I loved writing the abandoned dog character in the first book of my cozy mystery series, All the Old Lions. I now wish he’d had a spot on the book’s cover. He’s not a main character in the story but he has an important part to play in the plot, even becoming a hero of sorts by the end.
Daydreaming a bit, I wondered what he would look like if he could be on a cover. I didn’t have any appropriate pictures in my files. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a dog. But in my mind as I wrote him was a wonderful working dog we had on the ranch a long time ago. He was a black and white Border Collie named Snooks, who, whenever it rained, smelled of the many skunks he’d attacked in his long life. But the book’s dog wasn’t really like Snooks. This is how the dog is introduced in the story:
“A black and white shepherd-type dog had come out of nowhere to squirm against my feet, begging for a kind hand, but not expecting one, poor thing. I dropped to my knees, relieved to find some other living thing in this godforsaken place, and lavished him with coos and hugs. The dog moaned with ecstasy, lolloping me with a long, wet tongue. Obviously, I had a friend for life. I had also added the pungent smell of dog to other sins of disarray.” – All the Old Lions
Curious as to what I’d find, I went to Pinterest, the greatest picture-finder place I know, and began a search for Border Collies. This is the first picture that caught my attention (left). I loved how tentative he looked, uncertain, a bit afraid to expose himself. Adorable, but a little too young and quite a bit too clean and pretty.
And then I found this fellow (right), and so many others that I could have spent hours just looking at border collie pictures.
I loved them all, but none quite seemed to fit the story. Then I found the one that touched my heart: older, bedraggled, and desperate for affection.
This is my guy. He needs a friend, a home, food, and someone to love him. I wish I’d given him at least a tiny cover spot. He doesn’t have a big part to play in the story–he doesn’t even have a name–but to my mind, Thea’s concern for his welfare and the dog’s love for her adds tension and some humor to the story.
Have you read All the Old Lions? I’d love to know what you think. If you haven’t read it yet, you can buy it for your Kindle or Nook (or even good ol’ hard copies) here.