Monday, 25 July 2011

Dogs, the Forgotten Heroes

Last year I was sitting down at my computer and brain storming ideas for my next book. I was trying to paint a picture of the perfect hero. This made me think, do I actually know any heroes?

 I know some people that have served in the army, but I wanted something I had firsthand experience with. Then it hit me. I know a hero. This was someone that threw themselves into harm’s way when I was only six years old. Her evil opponent was bigger, stronger and nastier. It was a big black muscular dog. It was a dog that had attacked children before.

I was walking home with my dad and my Lakeland terrier, Katie, when this dog charged out of its front door and went for me. People who have dogs know when a dog is posturing or appearing big because it is scared. This dog was out to kill. Its target was a little blonde haired, blue eyed, six year old boy.

All I remember was a blur of motion, a squeal and Katie hanging from this things ear as it tried to shake her off. I also remember the look in her eyes. “I am going to die.” Nevertheless, Katie was my hero. She was frightened, scared and out matched, she could have easily run away, but she fought for me and I believe had she not been there that day something very bad could have happened to me.

This made me think. Who would actually do that? Who would put themselves in danger to protect someone that is important to them?

Katie has sadly passed away after living to the grand age of eighteen years old, but I have a million and one memories of my amazing, brave and faithful dog. There have been so many occasions where she has stood by me when I was growing up and was scared, but then many of my animals have done amazing things too.

It was at this point I decided that I was going to write a story about my old animals, they were heroes to me and the most loyal friends anyone could hope to have. I am lucky to live in a very beautiful part of the New Forest and before writing, The Legend of the Hermit Master, I chatted with the other dog walkers that I usually bump into and spoke to them about their dogs or old animals.

It was funny the amount of crazy and heroic stories I was told. I think anyone with a dog has a story to tell, as each and every dog is unique and has either done something amazingly brave, downright loyal or mind meltingly dumb!

When I use to write, under an old pen name, I would spend hours creating realistic characters that would connect with readers, but I really haven’t had to do that at all this time. This is Katie’s story, but it also Tammy’s story. This book is my dedication to my old dog that was practically joined at my hip for eighteen years, which is a staggering amount of time, and my twenty-one year old cat that sadly passed away earlier this year.  

People say there are no heroes left in this world, but all you have to do is look around and you can see millions of four legged heroes all over the globe. Do you have a favourite memory or story about an old pet? Please feel free to share it below.