Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Bonus Jonas of Dogs

Hello, Cruel World,

Okay, those who are sharp-eyed and attentive when it comes to my blog (and I am guessing that there is no one who is paying that much attention, which is fine, since I'm not paying attention either) will have undoubtedly noticed that my title had changed.

See, it used to be called Three Dog Life, because I have three dogs, see. But over Thanksgiving, a miracle occurred. One of the dogs (inspired by the neighbor's chickens) reproduced parthenogenetically, and we found ourselves with a new puppy. Science has been beating down our doors ever since and we're going to be on Oprah with Jonathan Frazen and on the cover of Nature.

Okay, not really.

What really happen is that we heard about a shelter in the eastern part of the state that was planing on euthanizing all of its dogs before Thanksgiving. We got involved with a rescue group who decided to find foster families for as many dogs as they could. We've only tried to foster once before -- with Medium Dog -- and we wound up keeping him. But this time we felt strong. We could take a dog, care for it, and help it find a forever home.

We got a picture of Bonus Dog before he arrived. He looked detached and angry. We also got some info: adult male hound, 45 lbs. The rescue van went and fetched him and a bunch of other dogs and brought them to Santa Fe. We went to pick Bonus Dog up. It was dark. We couldn't really see him. He was confused and scared. He was even more confused and scared when we put him in the car with us.

We got him home and brought him inside. He was not an adult -- he was a skinny 6 month old puppy who should have weighed 45 lbs but weighed only 35 lbs. And he looked like a miniature clone of Big Dog.

The first night was rough. Big Dog was scared of Bonus Dog. Small Dog had some sort of nervous breakdown and had to take a Xanax and go to bed early. Medium Dog turned into a snarly fiend. Bonus Dog proved his houndness by howling half the night.

But by the next morning, all was well. Small, Medium, and Large Dog acted like Bonus Dog was their long lost friend. Everyone went for walks. Bonus Dog proved to have a really sweet personality. He walked around the house with a big goofy dog smile on his face and a long wagging tail (and I mean long - if this dog grows into his tail, he's going to be the size of a Shetland pony). He gave us lots of hugs too -- hugs before he went out in the yard, hugs when he came back in.

And we discovered that we are not the kind of people who can take in a sweet, skinny puppy and then give him to someone else. We're keeping him.

Well I've gone and neglected things again...

Hello Cruel World!

Did you miss me?

No? You were expecting me to flake out on having a blog again?

Fair enough. I've been a flake. I got busy. I couldn't think of anything to say. I got distracted by chocolate and new episodes of Modern Family. I got that Kei$ha song stuck in my head (but who didn't?) I finished up a rewrite of my book and send it to my agent, then had an existential crisis because I miss hanging out with my characters. It's weird.

When I started the book, I wasn't that attached to them. I could change their names on a whim. Delete them. Replace them with new ones. Replace the new ones with newer ones. They weren't real yet. They wouldn't be real until I (finally) figured out what the story was about.

By then I was bored with them, and a little irritated too. It was like I was casting a play and had hired the worst actors ever. They just stood there. They didn't seem invested in following the plot arc, interacting with each other, or creating scenes with me. They didn't care if they were funny or just funny to me. Every so often, one of them sassed me. And other characters kept showing up and wanting to do stuff that had nothing to do with the story I thought I was trying to tell.

But then at the end, everyone started working together. The characters finished the story and surprised me all kinds of quirks and insights. I started to enjoy hanging out with them. My benevolence and affection toward them knew no bounds. They went off into the world and brought me back an agent (little darlings!). And now I've sent them off again to seek their fortunes...

And I miss them. My book is off on a journey of its own, and after dithering around for awhile, I've started a new story. But I don't care about these new characters yet, and they are kinda boring and annoying. Their names keep changing and they can't decide with era they live in. They talk funny and they just stand around passively waiting for me to suggest something. I'm sick of them already....