Writing – they say – is a solitary occupation. But is it? Really? Let’s visit with Ann Gabhart and ask her about her constant companion.
QPQ: Introduce us to the dog you’re sharing with us today.
AG: My current dog friend is Oscar, a black Labrador with some chow mixed in. The chow shows in his black splotched tongue and his square head. He has the Labrador temperament except he isn’t a water dog. Most Labs love water, but not Oscar. He will wade into the water and even sit down a while when he’s hot, but forget the swimming.
We got Oscar about seven years ago. The dog I had at the time, a chocolate Lab, was getting some age on him. I’ve had a dog in my life continuously since I was around eight years old. And so, my husband, who loves shopping on the internet, decided it was time for me to get a new dog before my chocolate Lab crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. He’d go online and tell me about this or that dog and I’d say “No, we have a dog.” But then one day he found a black Lab named Oscar. A horse training couple in a nearby city had rescued him from the side of a highway, took him back to the barn with them and named him Oscar. They wanted to keep him but had to travel with their job and weren’t able to take Oscar with them.
So, I looked at Oscar’s picture and said, yes. I couldn’t tell he was part Chow in the picture on the internet. That was lucky for both of us since if I’d known that, I might not have agreed to take him, because some Chows can be unfriendly. I have nine grandchildren and I didn’t want to worry about them playing with my dog. As it turned out, I couldn’t have asked for a better dog than Oscar. He got the Lab “I love everybody” gene although the UPS man is not so sure about that.
When we first brought Oscar home, he refused to come in the house. Refused. You had to drag him through the door, so we let him be an outside dog. Then, a few years ago, when we were having some work done on the house, our builder ran over Oscar in our yard. That was while I was sitting with my mother who had dementia, so I couldn’t come home to see about him. My husband took Oscar to the vet who said Oscar needed surgery with plates and pins to repair the leg. When I asked my husband how much it would cost, he said he didn’t figure that would matter to me and he was right. Oscar was worth the price, whatever it was. After we brought Oscar home, he had no choice except to come into the house while he recuperated.
Sometimes good things can come from the worst things. Oscar now eagerly comes inside, and I have a great dog companion to keep me company while I’m writing. He goes with me on my daily walks here on the farm and enjoys playing with the grandkids. He’s a very good dog!
QPQ: How does Oscar help you in your writing?
AG: Oscar sleeps beside my desk and doesn’t complain if I go off into a story world. Occasionally, he pokes his head against my arm to let me know it’s time to get up and move a little. He goes with me on my walks and sniffs out his world while I try to think through knotty plot issues. He looks at me as though I am the most wonderful, smartest, best person ever. Sometimes a writer needs that. LOL.
QPQ: Have you ever written one of your pets into a story?
AG: Oscar hasn’t appeared in any of my stories, but he has become quite the fan favorite on my author’s Facebook page and he sometimes makes an appearance in my newsletters. However, I do often let my characters have furry buddies. My Hidden Springs mysteries all feature cat characters. In The Innocent, my main character had a dog friend named Asher that is surely the dog Oscar would like to be if he had the chance. In Scent of Lilacs, my young character, Jocie, had the same dog hunger I had as a youngster.
So I suppose when I’m writing about a new four-pawed character, I use bits and pieces of all the dogs I’ve known, somewhat the same as the two-footed characters in my stories spring from all the people I’ve known or met in stories.
QPQ: Tell us three things you and Oscar have in common.
AG: 1. We both like walking here on our farm and looking for new things to see.
2. We both like cheese although I don’t have to hide my vitamins in it to make me take them the way I have to do for Oscar’s pills.
3. We both love it when the grandchildren come for a visit.
QPQ: Thank you for visiting here at the Quid Pro Quills. Where on the web can readers connect with you and your books?
AG: You can find out more about my books and see easy ways to connect with me on my website, www.annhgabhart.com. That’s also a great place to sign up for my newsletter and to access my blogs, One Writer’s Journal and the Heart of Hollyhill.
On my Facebook author page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart I do regular posts like Friday Smiles, Shaker Wednesday and the popular Sunday Morning Coming Down. I tweet @AnnHGabhart, enjoy posting pictures at www.pinterest.com/annhgabhart and you can find me at Google+ with a user name AnnHGabhart.