Tag Archives: Golden Retriever

Furbaby Friday with CJ Zahner!

A warm welcome to CJ, who joins us to share her beloved dog and her paranormal suspense, Dream Wide Awake.

CJ: First, let me clarify. Furgy is my dog. My son, Zak, thinks she’s his, but she’s mine until the end of time. I’ve never lived without a dog for more than a few weeks. Rayberg, Lucky, Daisy, Tasha, Cody, Maggie, and Molly all hold places in my heart. Furgy owns my heart.

She came to us thirteen and a half years ago when my children still lived at home. Since then, she’s kept me company as I watched my son and two daughters pack their belongings and hustle off to college and then lives of their own.  I live in a small town where jobs are scarce. So, each child ventured off to chase their dreams in bigger cities—Raleigh, Philadelphia, Los Angeles—while my hubby, Furgy, and I stayed behind. Three years ago, when I retired from my full-time job to chase my own dream of novel writing, Furgy sat at my feet and encouraged me. In fact, she’s here now. Positioned two feet away, sprawled out on cool tiles, hoping for a breeze from beneath the front door.

Last month we nearly lost her, but miraculously, she rebounded. When she was sick, I told my husband he might have to bury me in the back yard beside her, because Furgy isn’t just my dog. She’s a part of me. A faithful companion who loves me unconditionally. Her entire world revolves around waiting for a pat on the head. A scratch under the chin. The toss of a potato chip. (Don’t tell Zak.)
We used to run together on dark mornings before work, but her arthritis is too bad now. When she has a good day, we venture out for a half-mile walk around the block. Sometimes her eyes twinkle and she runs a few steps, looks over her shoulder as if to say, “Remember?”

I remember.
I remember a crowded back yard, and Furgy jumping off a deck into a four-foot pool packed with kids. I remember her climbing into Zak’s or the girls’ beds with toys in her mouth to play, chasing sticks they threw into the lake on hot summer days, sneaking treats off the table at birthday parties, trudging through rocks and streams to get to swimming holes. I remember her sitting in the shade and watching soccer games and t-ball, and towing kids through snowy backyards on sleds. Catching snowballs with her teeth, playing tug of war with Zak, stealing the girls’ stuffed animals, running on the beach with relentless energy.

We’re a little slower, calmer, smarter, now. We’re definitely more patient with each other, and we sort of grew into a language of our own. I know when she sits straight up beside me, she needs a scratch on the head, and she knows when I am teary eyed that I am missing my kids and need her snuggled by my feet. And as long as I can look down and see those loyal eyes gazing up at me, all’s right in the world.

Furgy will be our last dog. We travel to see our children too much these days for another. But God in his infinite wisdom, saved the best for last.
Yep, Furgy is my dog until the end of time.

My novel, Dream Wide Awake, was inspired many years ago on a night I met fright. I was sleeping in the attic of my grandparent’s home—just like the little girl in chapter three.

Mikala Daly has visions.
Three boys are missing. Six-year-old Mikala Daly can see the spirit of one of those boys. She knows she can find and save the other two. Will her father let her?

One of the best detectives in town, Mikala’s father, Jack Daly, searches frantically for the abducted boys. Years before, Jack married into a family rumored to see people on the other side. Jack didn’t believe in their psychic abilities until that gift¬¬—curse—befell his daughter.

Now Mikala relays her dreams to him, and he struggles to keep her visions secret. Is he risking her life? He works to find the boys before the kidnapper locates Mikala or American government officials force her into their secret remote-viewing program—Project Dream of Area 51.

Excerpt from Dream Wide Awake, Chapter 1, Jack:

She was quiet, still, her expression soft. Lip relaxed against lip. Then her eyes opened.
“He can see me.”
At first, because of her casualness, he thought he’d surely heard her wrong. “Who can see you?”
“The bad man.”
His calmness faded to confusion. He tightened his eyebrows. Premonitions, they called these episodes. His wife experienced them, now his daughter. But they were never interactive.
“What do you mean he can see you?”
“He said my name. He has a guide.”
“A guide?”
“You know, Daddy, someone who shows him movies. He knows who I am.”
“No, Mikala, the bad man does not know who you are.”
“Yes, he does, Daddy.” For the first time, he heard panic in her voice. “That’s the reason he is at Danny’s house.”
A creak in the floor behind him grabbed his attention, and he turned his head. Lisa darted from the bedroom, ripped Mikala from his arms, and handed him something in her place.
“I told you not to allow this. I said you were playing with fire.”
“Lisa, she’s wrong. He can’t see her.”
“Yes, he can, Daddy.”
“No, he can’t, Mikala.” He lowered his voice to sound stern.
“Yes—yes he can. He’s with Danny right now. Run Daddy. Get Danny!”
“Go.” Lisa screamed so loud one of the boys in the next room woke crying.

Jack looked down at his lap—at the ratty sneakers Lisa had placed there. For the moment it took him to put them on, he wondered if he should run or drive the block and a half to his sister’s house. He decided, descended the stairs, and bounded out the front door bare-chested, leaving Lisa behind switching on lights and talking into the scanner. She would call for a cruiser to go to Janice’s house, to her own house. But Mikala was wrong about Danny. She had to be. He was going to be in a heap of trouble with the chief later.

He ran down the driveway and disappeared into the black night within seconds. His legs turned over like an Olympic sprinter’s, his breath labored, and sweat beaded on his upper lip. He rounded Third Street and nearly slipped in the wet grass on Nevada Drive but caught himself. He saw her house in the distance. Janice, four months separated from her husband, was alone there with her son. Alone like the others. Three single mothers of three abducted little boys.
His mind raced. The police would be at his house in two minutes. At Janice’s in three. They protected each other’s families.

When he was four houses away, he began screaming his sister’s name. Trying to scare anyone off. Make the bad man drop the child? Leave without the child? He didn’t know why he screamed. By the time his feet hit her driveway her light had turned on. The front bedroom window opened.

“Jack?” Janice’s voice slithered through the screen.
He passed her window and ran toward the back of the house, toward Danny’s room. He could see broken glass on the ground shimmering with the reflection of a street light. Dear God, no, he thought. It couldn’t be. These abductions could not have hit his family.
“Danny,” he yelled.
When he reached his nephew’s window, the whites of Danny’s two little eyes glowed in the dark room. He was there. Standing. Looking out the bare, open window back at him. Waiting.
“Hi, Uncle Jack,” Danny said, his little face peeking over the window ledge, his stuffed bear, Tony, nudged under his chin.
Jack leaned hands on house and huffed, trying to catch his breath. Trying to decipher Danny was okay. Alive. Mikala was wrong.
“Thank God, thank God,” he uttered out loud. When he caught his breath, he gazed up at his nephew.
That’s when horror seized him. Above Danny’s little face, secured on the broken glass, a scribbling on Christian stationary paralyzed him. It was the abductor’s fourth message, but the first to make Jack’s blood circulate like an electrical current. The words he read flowed over his lips in a whisper, expelled with terrifying breath.
“One mulligan for Mikala.”

Author Links:
Author website www.cjzahner.com
Dream Wide Awake by CJ Zahner, Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Wide-Awake-born-curse-ebook/dp/B07HDTJXY7
Dream Wide Awake by CJ Zahner, Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/BNDWA
Dream Wide Awake by CJ Zahner /, Kobo http://bit.ly/CZDWAk
Follow CJ on goodreads at http://bit.ly/gCJZahner
Follow CJ on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cjzahner/?hl=en
Follow CJ on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorcjzahner/
Follow CJ on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TweetyZ

Author Bio:

CJ Zahner is a digital-book hoarder, lover of can’t-put-down books, and the author of Dream Wide Awake and The Suicide Gene. She has three more novels pending, Project Dream, Within the Setting Sun, and The Dream Snatchers. Writing novels since 2015, that year her only sibling was diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and Zahner walked away from her full-time grant writing and part-time freelance writing job to follow her dream of becoming a novelist. She hopes to read, write, and run happily ever after…

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave CJ a comment.

Our Beloved Pets

Contributed by Pamela Roller

Last month, I wrote about animal cruelty and included some disturbing photos, information and statistics. This month, I’d like to turn about and give you several heartwarming stories from people who simply adore their pets. Be sure to leave a comment with your own loving pet story. I’d love to read them!

The photo above is of our beagle and his boy.

Our family went to the SPCA one afternoon. Amidst the howling, barking, pacing, and pawing, there, crouched trembling in his cage, was a beagle. The card read, “Elvis. Male. Brought by owner.”

He stared at us with soulful brown eyes. “Let’s look at him,” I said impulsively.

As soon as Elvis was brought into the inspection room, he made a beeline to me, then to our son. He steered clear of my husband. A jagged black scar ran up his back leg, and he had tiny black circular scars on his nose–the size of the end of a cigarette. He sniffed us, wagged his tail, and when we rose to look at a couple of other dogs, he must have decided to take us home because he ran straight to the door and looked back, eyes shining.

Four years later, Elvis is comfortable around men again. He doesn’t crouch as often when we reach down to pet him or hug him, and he no longer hides when I flick the lighter to light the dinner candles. He’s brought joy into our lives, loving us the way dogs do: just right.

Dan’s story:
The hardest part of having dogs is saying goodbye. You know when you bring home a bouncing puppy that the dog will almost certainly pass away before you do, but you know that the years of joy are worth the inevitable sorrow. Kayla was our first purebred Belgian Tervuren and came into our home when she was almost three years old. She was bartered by the breeder to an Oregon cattle-rancher. She was destined to be a stock dog, but the rancher went bankrupt and Kayla went back to the breeder.

Kayla’s next stop was a large show-dog kennel in Homestead, Florida. The owner had spaniels and Rottweilers and wanted a new breed. Not long after settling in to her second home, Hurricane Andrew blew most of Homestead into the Gulf of Mexico. Kayla was evacuated in time, along with the other dogs, but the kennel was destroyed and she was given up to a foster home.

Kayla was passed among a handful of Belgian Tervuren fanciers, each showing her a little bit, but none taking such a liking to her that they wanted to keep her. Her travels took her from Florida to Texas and back, and then eventually to Virginia. She was never abused or neglected, and nobody ever considered dumping her in a shelter, but nobody wanted to make her their own, either.

I was looking for my next dog for competition training when I met the owner of Kayla’s sister. She casually mentioned that she knew of a Terv that needed a home. When I met Kayla something immediately clicked for both of us and I made the decision in an instant. Of course, a dog that has been passed around so much doesn’t make close friends so quickly. It took many months for the two of us to truly bond. But when we did, great things started happening.

After finishing her breed championship we launched into a ten-year career of training competition. Obedience, tracking, agility, rally, lure coursing…we did it all. We traveled up and down the east coast together, celebrated success often and cried together occasionally. Kayla accumulated over thirty training titles in our decade of showing.

All of those titles were unimportant as I slumped against the wall of the examination room. I held Kayla in my lap, murmuring into her ear while the veterinarian prepared the syringe. I didn’t think about the blue ribbons and the disqualifications, of the hotel bills and fast food breakfasts. What I thought about was our the bond we shared, the same bond that our two species have shared since the dawn of history. Two beings, working harmoniously together in a relationship like no other. As the vet kneeled on the floor, I told Kayla “Thank you” and said goodbye.

Alisa’s story:
The farm around the corner from us had a sign that said, ‘Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale’. The girls and Tim begged to go see them, just to ‘look.’ I gave in but said there was no way we were getting a puppy since Carly was still only 2.

Well, of course, they were the most adorable things I had ever seen. The one in the back with the green collar got my attention. He (or she, I wasn’t sure) was very quiet and didn’t jump and bark like the others did. The puppy looked right into my eyes and I just fell in love. We left and talked about it constantly. Finally, I agreed and said, ‘OK, if we get that puppy, I get to name it since I will be doing all the work. If it’s a boy, let’s name him Cody and if it’s a girl, Molly.’

The next morning, Tim went running. When he came home from his run, he had a very strange look on his face. He told me that he didn’t really go running. He went back to the farm to look at that puppy in the green collar. He said, ‘Alisa, we have got to get that puppy. It’s meant for us.’ He told me that the breeder had already named all the puppies and guess what, they named him Cody. Then the mother dog came over and Tim found out that her name was Molly. That afternoon, we brought Cody home.He is the most sweetest and calmest dog that we could have ever asked for. We love him!

Alleyne’s story:
Years ago I had four Belgian Tervuren in my home. One neutered male was dominant aggressive. We’d been working for more than two years to get Deacon to accept that we were the alphas and that he could not discipline us with his teeth. Our other young male, Paladin, was easy going and good natured, never challenged anyone.

One night I was home alone, lying on the sofa. Paladin was across the room, on his back playing with our new puppy. Deacon was lying next to me on the floor. I reached down to pet him and he growled. He had a toy and I knew I couldn’t let him get away with growling or all our work would have been undone, so I reached down to pick it up. Deacon bit down on my hand and sat up, carrying my hand with him.

I frantically tried to decide how to stop him from hurting me more seriously, but before I could do more than take a deep breath, Paladin leapt from his place across the room, cleared the coffee table, knocked Deacon off me and pinned him to the wall. Clasping my injured hand in my good one, I cheerfully called the dogs to go outside, which they did before I collapsed in shock. My husband arrived a few minutes later from work and rushed me to the hospital. The bites were deep but not my hand was not torn up.

We realized that night that I was pregnant with our daughter. I will always believe that Paladin saved me from being mauled. He watched over Tierney every day from the day she was born until he died two years ago at almost 16. He was a champion in dog shows, but more importantly he was my champion, which of course is what “paladin” means. Alleyne Dickens http://www.alleynedickens.com/ http://www.bonheurbelgians.com/

From my mom:
Our five-pound, two-year-old papillon, Corwin, gave us a surprise a few days ago. We were noticing the fur by a leg that had a knot in it. Joe was trying to straighten it out when Corwin used his tongue to water the area and then proceeded with his teeth to pull back and forth until the knot was straightened out. It amazed us both, but happily so.

From fellow ace blog writer Beth Trissel:
I’ve always had cats. Cats are an integral part of my world and our farm. Three reside indoors; Gabby, a lavender Oriental Shorthair, closely related to the Siamese and just as vocal, and her chestnut-colored son, Pookah, so named for the invisible creatures that steal things, and he does. We used to call him “the paw” because of the way he opens drawers or cabinets and pilfers whatever he likes, usually hair thingies. He and Gabby are mad over scrunchies, and colorful bands that hold hair in pony tails.

Pookah is a gorgeous cat and an excellent thief, but he sucks his tail. Not very manly. A kind woman living in Florida sent us Gabby years ago to comfort the children after the tragic death of their young cousin Matthew. Gabby came to us on a plane, an odd infant highly unlike the barn cats we were accustomed to.

At first we didn’t know what to think of this little gray monkey forever disappearing into the highest cabinets or crouching on the tops of doors and wardrobes. Nor did we understand her peculiar cry, but once we learned to know her, we were hooked. That’s how we came by Pookah, the big-eared kitten we kept from a litter of three after we had Gabby bred to a fancy Siamese, Cappuccino. He wasn’t manly either.

Then there’s Minnie Mae, the tabby kitten-cat my daughter Elise and I raised from early infancy after her stray, airhead mother inadvertently left Minnie Mae and her brother Cedric in our care. Minnie Mae was so tiny she barely spanned my palm and is still small for a grown cat. Cedric is a big boy and resides with son Cory on the other farm, but he’s a sissy too, and has a favorite blanket which he kneads obsessively, probably due to the trauma of being abandoned shortly after birth. He also sucks on it. His father is a tough old barn cat named Chester. Nothing sissy about Chester.

All three of our cats must content themselves with gazing out the window, tails twitching whenever they spy a bird. It’s touching how devoted they are to birds, and have often asked for a bird of their very own, “To hug it and squeeze it and call it George,” but I am not so gullible. I don’t know how common it is to have arguments with cats but Gabby and I argue all the time–Pookah, only when he is particularly put out with the accommodations here, and then he really howls.

Minnie Mae is a whimsical creature, with a funny series of purrs. Elise calls the chirrupy purr when she scampers across the room, her bouncing purr. Then there’s her inquiring purr, when she has a question, which is fairly often being a thoughtful, observant cat. Her excited purr hums forth when she greets us after a long absence, say overnight. She sleeps outside Dennis’ and my bedroom door and eagerly awaits the dawn.

When I was a child I listened repeatedly to a favorite record that I still have about the adventures of Dick Whittington and his cat. Dick would exclaim: “Here comes Ripple Dee Dee! Oh, cat, I love you very much.” And I do. All of them.

I went down to the dairy this morning and played with Zippy, the bouncy black kitten that has come into our lives. He’s about five or six weeks old and scampers around fearlessly like a streaking bullet. But also tolerates snuggling and is very sweet. His mother, Kate, a small calico barn cat, is affectionate though not overly. Until two days ago, Zippy and his shy as yet unnamed orange brother lived up in the loafing shed. That’s the building where dairy cows hang out and shoot pool, play cards or snack in the dining hall until they feel like ambling out to the meadow to soak up some rays and chew the cud.

The loafing shed is also like a hotel or all girl dorm with sleeping accommodations, wooden stalls filled with shavings, which they haggle over. The stalls all look pretty much the same to me, but apparently cows can discern the difference in quality. Maybe some command a better view of the barn or have plusher shavings. Only they know. It’s a great place for kittens as long as they don’t get stepped on.

The milking parlor is where the real action is, and the milk. Cats and kittens get free samples and snitch dog food and whatever else is tossed their way, in addition to the very important work of mousing. And now Zippy has graduated to the big league. What’s next? The old red barn.

Elise and I found a bedraggled black kitten in a shadowed corner of the old barn huddled beside an ancient water trough. Hay was stuck to its fur and its head slick in places from a calf’s sympathetic tongue. We carried the mewing puff ball down to the house and gave it a bath. Being mostly fur, it shrank considerably in the water and nearly disappeared.

After drying this soggy specimen of catdom, we bundled it up in an old towel and fed it the formula concocted by a local vet for orphan kittens: one cup whole milk, one teaspoon of vegetable oil, one egg yolk, whisk well and warm. This baby is old enough to lap and downed the lot I had poured into a shallow lid. We filled a canning jar with hot water, screwed the lid on tightly and tucked our swaddled charge beside the improvised water bottle back in the small closet in the laundry room. Assorted farm coats, jeans and shirts hang on hooks up above and brush our heads as we kneel to peer into this den-like place. There’s nothing dogs like better for a bed than a worn coat with that farm smell still clinging to it, cozily tucked back into this closet.

Cats prefer sunbeams but will make do. I’ve spent many hours on my knees helping to birth puppies, fuss over their care and tend kittens. Countless kittens and puppies, tiny terriers that could fit in a shoe box, medium size dogs and dogs that have grown too big but are still attached, have called this comforting space home. The narrow walls are gnawed and deeply grooved from the many inhabitants over the years. Every household should have such a place.

Fortunately, our dog, Mia (an animal shelter rescue) also likes her bed in the dining room because she can’t be trusted to kitten-sit. The formula rapidly dwindles. Not only that, she’s afraid of kittens. Silly, silly Mia. The kitten does not yet have a name because if you name a creature that implies that it’s staying, which this one very well may be. Sometimes you just need a kitten.

Oddly, it would seem that Mia always wanted a kitten of her own after all. She follows the minute puff ball around the kitchen and hovers over it with a worried look. Actually, Mia generally looks worried. I suppose from earlier traumas before we took her in. She has never had a small furry friend though and even tries to play with the kitten as it bounds around the kitchen in great excitement over everything and anything.
My mother made the observation that kittens and other babies can utterly give themselves to play in a way that the rest of us can’t because we’ve had the “play” smacked out of us by life. Now and then, I think we should all play as unreservedly as possible.
Beth Trissel

So there you have it. Wonderful stories from people who love their pets. How about you? Have stories to share? Write back with your wonderful pet story in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!

Pamela Roller is the author of On Silent Wings, a sexy gothic historical romance set in Restoration England. Visit her website at http://www.pamelaroller.com/.©Pamela Roller