Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Dog is a Writer’s Best Friend

This past Sunday, Maggie and I attended the Irish Festival in Annapolis. With her being Irish, she makes me go to these things. We took Murphy the Chocolate Lab, and Bond—James Bond—the Catahoula Leopard/Australian Shepard mix. The festival wasn’t very big, just two blocks long, and we covered it in about an hour. Having the better part of the day in front of us, we decided that since we were in Historic Annapolis anyway, we’d head down to the harbor, get an ice cream, and just hang out for a while.
We picked a spot on the harbor bulkhead to watch boats and ducks, and as it turned out, the dogs were a big hit. Bond is a little iffy when it comes to strangers sometimes, and we were a little worried about him, but he was OK, if a bit shy. Murphy, on the other hand … well, he’s a Lab. Friendly and eager to please. Now Murph is an American Labrador. That’s to say he’s big, bigger than his English counterpart; 115 pounds of solid muscle, and his head comes to my hip. I’m six feet tall and don’t have to bend over to pet him.  
As we sat on the bulkhead, a favorite spot for anyone touring the docks, kids and adults alike came up to pet him, which led to questions about him and other chit-chat on dogs, the weather, and life in general. We made a lot of new friends, and in a flash of inspiration, Maggie said to me, “Why didn’t you pitch your book?”
That was a good question, and the thought had crossed my mind, but I just didn’t want to. Everyone was so relaxed and open and enjoying petting the dogs and talking about stuff and enjoying their day, I didn’t want to impose on that. 

Now I have no problem talking to people on just about any subject, and I find it easy to steer a conversation where I want it to go, but it occurred to me that having Murphy with me made it that much easier. People are dog lovers for the most part. If you have a well-behaved dog with you, people will seek you out—if not the adults, then the kids, and the kids bring their adults with them. We met a lot of people we otherwise would not have met because of Murphy.
Just as we were about to go, Maggie said, “You need a t-shirt that says, ‘Ask me about my new novel.’ ”
Ding! The light went on!
Too bad it wasn’t my  idea, but Maggie has always been the better part of me when it comes to such things. You should see the business card she designed. Killer! Anyway, that’s what I’m going to do. Well, that’s what Maggie’s going to do; have two shirts made, one for me and one for her. I guess hers will say—“I’m with Stupid" with an arrow pointing toward me or something like that.
I figure between a brainstorming wife, a shirt that piques one's curiosity, and a dog named Murphy, things should go just fine.
Oh … the lesson of the day? If you have a dog, use him, If you don’t, acquire one; preferably from a shelter. They make great pets.

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