My late, very beloved and much missed rescue dog, Becca, was the inspiration for Being a Dog and for all of my canine “tails.” The Penny & Jelly books were based on her bond with our daughter, Anya—Becca was like her dog sister, since Anya’s an only child. I call this the “best friends” photo (Anya was 6, and Becca was 1). Becca’s initial separation anxiety led to the structure of Hello Goodbye Dog, and Operation Rescue Dog was loosely based on her own transportation rescue story.
Becca was my furry, faithful friend and writing companion. I am so grateful to have had her as a family member for almost 14 years. Not surprisingly, when Becca died in November 2019, I was devastated and deeply depressed for a couple of months. I couldn’t work, and I cried all the time—her absence was so present and palpable. When I finally sat down to write again, I wanted to feel all of the joy and calm and love that I felt in her presence. I got to thinking about how dogs live in the moment, and what we as humans can learn from that.
I love the Ted Lasso quote, “Living in the moment is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.” Writing Being a Dog, being present, reliving those times, helped me to find joy again. I think of the book as Becca’s gift to me, because it was one of those rare books that wrote itself and flowed out, and that doesn’t happen very often. But when we’re open to things, magic happens.
And now I get to “be a dog” with our new rescue mutt, Maple.