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WHAT THE WALRUS SAID--Our Authors' Blog--

REEVE

 

 

 

We just looked out our new apartment's window—we're up on the third story—and we saw Reeve taking her morning zigzag run, trailed by her human friend, Ben Power, who maintains a more measured pace.

 

This winter morning our building's park is totally white—tamaracks and cedars, pathways, everything frosted. You'd think Reeve, a rescue dog from Louisiana, would object to our northern New England winter. She's small, with short brown hair, definitely not a malemute. But no—she dashes through cold and snow, sniffs, then dashes on, loving every sub-freezing moment.

 

These days, we enjoy other people's dogs, and Joyce lets no dog-owner go unmet.

 

Out our window, before we knew them, she watched Reeve and Ben. She saw Reeve's absolute devotion to her human friend, and her willing obedience, shaped by no more than treats, kind words, and love—when Ben calls, here comes Reeve, fast as she can.

 

I'm out for a run most days, and Joyce told me, if you see that man and that dog, say how much your wife admires their close relationship, and his warmth with that dog.

 

I did, and so we met Ben Power and Reeve, which produced some surprises. Ben, we found, is a Broadway musician, currently on furlough because his show, Come From Away, is on a pandemic hiatus. He's sitting it out in a condo, near our building. He's half British, half American, and he's a skilled performer on the Irish flute and Uillean pipes.

 

We decided to post this story because another couple stopped us in the corridor—"Who," they asked, "is that man who is so wonderful with that dog?"

 

We humans are emotionally complex. Dogs just feel what they feel. A dog is content to be respected and loved. So let's take happy dogs as signs, that this world, so often seeming dark, has light in it, and joy, too, if your morning walk is rich in newsy scents.

 

--Richard

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THE WELCOMING COMMITTEE

 

Here are two dogs with a message for all of us.

 

Pfynn, the German Shepard, and his neighbor, Gracie, are welcoming Gracie's new housemate.

 

Here's the back-story: a friend of ours discovered that a co-worker faced a dilemma. A visa snag had stranded her husband in Spain. For an unknowable length of time, husband and wife must be separated. With everything so iffy, housing became a problem for the co-worker.

 

Our friend stepped in: until the situation with your husband straightens out, she said, stay with me.

 

Pictured above, you see Pfynn and Gracie greeting the new roommate, as she arrived, with matching messages: "Welcome Home, Indre," and "We're So Glad You're Here, Indre!!!"

 

In these unsettling times, we thought this little story, of a friendly hand warmly extended, would be worth sharing.

 

--Joyce and Richard

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STAR NOSE AND NOSMO

 

 

My latest mystery novel, Star Nose, is just out—it's about a child under threat.

 

Killers murdered his mother. Now they're hunting him. He's a troubled seven-year-old who trusts no one…except a Pembroke Welsh corgi.  

 

That's Henry. He's the housemate of the novel's protagonist, Cooper North, just retired as a prosecutor, but still in the game. Here's a confession: in my various novels,  Henry is the only character borrowed from real life.  

 

He's an avatar of our own corgi housemate, Nosmo, who pops up in most of my novels, under various aliases.  

 

Here's why: we both loved Nosmo. Also, maybe Shakespeare or Dickens could invent a character like him, but I couldn't. So much personality in that short-legged body.

 

Preternaturally astute eyes, for one thing. You could see him thinking. And he had extraordinary empathy. He felt what you felt.  

 

At midnight once, I came back from the hospital where Joyce was under treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia. At that point, decades ago, her odds of surviving were four percent. I felt low, and weary. I dropped into bed, instantly unconscious.

 

At three a.m., I jolted awake. Nosmo sat beside the bed, silent, but staring intently at me. Seeing me awake, he virtually nodded, then trotted off to the stairs, looking back to make sure I understood.

 

I did. Wearily, still not wholly awake, I followed him downstairs, then out the back door. While he did his business out in the darkness—that's why he'd summoned me awake—I sat hunched on the deck's steps, head in hands. Gradually, I felt warmth—Nosmo, leaning against my side.

 

I don't know how he soundlessly woke me, just by willing it, or conveyed he needed to go out. What I did know then, and know now, was that Nosmo felt my misery and hopelessness. He leaned his warm body against my hunched body to offer solace.

 

He's still with us. He's in this new novel, Star Nose, under a different name—offering an unhappy child solace.

 

--Richard

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WHAT DOES A DOG MEAN?




A friend asked me—why, in most of your husband’s novels, is one character a Pembroke Welsh corgi?

And the answer is: “It’s personal.”

Sometimes that dog character is Henry. Sometimes he’s Tobi. But his real name—he was a real dog—was Nosmo.

“Nosmo King,” in full, chosen by his previous family because they quit smoking and named him for a “No Smoking” sign. Not a name we liked.

Then we realized Nosmo could be a Hobbit name, like Frodo or Bilbo. So he became Nosmo the Hobbit.

He was preternaturally bright. Read More 

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MURDOCK WISHES YOU HIS HOLIDAY BEST

Our good friend and frequent visitor, Murdock Morse, sends his holiday greetings to all.

Go romp in the snow, he says. It feels good!

--Joyce & Richard

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GRACIE WEIGHS IN TOO!

Gracie Duke--another good friend of ours--wants to second her pal Murdock's message: celebrate!

It's the darkest days of the year, she says. So get out there and bark! Bark for the return of the light!. Bark loud! It'll come!

Joyce & Richard

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THE LUCK OF TUX

Tux When We First Met Him




Tux, the Cardigan Welsh corgi, needed a new home, and that would be iffy.

It would be iffy because, despite being a little charmer, Tux was a little dickens. It also would be difficult because Tux lived with Pam, and she wouldn’t let him go just anywhere.

We first got to know Tux when he was still a puppy—we’d been visiting in Florida that winter and heard about a neighborhood couple with a new corgi. Joyce allows no nearby corgi to go unvisited, if she can help it, so we met Pam and Wayne, and it led to a warm friendship.

Pam and Wayne were Conchs, which is what Key Westers call themselves. They told us wonderful stories about Key West, back in the Hemingway days. They’d brought Tux into their home late in life because Wayne really wanted that dog. Tux turned out to be an imp, super smart, the Energizer Corgi, with a PhD in play and mischief. Read More 

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Christmas Murdock

Murdock and Casey share their Christmas


Our friend Eric Morse sent us this photo of Murdock, the unofficial east-coast dog-race champion, and his friend, Casey, the old cat.

Casey actually does regard Murdock as his best friend. Murdock, not so much. It's complicated.

No matter what, these two, with their Christmas tree and presents, radiate warmth and good will, just right for this season. In these stressful times, we can all use some of that.

So, we're sending out this image, to share with our readers.

Also, we think that Murdock, deep down, likes Casey a lot more than he lets on. Sometimes they snooze side-by-side, don't they?


--Joyce & Richard Read More 
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HALL OF FAMER

Eric & Murdock, just awarded a ribbon for winning a race (again!)


In our celebrity obsessed society, where it seems only People Magazine A-listers rate attention, here’s what we see all around us—talent, ability, accomplishment, decency. In this blog, we try to acknowledge what we see.

So, here’s one….

Our friend Eric was just inducted into the Vermont runners’ Hall of Fame, with these words:

“For the better part of three decades, Eric Morse was the most dominant road runner in Vermont.” And this: “Whenever Eric entered a local race, the only question was who would finish in second behind him.”

Six-times the state’s high-school champion in cross country and track. A running scholarship to college. Then, seven times, a member of the U.S.A Mountain Running Team, competing internationally, often racing up Alpine peaks. Who even knew there was such a sport? Not us, until we met Eric.

He’s retired from Team U.S.A., but he still races. He partners with his super-fast West Highland Terrier, Murdock, and he’s still a champ—he and Murdock miss few “six-legged” races in the U.S. northeast.

They win every one.

--Joyce & Richard  Read More 
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Murdock Visits Again

Muddy Murdock

When our friend Murdock last visited, it was Green Murdock, because he got wet and rolled in the grass. Here he is again, but now it's Muddy Murdock--

Because a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do!

Next visit? Who knows?

--Richard & Joyce
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