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.