TAHOE BOUND HOUNDS
It's hard to believe it's been two years since I've been at Lake Tahoe, the source of my joy and inspiration, besides my dogs, that is. I'm working on my next book and the words and ideas are flowing like the snow melting on Mount Tallac in this glorious alpine sunshine. I'm so happy to be here again, as are Peaches and Beau, but Beau is not as able to walk the mountain trails as he was last time we were here. He has some weakness in his hindquarters due to arthritis (hoping it's not his spine--he is the longest dog we've had), so we have to take it easy for his sake, and mine.
We bit off a bit too much the first day we tried to go down to Tallac Historic Site, our favorite place, because Kiva Beach is an off-leash area, one of Tahoe's few. The area wasn't open yet for tourists, so I couldn't drive in close to the lake's edge. We had to walk a distance to get to the beach. It wasn't easy, but we made it there and back. Beau wasn't the only one struggling. My knees aren't what they were two years ago, though I can at least walk on the easier trails now, which I could not have dreamed of doing before the Euflexxa shots I got in them about a year ago. I never thought my knees would give out on me. I'm sure Beau would agree that getting older sucks! I met a lady at Tallac who'd had both her knees replaced. She wasn't happy with the outcome and said she wouldn't have done it had she known. I was getting around better than she was. She's not the first person I've heard say that, not only about knees but hips, too. Doctors are only too happy to get those fake knees or hips implanted in u$, but humans can't really duplicate what is natural, and that includes the complicated joints in our bodies. I'll keep the originals I was issued at birth if at all possible.
The reward for our effort at Tallac was that the beach was entirely deserted. Not a soul was in sight. No motorboats were thrumming on the lake to disturb the peace. The view was so incredible! I could imagine this was exactly how Tahoe looked when only the Native Washo were here, before white men ruined it forever. I sat down on a log with the dogs beside me, closed my eyes and just listened. All was silent, except for nature's music of waves lapping on the shore, quacking mallards, a jay bird's call, and the tapping of a woodpecker in the forest. I wish I could find someplace to live that is as beautiful and restful as this. I hope it won't be so long before we can come back here. The dogs are both getting old, so it will have to be soon. But like a dog, I am just going to live in the moment and not worry about what lies ahead of us. There's no yesterday, no tomorrow, only today. We're together now, and that's all that matters.
Here's my latest Pets & Their People column. I hope you enjoy it.
My sincere apologies to anyone who was planning to attend the book signing at Dog Dog Cat, a popular pet store in South Lake Tahoe, where my Beanie and Cruiser mysteries are set. Due to some misunderstanding with the store owner, the dates for the event somehow got mixed up, so I'm sorry to say I won't be appearing there tomorrow as planned. I even got a very nice write-up in the Tahoe Daily Tribune. My thanks to them. I'd been longing to do an event at my and my dogs' favorite Tahoe pet store since 2001, when my first mystery, Howling Bloody Murder, was released, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be.
I hope you'll still check out Braced for Murder and other books in the Beanie and Cruiser Tahoe mysteries online, now also available in Kindle. Sorry to have missed you, but I hope to see you at some other Tahoe venue in the future.
HOT DOG ALERT!
It's heating up fast, folks, so remember: DON'T PARK THE DOG WHEN YOU PARK THE CAR. Sacramento still has a long way to go before being as dog friendly as Carmel by the Sea, where dogs are allowed anywhere! People dress their Chihuahuas in tiny orange vests to pass them off as service dogs, but they've been outed by store owners and their disabled patrons, so the dogs either have to cook in cars or be left at home where they belong in hot weather. Sacramento businesses would rather see a dead dog than an fake service dog? I'm disabled, too, but this seems pretty heartless to me.
I just don't see what the big fuss is about if a dog is well behaved and not creating a problem for anyone, like running wild, making noise and annoying patrons (like most kids I see). As for dogs and health laws, I've seen far worse offenses in restaurants, and some are committed by the people who work there! When was the last time you saw a long-haired female server wearing a hairnet? Seeing all that hair being flipped around when they are serving food is a pet peeve of mine. You know where it's going to end up. Just check out Jack's Urban Eats sometime.
I hope we can get to a point where people lighten up about dogs in public places. Most are better behaved than people. Until then, please keep your pets safe on these warm days by leaving them at home. It doesn't take long for a car interior to reach lethal temperature for a dog. They pant but can't sweat, so they quickly overheat.
Braced for Murder gets a five-star review from Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine. Here's my favorite part of the review: "Dog lovers, animal lovers will enjoy Cruiser and now his new friend, Calamity, as they work with Beanie. Sue Owens Wright writes in such a way that I feel like I am right there with Beanie and Cruiser (and Calamity). I can smell doggie breath see their tails wag. I am right there with them as they interact and solve crimes. Such Fun!" --Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy. D. MHt
Here's one of my favorite uplifting musical compositions, Petite Symphonie by Charles Gounod, with some beautiful Impressionist scenes to appreciate as you listen. The third movement is where I can picture a pack of basset hounds bounding joyfully through the countryside at a field trial. We saw one once in Fairfield, where people had gathered with the most magnificent hounds to watch them track rabbits (I don't recall that they found any). Never before had I seen this breed so happy to be doing what they were bred to do.
The instruments being played in Petite Symphonie are bassons; note the root of the word, bass, as in basset? Well, of course I know bass means low, but do you suppose the composer could have had baying basset hounds in mind when he wrote this piece of music? Might he have had bassets of his own that inspired him to create it? My own dogs have certainly inspired my creativity.
I often write to music, which sparks my imagination. What does this music bring to mind for you?
Happy Monday! Happy Spring! Carpe Diem!
BOOK SIGNING IN DAVIS
I'll be appearing at Avid Reader, the charming book store in Davis, CA, tomorrow night from 7:30-9:30, where I'll discuss my latest book, Braced for Murder, talk about writing, answer questions, and do a book signing afterward. Hope to see you there!
DO YOU BARK ORDERS AT YOUR DOG?
Do you like having orders barked at you? Probably not! Neither do dogs. Turns out that Barbara Woodhouse's strict training method is all wrong and using a softer voice and gentler approach works better with our pets, according to a study published in The Daily Mail. Her voice was so annoying I'm surprised the dogs didn't bite her. I'm not into dominating my dogs but prefer treating them like the special, devoted companions they are. Are you listening, Cesar?