Monday, October 29, 2012

Dogs: One of the Many Ways Reading Has Influenced My Life

From Kate's Writing Crate...

          Learning to love reading is the greatest gift I was ever given---thanks Mom! She is a teacher so I learned to read early. My parents also ensured there were plenty of books to read since they often had their noses in their own books.

          I have a lot of books because I am descended from a long line of avid readers; I inherited the personal libraries of two family members; and I still have my favorite books from childhood.

          However, I don't live surrounded only by books, a computer, notebooks, and pens. I have family members who demand anonymity and their privacy (fair enough, blogging is my choice) and pets who don't--their numbers vary, but as many dogs as possible and one cat.

          Books have influenced my life including my career choice and even the pets I choose. Early on I read The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney, a classic reprint given to me by my grandmother. It's the story of a widow raising her five children. They don't have much money, but they have a lot of fun until one day when the youngest child, Phronsie, is enticed away by an angry organ grinder and his little monkey. She is saved by a sturdy boy named Jasper and his majestic German shepherd appropriately named Prince. The two of them watch over Phronsie until Ben, her oldest brother, finds them. They all become fast friends.

          I was smitten with Ben, Jasper, and Prince; however, I didn't think I could ask for another older brother, but I could ask for a German shepherd. So I did, repeatedly, until my parents bought a puppy--a black Lab puppy, a better dog for children they thought. He was a nice dog who preferred running off to swim in a local watering hole than playing with us until we fenced him in.

          Since then, I have had the privilege of owning many German shepherds, some adopted adults and some puppies.

          They are the greatest watch dogs. As I work from home, they watch me constantly. They follow me from room to room watching to make sure I don't get lost or leave the house without them. They watch to make sure I do not sit at my desk too long by bringing me their giant tennis balls and dropping them at my feet until I get up to join them in a game of fetch at least hourly. They watch for anyone to touch the leashes as they are always ready for a walk. And, I swear, they watch the clock so they can nudge my elbow exactly at meal times.

          If they are outside watching over the yard and neighborhood, they come in often to check on me. Since I am watching them run and play outside my office window, that seems only fair.

          Ben and Jasper may have lived with me only in a book, but German shepherds like Prince have moved in providing wonderful companionship, writing interruptions, regular exercise--and protection from angry organ grinders.

How have books you read as a child influenced your life?

Do you find pets help or hinder your writing?

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