Sunday, December 4, 2011

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies!

Did I get your attention? Nothing like the word "puppies" to raise your interest, right? On Wednesday, November 23rd, I got my first puppy. He's an all black German Shepherd. This is him.

His name is Anubis after the Egyptian guardian of the underworld who is portrayed as having the head of a jackal which looks very similar to a full grown German Shepherd. He's 11 weeks old and already understands the commands "sit," "stay," "come," and we're working on "shake." He loves to play games in our backyard. His favorite is chasing a tennis ball knotted onto a rope that we swing in a circle. He'll chase it until his legs no longer work!

I've always considered myself a "cat person." I have two, whom you'll meet in subsequent posts today. I got more interested in dogs after writing my book, ALASKA HEART.

In this tale, the hero, Dale Ramsden Jr. is the youngest Iditarod winner. He has eighteen Siberian huskies that he uses as sled dogs. I had so much fun researching the features and care of this magnificent breed. Giving the main dogs, Gyspy and Zynk, their own personalities also allowed me to think like a dog for some of the book.

When giving a character a pet, or in this case, a whole team of pets, you get the rare opportunity to say something about the character without having to spell it all out. The way Dale interacts with his dogs speaks volumes about the kind of man he is. It also says a little something about how he'd treat the woman of his dreams, nature reporter, Alanna Cormac. A man who can successfully manage eighteen full grown dogs in an organized fashion also lets readers know Dale can multitask, a very sexy skill in my opinion. Right up there with six pack abs and the whisper of a stubbly beard. Now that's a MAN!

While my pooch, Anubis, has a great deal to learn about how things work in my family, I know he'll be whipped into shape just like Dale's dogs in no time. 

Here's an excerpt from ALASKA HEART:

He closed the door behind him, and I stood in
the kitchen for a long moment. I turned toward the
window over the sink when barking erupted from
the backyard. Dale had entered the dogs’ enclosure,
and every one of the dogs was on its feet, crowding
around him. Gesturing, Dale got all the dogs under
control in seconds. Each one sat on its haunches in
front of its own doghouse as he went into the shed.
The dogs waited patiently while he prepared their
food. When he came back outside and placed bowls
in front of each dog, they dove into the food on his

Dale was impressive to watch. He leaned
against the shed, waiting for the dogs to finish. As
his head turned skyward, the sun illuminated his
chiseled features. He fished a pair of sunglasses
from his jacket pocket and popped them on, which
made him look more like a famous athlete somehow.
Dale patted his chest, and Gypsy rose on her
hind legs until her front paws rested below his
shoulders. He closed his arms around the dog and
stroked her furry back. His lips were moving. What
secrets was he telling Gypsy? She licked his chin,
and he laughed as he wiped off her slobber. He
pointed to the ground, and Gypsy dropped to all
fours next to him.

I was about to end my Dale-watching and hunt
down my laptop when he turned toward the window
and waved.

“Now how did he know I was still here?” I said to
Zynk, who had come to sit almost on top of my feet.
I waved back and forced myself to leave the
kitchen. “I’ve got to get this article done, Zynk,
because ninety-nine percent of my brain wants to be
focused on that man ninety-nine percent of the

Zynk let out a bark.

“Okay, okay. You’re right. It’s one hundred
percent of the time.”
To order your copy of ALASKA HEART in print or e-book, visit me at

Christine DePetrillo


Debby said...

The Iditarod is fascinating. Did you have to do a lot of research?
debby236 at gmail dot com

Maria D. said...

Thanks for the excerpt!


mnjcarter said...

Very cute pup. We used to have German Shepard, he was the standard tan and black. I haven't seen to many all black ones. Great name for him also. I wouldn't worry about whipping him into shape, they are increibly smart dogs!

Your book sounds wonderful!

Christine DePetrillo said...

Thanks for the comments, folks! mnjcarter, we sought out the all black because of his wolf-like qualities. And you're right, he's very smart.


Jen B. said...

I love the fact that you named your dog Anubis! That name is perfect. The Iditarod races are so fascinating. Man and dog against the elements!