A soft spot exists in my heart for dogs and the people who love them, especially those who learn life lessons from dogs. Enjoy the following interview and excerpt from author, Ferris Robinson, who recently released Dogs and Love–Stories of Fidelity.
What was your motivation?
I LOVE my dogs, and the older I am the more important they are to me. Especially with my boys growing up and leaving home, the dogs have taken on the roles of kids. They sure are easier! Dogs are so sensitive to humans, knowing innately when hearts are broken, or there is much to be celebrated. They love us humans better than we deserve. (I’m a real dog person.)
Who will love this book?
I think dog-lovers will love the book, but also maybe people who ‘don’t get dogs’ will have an ah-ha moment and realize what a void they have in their lives. That’s how I feel really – but know I shouldn’t impose that on everyone. But I try! Especially recently widowed or lonely people. I think people will see their own dogs in the stories, and remember how much they loved ‘so and so’ and how much that particular dog meant to them.
Already made me think of mine. You’re an accomplished author–why have you gone Indie rather than Traditional publishing?
I didn’t try to get an agent for my nonfiction b/c know what a long shot it is, with tons of waiting, rejection, etc. I’m trying to get one for my fiction but will probably self publish it as well if I don’t have any luck. I self-published a couple of cookbooks years ago that I’m actually re-releasing this spring. It’s fun to work it, and you are a huge help and support. Not sure I would have done it without your books and advice.
Thank you. How do you like being an Indie author? Pros and cons?
I like being hands on as an Indie author, writing the press releases, stalking people like you (haha) and working it! I actually published a book on log homes with a publisher but between you and me, not sure what they did to promote it. It makes sense to cut out the middle man in my case and so far, I’m having a ball. The people I’ve ‘met’ online and on your site are incredibly helpful and kind. They all seem to want to ‘pay it forward’ and help another indie out. Nothing cut-throat or competitive at all so far and I am so happy to be part of such a kind and giving community.
Happy to have you with us. The following is from Ferris Robinson’s book, Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity.
I am determined to house train my new puppy. I take him outside several times a day, my pocket heavy with treats. I say “Hurry up!” like my training manual suggests so that he will learn to relieve himself immediately upon hearing that phrase.
On a mission, I walk him down the path to my garden. So far he is in no hurry at all, despite my suggestions. Instead he sticks his nose in a clump of bee balm and sniffs. I pinch off a red fringed blossom and squeeze it in my hand, breathing in the sharp fragrance.
“Hurry up!” I coax as he meanders along the path, smelling the carmine-red spiraea and the tips of the lavender and the frothy yellow yarrow that spills over the path. Finally I give up and take a seat on the wooden bench my husband gave me a few years ago. It is the perfect accent piece for my garden, but to my knowledge, has never been used. I am glad to have a spot in the shade to wait. “Hurry up!” I say again as he wanders further down the path.
I have spent countless hours in this garden, but I am always working on a project. I weed constantly. I keep the bird feeder full and the hydrangeas watered and I spread pine straw on a regular basis. When I look at my backyard it is to see what needs replacing and what needs to be added.
This is the first time I have ever sat down and looked at my garden without criticism. I am still. Right beside me an oversized bumblebee trundles over a violet butterfly bush bloom. The bee clings, now upside down, to the conical blossom that has rolled over under the insect’s weight. Undeterred, he continues his mission, frantically eating pollen with what appears to be six hands.
There is a butterfly on another bloom, methodically opening and closing his brown and orange wings. I lean in closer and peer at his busy whirl of antennae as he vigorously sips up nectar. He seems completely unaware of me.
I am still. There is another bee so close to me I could touch him, but he looks different. His tiny body is a soft mossy green and he has a fan tail. Suddenly I realize it is not a bee at all, but a baby hummingbird. His whirring wings make no noise and I wonder if the motorized hum grown hummingbirds make comes with age. I don’t move as I watch him immerse most of his little torso in a single bloom of a vivid pink phlox. I listen hard to see if I can hear him. I can’t.
Instead, I hear the trill of a bird from the woods, then a repetitive chirp-chirp-chirp of another, and then a frenzied twitter of what must be a flock of the same bird. I cannot see any of these birds, but know I am hearing different ones.
A goldfinch glides in for a perfect landing on my full feeder. He is bright crayon yellow and pops out against the black sunflower seeds. I drink him in.
My puppy comes barreling down the path and jumps up on my lap, joyfully licking my chin. He has sniffed every flower and chased every bee and noticed every single thing in the garden. I glance at my watch and realize almost half an hour has passed and I have no idea if my mission was accomplished or not. Still, I do not tell him to hurry up.
I feel the vibration of the baby hummingbird just behind my ear, but I never hear a sound. The leaves rustle and there is a late summer breeze on my face and I think what a lovely spot I have in the world. I am thankful my little dog has not learned how to ‘hurry up’. I gaze out at the garden and think of all I would have missed if he had. I stroke my little dog’s ear and wonder if that was his mission all along.
I enjoyed this very much and know other readers will too. Read more about author Ferris Robinson at her blog.
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