by Amy Lane
Small dogs can make big changes… if you open your heart.
Carter Embree always hoped someone might rescue him from his productive, tragically boring, and (slightly) ethically compromised life. But when an urchin at a grocery store shoves a bundle of fluff into his hands, Carter goes from rescuee to rescuer—and he needs a little help.
Sandy Corrigan, the vet tech who eases Carter into the world of dog ownership, first assumes Carter is a crazy-pants client who just needs to relax. But as Sandy gets a glimpse of the funny, kind, sexy man under Carter’s mild-mannered exterior, he sees that with a little care and feeding, Carter might be “Super Pet Owner”—and decent boyfriend material to boot.
But Carter needs to see himself as a hero first. As he says goodbye to his pristine house and hello to carpet treatments and dog walkers, he finds there really is more to himself than a researching drudge without a backbone. A Carter Embree can rate a Sandy Corrigan. He can be supportive. He can be a man who stands up for his principles!
He can be the owner of a small dog.
I don’t think Geoffie knows she’s got a fan club–but it’s true.
I mentioned once on FaceBook that I couldn’t take three dogs walking without weaving a lanyard out of dog leashes, and five people piped up, “I bet that’s Geoffie!”
Well, uh, yes. Yes it was.
Geoffie was an accident of fate all around.
When ZoomBoy was in fifth grade (back when he was short!) his best friend Sam had a dog named Hercules, an Apple-headed Chihuahua of about a year old. Sam’s mom had an older dog of around eleven, named Lily.
One day, Sonia was petting Lily and she said, “Oh, Lily–you’re getting fat!” Then she felt a little more and said, “But that doesn’t feel like fat.” And then the fat kicked. And she said, “But that’s impossible– we keep you separated from Hercules when you’re in heat.”
And then her husband said, “But what about when we left and my parents cared for the dogs.”
And Sonia said, “That was what? Two months ago? What’s the gestation time of a Shih Tzu?”
And they looked it up. And it was sixty-three days.
Which gave them exactly twelve hours warning before Lily whelped and there were puppies running around.
At the time, I only had Johnny, and he was a year old and a spoiled boy. He slept on my boobs (we called him a booby hamster) and he had me ALL TO HIMSELF.
But these puppies. Oh my God. THE CUTE OF THESE PUPPIES. So we visited and picked out the… well, quirkiest of the puppies. She sort of rolled around in tubby little circles and aggressively licked my face and seemed the most gregarious–and the loudest–of all the other adorable puppies.
As it turned out, she was the smallest too. The other dogs grew to be ShihTzu sized, between 12 and 15 pounds, but this one has maxed out at eight, and that’s only because I feed her too much crap–she should be around six.
And she is loud and she is bossy and she is always the dog in trouble. We have almost lost Geoffie twice, and each time the vet’s office has been frantic and freaked out because when she is healthy and happy and a whirling ball of fur and energy she is their FAVORITE and she LOVES THEM and LICKS THEM and BARKS AT THEM and nobody could do these things with as much ENTHUSIASM and VIVACITY as this ridiculously tiny dog.
And as you can tell, she literally changes personality when she gets groomed. She goes from Scruffy and Tuffy dog to Princess and Duchess dog, with the buzz of the clippers, but her irrepressible lovability remains the same.
Johnnie will never be alone again, because Geoffie will always be on top of him, chewing on his ear. Every night right before Mate goes to bed, the dogs hear the call of LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE! And turn into the Looney Toons Tasmanian Devil as they tear up the living room. They are the terror of the dog park, made even MOAR terrifying by the addition of Guest Dog Gibbs.
And one absolutely miserable February, about three years ago, when I felt like I could do no right, she still adored me, and was one of three creatures in the world who I felt like I could trust not to stab me in the back.
And THAT was when I wrote Freckles.
Freckles is an homage to the life changing properties of small nuisance dogs–all of them, the Johnnies, the Bruisers, the Brutuses, and the Guest-Dog-Gibbs. If it’s small, loud and bound to get into trouble, it’s a Freckles dog, and although the story is light with relatively little conflict, I’ve had people tell me that this is the story they go to again and again when they need to feel safe.
The world is a safe place when you’re being lurved on by your best friend. It just is.
So Freckles is being re-released this year from a different publisher–and although the cover is different, it’s the same fluffy-happy-goodness in the book.
If you haven’t read it yet, please enjoy my tribute to my small dog. May she live to lick my face for many years to come.