musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Guest Post: A Special Chemistry

Guest author Sandra Carey Cody writes about the bond between people and their pets…

When Cheryl invited me to share a pet memory for her blog, I was delighted. It seemed such an easy thing to write about. It didn’t turn out quite that way. How do you choose a single memory out of years of pet love? Which pet do you write about? They’re all special in their own way and they’ve all added something special to our lives. I have wonderful memories of each of my pets, from my first dog, a mixed-breed I named Fancy Ann, through the snakes and other exotic creatures our younger son was always bringing home, to Missy, the rescued road-drop cat, who brings such joy to our empty nest these days.

The chemistry between humans and animals is a mysterious thing, a connection that seems to bring out the best in all of us.

When our children were growing up, our family did a lot of camping. For us, it was the perfect vacation. It was affordable. The kids (two boys Mark Twain would have loved) could experience the world in a way they only glimpsed in our suburban neighborhood. Equally important, we could include Lance, our pet-in-residence for many of those years. Lance was an energetic, half Irish/half English Setter who remained a puppy all his life.

One summer we were camping in Florida, near the beach at Pensacola. After our site was pretty much in order, my husband, Pete, took Lance for a walk. The boys stayed with me, ostensibly to help, but really to give Pete a chance to scope out the area and make sure it was safe for them to explore. Turns out, it wasn’t. There were multiple signs warning campers to stay on the trails. These, of course, meant nothing to a dog. Luxuriating in the wealth of enticing unfamiliar scents, despite Pete’s best efforts to rein him in, Lance poked his nose into the undergrowth at the side of every trail. After one such foray, he yelped, jumped back and began shaking his head like crazy. Pete barely had time to see a long, thin shape fly off into the brush, but it was long enough for him know that a rattlesnake had had its fangs in our dog’s nose.

You’ve probably all been there in one way or another – a vacation just begun – and a catastrophe. What to do?

Pete found the ranger, who gave him the number of a veterinarian, but by the time he was able to reach the vet (this was long before cell phones came into being), close to an hour had elapsed – enough time that he was told there was probably nothing we could do at this point. We’d have to wait and see. So the long night began. Lance’s nose swelled up like a small melon and he didn’t have to be coaxed to stay quietly by our side. It was a quiet we (especially I) usually longed for, but this time, it was not welcome. The next twelve hours were filled with both hope and dread. Lest you’re worried, I’ll tell you now – the story has a happy ending. Lance woke up the next morning none the worse for his misadventure.

The bright side to the story and one reason it remains so vividly alive for me, aside from Lance surviving, is the way other campers reacted. Campgrounds are like small towns. The kids get to know each other almost immediately and news spreads like campfires left unattended. Even before Pete was able to reach the vet, the other campers knew our dog had been bitten by a rattlesnake. All night, people, young and old, dropped by with treats for him - steak bones with lots of meat left on, bits of chicken carefully scraped off the bone, you name it - anything a big, foolhardy dog might like. Everyone offered their best wishes, some with tears in their eyes. The next morning, they all dropped by to check on Lance and all seemed genuinely happy to hear that he was alive and well.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to know so many strangers so quickly – all because of that mysterious chemistry between people and their pets. It’s a bond we all can relate to.

I’d love to share a picture of Lance, but it was so long ago, the only photos we have are dog-eared (sorry) and blurry. Maybe you’d like to see a picture of Missy, the current love of our life, who considers herself a mighty hunter - or one of David (the son who dragged home all the exotic pets) with Badger, his devoted Jack Russell.

Missy - mighty hunter!

Badger the Jack Russell Terrier with David, his human.

What a wonderful story, Sandra – thanks so much for sharing it with us and thank goodness it all worked out for Lance.

Readers, please click through to Sandra's Write Spot interview to meet the woman behind the words and take a peek at where she works her writing magic. You can also visit Sandra at, at her blog, Birth of a Novel, and on social media at Twitter and Facebook

Lethal Journal, the fifth and latest in Sandra's Jennie Connors Mystery series is available now. I love mysteries and thoroughly enjoyed this one. Here's my review

Jennie has been promoted out of the job she loves. But there's one thing she wants to do before she moves into her new position: Jake Appleton, known throughout Riverview as Sour Appleton, needs to be integrated into the retirement community's social life. It won't be easy.

Jake spends his days alone, staring out the window and mumbling that the world is full of crooks. Has he witnessed wrongdoing in the construction project going on outside his window? Or is he looking back over his own life. Jake's not telling. He shares his thoughts only in his journal.

Jennie doesn't give up - and, finally, one morning Jake surprises her. He taps the journal, says "it's all in here" and agrees to talk to her later that afternoon.

But someone else gets there first. Jennie finds Jake with a bullet in his head. The journal is gone - and Jennie is determined to find it and solve the puzzle of a lonely old man and restore peace of mind to the residents she loves. If you've read any of the other Jennie Connors books, you won't be surprised to learn that the residents insist on becoming involved.

Permalink: A Special Chemistry

Subscribe to stillpoint – You'll receive email notification when a new blog is posted, no more than once a week and absolutely no spam, I promise!

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington


Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


At 9:29 am, Blogger Sandy Cody said...

Thanks so much, Cheryl. Seeing this in print brings back memories of a happy time.

At 12:09 pm, Blogger Heidi said...

LOve it!

At 12:36 pm, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Beautifully written!

At 1:12 pm, Blogger Sandy Cody said...

Thanks, Heidi and Joanne. Writing it brought back good memories - a reminder of how nice people can be.

At 10:39 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Heidi and Joanne. I agree - it's a wonderfully told and dramatic tale. Sandy, it was my pleasure - thanks for being my guest. Cheers!

At 11:55 am, Blogger Sheila Seabrook said...

Oh my, poor Lance, but what a happy ending his rattlesnake story. Thanks you so much for sharing!

At 1:30 pm, Blogger Sandy Cody said...

Thanks for the good words, Sheila - and for taking time to comment.

At 4:56 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

I always love a pet story, especially with a happy ending. These pets touch us in a way that can never be completely explained. I know I was blessed the day my cat Jay walked (or meowed) his way into my life. Well written Sandy and your latest book sounds like a winner.

At 8:46 pm, Blogger Sandy Cody said...

Thanks, Susan. I agree about pets. Somehow, having living with animals makes us more human.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home