Ellie Mae Murphy, smiling
On Monday, if I am brave, I will click the button that sends my manuscript, The Dogs Who Saved Me, off to the publisher. In July, if all goes well, I will hold the printed book in my hands.
Recent days have been filled with searching, searching, searching for typos; listening carefully to suggestions by my first readers; trying to find words to frame the perfect dedication (impossible)… and crying.
I think you’ll understand all the tears with this book once you read it. It’s amazing how we can be dropped to our knees by heartache but somehow, later, find the courage to get up and continue our trudge forward on the journey, telling ourselves we’re “over it”—until something happens to make us remember. In writing this book, I have had to recall some difficult times in my life. But I’ve also spent time remembering the dogs who saved me, and they’ve been on my mind a lot lately.
I remember Ruf, whose favorite toy was always a rock he’d find and bring to me to throw for him. I once threw a rock into a pond that was three feet deep just to see what he’d do. Yeah, he dove down to the bottom and retrieved it.
Ellie became my dog after my brother moved to Seattle and couldn’t take her with him. Two years later, he came down for a visit, and she had what can only be described as a transcendent ecstatic experience when she was reunited with him.
Alex Haley was the Rottweiler/Chow mix who was terrified of loud noises. (A car backfiring would send him diving into the closet, trembling in fear for half an hour.) And he was the dog who sat beside me—rock steady—while a drug-crazed man pounded on the doors and windows of my house, trying to break in.
These dogs are gone now… but not my memories of them.
I am saving a page in the front of my dog book to honor some of the dogs I know—and don’t know—who live on in the hearts of their human companions. If you’ve had a good dog (or two… or six), or you know of one, and you would like that dog to be remembered on that page, please leave the dog’s name in the comment section here. Or better yet, head over to the Facebook page for The Dogs Who Saved Me (<--just click on that blue writing) and leave a comment to my post. I’m gathering the names today (April 14, 2012) and tomorrow; they will be the last bits I add before clicking that ominous but important button on Monday morning.
Foreground: Nikita Fedrovna Baryshnikov Zhivago ("Niki") Background: Alex Haley