Of Dogs, Books And Puppies

LA MESA -- On July 16, 2014 I wrote the following words regarding the loss on June 2, 2014 of my dog, a 10-year-old Newfoundland named Ben.

"The expression “reeling from grief” fit the state of my broken heart.  I looked on the internet for books about the loss of a dog who was like a soulmate.  But finding nothing, I decided perhaps once I got over my deep sadness, I would write something.  Something about how the heart of a dog never dies because no dog is constituted to leave his owner.  The loyalty, affection, intelligence and courage, to say nothing of the humor, companionship, mischief and feel of a dog must be immortal.  

I know there will be people who think I am turning my dog and all good dogs into something they are not, but I know I am right.  Everything in my heart and soul tells me that it is the nature of a dog to STAY. 

Now in what seems like a lifetime since, I would like to report that I did indeed write a book about the loss of my dog Ben.  Well not just about my dog Ben, but about all dogs who seem to leave us. I wrote and wrote and tossed and tossed and finally after weeks of trying to say what I wanted to say, I decided the only thing to do was get out of the way of the message I had so badly wanted to read when Ben died.  And then late one afternoon, the words just poured out onto the page and the book I had so earnestly wanted to write was finished.  I titled the book Dogs Don't Die: Dogs STAY.  

In a burst of optimism and hope I immediately sent a mock-up of the book to my editor at Andrews McMeel Universal and within days I had sold the book that had pretty much written itself.  It will be out in September of 2015 and I think it will be the book I am the most proud of of all the books I've written.  Such pain inspired it, but what joy will accompany its publishing.  And I'll be happy that there will be a book out there to help people who have lost dogs and are trying to get through their own grief.

~~

Post Script

As I wrote in my new book, our old dogs find us new ones when they know we are ready.  Ben found me a sweet "little" puppy born on August 4, 2014.  I named him Sky. He weighed seven and a half pounds when I brought him home two months ago.  Today he weighs 40 pounds on his way to 155.  He is every bit the wonder of a puppy and I am blessed by his sweet presence sleeping beside me at night.  Ben picked a good one!

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Comment by chris shea on December 10, 2014 at 2:34pm

Thanks, Karen.  They really are the best friends.  My boy is teething now so it's really quite the adventure.  Nothing like a 4 month old 50 pound baby whose gums hurt!  And I agree it's always hard to determine who the luckier one is, the rescued or the rescuer...

Comment by Karen Pearlman on December 10, 2014 at 2:30pm

Beautiful and i understand very well. So sorry for your loss and so happy for your gain. Dogs are amazing animals and i cannot imagine my life without one. My current rescue, Chloe, actually rescues ME, daily. Can't wait to read your book!

Comment by chris shea on November 30, 2014 at 7:28pm
Thank you Marie. Sky is a Landseer, a black and white Newfoundland. A dreamy pup!
Comment by Marie McLaughlin on November 30, 2014 at 7:19pm

Congratulations on the publishing of your book about Ben.  Our pets bring us such joy...yet so much grief when they leave us.  Sky is expected to weigh 155 pounds!  What breed is this gentle giant?

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