Christy Gissendaner 

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Dog Days of Summer

Posted by christygis on September 7, 2013 at 4:55 PM

It’s no secret. I’m a dog lover. Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend got it wrong. Man’s best friend…or in this case, woman’s…is a dog.

Unfortunately my luck hasn’t always been with me when it comes to my pets. Take Shaggy, for instance. My first dog. Apparently someone took Take Shaggy a bit too literally. We went on vacation one summer and when we returned, our beloved family pet was missing. What makes it even worse, my dad found him a few days later at a house down the road, but the people refused to give him up. Cruel, right?

For a few years, we lived doggy-free. But then came Pooter Man. (Yes, we named him Pooter.) He was only with us a year, but this little terrier mixed-breed dug his way into our hearts. The entire Gissendaner clan doted on him. He would come visit me when I was away at college the summer before senior year. I still remember saying Bye to him that last time. When I got the call early the next morning that he’d been run over, my poor heart broke. I swore then and there I would never, ever, ever have another pet. It was just too hard. Watching My Dog Skip a few weeks later was the biggest mistake ever. (If you’ve ever seen the movie or read the book, you’ll know what I mean.)

But somehow my family ended up with ten more dogs. Long story, but out of the gaggle of pups came my precious Oreo girl. One look into the chocolate brown eyes of the terrier/lab mix and I was hooked. To say I loved Oreo, and she me, would be an understatement. She followed me everywhere, growled when she first met my boyfriend (who would soon become my husband) for getting too close to me, jumped all over me when I came home from work. She was more than just a pet. She was my heart.

August 20, 2009.

Even now I can’t think of the day without boo-hooing. I was five months pregnant with my third son and just arrived at work when the text came. My friend noticed a dog lying by the side of our road and wondered if it was one of ours. I thought “Surely it can’t be. My dogs are inside fences.” Somehow I knew though. I’d had that same weird moment when I said Bye to her that morning that I’d had several years before with Pooter. At first I couldn’t see her (she liked to dig holes and hide in them), so I called her name. She popped out, tail waggling, as I left for work. It couldn’t have been fifteen minutes later that the dreaded text arrived.

Heartbroken, I had my cousin go check for me. When the official news came that it was indeed Oreo, my entire world collapsed.

My brother and my husband buried her. These two grown men even shed tears over my loss. Sometimes I wish it had been me to bury her, but I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. You would probably have to be a dog lover to understand, but not a day passes when I don’t miss her. I always will.

My latest release, One Hot Knight, was dedicated to Oreo. People may say I’m crazy for dedicating a book to a dog, but if ever there was a dog story to be told, it would be hers. I don’t want to give anything away, but there is an homage to Oreo within the book. But I promise Yves’ story (the dog knight) is a fun one with a guaranteed happy ending! It’s no less than any dog deserves.

 

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