Allen and I had been thinking about getting a dog for a few
years. The last time we'd owned dogs was eighteen years earlier when we lived in
a house with a large yard. When we moved to Orange County to get closer to
his job, we could only afford a townhouse without much yard. So we put off
getting a dog. But Allen and I both grew up with dogs and missed having one.
probably would have gotten one sooner, but I got published in 1992 and have been
writing and traveling so extensively that I didn't feel I'd have the amount of
time a dog needed. (Allen tends to work about 60 hours a week also.)
2004, Allen and I both turn fifty (he's nine days
older than me). I figured if I was going to get a puppy, it better be while I
still could survive the initial sleepless nights (hey, menopause brings on
insomnia anyway...) so we started doing research, which is, as a writer, my
favorite thing to do. We wanted to get a purebred dog only because we wanted
some predictable traits since our living space is fairly compact. It was hard
because I like big dogs. Allen's less picky and would basically take any kind of
dog. We figured a Corgi was a good compromise since they are a small to medium
dog (25-30 lbs) with a "big dog" attitude (hmmm...sounds like the
women in my family...I'm 5'2" and the tallest of my three sisters and no
one has ever called us timid when our hackles are up.) As a matter of fact, our
petite mother always had the attitude "Walk tall even though you aren't."
So I started emailing
breeders in May. The problem was I needed to get
a puppy within a certain time period, right after I got off tour and before I
went on tour for the quilt book in November. No one had any puppies.
before my booktour in May. So I told Allen, "Okay, when I get back from
tour, we'll go to the humane societies and just let God pick our dog. There's a
dog out there for us somewhere. He or she will come to us."
I went on tour with that plan. On booktour in many of the cities
I have what is called a "media escort." She or he takes me to my
booksignings, sometimes picks me up at the airport, takes me to interviews and
radio stations, just whatever my publicist has planned for me. They are almost
always wonderful people who love authors and books. Some of them a writer
instantly connects with and the busy and stressful day is made that much easier
because you are spending it with someone who is fun to talk to, knows the city
and gets you to where you need to go with efficiency and comfort.
In Seattle, my media escort was a wonderful lady named Tina.
(Also my webmaster's name...I always see anyone named Tina in a
positive light as I've never met an unpleasant Tina!) Tina, the media escort,
was a retired Spanish teacher. We had a great time driving around Seattle, talking books and
everything else under the sun. During the day I happened to mention my desire
for a dog.
"What kind?" she asked.
"Well, we wanted a Corgi, but..." I went on to explain
my difficulty in locating someone with a litter.
"Oh, I love Corgis!" she exclaimed. "I grew up
with Corgis. And, you won't believe this, but my cousin, Missy, raises
Corgis. As a matter of fact, I think she has a litter that was just
"That's wonderful," I said. "But Seattle's a long
way for me to go to pick up a dog. And I don't feel good about flying one
"No," she said. "She doesn't live here. She lives
Well, that shocked me because Camarillo is only two hours north
of me. (Missy and Joe actually live in Santa Rosa Valley, in the hills above
Thousand Oaks--Camarillo is about ten miles further.)
"Call her right away and tell her you want one," Tina
said that night at my signing after she'd checked with Missy and found out there
were puppies available.
So there I was the next morning in the Seattle airport on my way
to Spokane, calling Missy and asking her to save a puppy for me.
"I'll be glad to," she said.
We saw the puppies for the first time when they were five weeks
old. I had a signing in Thousand Oaks at Mysteries to Die For. Afterward, Allen
and I went to Missy and Joe's house to see the puppies. There were eight who
came running to meet us (there were actually nine in the litter, but one
died.) A congregation of Corgis! I have to admit, I was instantly attracted to Boo
because one, he was the first to get to me and two, he was the only tri-colored
one. I have a special liking for tri-colored dogs because I fell in love with my
friend, Bunny's, tri-colored part Border collie, part Catahoula hound, Buck
(he's a character in Broken Dishes). But we played with all of them and tried to
keep an open mind. They were all adorable, of course. Each had such unique
markings and were such sweet dogs. Missy and Joe were excellent puppy parents!
Tina had told me that Missy loved her animals and that was obvious in how much
they adored her! We took pictures and agonized over the next few weeks about
which one to pick (we had third pick...there were some people who had a choice
before us.) We visited them one more time, took more pictures and agonized more.
I secretly hoped no one would pick Boo (whom I already named!) I guess it was
meant to be, because he wasn't picked and we took him home on June 26th.
So, that's Boo's story. I do believe God had him all picked out
for me and Allen...I just had to go to Washington to find out where to get our
dog! I'll forever be grateful to Tina for being the catalyst in find Boo and to
Missy and Joe for being such wonderful puppy foster parents! And, Boo did
become a character in Tumbling Blocks. Much of what Benni
went through was what happened to me!