WHEN ANIMALS MEAN EVERYTHING

trishjensenphotobigw Welcome my friend and fellow Story Garden member, Trish Jensen to the ‘vert today!

I have a confession to make: if I were given a Sophie’s Choice between my dog and a human, I’d choose my dog every single time. I’d choose my horse, my cat, my birds in the back yard, who I faithfully feed and water.

I’m an animal lover. Cannot stand to watch ASPCA commercials because they break my heart. Animals, especially domesticated ones, are so innocent. They love without question, and count on their slave humans to keep them safe, happy and fed.

No Bed Left for Mom-5 No bed left for Mama Trish

This is why in most of my books my humans are dog owners. Or owned by dogs, if you’re anything like me. It says something about them without having to be said…like they’re compassionate and want the unconditional love their animals give them. There’s no nasty divorce, no bitter battles (well, unless you don’t feed them on time). They just plain trust you and love you.

People who know me know I’d make that Sophie’s Choice. So when I was grasping for a new book idea my critique partner, Sandra Hill, handed me a newspaper article about a dog spa. “Write something like that. That’s right up your love alley.”

Smedley's First Day Home-86 Smedley’s first day at home with Trish

And it was. But I wanted to write something where a big bad FBI guy – who happens to work in the Fraud Division — is not only skeptical about the whole concept of a dog spa, and the owner who’s calling herself a dog psychologist, but agrees to some outrageous terms to check this shyster out.

First, of course, he has to agree to taking over ownership of his aunt’s beloved English Bulldog, named Muffin, for crying out loud. Second, he must agree to taking Muffin to this scam spa for two weeks every summer for as long as the dog lives.

He doesn’t want the dog. The dog doesn’t want him, either. He does not want to spend two weeks of vacation time at this place, but it’s set in stone in her will. He doesn’t take the dog, he doesn’t take the dog to the spa, then ownership of the dog (and all of the rest of the aunt’s many homes and millions, which she willed to the dog) will go to the dog shrink upon the mutt’s demise.

And his suspicious nature, honed during his years at the FBI, tell him this woman has shyster written all over her scheming backside.

To say the two (man and dog) don’t bond is like saying “Hey, oil, meet water.” But what this man finds at this spa isn’t a shyster woman, just a passionate pet person. And through her he and his dog finally come to terms (of course the dog wins most of them).

The big bad FBI guy falls for his dog, while he’s also falling for the dog spa owner. Many readers say they can’t decide which love story they fall for most. And that really feels good. Because even writing it, I couldn’t decide either. Jake begins doing the math about how long this damn dog will be around. He ends up hoping his dog will live forever, which is how I feel about all of my animals.

Jake is me, in a male body. LeAnne is his forever. But Muffin is truly the love of his life. LeAnne sighs and lives with it. After all, she’s me, too. She’d pick a dog any day of the week. But she’ll take Jake, too. He comes with the dog.

AGAINST HIS WILL will be available late July from Bell Bridge Books

The Harder They Fall -- April, 2012  Tell us about the animals in your life or the most memorable animal character from a story you’ve read.  Or ask Trish anything!  One name drawn from among the comments posted will receive either an e-book or trade paperback version of THE HARDER THEY FALL.

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About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in books, dogs, free book, giveaway, Trish Jensen. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to WHEN ANIMALS MEAN EVERYTHING

  1. donna harris says:

    I love all animals!!! Growing up we always had a dog and a cat. I had a horse too growing up. He was my best buddy, I loved him so much. I got him when he was two years old and only saddle broke. I had to bit break him, I did both engish and western bits. I even taught him to jump, I made my own jumps out of old wood/lumber what ever I could get my hands on. I showed him in horse shows, I did get a few trophies, but a lot of ribbons. He use to follow me around the pasture, the yard without a halter or anything on him, just like a dog would. I sure do miss him. I guess he would be my favorite pet I had. Over the years I had some more dogs. My exhusband had his hunting dogs, while I had mine. I had a Sheltie, she was the most beautiful dog. She was so easy to train, better than the kids lol. She was so loving, to everyone not only me. I was so sad the day I had to put her to sleep. I held her close and told her I loved her, while the tears rolled down my face. Now I had a small dog and a big cat. Yes, they own me. They sure do know how to get to my heart. Maybe since I’m getting older I have a soft spot in my heart and they know it. They do give unconditional love. I guess I’ve been lucky that I had more than one favorite animal in my lifetime. Donna Harris
    donna_squaw_1952@yahoo.com

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Donna:
      We were separated at birth. When we lived in Minnesota I asked my parents for riding lessons for Christmas. Before long I was showing, but showing stable horses. So had the nerve to ask for my own horse for my birthday. We got Dr. Zhivago (Zhivvie) when he was only 1.5 years old, and had already been saddle-broken. Too young, in my opinion. But he was a lover.
      We lived beside neighbors who had a barn and pastures and had horses of their own, so it was the perfect set-up. The main pasture was separated from our yard be a wood post fence. I’d jump off the bus and run straight to the fence, where Zhivvie would be waiting to get the carrots or apples my mom packed in my lunch bag (she watched, and saw that his ears pricked at the sound of the bus coming, and come running over to the fence. Then I’d run inside, change clothes and run back out. He’d be waiting, sideways, knowing we were going to play. I’d hop on him bareback and we’d race around the pasture, jumping over the cavalleties set up here and there. Didn’t need a bridle or saddle, but I trained him in both English and Western, but he definitely preferred jumping, so was more excited when he felt the English saddle land on his back. But when we just went for a free ride, it was always bareback with a bridle. I loved him so much. 🙂

      • donna harris says:

        Trish,
        I wrote for a stable too. I was around 12 years old, I couldn’t believe they wanted me. I used to ride by there and stop and talk to them. I guess they were watching me ride and liked me as a young person. One day they asked me if I would like to ride for them. I had to ask my parents, which I thought that would be no. Mom said you know you’ll have to stick with it and not let them down. You know how becoming a teenager is don’t know what you want. Well I rode for them till my senior year in school. I went to school for half day and worked the other half. Well between school, my horse, and riding for them kind of got a lot for me. After graduation I went to work, I had two jobs, the one I worked thru school, and I got another at a grocery store full time. The horses had to go, I didn’t have enough time to think or sleep. Then I got married in the next two years, two year later the kids came. Well you know the rest.
        What I miss is my horse. Going the barn and my horse would be out in the pasture, he would see me and come running. I used to ride him bareback all the time too. I hated the saddles. I liked the feel of the horse every move he made, you could tell if they would flinch (I hope I spelled that right). I remember taking sugar cubes and soaking them in molasse for the horse. Yes sugar cubes you can tell how old I am. He use to love them. When I would take him home, just up from the barn, my mom even like to feed him the cubes. Mom liked the horse but would never get on him, she was scared to death. Still knowing how gentle he was that was a no. Even when I wrote for the stables I would get on their horses bareback first. At first they would ask me why, I woudl tell them, if I’m going to jump this horse I want to know him/her first. And the only why is riding bareback firs to feel his movement. So every horse they wanted me to ride to jump, I would get on bareback. After all these years, I mean years, I got to see the couple I wrote for. They came back here for a visit, it was an anniversary for them. They are now in their late 70s early 80s and they still remembered me, as the bareback girl. What can I say! I love my memories!!! Donna

  2. Stonehawk says:

    Well I currently have a six year old cat named Sam which is a female. she’s given me lots of joy and attention from living by myself a few years and being lonely too long. i was glad to get Sam as a companion pet. what I loved about Sam is petting her and she sitting on my lap and she not complaining whenever I pick her up for hugs she licking my face like a dog in response. I loved having a cat as a pet and I always had one since I was in elementary school old enough to take responsibility of taking care of one.

  3. TrishJ says:

    I totally understand Jake, he is just like my husband. He didn’t want a dog, but the kids did. We went to the local animal shelter to just “look” around. This little mutt walked over and rested her little head on his foot and looked her little puppy eyes up at him and he caved. she turned out to be the best dog ever!!! It is just amazing how much love they .pack into their little hearts. Love to win a copy if your book.

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Trish: That’s how we ended up being owned by Foxy, a gorgeous long-haired calico (if you look closely at the pic of my bed being taken up by the rulers of my house, she’s lying on my pillow to the left of me). We went into the shelter just to give animals some attention, not intending to get yet one more animal. When my husband walked up to her crate, she stuck out her paw as if in a handshake. He took it, then asked one of the employees if he could pet her. She JUMPED into his arms the moment the crate door opened and purred against his neck. He was a dead man right there and then. We left with Foxy. 🙂
      Trish, who loves a guy who is a sucker for an animal…

  4. Linda says:

    All of my pets are rescues. Zippy is the last one that I adopted. He has to have the biggest heart and best character. When he was brought into the clinic he had been seen wandering the neighborhood of one of my employees and she noticed he was not using a front leg. He had a rubber band around the leg that had cut off circulation to the lower part of the leg and created a deep wound. Even with all of that the was purring and demanding attention. I had to amputate that front leg unfortunately. Zippy though does not know he should be considered handicapped though, no instead he has no fear and takes on the other cats. He will walk up to the biggest cat in the house, slap him and provoke a fight. He is still the most loving cat too. So handicapped and disabled are only a state of mind.

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Linda:
      I applaud you for all of the rescues. YES! My editor is an animal lover, so we talk about them a lot. She’s VERY involved with the Humane Society. I donate to Paws, because it’s a no-kill org.

    • Linda, our Lab mix is a rescue, and she is such a wonderful dog. My sister in CT had to go through a program that arranges for adoption/rescues from Georgia because there aren’t many dogs available for adoption in her area. Pet adoption isn’t cheap, but it’s so worthwhile.

  5. Leanne Banks says:

    Trish, this sounds wonderful! A little like the movie Turner and Hooch, but different too! Congrats on writing such a fab book and welcome to the convertible!!:)

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Thanks, Leanne! Guess what the heroine’s name is in this book? LeAnne. Not spelled EXACTLY the same, but you must have been transmitting signals during the writing. 🙂

  6. Laney4 says:

    My avatar (which probably doesn’t show up on this blog) is a golden retriever named Austin. We dogsat him a total of over six months through his last three years of life (as he died in May/11), and we loved every moment. He rarely barked and everyone felt like they understood what he was “saying”, going by just his looks and actions. Goldens often have their back hips “go out” later in life, so we often had to help him up the steps (by holding his back end and placing his front paws on the steps, one at a time). We have no regrets. Austin was a very loved part of our family.

  7. Kylie Brant says:

    Trish, I *love* the plot idea! The story sounds fabulous. I’m a huge dog lover too. Ours is 11 now though and hubby says no more. (Of course he said no the first two dogs I brought home, too!) But we’re gone soooo much 😦 and when we retire it will be worse. It feels selfish to have a pet if we’re not around to take care of it three months of the year. Hopefully though we’ll have Lexie for a while longer to enjoy. Although she loves her pet sitter so much I wonder how much she really misses us when we’re gone!

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Kylie:
      Several years back I was gone for 1.5 months in the hospital (my mom’s housekeeper took care of her). The day I got home, my dog was sitting in the yard. I had been in a bed so long that I’d had to learn to walk all over again. I’d had so many tubes down my throat that my voice sounded like a frog’s on crack. But we pulled in and I shuffled to the fence and said, “Cassie!” She didn’t recognize my voice, but she loves everyone, so stood up wagging, just to have some company. Then she sniffed me, and she went WILD! MOMMY was home! FINALLY! She didn’t abandon me! Had to bring her into the house slowly, so I’d already be sitting down with treats, so she didn’t knock me over. But there’s just NOTHING like a dog who is SO thrilled to see his/her mommy or daddy home. I never want to live without a four-legged creature who is so unabashedly thrilled to see me again. You’ll get another one. Guaranteed.

  8. Cindy Gerard says:

    Hi Trish and welcome! Love the story line. And, like you, love animals. We have 2 house cats (Buddy and Sly), a house dog (Margaret) and 3 horses. Oh, and my aquarium with my fishies. We feed birds – can hardly keep up with nectar for the hummers – and generally never met a
    ‘critter’ we didn’t love.
    Much luck on the book!

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Cindy:
      My ex (and you’ll see in a second why he’s my ex) told me when I gave him a shopping list that the sunflower seeds were out of the question. I grabbed back the list, and marked off of it my milk (and I’m a milk fanatic) and his NEED for canned oysters and sardines and other snacks he just HAD to have. Gave it back to him. “NOW we can afford the food for the birds.”
      He never questioned the cost of bird food again. 🙂 But I also never forgot that he was willing to sacrifice feeding the birds for his “snack” tastes. 🙂 I mean, sardines? Really?

  9. CateS says:

    Dog lover here.. had a cocker spaniel for 15 years, then 2 Welsh terriers for 18.. We had long and eventful lives together. My great aunt dithered about taking a cat at age 80… When she entered a care facility at 93, sweet kitty retired to Florida with the family..

  10. Welcome, Trish! I really love the premise of AGAINST HIS WILL and can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ve been watching for it since it’s a July release. Animals are always an integral part of my stories, and I get to know them as I write the story the same way I do the rest of the community of characters. My favorites are dogs and horses, but sometimes a cat pops up unexpectedly. I was going to give one of my heroes a dog for a traveling companion in one book, but it it kept appearing as a cat. Like the hero, I kept trying to shoo the cat away, but she wouldn’t go. Finally, like the hero, I accepted the fact that she wasn’t going anywhere unless she went in that pickup.

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Kathleen:
      Don’t you hate that when animals decide for you? 🙂 Actually, I love it, especially with characters in books. Muffin pretty much took over, and he was only meant to be the catalyst.

  11. Kathy says:

    My fave pet was a Chinchilla Persian cat. Poor thing hated to be brushed. Got a real bad case of tangled fur and had to have his fur cut off — twice! First time, right down to his pink skin. When I brought him home, he disappeared for 24 hours. (I think he was embarassed.) Second time, he came home with fur (much shorter, but no pink skin) and he weathered that without any problems.

  12. tresa says:

    my rat terrier Koozl named after a dragon, she is 13 years old.

    • My daughter’s hubby had a rat terrier–Annie–when they were married. She’s about 13 now. John is a big teddy bear of a guy, and it’s so cute to see him cuddling little Annie.

  13. bellwriter says:

    Trish, what a wonderful blog and topic. We’re having a topic about dogs (and an occasional cat pops in) on my mystery/suspense chapter, Kiss of Death, about animal senses. The stories that are coming out, from my one little question about a scene I’m writing whilst in Deadline Hades. I have so many pets that owned me, I can’t really separate my fondest memories. A German shepard named Queenie who one night heard voices coming from the stereo. She moved the stereo out to see who was behind it. Very protective — no one dared mess with us kids. A Boston terrier named Bandit where else taken from the Jonny Quest cartoon. A cat named Dodger who loved to slide around in the bathtub… One day when I answered the phone, the cat dove into the bathtub still filled with water and n-e-v-e-r quite forgave me. Our pets enrich our lives. They truly do make folks live longer. Great post and best wishes with Against His Will!

  14. catslady says:

    I know I told my many stories with my ferals/strays but I’ve also had two wonderful dogs too. All were rescues. I’ve lost count as to how many cats I’ve found homes for and cared for (the male cats come and go in my life while I fix the females – I wish I could bring them all in but so far having 7 at one time and more outside is all I can handle lol. And since I’m feeding the cats outside, word has got out and the Petey possums and Rockey raccoons share in the bounty lol. Although we don’t have any dogs right now, we babysit both our daughter’s (to our cat’s dismay). I truly judge people by their love or lack thereof of animals. I’ve known enough people that have no empathy for animals and it’s really a true judge of character.

  15. Book sounds great, Trish! And you know I’m with you on the animals. Mostly dogs and horses, since I’ve never had a cat. (I wrote “owned” there and changed it, since I’m not sure anybody really owns a cat….) But once as I was working on notes for a new book, I found myself typing “Cole has a cat.” I laughed, deleted the line. Cole Bannister most certainly did NOT have a cat. A few notes later, there was “Cole has a cat who won’t let him leave without him.” This time it was a grimace, and a more emphatic deletion. I held it off for another full page of notes before it came out as “Cole has a cat who won’t let him leave without him and his name is Rocky.” I remember so clearly sitting there saying out loud, “Damn. Cole has a cat.” (actually it was another word, a synonym for “crap,” but you get the idea. 😉 )

    And I’d make the same choice you would, because who’d want to be with a man who would force you to make such a choice???

  16. Kathleen O says:

    I love animals, but I don’t have any pets.. I have a condition that won’t always allow me to look after one properly.. But I have lots of what I refer to as my ‘Furry” nieces and nephews. I have my brother’s dog Banner, three of my nieces’s dog Abby and one of my nieces two cats Lucy and Oliver… So Auntie Kathleen is as good to them as she is to her two legged nieces and nephews… I have one of my nieces who would bring every stray animal she could if her mother would let her. She adores her horse, where she rides and works at the barn. She is going to be a large animal tech if she can…
    Trish I am going to put your book on my tbr pile.. Just because the animal name is Muffin and that was one of our family friends pet name for thier dog who they lost many years ago. We kids were all devistated when Muffin went to doggie heaven….

  17. This sounds like a great read. I’m confused. I went to amazon thinking to put it on my book buy list for Friday and it says it’s been out already.

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Judy X3. It’s a reissue from several years ago, updated and spiffed up by Bell Bridge Books and me. Not even close to the same book it was years ago, although the same plot. It will be spiffy and shiny thanks to Bell Bridge when it comes out at the end of the month. PLEASE don’t go for the older edition.

  18. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks for joining us, Trish. Nice post. I’m chiefly a horse lover. Have several that I’ve gotten from rescues recently. They’re pretty much my world.

  19. Trish Jensen says:

    Lois:
    I haven’t yet won the lottery, so cannot afford more horses. I had NO IDEA there was anything such as a horse rescue. That totally breaks my heart. How DARE anyone abuse such a beautiful animal? How dare anyone abuse any animals? They count on us to love them. Bless you for rescuing.

  20. TRACIE says:

    Sounds like a great read. There is something very attractive to a man that loves animals.
    When I was younger we had horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, turtles…and they had babies so, so many animals. As I got older and responsibilities shifted to my children the animals went away. Today we have one dog and one cat. I would love a kitten and/or puppy but not ready to make that type of commitment today. Of course, that could change tomorrow.
    Good luck and happy writing!

  21. We have a Chihuahua named Bentley. He thinks he’s the protector of my twin grandchildren. He gets nervous when anyone is around the kids that he doesn’t know. He paces. When they wake from their nap, he will sit at the door and have a hissy fit, until they’re brought out. The only word my one year old granddaughter says is, “Dog.” My daughter says she wakes up in the morning, puts her hands in the air and says, “Dog!” LOL. I think your book sounds terrific. Can’t wait to read it, Trish!

  22. Lisa Scott says:

    This must have been a joy for you to write. We have a chocolate lab and two kitties and they all get along so well. We took in a stray cat we found last year, and now he spends most of his time staring out the window like he wants back out. Ah well. He’s safer and healthier.

  23. Trish, your blog really brought animal lovers together. Though our empty nest no longer has kids or animal , over the years there have been cats, dogs, a horse and various farm animals. I miss them all, but fortunately the kids and grandkids live nearby and I only have to walk down the road to visit the horses. There are dogs and kitties at the farm adjoining ours, too, plus all our kids have pets I can visit. Your book sounds intriguing – can’t wait to read it and meet the characters.

  24. bn100 says:

    Very nice post. The book sounds good. No animal stories to tell.

  25. Ahh…Trish. What a great topic! Can’t wait to read the book. I already love Jake and Muffin just from your description. Our pets are all rescues – of course – we have Sparkle (the cat, oops, I mean diva) and Abbey (the Lab) but there’s also Chewy & Sophie (Yorkies) and we lost our Bichon (Matisee) last year. All have at various times snuggled in and taken spaces in our hearts. We can’t imagine life without them. Looking forward to Against His Will. 🙂

  26. It’s been a joy to have Trish ride with us today and discuss a subject that’s so clearly dear to all our hearts. We’ll be looking for AGAINST HIS WILL very soon.

  27. donna harris says:

    Thank you!! I so excited that I won!! I can’t wait to read “The Harder They Fall”, I know will enjoy reading this. Thanks again, Donna

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