by Jeff Allen - April 24, 2023
The one thing readers can be assured of, my books will always include a dog… or twenty! Since 2015 you can say I have literally lived in the dog house with an average of twenty-five dogs at Monkey’s House Dog Hospice & Sanctuary.
As of this blog over 150 dogs have called our house their home. They have inspired me in so many ways. Three years after opening our sanctuary I took that inspiration, sat down with dogs by my side, and wrote my first book. Having the opportunity to tell their stories in Where Dogs Go To Live was an honor. The real privilege was sharing their best and final chapter with them. Unique personalities, crazy antics, and heartwarming transformation stories flowed from my fingertips onto the keys of my laptop.
I’ve been asked how I choose the dogs to fill the pages of my books. With the first two books, it was fairly easy, those books were about the dogs of Monkey’s House. What I will say, is that it comes down to personality, and boy do they each have their own! For Leashes in Heaven, it was quite different as the dogs are not the main focus. They’re the backdrop to a heartwarming love story. They needed to fit into the narrative for that scene, and many of the dogs are completely fictional; although in the back of my mind, some of our dogs’ traits seemed to make their way into that dog’s character.
Our beautiful flower, Violet, has made her way into all of my books. That’s not surprising as she’s managed to steal my heart, and I love bringing her into my stories in some capacity. At this point in time, she’s been at Monkey’s House the longest, since 2017. She came with the name Trouble, for a sweet black lab mix that was not fitting, so we changed it to Violet.
On many weekends you’ll find me hiking the Pine Barrens with Violet and our dog Carbon. We’ve become a little team journeying down more paths in the state forest than I can count. She is truly a walking miracle, living through two bouts of cancer and still going strong. Heading down the trail there’s a bounce in her strut; with each step, her front shoulder dips, making her ears flop like the wings of a dove. Violet doesn’t know her time is limited, and we don’t know how long she has, but I can tell you years have come and gone and there’s no sign of Violet slowing down.
In a strange way, I don’t think I pick the dogs to be in the book. They magically appear.