A New Addition!

Congratulations Ashley Cate and Deb Price! You are the winners of the Murder Flies the Coop giveaway!

Jessie: In NH where the weather has been warm enough to make me long for the beach.

IMG_0286As so often happens in my world life has imitated art. I gave my first protagonist a Mini Cooper. Now I drive one. I set a series in England and last spring I went for a leisurely visit.

But recently, the most notable imitation of all has occured. Last Saturday, after many months of polite lobbying my son Theo brought home a poddle puppy. While I was very happy to provide one of my protagonists, Edwina Davenport, with her own little dog, I had not anticipated the arrival of one in my own household. You see, I have fairly severe allergies to dogs, cats, grasses, trees and many foods. We haven’t had a dog in more than 20 years.

In fact, my pet experience has most often been in the realms of goldfish and a beloved African Grey parrot named Miss Kim.  But, sometimes one must put one’s children first, swallow down allergy tablets and research the least allergenic of breeds. I am delighted to report that Sampson has had minimal impact upon my health. He has had quite a serious  impact upon my heart. With his bright eyes and calm demeanor he has utterly won me over.

That’s not to say it has not been a small adjustment.  Many years have passed since my  children have needed the sort of careful attention to their safety and oversight that this puppy seems to require.  And I must say, mercifully none of my children were as enchanted by rolls of toilet paper as Sampson seems to be!

20180909_144817While he has clearly  understands that my son is his primary person, he has been completely charming to everyone else in the family as well.  He loves to play with his toys with any one who visits.  Any family member who stands still for more than a few seconds will find him sitting on top of their feet. Even my husband who is not exactly a dog enthusiast has been caught giving him a thorough scratch along his belly and racing through the house, a chew toy in hand making silly noises.

This whole puppy thing is new to my family and I wish I could ask Edwina Davenport for some tips. She makes it all seem so easy as she takes her beloved Crumpet out for a good romp in the yard or snaps on his lead and promenades him into the village. We are still figuring out the best way to slip his harness over his floppy ears!  All and although, I think it has been a success.  And I wonder,  does this mean dog food and veterinary bills are a business expense?


Readers  do you have any tips to share about raising a puppy or even about dogs in general?  I have two copies of my new release, Murder Flies the Coop, for randomly drawn lucky commenters. Of course, there’s a picture of a dog on the cover! 

62 Thoughts

  1. What an adorable pile of fur. I’ve had dogs & cats my entire life, all rescues. My only advice is that animals like routine. And they can tell time. Meal time, walk time, bed time. Just love him & you’ll be fine. And know nobody will ever love you like a dog.

  2. Your new puppy is adorable! I’ve never had a dog, so I can’t offer any specific tips. I will say though, as someone who avoided having cats for a long time because of allergies and then ended up getting two anyway, once you have pets it’s hard to imagine life without them. And animals tend to be very forgiving, so just love him, don’t worry too much about doing the wrong thing, and he’ll be fine.

  3. Oh my goodness, what a cute puppy! Poodles are one breed that seem to be best for those that have dander allergies.
    You are so lucky to have a puppy. While it may seem you are raising another child, it will be fun! The only suggestion I have is to make sure everyone in the family knows the ground rules for the puppy and enforces them the same way. Just like mom and dad with the kids 😊
    By the way, is the puppy a girl or boy and what did you name it?

  4. He is a cutie for sure! I don’t have any tips since I have had cats all my life. Congratulations on your new family member!

  5. I hear you about the allergies–every test I’ve ever taken shows I’m allergic to cats. Guess what? I have three cats, and I’ve had at least one since I lived in my first apartment. I just take allergy pills–no way I’m giving up the furries. Enjoy your poodle!

  6. What a cutie! Lily is my first and probably only dog. She stole our hearts and all my “rules” that I had in place before she arrived went quickly out the window. So yes she sits on the furniture and no she doesn’t go to a kennel. My only regret is that when she was a puppy she went under a bed in the guest room where I’d stored some paintings I hadn’t hung. Sadly she chewed on the frame of a print from the late 1800’s that belonged to my grandparents. Other than that I wouldn’t change a minute. She brings us so much joy.

    1. After having seen Lily I understand why she has made herself such a wonderful part of your life! I will keep your under bed story in mind! There is something under my guest bed too!

  7. First and foremost, give them lots of love, which you won’t mind doing because they give it back to out tenfold. They are amazing creatures that save up that love and dole it out on you when you need it the most. Seems they can sense when we are down, upset or unraveled needing a diversion from “real” life or just a little bit of love to get your through.

    Secondly I would say never say never. Pets as with most things in live can wiggle that never into ok just this once and then it’s all the time before you know it. When we got our last furbaby almost 14 years ago, we said this one is never going to eat scraps that a proper diet in dog food was better. That lasted until all the dog food recalls when we said “hey we can feed him healthy food and then we know what he’s eating”. We also said that he wasn’t going to get on the beds and bought him the best bed where it was up off the floor and covers to protect it from the cold. Made the mistake one night when he was under the weather of saying he could sleep with us. After all, it would be easier to know if he needed us. Right! Guess where the little fart sleeps now ALL the time. Yep, you got it.

    Third I’d say is to never underestimate their intelligence. We all know they are smart and can do amazing tricks that we think we teach them, but just watch them figure out how to do what you told them they couldn’t and be sneaky about it too and then you know how smart they really are.

    I will say that our lives are richer for having Snickerdoodle in it and full of furbaby loving. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been told that dog backwards is God and I honestly think God brought our furbaby into our lives when we needed him the most. May Sampson brighten you home and your lives for years to come.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of “Murder Flies the Coop”. Hoping to be one of the fortunate ones.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. Aww, he’s adorable! I wish we could have a dog again, but I will have to settle for visits from my brother’s yorkie-poo, who I have christened “Small Dog.” She comes this weekend, but alas, I’ll be away.

    1. I love Yorkie and Yorkie mixes! They are good for allergies but my son wanted a dog that would be a little larger so he looked at poodles. If left to my own devices I might have chosen a Shnorky (Schnauzer/Yorkie) but I can’t say that I have any regrets about Theo’s choice!

  9. He is absolutely adorable! My husband is allergic to dogs, but for the last 9 years we have been the happy owners of a mini Labradoodle – he hasn’t had any problems! Best advice – take him out a lot, especially after he naps. Praise him like the dickens when he goes to the bathroom outside. He will get the idea soon enough. And of course – tip number 2 – give him lots of hugs and kisses – you will no doubt get more love than you ever expected in return! By the way – any more Sugar Grove books coming out in the future?

    1. I am delighted to hear your husband has had success long-term! And thanks for the tips! He is working on the housebreaking and any help in that direction is most welcome!

  10. Congratulations, Jessie and family! It’s daunting to take on a puppy, but I know you all love it already. They give back so much more than they require.

  11. Congratulations on your puppy. One thing we learned from our breeder was to touch their feet and ears a lot when petting them. Easier for vet checks. If nipping is a problem hold mouth open with o e hand quickly and say no. But lots of love walks cuddles and treats help to.

  12. I haven’t had a dog in more than 45 years, but I remember that patience and kindness are better teachers than yelling and punishment. An obedience class is a big help especially for puppies. Enjoy your new pup and know you have a great friend who is always there for you. And he sure is cute!

  13. Like you, I’m allergic to dogs, but I admire them from afar. You’ve got a cute one, and he sounds very charming as well.

    Should be finishing up the new book today. Completely enjoying it.

  14. What a sweetie Sampson is! He will have your heart forever. I was pretty much done with the pet thing but my husband surprised us with an 8-week old Pug for our young granddaughter we were raising. He came tripping across the lawn and that was it. His 16th birthday was September 9. He successfully competed obedience training, but if anyone has really been trained it has been us. This is where he wants to sit, to sleep, when he wants to eat. But all worth it. He has smothered us with love. An old guy now, has had back and eye surgeries, can’t walk or see much, but he still has his same quirky personality and smile — yes, he smiles :-). Enjoy Sampson!

  15. What a precious baby!!! I have adopted a 5 year old Beagle with special needs (she is the one allergic to everything). She was on her own for awhile and has “forgotten” about the fine art of going outside when needed. Things are improving. Consistency is the key!!! Consistency and lots and lots of toys to chew up!!!

  16. He’s adorable! My best advice is to be consistent with him. Establish a routine where you take him outside to potty first thing in the morning, and be consistent on taking him outside to potty. Enjoy Sampson! Life is better with a dog in it!

  17. I love your idea of the business expense, lol. I have a sign on my front door that reads “My spoiled rotten Doberman live here”. He’s 80 pounds, 1/2 Doberman, black and white, friendly face, and walks around the neighborhood pleading and wagging his tail at every stranger to be petted. Maybe he’ll be a tax deduction for guarding my manuscripts! Think the IRS will buy that one?

  18. Your new puppy is precious! I agree that dogs like routines and always know when it is time for walks, dinner, and in the case of our diabetic Yorkie, shot time — it never ceases to amaze me that they are like clockwork. My advice for a new puppy is to have plenty of chew toys and walks — gotta walk/run off all that energy!

  19. I adore your new baby. And Sampson is a great name. My Sammie (of course never called by his real name) lived to be over 21 years old. Everyone is correct – consistency, routine, everyone knowing the rules and following them. Although I did not do it, if you plan on ever leaving your baby alone, please crate train. They get to where they absolutely love their own space. Have plenty of chew toys, treats to keep them busy. If you see him chewing on something he shouldn’t, say no firmly, then give him something he can chew on. Training is essential if you want a great well behaved dog. Tyler is a rescue and although he was a street dog and still has some issues, training was the best thing to give him confidence. A poodle is one of the smartest dogs out there. When a dog is super smart they can get in a lot of trouble. Make sure to let him know you guys love him, but be firm and let him know who (should) run the house. If your son is his person, make sure he is involved in the training. They will both love it. Sampson can start getting socialization work after he has completed all his shots. Good advice to touch his paws, ears and mouth at an early age. Sure does make getting nail trims easier. (not my strong point and sure wish I tried harder). Get him used to a brush specific for his breed. Find a good groomer, ask your vet and vet employees. They will have the information for you. The biggest advice – love him like he loves you guys – unconditionally. Enjoy the love, the unabashed happiness, the joy they get in the simplest things and the relationship your son will have with his very own dog. Congrats!! Sorry to ramble. Not sure if you can tell, but I love dogs, lol. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book. Have it pre-ordered! kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

  20. Living in a city lot home, with two adults who worked 40 hours and two school age children, we took on the challenge of raising a Basset Hound. I took Raisin Lucille with me a couple of days until she started howling and barking which meant it was a no go. My pup was doomed to stay at home and we had to confine her to the kitchen area. Finally we were able to get her to adjust to our schedules and she was such a loving little girl. The only other problem was she wanted to chew any and everything. I was informed later this is part of the Basset Hound trademarks. Oh well, we traded this problem for the love of this girl and had her for 10-12 years before her back went out and we weren’t able to get her treated due to cost factor.

  21. I don’t have pets but I love reading about them and seeing pictures. Love your books.

  22. Sampson is so adorable! I love dogs and have had several. Right now I have a black lab, Bandit. He is a rescue and is the sweetest dog! The main thing is to love him—it sounds like you are doing a good job at that! If he’s not potty-trained yet, make sure you take him out regularly, especially after he eats. Obedience training is great as long as you practice between classes. Poodles are very smart—make sure he has plenty of toys to chew on so he won’t chew on anything important.

  23. That face. So adorable! I haven’t had a dog since I was a kid, but I’ve heard that training classes are a big help, even for already well behaved dogs. It’s good for them to have the opportunity to socialize with other dogs.

  24. What a beautiful puppy! I don’t currently have a dog, but I tend to spoil my Sister’s two dogs. They really like the nyla bones with the nubs on them and it keeps their teeth nice and clean. Have fun with your fur baby.

  25. Went through this four years ago with our two dogs. As someone said upthread, once they and you learn the household routine, it’ll go a lot smoother. If he chews, get in the habit of closing doors when you leave a room. It reduces the chance of him finding something forbidden to chew on.
    If you want to consider pet insurance, Trupanion’s done pretty well for us (Consumer Reports rates it highly). Nope, pet-sitting and dog boarding are not business expenses—I actually checked on that after we boarded them for a week during Dragoncon.

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