Pet Prose: Shamir

Author photo.

‘She spotted him when he came in. Graying hair closely clipped. Brown tweed sport jacket over a white shirt unbuttoned at the collar. Jeans. Neutral facial expression.

It was his casual, actually nondescript, appearance that made her sure he was her guy.

He met her eyes, gave her that backwards nod of acknowledgment that only men give, and walked to the bar. After he paid for his beer, he came to her table and sat down.

‘You said on the phone you need someone followed. Just so we’re clear, everything I do is on the up and up. No funny stuff. Is this about an unfaithful partner? Somebody who owes you money? I’m not cheap, and I can’t give you an idea of what it’ll cost you unless I know exactly what I’m dealing with.’

She’d been turning her water glass in circles while he talked, leaving interlocking rings of moisture on the table. She looked up and said, ‘Let me get a beer first.’

‘Sure.’

When she returned to the table and sat down, she stared at her beer for a moment without drinking it and said, ‘The person I want you to follow is me.’

One of his eyebrows twitched but he had it under control so fast she’d have missed it if her intense stare hadn’t moved from her beer to his face.

‘Is this a security thing? You need a bodyguard?’

‘I need you to figure out who I am.’

‘Do you have amnesia? Have you suffered a blow to the head? I’d have better luck tracking you down on the Internet than trailing you through the city.’

‘Oh, I know my biography. I need someone with finely-tuned observation skills who can watch me when I don’t know I’m being watched.’ She pointed at the beer. ‘I couldn’t decide what I should order to drink when I got here. I waited to see what you’d order. That’s my biography in a bottle. In high school, I dated the star running back. I didn’t even like football, but I became a cheerleader. My college boyfriend? Total science nerd. I graduated with a degree in biology that I’ve never used because the first job I could get after college was as a bank teller. I hated it, but I started dating one of our customers who was a rodeo stock contractor.’

‘And you became a bullrider?’

‘No. But I did learn to waltz and line dance, and I know George Strait is supposed to be a great guy and all, but I don’t like country music any more than I liked football. And I didn’t like NASCAR, but there I was, sweatin’ and drinkin’ in the sun while my eardrums took a beating on weekends. Not to belabor the point, but in the name of romance, I’ve gone scuba diving, run a half marathon, learned more than anyone should know about cheeses, and mimicked Stevie Nicks in a rock band. Trust me; I am no Stevie Nicks. I’m thirty-two–okay, thirty-five–and I don’t know who I am. I’m betting you can scan your brain and think things like I don’t like liver. I’d rather stay home tonight. I’ve never thought Julia Roberts is America’s sweetheart. I prefer the mountains to the beach. Because you know who you are and what you like. I can try to start those conversations with myself but… Now see, you did that thing with your eyebrow again. It means you think I’m a little kooky but in a good way. So before you know it? I’ll be asking you how to get my PI license and trying to be your quirky sidekick.’

‘I don’t want a quirky sidekick. I’m still not sure how you think my following you, even surreptitiously, is going to help.’

‘I’ve comparison shopped. Detectives are cheaper than analysts. Plus if I sit in somebody’s office and bare my soul, I’m just going to try to figure out how to become my shrink. I want you to notice what catches my eye. What makes me stop and shop? When do I smile when I’m alone? What do I watch? If there’s nobody there to mirror, do I like dogs? Kids? Volkswagens? Riding boots? Tulips or, uh, whatever other kinds of flowers there are?’

‘I can already tell you horticulture isn’t going to be your passion.’

‘Is that on my tab or free information?’

He almost grinned then stood up. ‘That one was free. I’ll text you a quote. I may see you soon. But you won’t be seeing me.'”

From Shamir’s private eye romance series.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.

Why I love what I do

These two girls, probably mother and daughter.

Bailey
Snickers

My best guess is that they were used over and over to produce puppies to make money.

That’s not the end of their story.

At ages thirteen and ten, they were surrendered to a shelter and requested to be euthanized probably because they couldn’t have more puppies, maybe for health issues; one has a mass on her side, both have dry skin patches and watering eyes.

That’s not the end of their story.

At the shelter, it was decided they deserve to live out their senior years being loved for exactly who they are, not for what they can offer.

Rescued Pets Movement agreed and asked someone to foster them in Houston. One of the greatest women I know agreed and said, “They’re coming home with me!”

RPM shared their information with our partners in Colorado. A rescue there also agreed they deserve a wonderful future and said, “Send them to us!”

When they rounded the corner of the building to get on their van on transport day, the volunteers broke into applause. Everyone gathered around their foster and these two grande dames and gave all three of them as much love as could be given. (Foster parents need love, too!)

There were lots of tears and laughter as they finally settled into their crates for their long ride.

They’re going to have a happily ever after, these two, for the rest of their days.

Pet Prose: Nala

Author photo.

“‘Did you ever have a friend,’ Emma asked her aunt, ‘who says mean things to you? And when your feelings get hurt, she says she’s only kidding?’

‘Mercy,’ Aunt Phyllis said. ‘You don’t need those kinds of friends. That’s what your mother is for.'”

From Nala’s novel in progress.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.

Pet Prose: Madonna

Author photo.

“It was a rather exclusive club she’d joined–women who had famous husbands gunned down in front of them. Almost every one of those women reached out to her, and she appreciated them for that.

In the weeks after his death, she found she couldn’t bear the company of anyone who hadn’t been with them that night. She was grateful for people who didn’t make her talk about it. Those who’d been with the two of them on the worst night of her life already knew with all five senses what she knew, even if their hearts didn’t suffer in the same way hers did.

His best friend spent hours with her most nights. She was sure in time people would draw the worst conclusions about that. It was human nature. But what they did was sit across from each other at the table and play separate games of solitaire, one game after the other. They rarely talked about anything important. He’d never been much of a talker anyway. The smell of the cards, the sound of the shuffling: They couldn’t make her forget, but they did keep her breathing.

Frequently since that night, she feared she would forget how to breathe.”

From Madonna’s second novel.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.

Pet Prose: Skipper

Author photo.

“She had come to the house as a bride seventy years ago. There were only two bedrooms, but she’d raised four children here with Roland. He was twenty years dead, but sometimes she was sure she heard the sound of his feet coming up the wooden steps to the front porch.

When the children were young, the weedy lot behind the house was their own personal playground. Now it was the reason the four of them pushed her to move in with one of them, or move anywhere that they deemed safer. The area had become more commercial; her bedroom window was just a few feet from the parking lot of a Shell gas station.

The secret she kept was how the parking lot was the nightly version of the stories she’d watched when her babies were napping in the old days. Every night after the kitchen was clean and she’d had her bath, she turned off the lights, rested among her pillows and quilts, and watched through the window. Broken boards in the wooden fence gave her a TV-sized view of the nightly dramas. She’d seen mamas nursing babies. Couples courting and fighting and breaking up. People who had someone else at home stealing moments with a secret love. Drug dealers, panhandlers, weary travelers, teenagers with nowhere to go: They were all her characters.

She wasn’t moving anywhere.”

From Skipper’s new novel Shell.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.

Tim and a new friend honor an old one

Back in October, Timothy J. Lambert was raising money for Rescued Pets Movement’s Strut Your Mutt campaign. Near the end of the fundraiser, he promised that I’d name a rescued pet after any new donors.

I thought I wrote all the contributors’ names down, but I can’t find them. Yet.

Fortunately I did remember one of his donors, a friend of Tim’s since they were teenagers. In time, I found the BARC dog who I wanted to bear her name. This week, she transported to Colorado to her new life.

Meet Tim with Amy Fagan. Happy future, sweet girl! And thank you, human Amy, for helping make Tim’s fundraiser and RPM’s campaign a success! I know you love animals, and you make a difference every day with your advocacy and your compassion.