Thursday, May 19, 2016
Family, Dogs and Murder
Life’s pathway rarely takes us where we anticipate. When I received my Chemical Engineering degree at age twenty-two, I never dreamed that I’d write one book, let alone a series. When I joined Microsoft at age thirty, I hadn’t taken a single yoga class. Who could have guessed that by age fifty I’d own a yoga studio and write murder mysteries?
But from the age of five, I knew I’d someday own a German shepherd. At least a decade before I adopted her, I’d already picked out her name: Tasha.
I barely remember the German shepherd my parents owned when I was a toddler. She was far from perfect. She barked, she chased the farm’s cows, and her passion was hunting anything smaller than her. When Duchess’s hunting skills became more than parents could handle, they re-homed her. I was heartbroken. I vowed that I would someday own a German shepherd of my very own. One no one could give away.
Fast forward twenty-five years. I started dating the man who would eventually become my husband. Our three-year road to commitment was rocky, to say the least, and it involved many compromises. I was steadfast on only one thing: I wanted a family. And in my mind, family meant a German shepherd.
My now-husband pretended to cave in, in spite of his allergies to furry creatures of all kinds. Eight years of marriage and one memorable fight later, he finally agreed: he owed me a dog. I tried to do everything “right.” I faithfully studied books about German shepherds and enrolled in multiple dog training classes. I vowed to have a happy, healthy dog—the paragon of good doggy behavior.
I should have known I was in for trouble the day Tasha chewed up my dog training books.
Cursed with a variety of illnesses and a fearful temperament, Tasha will never be the poster child for German shepherd health and behavior. Still, she’s been the perfect dog for me. She’s taught me patience, creativity, and the need to sometimes give up control. Most of all, she’s taught me that I can receive—and give—love without condition. I’m a much better person because of Tasha. She is almost twelve in a breed with a ten-to-twelve-year lifespan, so I probably won’t have her much longer. But I cherish each and every day.
Not surprisingly, my mysteries revolve around Kate, a yoga teacher with a German shepherd sidekick named Bella. Bella shares some of Tasha’s issues. She’s huge, often unruly, and smarter than most people I know. She sometimes gets Kate into trouble, sometimes saves her from it. But ultimately, she’s the love of Kate’s life, just as Tasha is mine.
We should all be so lucky.