A DOG'S BEST FRIEND
Rick absolutely did not want a dog. He’d never had a dog, and he hadn’t missed the absence of a furry creature shedding on the furniture and needing to be walked several times a day. Around that time in our lives together, he was teaching some evening classes in writing, and I was neurotic about being alone at night in our big old Victorian home in Jamaica Plain. There was something about the looming blackness outside the long windows that made me fear some evil character lurking out there. But I knew if I had a dog companion, who was sleeping peacefully on the floor beside me, it would mean no villain was anywhere on that dog’s property. But Rick was firm in his opinion, so that was that. (Well, not really. But I’m the sort who bides her time.)
So I proposed an alternative. (Really, in good faith.) How about if I got a ladylike little gun for protection? I handled a gun before, and I was a pretty fair shot. Also, the rules of gun safety had been drumming into me by my first husband, a Maine hunting guide. Just knowing I was armed, I reasoned, would free me from my compulsive panic over the maniac in the bushes. I explained all this to Rick. He listened sympathetically.
Rick thought about my proposition for several days. Then one evening he said to me, “You know that dog you wanted us to have? That would be fine with me. What breed would you like?”
“German shepherd.” I’d lived with German shepherds in earlier years, and I knew there is no dog more alert and protective.
“We’ll go out this weekend and buy whatever you want, honey.”
Imagine that! Later Rick told me he had pictured coming home late from a class one night, or too early, and being mistaken for an intruder by his wife, the would-be Annie Oakley.
Scouring the papers that weekend, we found a breeder nearby with a new litter of pure-bred shepherd pups. We met the mom, a beautiful gentle girl. When asked about the sire, we were told his name was “Bronco.” Possibly that explained the out-sized paws and ears on those newbies.
We brought home a male and named him Seigfried. Rick loved that dog as if it were his own baby, but he worried that Seig would be lonesome without a mate. So when Seig was half-grown, we added a little female to our menagerie and named her Brunhilde. Small in size, but alpha in personality. From then on, Hilde ruled.
In the fullness of time, Seig and Hilde had a litter of pups. In February, in the dining room, in a birthing box built lovingly by Rick. I was the attendant midwife, but Hilde seemed to know just what to do instinctively. My son Charlie had rushed over to witness what he called “the miracle of birth.” What he did witness was the one pup who came out still immobilized in a caul and had to be freed by me. Charlie left immediately afterward, slightly green.
Rick obsessed over those pups more than Hilde. Every day he weighed each of them to make certain they were getting equal milk-time with their mom, who had more pups than faucets. If one pup weighed slightly less, Rick fed that one with a bottle. The special formula for dogs includes egg yolks and a temperature of exactly 101 degrees F. (I made dozens of angel food cakes with the leftover whites.)
It wasn’t easy to part with those adorable pups, but we were very careful to screen prospective buyers. And we kept one pup, of course, whom we named Loki. He was a little too long in the body and too soft in one ear to be a classic shepherd. Also he was the one pup who refused to obey Hilde when she attempted to get all the little wrigglers into a manageable heap. Loki would dart away and hide under the sideboard, looking for us. Loki grew up to be as big as his sire, but Hilde could always grab his leg and flip him over, even when he was full-grown. This gave her enormous satisfaction.
Our crime-control unit was a great comfort. No mailman or UPS guy was ever allowed to pillage and rob our place. We had to hang a large mail box on the outside of the fence to receive packages. Still, Sieg managed to chew up his graduation certificate from obedience school and several envelopes of poetry from Rick’s students. Rick explained to his class that “dogs in the neighborhood ate your homework.”
One sweltering summer night, when many homeowners had left windows open on the ground floor, a team of thieves hit our street. We heard the next day that several TVs and other goodies had been borne off in the wee hours. At our house, however, three dogs quietly nosed me awake. Thinking there was some kind of gastro-intestinal emergency, I switched on the hall light and let them all out into our front yard, but this time they ran in a whole different direction from their usual route, still not barking. The next day I found the screen in our living room window had been lifted and left open and a very nice yellow flashlight abandoned in haste right by the fence. Someone must have jumped it in a big hurry.
The sad thing about being a dog’s best friend is that their lives are shorter than ours. We lost Hilde first from massive tumors. That was a hard thing to explain to her family. Sieg mourned so deeply his body stopped making protein; he died a couple of months later.
Worried that Loki would slip into depression, Rick began an enrichment program of taking him around to all the small local shops, where proprietors got to know him, and there were everyday hand-outs and hugs involved. By then we were living on Narragansett Bay and took frequent walks on a small nearby beach as well. Loki flourished to a ripe old age for shepherds.
We took two more shepherds into our home in succeeding years, one at a time, Siddhartha and Britta. Each of our dogs was distinct in personality with unique flaws and foibles. When police on horseback rode down our street on their way to patrol Jamaica Pond, Sieg was petrified and cowered under the table on the front porch. Hilde was spooked by thunder and fireworks; she’d climb the six-foot fence in search of safety elsewhere and we’d have to rush through the streets to find her. Fish was Loki’s favorite dinner, but only if it was perfectly fresh, never frozen, and he knew the difference. Sidd ran away upstairs whenever the coffeepot burped to life, and downstairs if the radiator knocked. Britta saw every school bus as the enemy, and attacked accordingly. Other than that, they were bright, valiant, loyal, and dedicated to guarding us. I never once missed owning a gun.
Robert Parker wrote that Heaven is a place that, when you get there, all the dogs you ever loved come running joyously to greet you. I hope that’s true.
Just in time for Samhain!
A family ghost. A lost treasure. A vengeful enemy from the past. A would-be Jack the Ripper. The Circle of Five takes off on another wild, wacky adventure!***********************************************************************
London bridge is falling down, falling down, my fair lady…when the fair ladies of Plymouth, Massachusetts, meet at Burial Hill to raise the ghost of Heather’s sea captain ancestor, they don’t expect to be sent flying across the Atlantic in search of a mysterious family treasure!
Clever, clairvoyant Cass; intrepid Heather , champion of animals in need; wickedly witty Phillipa; feisty young mom Deidre; and wise woman Fiona—they’re five ordinary women, everyday Wiccans, who get together to sip tea, trade stories, and work the odd spell. With the exciting prospect of an impromptu holiday, they’re really looking forward to a few merry days in England, shopping, sight-seeing, and taking in the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge. Yet somehow, they soon find themselves embroiled in another harrowing adventure, facing evil-doers both at home and abroad
Armed with their high spirits, good old-fashioned common sense, and a few quirky paranormal talents, they’re always ready to combat evil wherever they find it. But this time they’ll have their hands full dealing with a talented young psychopath bent on revenge, a ghost-guarded Aztec artifact, and an obsessed furniture importer out to restore the family honor—challenges that will call upon all their powers and test the magic of friendship as never before. Get set for another walk on the wild side with the five fabulous witches-next-door!
Haunted by the spirit of an ancient Druid chieftain, a young woman comes to terms with her her unusual powers.
TWO NEW BOOKS! Available on Amazon and on Kindle.
SPIRIT A romance of past and present lives.
NOW AVAILABLE The Divine Circle of
Brigit, a young woman gifted with clairvoyant abilities, struggles to come to terms with her unusual powers in a story that spans the late 1930s through World War II. As a lonely child growing up on the Isle of Man, Brigit turns for companionship to her imaginary friend Michael.
Later, while Brigit is working with psychic researchers studying her skill as a medium, Michael reappears as her control. He identifies himself as the spirit of an ancient Druid priest. Michael guides Brigit through her personal crises and various adventures in which she employs her paranormal powers in the war effort.
In order for the time-crossed couple to consummate their deep love, Michael takes spiritual possession of intelligence officer James Grey. Brigit and Michael share an idyllic time together in war-ravaged England until, as Grey, Michael must return to the fighting The story of Brigit is bracketed by the present-day experiences of Brigit’s daughter Michelle, who is excavating the cairn on the Isle of Man. In the aura of past lives and passions, Michelle falls in love with the chief archeologist and finds the strength to fulfill her own life.
"Spirit is enthusiastically recommended reading as being a particularly unique and touching story embedded with both a necessary hope and ultimate renewal." MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
"...enchanting novel..." MENSA BULLETIN
THE GHOST WHO CAME HOME FROM THE AUCTION
When Olivia Andreas goes to an auction with her friend Jamie Finch, she doesn’t expect to bring home a ghost!
A professional records organizer who starts every day with a “To Do” list and is always on time for appointments, Olivia is not a believer in the paranormal or even an afterlife. In fact, she never glances at her astrology in the newspaper (even though she’s a perfect Virgo). But on a whim, she buys a silver frame and decides to keep intact its photo of a smiling blonde woman whose curious collections were sold that night.
Soon afterwards, a series of strange events completely upsets Olivia’s orderly world. Various ghostly manifestations of former showgirl Lily Lamoureaux shake up Olivia’s personal beliefs. A number of break-ins at Olivia’s home, with nothing stolen, defy explanation. Scary as these events are, there’s an upside. The investigating detective is an attractive guy named Dave Lowenstein who may almost meet Olivia’s carefully listed criteria for a husband.
Olivia’s orderly life becomes increasingly complicated and perilous as evidence surfaces of Mafia involvement in Lily’s death. Seeking revenge, Lily’s ghost draws Olivia and Dave ever deeper into danger as their investigations escalate into a fast-moving, spine-chilling adventure that culminates on the 4th of July in an explosive conclusion.
LADIES DIGGING THE DIRT
THE BEWITCHING LADIES OF THE CIRCLE
ARE DIGGING UP TROUBLE AGAIN!
The serenity of summer in Plymouth, Massachusetts, is rudely disturbed when a rabid preacher and his ragtag following begins to picket military funerals, liberal churches, and Pagan businesses. This hateful campaign naturally rouses the ire of the Circle of Five: Deidre, Phillipa, Heather, Fiona, and Cass, ladies who follow the Wiccan way—especially since Deidre’s Faeryland is one of the targeted shops.
Before they have time to thwart the preacher for good and all, however, Heather, with characteristic enthusiasm, throws herself into an archeological “dig” at the Morse Homestead in Salem where American Indian artifacts have been unearthed in the strata below the historic “witch” house. Great fun, until a mysterious sniper starts wounding and killing members of the team. Rushing to Heather’s aid, the ladies find themselves lodged in a haunted inn, which, along with an unearthly cold spot at the foot of the stairway, also offers a congenial bar where the five often gather to plan their strategy and fortify their spirits.
Believing that they have confounded the Salem Sniper, the Circle heads home, only to encounter a new challenge. A little girl named Molly Larsson has disappeared! The Circle resolves to employ all their witchy arts and off-the-wall brainstorms to find her. Mayhem, mischief, and magic are non-stop in this exciting new adventure for Cass and her Circle.