Tag Archives: animal therapy

Furbaby Friday with Author Dee Gatrell


I am happy to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author, Dee Gatrell, to Furbaby Friday to share her wonderful dogs and humorous romantic fiction novel, Sweet Sunset.
 (Icarus)
Dee: Icarus was a 12-year-old, schnauzer. We had him since he was 6 months old from a breeder going out of business. He was an alpha male, and had the eyes that drew  you in. He got along with dogs outside, but wasn’t crazy about them being in the house. After they were here a while he adjusted and just belly growled.
My one daughter had a deaf white boxer. It ticked him off because the dog couldn’t hear him, but sometimes she could feel his growl and get nasty back. Then when that dog died, daughter got a pitbull she named Fireball. Icarus would sit on my husband’s lap doing his Elvis imitation of the lip curl. Fireball laid on the floor in front of them. When Icarus would growl, she’d pick up her head, and toss it back and forth with a big grin. Ticked him off that the pitbull didn’t get angry at him.
A month or so ago we noticed Icarus  had days when he didn’t feel good, but by afternoon he was better. The day came when we noticed him shivering and he pooped black. And two days later he couldn’t get up. Alarmed, I called the vet, and we took him in. She said she expected it to be Zeus, not Icarus. She did x-rays and blood work. His spine had deteriorated and his blood work was off. She said  he was in pain. We made the heartbreaking decision to put him down. We held him and kissed him goodbye. Our vet cried with me. My husband saved his tears until he was home and we didn’t see him.
My husband has cancer, and Icarus was a comfort dog, sitting and sleeping on his lap or stomach. We had him cremated and have his ashes on the bookshelf in a pretty box. My husband admits to talking to him at times, or saying a prayer over him.
 (Zeus and Icarus)
We know Zeus won’t be with us for long. He falls a lot and isn’t eating as well. But he’s still our sweet boy.
I recently decided to get another dog, a rescue. I applied for a dog named JoJo from a rescue shelter. I didn’t really think I’d get him as he had a lot of applications wanting him. He was at a shelter about 40 miles from us. He’s a Maltese and only 10 lbs.
I said I wanted a dog between 1 and 3 years old. They say he’s four. He was found on the street. He has no voice, just makes little noises, and thinks he’s barking at our rescue lab mix. And he has issues with food. They said he was starving when they got him, so now he has anger issue when he sees other dogs with food. We’re working on that, too. But he is sweet. Zeus is nice to him, and that’s good. Poor guy falls down in the house on tile floor, but  he can run in the yard.

(JoJo)

Zeus takes long naps these days. He likes to be with me in the office sleeping on the pillow beside me, where Icarus used to lay, or Ellie. They have lots of pillows, but always want the same ones.
The first two days Icarus was gone, Zeus wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom. I’d find him in the kitchen sleeping on the rug in front of the refrigerator. Now he’s back to the bedroom at night, but not on Icarus’s pillow.

Zeus usually has a happy face. Well, except for this time when he got groomed. I don’t think he was happy with the results. Generally, when I go to pick him up from the vets he’s happy to see me. I swear he snubbed me. At home, it took him a while to warm up to me. OK so he reminds me of my dear Aunt Mildred with the round body and skinny legs. Shhh, if she’s listening from above, she won’t like that description.

(Zeus after his haircut)

When I wrote Sweet Sunset the editor kept saying I had too many folks whose name started with whatever letter. So I changed the main man in the story over and over. Finally I named him Zack. Hey, no one else’s name started with a Z. Then I realized I had Zeus in the story. I decided no one would mix up the man and the dog.

Beth: I love hearing about your dogs, Dee. They are such characters. I’m very sorry about your loss of Icarus. Sweet Sunset sounds great.

Blurb for Sweet Sunset: Myrtle Sue Henderson, widowed, didn’t count on her mother-in-law moving in with her when her husband passed over. But Myrtle Sue’s loopy in-law troubles aren’t her only family baggage-she’s ailed with three adult children who use her like a pair of Depends. With a daughter and two grandchildren attempting to escape an abusive husband, a second daughter who is pregnant with twins, and a son who refuses to grow up, she’s at her wits end.

Myrtle Sue didn’t figure she’d ever meet another man she’d care for, until she went to church to get away from her troubles, only to find more when her mother-in-law causes chaos and hits an elderly man with her cane and helps herself to money out of the collection plate. That’s how she meets Zack. She figures once he meets her dysfunctional family, he’ll run as fast as he can-away from them.

Favorite passage from book:

June finished her food, and pushed her plate away. She gave Hazel a look of pity. “Ya know somethin’, Hazel? You’re full of shit.”

“Huh! You’re just jealous.”

Norma had been pretty quiet, when suddenly it was like she became possessed. Her hands began shaking and her drink sloshed onto the table. She leaned on the table and hissed at Hazel. “Evil, evil! You are soooo evil!”

“Who you calling evil?” Hazel said.

“You are eeeeeevvilllllll!”

“Mother, hush!”

I glanced at Lynn. She glared at her mother. I thought for a minute she was going to stuff her napkin into her mother’s mouth.

Something about my book:

There was a day when I thought only my relatives were dysfunctional, until later when I realized most of us have dysfunctional families. After many years of listening to people talk about their families, Sweet Sunset was born.

I was asked to move my mother from a senior apartment complex. They feared she would burn the place down. She caught her food on fire, exploded cans in the microwave and her doctor suggested I put her into an assisted living facility.

As I grew older, I took a closer look at my own children and friends. Presley was married to a man who broke her eye socket, Sonja is kind and an enabler, Terry looks for love in all the wrong faces. Hmm. Yep, I realized we all have dysfunctional families.

My mom wasn’t Hazel, but she did and said a lot of what Hazel says, like talking about her dead father and how he visited her. How she broke handles off glass cups. To this day none of us can figure out how she did it. June did tell us about her neighbor’s cheap jewelry party and the pole. She was funny.

All writers know we only need to look around us and we’ll find stories everywhere.

I do hope you enjoy Myrtle Sue and her family and friends. Come sit a spell and eat some of the good food they imbibe in.

***Get Sweet Sunset in Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Sunset-Dee-Gatrell-ebook/dp/B01M3QJT75

Twitter: Twitter@deegat41

Blog link: http://deesnews.blogspot.com/

Website link: http://dgatrell.wix.com/author

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Dee a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Author Rachel Brimble!


I’m very glad to welcome Rachel Brimble here to share a  moving story of grief and healing, and her new contemporary romance, Ethan’s Daughter.

Rachel: One of the hardest of my books to write was Saved By The Firefighter, but it was also one of the most cathartic. Just before I started writing this book, I had lost my beloved, ten-year-old black Labrador, Max. He was our first family dog and my constant companion. He was with me pretty much twenty-four-seven and would lay for hours at my feet while I worked. During our walks, I would plot and plan, solve problems and gain new inspiration. He was everything to me.

MAX

When he died, I was literally struck down with grief. I was lost. Didn’t want to do or think about anything…and I had a deadline looming. I had to start work. But how.

That was when I knew the book I needed to write had to involve bereavement, a fight through the hero or heroine’s grief until they come out the other side, happier and stronger than they were before their loss. As soon as I believed the writing of this book could be my way of healing, of purging everything I was feeling and how much I was hurting, the writing began to flow.

I poured everything I had into every word, every scene and every character action and decision.

The feedback from readers has been fantastic! People have told me how Trent and Izzy’s story brought them hope, evoked tears and memories, but they finished the book smiling. Happiness! This is my aim when I write – to heal a little of something in me and in the lovely people who read my books.

A few months after I lost Max, I still wasn’t coping very well and a friend of mine suggested I visit the ‘Borrow My Doggy’ website. This is an amazing site where you can literally ‘borrow’ people’s dogs for the weekend, holidays or walk them whenever you want some company. I immediately fell in love with a pic of six month old, chocolate Lab called Tyler.

(Tyler)

I visited his owners and learned that Dad had just been diagnosed with Parkinsons and, as they were in their sixties, weren’t sure how they would keep this bouncy pup amused. I took over as foster mum. Eight months later, I was adoptive mum and Tyler has lived with us since January 2016.

He is adored by me, my husband and our two teenage daughters and he also gets to visit his original mum and dad for a day every week. The situation worked out perfectly for everyone and Tyler is very much loved!

Thanks for having me here to share my love of my two fur babies! My latest release is Ethan’s Daughter which is book seven in my ongoing Templeton Cove series with Harlequin Superromance. This is a romantic suspense story revolving around the Cove’s exclusive, best-selling novelist, Ethan James and the trouble his ex-wife brings to his and his daughter’s (Daisy) door. What neither of them expects is the arrival and involvement of feisty ER nurse, Leah Dixon…and believe me, sparks fly!

Beth: What a wonderful story of healing and redemption! I’m so glad you shared it with us.

Blurb  for Ethan’s Daughter:

There’s safety in solitude…isn’t there? 

Single dad and best-selling thriller writer Ethan James has no problem being Templeton Cove’s most famous recluse…until a surprise visit from the past plunges him into a real-life crime drama just as feisty nurse Leah Dixon barges her way into his world.

Ethan’s first priority is to protect his daughter. His second priority is to keep Leah out of this dark web—and that means out of his bed. Except Leah isn’t going anywhere; she’s afraid little Daisy is in danger. Ethan couldn’t live with himself if anything happened to Leah…but pushing her away may be even harder!

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NAMY53H/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/eYGTixj

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ethans-daughter-rachel-brimble/1125531674?ean=9781488017186

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/ethan-s-daughter-mills-boon-superromance-templeton-cove-stories-book-7

Author Bio:

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Feb 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Rachel’s Links:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers

Follow Rachel’s Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Rachel a comment!

Furbaby Comfort in Times of Grief


When the going gets tough.

(Cooper licking my elbow as I type)

Furbabies don’t understand when someone dies. They carry on as usual, but sense something’s wrong. Maybe with cats, it’s because our purr is off, or our auras are. With dogs, it’s our demeanor. They know, without being told a thing. No explanation required. I need that kind of empathy. My younger brother, Chad, died suddenly this past weekend. He’s had immense challenges for years after a tragic skiing accident as a freshman in college left him with a severe head injury. There were close calls since then, accidental overdoses of his seizure med, and choking incidences. But we always got him back, a little worse for wear, but still with us. This time, we didn’t get him back. He’s with God now, freed from his earthly bonds, but my, oh my, how we miss him. Chad was one of the good ones. His challenges didn’t diminish his inner light. It burned brighter.(Image of my sister, Catherine, Beth, brother John, and Chad in glasses)

Chad insisted on living his life as fully as he could after the accident and was an inspiration to many. His warmth and gentle spirit touched all who knew him, as did his love of nature. He spent his last hours (weeks, months) laying stone around the beautiful water garden at his and my parent’s home, a project that brought him much joy. Now, the water garden is his memorial. Chad’s Pond. Stones with inscriptions from friends and family will be laid beside this lovely site. I will help mom plant bulbs and perennials around it–a memorial garden. We found a plant order form he had already filled out, likely with this in mind.

I have admired that water garden often this week. Each time I return home from these bittersweet visits, I’m greeted by an exuberant puppy, ecstatic to see me. After circling the room/house/yard like he’s been shot out of guns,  Cooper calms down and sits not only with me, but on me. This is new. Normally, Kitty Cream sits by my head. Last evening, when I was very sad, he sat on my middle and snuggled close. He’s nearly three and has never done this before. Kitty Peaches hugs me. Jilly sits by my side. Kitty Pavel isn’t a Cooper fan, so he perches overhead on the couch. I am not alone. Furbabies see to that. Where I am, they are.

(Cooper and Jilly)

‘We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.’~George Elliot

(Peaches and Cream as kittens)

‘What greater gift than the love of a cat?’ ~Charles Dickens