The Dogs Ate My November

Yes, I know I’ve been lax in posting. November was fraught with dogs.

It began down in SC where Bob and I were working on Wild Ride and my girl Petal turned into Mary Imogen who had a dog named Al, who I discovered in my pictures folders, one of the Chinese Cresteds I’d found in Google Images during the D&G image search. I love this dog:


so I put him in Wild Ride as Al, named after:


(Check out the matching tongues.) Bob said, “That is one ugly dog,” but I thought Skylar (Al’s real name) was darling so I went back to Google Images to see where I’d found him to see if there were more pictures on that page. And it turned out that he was on a rescue page for Crest Care, the Chinese Crested Rescue group. Yes, folks, Skylar was available for adoption.

I’d explain what I did next, but you already know. My application was processed, my references were checked, and while I waited on the home visit, Bob and I finished the first two scenes in Wild Ride with Al playing a vital role, and sent the proposal off into the black hole that is publishing in November and December.

Then I moved on to Dogs and Goddesses with Lani and Krissie because we came to realize that if we didn’t get a proposal together, it would take us eight years to write the book because we always dropped it for contracted books. So for two weeks we worked on getting the scenes we’d already done into tighter shape and wrote some new ones so that we had a complete first act. Thirty thousand words of scenes, actually. That’s 120 pages. We did it by using the conferencing site, Campfire, and keeping it open all day so that we were virtually in the same room with each other. Occasionally we got a little punch drunk, but we finished that proposal at midnight on the 26th.

I did go home during that two weeks for one Sunday afternoon for Thanksgiving because my brother was cooking and he’s terrific, so we had a classic family dinner with “Please pass the rolls” and “No, not that way,” and while I was there, I happened to mention Al/Skylar, and they printed out his picture. Also in November, Kyra Kirkwood from Dog Fancy magazine called to interview me about the rescue dogs in my novels, and asked me what I was working on now, and I said, “Well, Dogs and Goddesses, and then a book called Wild Ride that has a dog in it I’m in the process of adopting.” And I sent her Al/Skylar’s picture and she loved him, too, and said, “Tell me when you get him.” And in the middle of all this, the generous woman who was supposed to do my home inspection and who had already traveled more than a thousand miles that week for Crest Care, hit a deer on her way, and those of you who are familiar with deer-meets-car accidents know how dangerous that is. She was fine, she said, but I knew from sudden impact accidents of my own that she’d feel horrible for at least a week so I knew it would be awhile longer until Skylar got to Cincinnati. I told Krissie and Lani, who were also waiting to hear about him, and we all said, “Darn,” and Lani said, “Well, send me his measurements when you get him so I can knit him a sweater,” and then we got back to work.

On Monday the 26th, we sent the D&G proposal off to the agents to read and I was settling in to Always Kiss Me Goodnight again when Crest Care e-mailed and said they were ready to re-schedule the home inspection, but that Skylar had been adopted. It was just like in the movies when the background music is playing happily and then you hear the needle scratch across the record. My first reaction was to say bad things, but these are lovely women who rescue dogs, for heaven’s sake; no beating up on good people. They told me they could show me other Chinese Cresteds after I passed the home inspection, but at that point, I was so fixated on Al that I said, “I’ll get back to you.”

So I told my parents, and Kyra at Dog Fancy, and Lani and Krissie, and then I sat on the bed and thought, “Be mature. You want a Chinese Crested, and there are other wonderful dogs out there that need a home.” And then I thought, “No, I wanted Skylar, damn it, he’s in my book.” I know. Sometimes I’m amazed at the four-year-old that is me. While I was sitting there being immature, Wolfie crawled into my lap and said, “Cookie,” or words to that effect (I’ve been writing Dogs and Goddesses a long time), and I picked up my laptop and typed in Dachshund Rescue Ohio” and found the site for the place that had given me Wolfie seven years ago. (The pet rescues are linked under, so if you’re looking for a particular breed, go there and it will direct you to that breed’s rescue sites.)

And there was Milton.


So I e-mailed the rescue and sat back to work on Always Kiss Me Goodnight since it was going to be days if not weeks until I’d completed the adoption process, and five minutes later, the coordinator e-mailed me back and gave me the phone number of Kathleen, the woman who ran the rescue. I called her, ready to fill out the application, get my references checked, and wait on the home visit, but she said, “I remember you. You write. You have Wolfgang.” And then she told me about Jake and Abby,and a few of the others, discussing all of their personalities, and I said, “They all sound great, but I think Milton . . .” and she said, “I’ll bring Milton and Oscar and a couple of the others, and we’ll see which one seems right for you. How about day after tomorrow?”

Dachshunds. They’re speed demons.

Then Wednesday didn’t work–it turned out that Milton’s last people hadn’t given him his shots–but on Thursday, Kathleen brought nine dogs out, and my backyard looked like the Sprint commercial which brightened my day considerably. And in the middle of the pack was this little blonde longhaired dachshund who looked frightened, so I picked her up, and Kathleen said her name was Gorgeous, and she and another dog from the same house, Tinkerbell, had just been given up to the rescue by a woman who was dying, in fact she’d just picked them up. So I stood there patting poor trembling Gorgeous and thought, “I don’t need two dogs.” Meanwhile Milton, who is the most cheerful dachshund since the breed began, had stolen my heart. But Gorgeous had her head on my shoulder, and then Kathleen said, “We really don’t want to split up Gorgeous and Tinkerbell . . .

I know, I know. But as Lani pointed out, they’re all under ten pounds so all of them together really make one dog. And Wolfie liked them.

I just adopted three dogs.

So here’s Veronica, formerly Gorgeous, and if you’re an old movie fan you’ll know why it’s Veronica now:


But here’s a hint if you’re not:

Veronica Lake

And then Tinkerbell, who I renamed Pink, was too independent to pose but I got her and Milton on the bed, watching the deck door, so here’s a candid:

P & M

I mean, really, which one would you have sent away? Veronica is an English Cream long-haired dachshund, Pink is a piebald dachshund, and Miltie is . . . Miltie. He’s a long-haired dachshund whose hair isn’t all that long, but it doesn’t matter because it’s Miltie. And now I’m thinking maybe Miltie is in Wild Ride. And if I ever do a sequel to Fast Women, Veronica is a shoo-in.

Which brings me to what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving: Petfinder. If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet, please go look there even if you’re sure you don’t want to adopt a rescue. Most of the breeds have puppies available, and the rescue groups have the dogs checked out by a vet and treated for anything that’s wrong, and do any basic training that the dog may have missed from being in a neglectful home. The foster parents can always describe the dog’s personality, what kind of home life he’ll do well in (alone or with other dogs, gets along well with children, quiet or needs a lot of exercise, etc.), and will do everything he or she can to make sure you’re the right fit, something you’re never going to get at Petland. And while everybody wants puppies, older dogs who are already house-broken and through the I’ll-chew-anything stage can be a much better experience for most people. All my dogs have been rescues and every one of them has been an absolute joy, even weird little Wolfie with his overbite and his issues. Especially weird little Wolfie with his overbite and his issues.

So what with Al and Wild Ride and Dogs and Goddesses and Veronica and Pink and Milton, I had a damn good November because the dogs ate it. Go cruise the site and maybe it’ll happen to you, too.

67 thoughts on “The Dogs Ate My November

  1. Oh, what beautiful dogs! You have done a wonderful thing and I’m sure they will bring you much joy.

    I had a quick look at the PetFinder website – if you want some more film star lookalikes, check out the elegant Borzois. We rescued a pair when I was a kid and they had the kindest, most gently natures as well as making you feel ever so slightly underdressed.

    Rescuing dogs is addictive. I’m surprised you didn’t try keeping all nine;-)

  2. I just hope your cat is good natured enough to adopt all the dogs too. Those poor babies are very lucky. And dogs really like living in packs in any case. Congratulations.

  3. OMB! You won’t believe me, but when I read the words “So hereโ€™s Veronica” and saw that picture, I thought “she’s got long ears, I wonder if she can flip the left one over her eye?” (I was talking about the dog, Jenny) and then bingo, there was Ms. Lake. Ha!

    *sigh* I love dogs, but I have a long commute which is just too unfair to a dog. That’s why I have a cat instead. As long as I come home, keep the bottom of her food bowl from showing through, and give her a milk treat when I pour that first cup of coffee, she’s good. of course if I don’t reach for the saucer before I pour that first cup … it’s not pretty.

    Some day.

  4. LOLOLOLOL, THIS is what we lurve about you~!

    (It also makes me think that little plaque I gave you jumped into my hand for a reason.)

    You and your new friends ROCK ON girlfriend!!

  5. Wow. You’re amazing. My jaw dropped as I read through your post. Agreeing with Jill – yep, very lucky dogs.

  6. Oh, man, my eyes are a little misty now. Your new babies are gorgeous (not to discount the ones you already had, of course). And I know that pet finder can be dangerous, so I avoid it whenever possible. I don’t need any more animals right now, and it’s very difficult to pass up those listings.

    I did look for kitties there for a little while, but then one jumped into my life by being found under the dumpster at work.

    Rescue pets are great!

  7. That is wonderful. They’re beautiful dogs and I’m really happy for you and your growing canine family.

    And really, from my perspective, they only make up half a dog. Maybe.

  8. Chelle, I’m blaming it all on that plaque. And you.

    And what is it with guys and big dogs? Jeez, half a dog.

    But we’re all very happy. Well, the cat has had better days, but she’ll be happy again, too. Eventually.

    Thank you all for the congrats!

  9. Ooh, Miss Doxie’s site is hilarious! I know all about rescue and not being able to say now. Which is why we have 7 indoor cats. *g* Congratulations to your new babies!

  10. Way to go Ms Jenny.

    Good looking trio of “hounds”.

    “veronica”…..brings back memories…way, way, back I shared a taxi with her mother (the movie star’s, that is). This was back when I was a sailor.

  11. Oh such cute babies! I love doggies, but I have cats for the same reason as McB.

    You done good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Don’t forget the adoption fairs sponsored by PetsMart. They don’t sell animals, just pet-related products, but they sponsor adoption fairs for local humane and rescue groups.

    I adopted my first kitten, the perfect and untimely deceased Lilith, at one of them; and my best friend Hilde adopted her sister Bastet. The two meezer mixes I have now (half Siamese, half passing stranger or strangers) were adopted at a different PetsMart. I saw Sethra’s pic on the Petfinder website and we drove all the way across the Valley and got her just in time; I wanted two so we took her sister, the pathetic-looking runt of the litter now known as Aliera of the Many, Many Sharp White Teeth. I feel a bit cheated, as both looked like they’d grow up to have Siamese coloring but both have turned a sort of cappuccino color. I understand that it’s warmth that brings out the dark coloring in Siamese, so I’m thinking of putting Sethra in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Hey, she’s really fluffy, so it shouldn’t hurt!

  13. Three at once, huh? You are the queen of dog adoption ๐Ÿ™‚ But I feel sad for all those other poor Chinese Cresteds. *sniff*

    Sorry, I don’t mean to enable you or anything, but maybe just 2 or 3 more dogs…

  14. Oh, Jenny, you just made sneaking a peak at the site during work hours worthwhile! THREE! OMB…

    What beauties. And yes, I too count myself in the can’t look at Petfinder group. I started with one, six months later I had two, and since I’m not supposed to have even the first one…


  15. Mozeltov to Jenny, Veronica, Pink and Miltie! I volunteered at a no-kill shelter for a while ( ) and what Jenny says about Petfinder (and other resuce organizations) is 100% correct–these places are fabulous and the people who run them (and those that adopt from them as well) deserve their own corner of heaven with furry friends, chocolate and porch swings.

    And yes, I understood Veronica. She’s a favorite of mine, too ( ) but of the new ones, piebald Pink may be at the top of ths list. But then Miltie looks adorable, too. And Veronica, and Wolfie…ah, hell. I can’t choose. But to be fair, you need to post a picture of your cat one of these days.

  16. Congratulations on your trio of cuties! They already look happily at home in your pictures. While I absolutely love Chinese Crested hairless dogs (and have one as my author logo), they can be very high maintenance with a tendency towards some medical problems and a need for sunscreen when outside. It’s hard to beat them for uniqueness, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But your new pooches each looks like a character, and you’re so nice to get them from a rescue group.
    — Marcia James ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Oh they’re fabulous! I have 170 lbs of furbabies on my feet right now (Angus obsessing about the trash can, Emma supervising) and I’d happily bring home a couple more if I could talk The Prince into it.

  18. Just Wow! I hope none of them turn out to have personalities like Miss Doxie’s Bo (he is very accomplished at making his displeasure, um, felt), and that you’ll all be very happy. Also making the folk who care for the critters when you’re away (not that you’ll be going away VERY much, but occasional visits to NYC, etc.) happy and wealthy.

    Congratulations to all. I think Veronica looks a lot softer and less dangerous than Ms. Lake, but I’m with Stephen on the “half a dog” thing.

    Not that big dogs aren’t just as happy to act like lap dogs, if you let them, you’re just apt to lose all feeling in your legs when they do.

  19. Wow. They are beautiful. I’m so happy for you all. Those dogs are very blessed to have “found” you.

    Tal – I laughed aloud at the thought of your cat in the freezer.

  20. Besides the way you write, this is another reason I love you Jenny. Your new roomates are adorable.

    We also have a new rescued dog at our house not via a site but via the invisible paw print outside our house. Two Sat before Thanksgiving, our three dogs (2 adopted from local animal rescue groups) went nuts when we let them outside in the morning. This isn’t abnormal though the racket went on for a while and my youngest said there was a puppy on the front porch. And Zeke, a 5-6ish month old husky/shepard/who knows what mix with paws the size of Rhode Island is now a new part of the family. Some idiot dumped him which means getting him in the car to go get his shots was very hard and the gentleman who gave them to him had to crawl in the van to give the shot because no way no how was he going to get out. He’s very loving and gets along with other cats and dogs. My guess is that he got bigger than the people who originally had him expected and instead of them giving him up to one of the groups here who do not euthanize animals they pushed him out of their car and drove off.

    Bless you Jenny and all your crew.

  21. Jenny, earlier today I picked up the tip about graphics in my book folder in my dock and now I read about all your new dogs and find myself wishing to find Poppet a brother or a sister to play with. I absolutely understand why you ended up with three new housemates instead of just one more. What a great family! Bless you for rescuing them.


  22. RSS – stories like that just make me see red. Dumping a living thing because it got inconvenient????? GRRRRRRR! I can’t even trash plants while there’s life in them.

    I just have to keep coming back to look at that first pic of Milton. Such a Great Dane pose, lord of all he surveys. And I can totally relate because I too forget how short my legs really are sometimes.

  23. Jenny, thank you for the Petfinder link. If I manage to get a house with a nicely fenced backyard, I’ll need to get a companion dog for my dog.

    I got my beautiful dog from the San Francisco German Shepherd Rescue (note free plug) and they’re wonderful but also over 600 miles away, and they don’t deliver out-of-state (understandably). I’ll look into Petfinder.

    A Rescue organization that fosters the dogs and makes sure to match them with the right home is great for both the dog and the new owner.

  24. I’ve never seen a piebald before. Very smart. And yes, I agree he needs pirate boots and a frilly shirt.
    Veronica, definitely Veronica. From the first glimpse.
    I think Milton can overcome his shyness in such a happy home.
    Can’t wait to read the books!

  25. Absolutely. The same thing has happened to me — especially the ‘which one would you send away?’ bit, which is why we once ended up with four retrievers (three goldens and a flatcoat) which was very much like having an entire set of alternative furniture that rearranged itself around the house at will. BIG DOGS — all of them.

    So, you’re smarter than I am, Jenny. At least your dogs are small. Congratulations on all of them. They look wonderful. And yes, I have a Skylar story in my life, too. So did my daughter, but hers actually ended up being her dog eventually. Wonders never cease.

    And it’s a great way to spend November, so good for you!

  26. We found both Lulu and Ace (our newest family member, as of yesterday) on as well. Congrats on the three new additions to your family!

  27. Oh I wish I could be you! New puppies are always fun. Even if they’re pretty grown-up puppies. Adopting is really the best way to go.

    Congratulations on the new additions to your family!

  28. six
    she said in a very small voice
    Annie, Lucy, Wolfie, Pink, Veronica, and Milton.
    Yes, I know. There are eyes rolling all over America.
    But if the heat goes off and it turns out to be a five dog night, I’m covered.

  29. There is nothing wrong with six! I have seven cats, all indoors and 2 strays I feed and take care of outside. Six just means you have a big heart. *g*

  30. That made me want to cry (in a good way). And adopt 10 dogs. I’m pretty sure my cats would object, though.

    Congratulations on your new pets! They are gorgeous and look like they have lots of personality ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Aww…this is priceles. You are such a softie. I’m a big dog lover, a 100lb Akita is sleeping at my side as I write this. But next time around I’m going with a smaller breed, I’m too old for the big ones. And Akita’s can be stubborn drag on the leash, rip your arm out of it’s socket.
    I’ve had goldfish for years and one bottom feeder. We named him Little Fish. When the goldfish die off I’m always left with L.F. One bottom feeder in an aquarium. I wrestle every time with “Do I really want fish?” “Do I need fish?” But I can’t figure out what to do with L.F. so after about twenty-four hours I go buy more goldfish and the whole cycle starts again. L.F. is fifteen years old. He’ll probably outlive me.

  32. They are all beautiful and you’re lucky to have found each other. I’m partial to Pink and not just because the dog in my NaNo book is named Tinkerbell.

  33. Jenny said: “if the heat goes off and it turns out to be a five dog night, Iโ€™m covered.”

    I wish I could post one of my all-time favourite cartoons here, but it isn’t on the web. I have a framed print of it, I like it so much.
    It is an early 1950s cartoon from Punch magazine, and shows a bedroom in a typical English country house of that time, which would have been unheated and therefore as cold as a tomb. The tweedy hostess is showing a guest, a very smart town lady in high heels and a little black dress, her room, and gesturing towards the bed, which is covered with six dogs of varying sizes and breeds. Hostess: ‘it’s a little chilly tonight, so I’ve put an extra dog on your bed’.

    Incidentally, on Dachshund colours, I think it is only in the USA that colours other than the classic ones (solid black, brown, red, and black-and-tan) are at all common. I have never seen even a pale blonde Dachshund like Veronica before, and certainly not Pink’s patched coat, or the greys and merles that are also known in the USA.

  34. OH, I am addicted to Petfinder. I am now up to 5 dogs, 4 cats and 2 lizards…….The last dog was at Petsmart. Her babies had been adopted but no one wanted her. My husband was shopping fo r the zoo we already had, and, good guy that he is, couldnt bear to see her loaded up and returned to the shelter. Keep in mind Snickers is a chihuahua and Bob likes big dogs and you will see why I love him so……..
    And the lizards belonged to his secretary’s grandson who went to jail and left them with her…she was too scared to feed them, so Bob stopped by to help…and came home with jail orphan geckos.
    the neighbors in my yuppie little neighborhood just roll their eyes at us.
    WE have two Leonbergers (from Petfinder) two poodle mixes (from Katrina rescue, we fostered but no one ever wanted them back)and the new Chihuahua, plus the cats that were dumped.
    And Ilove them all.

  35. Please be careful when you take your dogs out. I try to picture you with four dogs on a combined leash like the Brandenburg Gate Quadriga in Berlin but the only time I tried to walk more than one dog, they kept getting tangled up with their leashes and that could get really dangerous… You might trip and get wrapped up like a mummy with four loving dogs embalming you.

  36. I have a fenced back yard the size of a football field. They run, unleashed, and then they collapse and sleep. The good life.

  37. Simply wonderful all around! The dachshunds will be a joy to you and you are giving them a wonderful home!

    Reading your post made me start thinking that I certainly have room for another dachshund but then Lizzy, my cat from the local animal shelter, said no, absolutely not, she’s just gotten this one trained. So, we’ll see.

    And, by the way, my piebald dachshund, Mr. Darcy, wants to warn you about the questions you will get when people see Pink: “What kind of dog is that, part beagle?”

  38. You are a Goddess babe! Never say you have six animals in a small voice – it’s a wonderful thing to have your own pack. And between the five dogs, they can probably just about take the cat if need be.

  39. Lucy and Wolfie like the cat. The cat is part of their pack. It’s the new kids who are having trouble wrapping their minds around the concept.

  40. Jenny, have you managed to establish yourself as Alpha female and Leader of the Pack yet?

  41. Six. Say it loud. Say it proud. You are legend in the dachshund world – there are stories circulating about the wonderful woman in Ohio with the yard made for low-slung doggies.

    Says the woman with six cats….

  42. We adopted our girl, Nika, through Petfinder. It was through an affiliate called Moosonee Puppy Rescue who rescue puppies in the Canadian north where dog control is still often in the form of a gun. A woman in Bracebridge, Ontario coordinates adoptions. I have to say, a more unique, well-temperamented, goofy dog I have never met. She brings us joy and so much laughter every day and is a great testement to the wonderful companions available through Petfinder.


  43. You know that half a dog theory the Prince brought up?

    That half a dog has twelve legs. Short, but still twelve. The thundering through the house is a riot.

  44. Well, Pink is certainly cute. She looks like she has a little saddle on her back. Perhaps you could train all that …” thundering through the house” … into a rodeo troupe. I’d pay to see that!

  45. I have only the one cat, she says smugly. *mumble* there are the ~10 ferals I feed…and the possums…and the raccoons…*pause*…and the skunk…and now that it’s getting cold again, the foxes will probably come back *end mumble*

    I went to PetFinder yesterday after reading this post, and I saw so many dogs I’d love to adopt. There was an adorable Great Pyrenees pup that I would adore to have. I have all the room for them to run, but, now I have to worry about the animals who eat at my buffet. I could lock the dog(s) up when they’re eating, but they all live somewhere on the property, and dogs are very good at finding little things to play with. What I don’t need is an enourmous long-haired dog who got sprayed by a skunk. Oh, but he was a cutie. I may yet break down and apply.

  46. Wow! I leave the site for a day or two and all heck breaks loose. Congratulations! I am thrilled for you. It sounds like you will have a very happy pack of doggies at your house. I keep trying to figure out how I can get someone to bring 9 dogs to my place. Of course, we would have to sneak them by the doorman so it might take some doing.

  47. Wow, I missed this post (can’t imagine why…)

    Jenny, the new members of your family are just gorgeous. I’d already fallen in love with Veronica but now I know the story behind her and Pink my heart squeezes just a bit more. And Milton! What a guy!

    Sorry you didn’t get to meet/keep Skylar but I think you’ve more than compensated.

  48. My youngest sister is actually the executive director of the Foundation, so I sent her the link to your blog. I’m sure she’ll be happy to know that you went to Petfinder to find your newest pets. She’s constantly lecturing me on how many wonderful animals there are out there just waiting to be adopted, both mixed and pure breeds, so that no one needs to go to those awful puppy mills. Good for you for bringing Miltie, Pink, and Veronica into your home — and you didn’t even have to have a sibling nagging you!

  49. One of my friends has a Chinese crested. If you end up using the Chinese crested in your book, one of the entertaining things I learned from my friend is that, because they have no fur, you have to put sunscreen on them if they are going to be exposed to sunlight, otherwise they’ll burn just like people do.

  50. And duh, I always forget the most important things before I press the “submit” button … Your new babies are wonderful and I hope they bring you and Wolfie tons of joy in the coming years. ;=)

  51. Susan, please tell your sister I think she and the foundation are doing wonderful work. Everybody I worked with through Petfinder was terrific.

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