Let’s Talk with Diane A.S Stuckart

A Dog’s Life…
By Diane A.S. Stuckart

Today is “Work Like a Dog Day”. Never heard of it? Neither had I, though apparently it’s a holiday meant to honor those who put out extra effort on the job. Or, ha ha, maybe it’s meant to shame the rest of us who don’t. Because, if you think about it, just how hard does your typical canine work? Now, I’m not talking about farm dogs or therapy dogs, or K-9s, or other pups trained specifically to aid humans. I’m referring to your basic fur babies – the ones who hang out in the house while YOU go off to work each day so you can earn enough scratch to keep them in kibble and squeaky toys.

These are the same dogs that will spend the afternoon lounging on your bed (often tucked under the covers with fuzzy face on your pillow). The same little beasts that will shamelessly snatch a hot and fluffy pancake off your breakfast plate during the millisecond that your back is turned (I’m looking at you, Miss Nina the Italian Greyhound!). The very canines that, at least at my house, get a treat from their human daddy when they do nothing more than obey the command to “look cute!” Seriously, if reincarnation is a real thing, I want to come back as one of my dogs, because they don’t do a lick of work around the place (pun intended).

Okay, I take it back. My pups do earn their keep one way besides simply being loyal and loving pets. And that’s by serving as inspiration for the various canine characters in my books.

The king of doggie inspiration is my dear and recently departed Italian Greyhound, Ranger. He became a character in my second Leonardo da Vinci mystery, Portrait of a Lady, starring as Pio the Hound. My editor sent his picture to the book’s cover artist and, voila, Ranger also became a cover dog! I bought the original artwork, and the rendition of Ranger as Pio hangs on our wall to this day. He added such warmth to the story that Pio made a return appearance in the third Leonardo book, A Bolt from the Blue, with a promotion to the great master’s own pet. Not bad for a mild-mannered dog from Oklahoma, huh?

But Ranger wasn’t the only one of my dogs who found literary fame. Mattie the Aussie from my Georgia B&B Mystery series is based on two of my own Australian Shepherds, Matilda and Oliver. The real-life Mattie was one of the smartest dogs ever (my husband actually saw her move a ladder over to the cats’ outdoor raised feeding station, climb it, eat the kitty food, and then move the ladder back!). And Oliver was the most good-hearted dog I’ve ever known, befriending every human and pet he met. While both pups have long since crossed the fabled Rainbow Bridge, they live forever in my books. (As a side note, go to my website www.dianestuckart.com to find out why a Border Collie is posing as Mattie on my book covers.)

So, happy Work Like a Dog Day to you! Be sure you spend some time napping or snagging pancakes off other people’s plates, or simply looking cute?

Do you know a dog who works like a dog? Tell us about him or her, and you’re automatically entered in a drawing to win an epub version of Peaches and Schemes featuring Mattie the Aussie and her new friend, Gustopher the Goldendoodle. Deadline to enter is midnight Sunday.

Also, while I have your attention, our Booklover’s Bench August contest is live now. Enter for a chance to win a free mystery! Click here to enter.

Comments

  1. cherylhollon says

    My dad had a little beagle that was both a family pet and a hunting dog. Suzy was happiest when out in the fields flushing pheasant or rabbits for our dinner. I paid homage to her in my Webb’s Glass Shop Series where she is a service dog. She was wonderful.

  2. We once had a pair of Samoyeds when we lived in Washington and Idaho. They LOVED the snow and could sit out in the freezing cold watching the snowflakes fall for hours. And if they got a chance to play in the snow, even better.

  3. As a kid, I campaigned for a dog for years, only to discover once we finally got one that I was allergic to it! But that hasn’t kept me from filling my sleuth’s home with Ralph, the Shakespeare-quoting parrot; a French bulldog named Manifesto (after the communist treatise), and a very spoiled Persian cat named Catherine the Great.

  4. Our poodle was the model for Spooks in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, Unfortunately, our dog has left us, but she lives on in my mystery series. Our pets can provide all sorts of antics for our stories.

    • dianestuckart says

      That’s one way we authors are lucky. We can immortalize friends, relatives, and even pets in our books. 🙂

  5. My daughter’s dog, Aria, actually does work like a dog. She’s taken on the mission of protecting their human baby. If the child cries, Aria immediately fetches an adult. If the baby while trying to walk fell, Aria was there with a lick (or sometimes the push that caused the fall). When the baby was tucked into her crib, Aria lay next to her on the floor. Now, as the baby has become a toddler, they are inseparable.

    • dianestuckart says

      Aw, that is so sweet. Nothing better than a pup protecting a baby. Good girl, Aria!

  6. I would like to mention Stinky, the mixed breed dog my sister inherited. He is bound and determined that she goes on a walk with him about 5 each evening. First, I must tell you that Stinky can open the door and go outside anytime he likes. So this going for a walk is all about walking my sister. She’s had multiple back surgeries, so Stinky is just the right motivation for her to get going.

    • dianestuckart says

      I love that. He knows what’s important for his person and makes sure she keeps up the routine. Good dog! And thank goodness it’s not 5AM!

  7. debbiejpruss says

    We had a dog by the name of Bear. He woke me up one morning. It was earlier than I needed to get out of bed. I tried to get him to quit nudging the bed. He would not leave me alone. I went to the bathroom. We had a compacted bathroom at the time. He stayed by my side. When I came out of the bathroom, there was smoke in the hall. He woke me up and saved my life.

    • dianestuckart says

      Wow, Debbie, what a brilliant pup, and how lucky you were to have had him. Hope he got a big juicy steak as a reward!