything while raising four children, it’s this: you must do what is best for them, not what’s best for you. I knew this was also true when it came to helping a dog in need.
At the beginning of January, my husband traveled to Finland to help our oldest daughter move to Helsinki for a semester abroad. While I was home on my own, I watched the news one evening, and a very brief story about several dogs needing a home caught my eye. The owner was about to be evicted and the animals would be sent to the pound. The prospects for an older male Labrador mutt weren’t good. The next morning, I called the man trying to help re-home the dogs. He ran a local animal rescue in the Phoenix area, but this wasn’t a normal rescue situation. If I could come immediately to pick up the dog, he would give him to me. I jumped into the car and went, feeling trepidation at driving alone into an unknown neighborhood in downtown Phoenix, but something compelled me.
When I met Marley, I knew he had a strong will to live. The woman who had previously owned him had died ten months prior, and it was her daughter who was desperately trying to find a home for him. Her mother had had such a soft spot for animals that she’d regularly picked up strays off the streets. Marley had been such a stray, born somewhere on the streets of Phoenix, so his age was unknown (the estimate was between 9-12 years old). The daughter had had 24 canines to find homes for, and Marley was one of the last. She’d been doing the best she could to care for him, but Marley was undernourished with overgrown toenails and hadn’t been to the veterinarian in years. I put him in my car and drove him home.
That first week was tough. Marley was sweet and quite affectionate, but it was a new home with a new routine and I had to work diligently with him. I got him to the vet immediately and we addressed the most pressing issues (the toenails, bloodwork, vaccinations, etc.). But he was too weak for a tooth cleaning. He also wasn’t neutered, although at his advanced age I wasn’t certain I would proceed with it anyway. I also sobbed frequently because bringing Marley home had triggered a new wave of despair over losing Ranger. It took me a bit to work through that. I also sent my husband—still in Finland—a long and heartfelt email explaining what I’d done and begging him not to be upset with me. His response was so supportive that I wept over that, too. I married the right guy.
It’s been almost three months now that we’ve had Marley. He’s gained weight and has embraced a life of freedom (he’d been crated for much of last year, and possibly longer). We have a dog door, so he can go into the backyard whenever he wants. He has arthritis, but he’s gained stamina with frequent short walks. He enjoys treats and toys, although he doesn’t have much interest in playing with our other dog, Lily. Still, my husband works with him and tries to get the two of them interacting. Speaking of my husband, Marley has become quite attached to him.
I don’t know how much time we’ll have with Marley, but I’m content knowing that we’re giving him a peaceful and secure life in his twilight years, filled with fresh air, sunshine, plenty of food, snuggles and kisses.
Kristy McCaffrey writes historical western romances brimming with grit and emotion, and in 2018 she will branch out into contemporary adventure stories packed with smoldering romance and spine-tingling suspense. Her work is filled with compelling heroes, determined heroines, and her trademark mysticism. Life is a wondrous endeavor, and she strives to bring that sense of awe and joy into the tales she weaves, along with in-depth research into settings and time periods. Kristy holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, but writing has been her passion since she was very young. Her four children are nearly grown and gone, so she and her husband frequently pursue their love of travel to the far corners of the world. Kristy believes life should be lived with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, and one should never be far from the enthusiasm of a dog. She also likes sleeping-in, eating Mexican food, and doing yoga at home in her pajamas. An Arizona native, she resides in the desert north of Phoenix. Sign up for Kristy’s newsletter to receive her latest book news as well as subscriber-only content.
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Kristy’s New Release
In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…
When a photo of Dr. Grace Mann freediving with a great white shark goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work. Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr. Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. But can he keep her safe when her passionate focus on the sharks repeatedly leads her into danger?
“…a compelling dance between two very likeable characters…” ~ Midwest Book Review
Excerpt from Deep Blue
Sweet. She did an imaginary fist-pump in her head, and then indulged in a little side-step shuffle, lifting her arms up and giving a boogie-shake of her hips.
“She dances,” Alec said from behind her.
Startled, she gasped and spun around. Alec’s wetsuit molded his body and showed every sleek, muscular contour.
“Just burning off some nerves.” The words tumbled out in a breathless rush.
“It’s good to know you have nerves.”
“I never claimed to be superwoman.”
He grinned. “That’s a relief.”
Copyright © 2018 K. McCaffrey LLC
Learn more and read Chapter One at http://kmccaffrey.com/deep-blue/
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