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Book idea - as a dog lover would you read this?(35 Posts)
I lost my dog last year. I adored her but she was very difficult - aggressive and neurotic with chronic pain issues - and her life was a bit of a soap opera. I engaged no less than 6 trainers and behaviourists in her lifetime, she was a frequent flyer at the vets (she had surgery by Noel Fitzpatrick), and cost me a fortune.
I posted on online dog forums a lot about her over many years, begging for help. People were fascinated (and amused) by her antics and my efforts, and kept encouraging me to write a book about her - apparently I have a humorous writing style, but you'll have to take my word for that.
I wrote 12 chapters and 25,000 words in 2010-11 (as a blog), and haven't even got to her accident yet.
Now she has gone and I have an end to her story
and I'm no longer crying every day without her, I've revisited what I've got and I'm seriously considering finishing and pitching it. But I'm under no illusions, and doubtful as to whether there's a market for it.
What do you think, would you read it? It's in the style of Marley & Me I suppose, but she wasn't so much loveable and naughty as vicious and hard to love. There is plenty of conflict and it's a story of never giving up on them, no matter how dark things get, because all they have is you.
I would! I think it would also be an interesting change from the “Man’s Best Friend” doting family pet type of book (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
What was her name? What sort of dog was she? I’m so sorry for your loss
Oh that's encouraging, thank you! Yes that's my "hook", something a bit different to the hilarious heartwarming family pet. She was an arsehole.
Her name was Nellie, nickname Gremlin, and she was a Patterdale terrier (totally outing but oh well, I nc'd recently anyway).
I miss her every day, its been 3 months but I can still stretch out a hand and remember how she felt to touch, from the shape of her ribcage to the roughness of her paws. I wish I could touch her again, the horrible little shite.
I would love to read it x I adore dogs especially Staffies .
I guess I could squeeze a staffie into the story Nicky
If you can tie it in with your own personal ‘journey’, for want of a better word, it will have broader appeal - think H is for Hawk or similar, where training helped the author overcome grief.
Definitely, sounds like it would be entertaining
I’m so sorry for the loss of your much loved little dog. I watch my little dog grow older every day and it’s heartbreaking.
You should write your story, you seem to have a lot of patience and compassion and you made me laugh already with your last line, ‘I wish I could touch her again, the horrid ...........’
It’s your and Nellie’s story and would be a great tribute to her spirit. I would read such a story.
As the fellow owner of a twatty terrier (partially reformed! We've come to an understanding on most of the rest of it) I think it would be good to be able to read about a dog that doesn't fit the narrative of being the perfect family dog, but is loved and brings light to the owners life despite being rather opinionated and unafraid to express those opinions!
Yes agreed Mary. My journey was essentially from desperately seeking more and more ways to fix her or "normalise" her, and understand how her problems developed and why, to eventually letting go and simply accepting her as she was.
It never got any easier but at least I felt calmer and stopped trying to mend the unmendable. I don't come to the doghouse very often but I sometimes read a thread about behaviour or reactivity with sympathy, and offer a viewpoint if the OP is losing hope.
Oh cross posted with some more views. Thanks for those!
Cheers Silver, I appreciate that. It would make a nice tribute!
Ah so you have a nearly reformed twatterdale Avocados?! I often made progress with her but it would usually unravel at some stage. I asked one trainer to come back and have another go, he refused and suggested a spray collar to stop her attacking everything. Nice.
I would definitely read this! (And try to make everyone I know read it too). I have a very anxious and reactive rescue dog and it can be a very lonely place, most people with 'normal' dogs really don't get how restrictive and stressful life can be. And I get a lot of 'good on you for keeping her, most people would have sent her back' which really saddens me.
Despite her issues, to me she is the best dog in the world and as you say above about your Nellie, I would never give up on her.
I think any book that helps people to understand that not all dogs are cute and friendly, but still have a lot to give and deserve to be loved nonetheless, could only be a good thing. Please write it!
And I'm very sorry you've lost your little gremlin
Oh yes, even our vet said we'd done "more than most" and that normal people would have given up on her years before!
You're right, it's a lonely and stressful life with a tricky dog and others just don't get it. I think the worst thing about it was that other people do stupid things with their dogs all the time, get it wrong and reinforce the wrong behaviours and mess up - but the majority of dogs are quite forgiving and they don't end up with a psycho like we did. We were constantly criticised for making mistakes and causing her problems, but I did EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, to try to get things right. I was dedicated to her and researched and researched and researched. The underlying criticism was that I had been careless and clueless and that was very painful for me.
Oh, and that I'd "spoiled" her by loving her too much. Okay then.
Nearly reformed Jack Russell x rather than Patterdale!
He's a rescue with a murky background, but I first met him at about 14 months. He couldn't even do a sit on command at that point.
To be honest I think 80% of the reform has been down to exercise (a tired dog is a good dog!), bonding and him coming to understand me a bit, and me getting used to his twattier side. I used to find it really hard when he kicked off at something in public, and hated the public judgement. I still get the filthy, judgemental looks, but I'm so used to him kicking off that I'm past giving a fuck
The other 20% is probably training and socialisation...
He still has his moments. In the last month he managed to land a family member in A&E after he damaged their arm while he was kicking off at something (not biting!) and bit a guest who trod on his foot by accident - guest was wearing thick boots and was very good natured about it, so no damage done, but DDog can really hold a grudge!
I think our twatty terriers have probably taught us both the serenity prayer from a dog training point of view
I wouldn't read it but only because I'm already in tears just thinking about it.
I'm quite sure lots of other people would.
I'm reading back my last two posts and I can hear people saying, ah, so she's one of THOSE owners!
I wasn't, I honestly wasn't. The book will show I wasn't one of those people you see on Dogs Behaving Very Badly who don't actually understand much about dog behaviour at all, and have their dogs fixed in a matter of hours because someone showed them how to say "No."
Six trainers I had out to her. SIX. None of them could help me.
Oh Avocados I do sympathise. JRT in there too, blimey mate, good luck with that!
I am nodding sagely at all of your post. One of our darkest moments was when she attacked a 3 year old child for brushing against her. She was wearing a muzzle thank god, but I thought that was the end. She bit someone on the doorstep - twice, arm and leg, he was bleeding - and I thought I was getting sued. Luckily the guy was very good about it.
YY to serenity prayer!
Sorry confused, don't cry. She's terrorising everyone at rainbow bridge now and she doesn't have chronic pain anymore, it's ok.
I would read it. Would love to read about how you tackled the problems with your dog and the not giving up on her. It sounds as though I could relate to your story and I'm sure there are many dog owners that would find the book insightful. Sorry for the loss of your pup
I would read it and cry at the end now your girl’s story is finished.
We have a notebook about our Best Girl, who we lost in November. Writing down the good and bad, to look back on when she’s more of a fond memory than a raw absence in our lives as she is at the moment.
If you have a talent to put your dog’s story in a book that is realistic and not syrupy then go for it!
I would also definitely buy it! Great to have a humorous take on this and appreciate the calm that comes with accepting the dog you have and working with it to the best point possible, rather than expecting radical change if that makes sense
Thanks so much for the comments, I know it's only a tiny tiny sample but it gives me the motivation to continue with it.
I don't have a "reader" at the moment, so maybe if I were to put a couple of the refreshed chapters out there in blog format, I could post a link here and a couple of anonymous strangers from MN could tell me how it reads?
I would read it, I had a dog, adopted from horrible abuse (meant to be a short term
foster) I realised quickly that although a gorgeous looking blue staffy she was unadoptable; dog aggressive, health issues but amazing with people, took a year to integrate her with the other dogs. It’s been nearly 2 yrs since we lost her and despite her level of arseholeness I miss her every day. I believe these dogs find us, knowing we won’t give up, any other person would have probably pts I think that’s what made me hang on. Not all dogs are perfect but we can be perfect for them.
Oh yes, I would read it. I've got a dog with behavioural issues and it has really helped reading other's stories. She can be a real dick but I love her.