There are so many things I love to do with my dogs, it’s hard to pick, but snuggling definitely tops the list. I have two rescues, Hazel (9) and Nala (3), and their personalities couldn’t be more different. Hazel, the border collie mix, is independent and task-oriented. Nala, who was DNA tested and found to be a mix of pit bull, Basset hound, Rottweiler, and Newfoundland mastiff, is a 55-pound, squat-legged companion dog…and the family snuggler. As soon as one of us sits on the couch, she’s up there with us and as close as can be. She doesn’t understand boundaries…at all! She sleeps on my bed most nights, and once in a while, I will wake up to find she’s using me as a pillow. Experiencing that quiet, unspoken trust makes my morning.
My second favorite activity is the twice-daily walks around the neighborhood or to the park with Nala and Hazel. Sometimes we all three have different motivations—Hazel is on the lookout for squirrels and rabbits, Nala is all about other dogs and people, and I’m always hoping to work in some real cardio. We each make concessions, and I find these walks to be disjointedly peaceful. Any wandering thoughts or worries are interrupted enough to keep me centered at the moment, and for the most part, our walks are twenty or thirty minutes of each morning and evening that I spend being very present—with myself, with the dogs, and in the world.
Tying in the last three places on my list of favorite activities with my dogs are: visits to the dog park, around-the-house roughhousing, and trips to the playground. They’re all three so fun! Now that she’s older, Hazel has lost most of her interest in play. Nala, however, is all about it—with our family, our two cats, and with other dogs. Not a single day goes by that she isn’t up for some roughhousing, and we try to mix it up for her. The most unusual activity is our trips to the local playground. Nala loves going there! She’s very athletic and spry and will climb up (or be lifted) onto the equipment for a chance to slide down the slides. Sometimes she’ll go down the slides tandem with my teenage son, but she also has fun going down on her own. She’s also great on the agility equipment at the dog park. Watching her unencumbered exuberance always makes my day.
When young, widowed mother and animal artist Mia Chambers is
hired to create a mural for the High Grove Animal Shelter,
the work is a welcome distraction. She doesn’t expect to
help rescue a stray mama border collie and her pup—both of
them deaf—and open her home to them.
Nor does she
expect the undivided attention of Ben Thomas, an
accomplished architect, introverted genius, and friend of
her late husband. His support brings healing to her wounded
heart. Before long, Mia wonders if Ben—and these
life-changing dogs—might help her find the kind of love and
loyalty she never thought would be hers…
Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: July 30, 2019, Mass Market Paperback, ISBN: 9781492672845 / ]