Of Things That Go Bump In The Heart…

Someone once asked me, why do you sometimes include animals in your books? They don’t really serve a purpose to the plotline. And it’s a distraction.

This was someone I knew personally. Someone I don’t talk to anymore.

Because really, who wants someone around that doesn’t like animals?

I was an awkward child. I was told growing up that I was fat. In retrospect and in looking at pictures, I realize that I really wasn’t so much as I’m a very different build than the rest of the women in my family. The “fat” part came later but as a child, not so much. Not really. I was also told I was worthless in so many ways I can’t even count. Childhood was a brutal fucking wasteland of Hell I’d sooner bury back some place in someone else’s memories so I wouldn’t have to revisit it anymore.

But I would never do that to someone because that would be fucked.

There were good parts about it. Sadly, I lost the good parts within a span of about a year and a half.

You see, my grandfathers both passed away within a year of each other. They were my anchors to reality and the reason I knew what love was.

20130630_083320A few months later, I lost my dog Scottie to cancer. He’d been a gift to me from my paternal grandfather a few weeks after I’d been born. He’d been my companion and my safeguard. Someone I could tell my stories to and who listened to me. And licked away the tears from my face when the world got too fucking big for me to understand.

Because really the world was just too fucking big and confusion for me.

There are words and labels they’d put on me as I grew older. Ones I didn’t understand. Ones I disagreed with. Ones that infuriated me. I spent the rest of my life looking for the same kind of unconditional affection I’d found in my relationships with my grandfathers…and my dog.

It never came. I began to doubt it was ever a Truth.

I began to doubt myself. I began to doubt the why of me and the why the hell am I even here of me.

Then I found a small kitten about the size of a spitball with the head that was bigger than his body at a dump site and took him home. He held my faith for a long time. His name was Opala. It means trash in Hawaiian. He was surly and hated most people. He’d also steal the food from your plate while you were sitting right there. Hell, he’d take your fork if you weren’t watching close enough. But he loved me and would bring me his kills. Even if that kill was my sister’s hamburger he’d just stolen.

I had Opala with me for nearly twenty years. I broke when he needed to leave me.

2802215946_70b76219d4_oBut I also had Draven who told me Opala was having issues and came to get me. I’d lose Draven to his heart murmur a few years later but oh, the best fucking dog. Smart but he hated birds. Suave but a goofball. Lived with a tennis ball in his mouth and loved belly rubs. Listened when I told him not to chase the kangaroo rat that somehow got into the house and literally RAN over Tam’s sprawled body in the middle of the living room. The cairn was all.. Dude, do you NOT know I’m a terrier. The cat was all meh, whatever. Fuck that shit. Wake me when it’s got a “laser” on it. I don’t chase anything without a “laser”.

So why do I have animals in my stories? Because I have animals in my life. They’ve walked with me through the fucking heartbreaks and the brainbreaks and the doubts. They’ve given me nothing but pain in the ass situations and love. I’ve picked up shit, puke and unmentionable bits… namely mouse guts through my toes because Neko found one, ate its head off and left me the rest to step on and they squirt like one of the party popper favours when you hit their back end with the ball of your feet.

Wouldn’t trade one fucking minute of it. Which is a damned sight better than what I can say about my overall childhood.

Whiskey and Wry is dedicated to Scotty, my collie and Opala, my disgruntled savage Hawaiian black shorthair that meowed like a goat and to Draven, my bat eared black Cairn terrier.

I love you all. Miss you all. Carry you all. Thank you.

So if you have an animal in your life… past or present because really, they live on inside of you as much as the air you’ve breathed and the food you’ve consumed… hug their bodies… hug their memories.

Snookies. Which came from Opala really. If you would lean over and say Snookies to him, he would huff kisses at you over your face. But only if he REALLY liked you.

26 thoughts on “Of Things That Go Bump In The Heart…

  1. Therese

    The pets in your story are not a distraction. You describe them as part of the family. Just as my two girls Bella (dog) and sha(cat). They are a joy to all members of my family. We recently lost Einstine ( hamaster). He was six years old. Einie taught my child how to care for pets. My boy was seven when he got him. Thanks for including the pets and treating them like family I get that

    1. I adore hamsters too. They aren’t allowed in Hawai’i… gerbils either. I have a fascination with them 😀 Adorable. I am sorry for your loss and I know they have such personalities. Hugs to your others and the kid! Heh. Much hugs.

    1. I love you that way too. I even believe that if I were drowning with a suitcase full of new designer shoes, you’d save me first. Mostly. 😀

      1. Pish. Your pockets could be full of toenails and boogers and all kinds of icky things, and I’d still save you first. Ew. My brain is gross. 🙂

  2. Traci

    I love when animals are incorporated into a story. They add so much. And how can you not love a character who loves animals?

    And I want to say that I think you’re a wonderful person and an amazing writer.

  3. Patamar2

    Love your beautiful critters & get what you are saying although I did not experience the same childhood I have never felt the “same” as other folks.
    Can’t wait for “Whiskey & Wrye”.

  4. I love the animals in your stories, and contrary to whoever said that, they in no way distract from the story but are a wonderful part of the each book. Neko rocks and come on, who could say Dude detracts from Sinner’s? Seriously? That is some kind of fucked up logic.

    1. Some people are just.. you know… that way. And heh. 😀 *hugs* Dude was my hey to Draven. Really my bestest cairn.

      Angus is working for that title now 😀


  5. Kris

    That broke my heart in the best possible way. I had me an Opala too…except her name was Penelope and she loved me best of all the things in the world. I was broken for a bit when we had to say goodbye. The animals in your stories help make the characters all the more real and I love them just as much. Rock on, Sister!

  6. starnite

    The way you have written in animals to your story is definitely no distraction. Besides being great and relateable characters on their own, they also reflect another aspect of the people around them. The human characters often tell and show behavior to animal characters things that would never get told and emotions that would otherwise stay hidden.

    The only true acceptance of me as I am,especially and including family, was and still is from dog. God rest his hyper little doggy heart.

    1. The dog in your life is always a sweetie. Aren’t they? *hugs* And I’m glad you found a connection in the stories. Thank you. So much 😀

  7. Now you’ve gone and made me cry in public. Serves me right for checking blogs in the pub. 😉

    Saying there shouldn’t be animals in stories is like saying there should only be the main two characters, because their families are a distraction.

  8. Treasure

    I love Nekko, and Dude and Newt. To me they are part of the story and give us the readers and insight into the character without you the writer having to go into too much exposition.

    And **HUGS** no matter how short or long our time with our fur people is is’ never enough.

    We’ll all meet up one day across the bridge

    1. Surcease is the best word I can think. Today, when the Pom is being as asshole, all I can think is… God why is he a dick 😀 *grins* Heh heh heh.

      Smooches and hugs.

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