January 18, 2013

a ruff rebuttal

Blogger's Note: Last week when I welcomed Libby Mercer to the blog to dish on authors and their cats (read it here), I thought, "Yes, this is going to be an awesome post to share, because people are always posting pictures of cats on Facebook." I was wrong. Within minutes of posting controversy ensued. Friends turned on each other in the age-old battle of determining what pet reigns supreme. To show there are no harm feelings towards the barkier pets, and because one of the great loves of my life is my dog, Buddy, I am pleased to have Jackie Bouchard give insight into the world of authors with dogs.

An Author's True Best Friend - A Ruff Rebutal
By Jackie Bouchard

Last week Laura posted on Facebook that fun and fabulous author, Libby Mercer, was guest-blogging here at Change the Word with a post titled, "An Author's Best Friend." I headed right over, ready to read all about how a dog is an author's best friend. But what did I find? An homage to cats?!

What? A cat will spill your milk willfully. It might sleep on your keyboard, but cat as author friend? I wasn't buying it...

Libby backed up her argument by posting a series of photos of famous authors with their feline friends. Okay, so Hemingway had a lot of cats. He was really just the muy-macho version of a Crazy Cat Lady. I can easily counter her authors-with-cats photos with an authors-with-dogs montage, and, as the photos below show – Hemingway also had a dog, so who was really his writing pal??

Top: Charles Dickens, Stephen King and Jack London. Middle: Ernst
Hemingway, Virginia Woolf (‘natch; hello, Woolf) and Dorothy
Parker. Bottom: Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Patchett and Anna Quindlen.

I can even list a few additional early-chick-lit writers who owned dogs, such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her cocker spaniel "Flush," Emily Dickinson and her Newfoundland "Carlo" and Emily Bronte and her mastiff "Keeper." (Wuthering Heights was early-chick-lit, right?)

Libby further pointed to the large number of author friends she has who post pictures of their own and/or anonymous cats with cute/witty captions. I bet I could match her friend for friend with authors who post pics of their pups. And they would be equally cute, and the captions equally witty!

Finally, Libby argued for cat-as-author-best-friend because a cat won't interrupt when you’re “on a roll” and make you take him/her “down three flights of stairs for a romp in the park.” But maybe that break and a romp in the park is just what you need! I get some of my best ideas while mulling my characters and plot out on long walks with my dog.

In fact, dogs are so in tune to their humans that they probably sensed that you needed a break anyway. Let’s face it, your cat just thinks of you as someone who had just better keep the litter box clean. On the other hand, if you’re a writer with a dog for a BFF (best furry friend), your dog thinks you are William Faulkner, JK Rowling, and Sophie Kinsella all rolled into one. You are a genius in your dog’s eyes. Now, who doesn’t want that kind of affirmation on a day when you’ve gotten a rejection letter or a 2-star review on Goodreads?

There’s one last argument for having a dog as your BFF if you’re a writer – look at all the material they provide you with for books! There’s: Marley & Me, Travels With Charley, Old Yeller, Rex and the City – I could go on and on. Not to mention the fact that both Jon Katz (I know, an ironic last name, right?) and Alison Pace have practically made whole careers out of writing books about dogs. My own book, What the Dog Ate, was inspired by a dog on Emergency Vet, and my current work-in-progress is a fictionalized story of the things my last dog taught me about living life to the fullest.

I’ll just end by saying, dogs rule; cats... seem like really cool pets too, but I’m allergic.

About the Author
Jackie Bouchard (www.jackiebouchard.com) was born in Southern California and lived there until she and a friend got the crazy idea to move to Bermuda. It turned out to be not such a crazy idea after all since she met her husband there. After Bermuda, she and her husband moved to Canada, then to the east coast of the US, and ultimately back to San Diego. Jackie used to be trapped in the hamster wheel of corporate America, but she was bitten by the writing bug and ultimately managed to escape. Jackie loves: reading, writing, and, yes, even 'rithmetic (seriously, algebra rocks), professional cycling, margaritas, dogs in general, her crazy rescue pup specifically and her hubby. (Not in that order.) Jackie dislikes: writing about herself in the third person.

About What the Dog Ate 
The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she'd just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona's gut.

This is how Maggie Baxter, a practical, rule-following accountant, discovers that her husband of seventeen years is cheating on her. All her meticulous life plans are crushed. When he leaves her for the other woman, Maggie and her the-world-is-my-smorgasbord chocolate Lab, Kona, are left to put their lives back together. As Maggie begins to develop a Plan B for her life, she decides to be more like Kona. No, she's not going to sniff crotches and eat everything that isn't nailed down; rather she'll try to approach life with more ball-chasing abandon. Finding herself in situations where she begins to go through her usual over-analysis of the pros and cons, she stops and instead asks herself: What would Kona do? With Kona as her guru, Maggie begins her quest for tail-wagging joy.

What the Dog Ate is a funny, tender story of mending a broken heart and finding love and a new life right under your nose, with woman's best friend at your side.

Read my review of it here. While you're at it, check out my reviews of Libby Mercer's Fashioning a Romance and Unmasking Maya here and here.

For More About Jackie
Website: www.jackiebouchard.com
Blog: http://poochsmooches.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JackieBouchardWriter
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jackiebouchard
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5781094.Jackie_Bouchard
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-the-Dog-Ate-ebook/dp/B007MC1A3K/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

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  1. Thanks for letting me air the dog-lovers side of this important issue! :p

    1. It's a cute post. You did a nice job of it. Now, I suppose I'll need to include a third rebuttal about authors who are against pets.

  2. In my opinion, a dog vs cat feud is just ridiculous. And nothing makes me more angry than to see/read anyone saying one or the other is better.

    I am an animal lover. Animals are great companions and I believe studies have shown that living with a pet lowers your stress levels. At the heart of it all, we all hold great love for our furry, or non furry friends, so why so much animosity??? Can't we all just get along?

    Over the years I have had many animal friends in my life. Dogs, hamsters, fish, lizards, ferrets, and now I have two cats. We plan on getting another dog at some point, but right now, I can't tackle the expense, training and puppy stage.

    1. I think you're onto something here, Stephanie. It's only the animals who suffer when we get caught up in semantics. :)

    2. Really just meant in fun Stephanie. I do love cats as well, but I'm allergic.

    3. You did a good job -- it was funny.

  3. Stephanie, to my mind there was no animosity intended on either side. It was the pet lovers equivalent of sports trash talk. I grew up on a farm--animals are part of how I define myself so I get where you're coming from. But, the posts were all in good fun. That being said, Jackie, I am delighted with your rebuttal. What fun to inject into days filled with hard work. I need a good laugh now and again, and Laura's blog provided it with both posts. Love your site, Laura.

    1. Thanks, Sharon. Pets certainly do bring a lot of love to our lives, ey?

    2. Yes, Sharon - pet lovers equivalent of sports trash talk is a good way to put it. Glad you had a laugh.

  4. LOL Oh, Jackie, you crack me up! Thanks for representing for the dogs. I say, to each their own with whatever type of pet they like, but I am partial to dogs (probably because I'm deathly allergic to cats!) My three are great listeners, so I always have a sounding board for my work. And it's nice to have that companionship when you spend countless hours a day at your keyboard. Funnily enough, I've never included a dog in any of my books until the one I just started writing. I'm looking forward to adding an adorably scruff mutt to my collection of characters.

    1. I talk to my cats and dog a lot, too. Good listeners are crucial!

    2. I can't wait to read about one of your scruffy characters!

  5. Oh my goodness, Jackie, what a hilarious post! I laughed the whole way through. You do make a strong case for sure. And nice touch with the nine author/dog pics too! (Although it must be noted that Stephen King has a cat too.) :-)

    Okay, this is long, but I had to post the Dog Diary vs. Cat Diary in case anyone hasn't seen it:

    8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
    9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
    9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
    10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
    12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
    1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
    3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
    5:00 pm - Dinner! My favorite thing!
    7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
    8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
    11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

    Day 983 of My Captivity

    My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

    The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards!

    There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

    Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

    I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now ...

    1. Heehee. Love the dog v. cat diary! Glad we can still be friends after our dog v. cat wars. :P

  6. Love this blog, Jackie! and your book sounds like a lot of fun. I raised some teenage girls and had a German Shepard who ate more than her fair share of thongs (some very lacy and dainty!)as well as tube socks (which made for some interesting emergency 'extractions' done by my husband in the back yard!) Still...I wouldn't be without my dog! She keeps me company all day as I write and, like you said, she thinks I'm Austen, Evanovich and Cornwell all rolled into one!