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DEAR SANTA (Holiday Wish Lists from our mutt Current, via author person Rosemary)

Dear Santa, My cousin Ringer the hound dog says he loves his job in your workshop with the elves. He hits a button every time the team finishes making a toy, so bells peal in the workshop every day, all day long, he says. There will be no trouble meeting the demand for toys this Christmas! As a surprise for the elves, Ringer learned a repertoire of holiday songs and uses his paws to strike a panel of buttons—the elves like hearing the multiple tones resolve into full songs, so they work faster, and they sing along. Ringer’s straight instrumentals have proven popular, too. Bach’s Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major is often requested, the low bell tones featuring prominently. The elves slow their pace a bit for this uplifting but mellow piece and emerge focused and energized.  I’ve got Ringer on my Christmas list. Could you give him a chance to babysit the youngest reindeer? He’d receive the assignment as if it was a gift, and he’d be the best steward of these rambunctious young hoo…
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THE PAW-SITIVE BENEFITS OF WRITING WITH A DOG by Teresa

Since writing is a solitary experience, having dogs by your side can help improve the emotional and mental downside of writing alone. Although, pounding on the keyboard can give your fingers a great workout, it also can create stress from constantly putting words to paper to meet deadlines. Benefits
Just having an animal in your writing space can provide all kinds of benefits. Animal companionship can help to reduce stress and certain health risks such as a heart attack from sitting too long, poor posture, and plummeting metabolism. All of the above are benefits of writing with a dog. Move it
Since dogs need to eat, drink, and take walks; this allows writers to get up and move around a bit. By walking your dog 30 minutes each day, you help to beat a sedentary lifestyle since it forces you to regularly get up and move. This type of activity can also stimulate your mind, bring on creativity and inspiration, and is good for both you and your dog. So, if you want to minimize health risks a…

DEAR SANTA PAWS: Holiday Wish Lists from our Mutts Tiller and Scout (via author person Jayne)

Dear Santa Paws,
After a delicious turkey dinner a few weeks ago, we curled up with our people and watched Miracle on 34th Street. If you are not familiar with that movie, Kris Kringle answered Susan Walker’s letter and gifted her a house. That gave us an idea. We would like to wake up to a new yard on Christmas morning. A big one, where we can run and run and run, and when our people throw the ball it doesn’t fly over the neighbors’ fence and we sometimes have to wait THREE days for them to throw it back. And if it had nice thick green grass, that would be great.Right now, we only have mud (our person says it’s because we run around too much, but if we had a big yard that wouldn’t be a problem.) Maybe, if it’s not too much to ask, you could throw in a pool, too, so we can jump in and cool off on a hot-hot-hot summer day. If that doesn’t work out, a supply of Himalayan Dog Treats made with Yak Milk are our favorite things to chew on. Oh, and if you have any extra balls, could you throw…

LIFE AND WRITING ADVICE FROM THE FUZZY MUSES by Heather Weidner

My two crazy Jack Russell Terriers (Terrors) Disney and Riley, are great companions and guard dogs. They protect us from countless squirrels, birds, and joggers. Each has a bed in my office, and they help me plot mysteries and listen while I talk through dialogue (if they’re not napping). Here are some things I’ve learned from them. 1.    Enjoy what you do. If not, find something else to spend your time on. There are way too many interesting things to see, eat, sniff, or bark at. 2.    Don’t waste a beautiful day inside. Go outside and have some fun. 3.    Wag and make friends. Relationships are important. 4.    Don’t sit at your desk too long. Everybody needs a break. 5.    Just go for it. If you want something, grab it. They don’t waste time over-analyzing things. 6.    Bark if you really need to, but not too much. 7.    Make sure you nap when you need to. You need to recharge. 8.    Live in the moment. Don’t stress about what has happened or what might happen. 9.    Play hard. Life shouldn…

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT WRITING I LEARNED FROM MY DOGS by Jayne

I guess I am a slow learner. Some people claim to have learned everything they know in kindergarten. Here I am, 50+ years old, still learning important stuff…especially when it comes to writing. What’s even more distressing, I’m learning from my dogs. I know you don’t believe me. I can hardly believe it myself. But consider the following lessons and see if you don’t agree. There is nothing more important than chewing a rawhide bone. When Tiller is given a Himalayan Dog Chew, he flops down wherever he happens to be and begins chewing. The neighbors’ dogs may set up the midnight bark, timer may go off signaling time for dinner, the roof may blow off the house in a hurricane, but nothing will stop him from chewing on that yak-milk bone until the last tasty morsel has been gnawed to a mushy tidbit too small for a mouse. The same tenacious attitude should be applied to writing. The creative process is most effective when all other life distractions are blocked out, enabling the wordsmith to …

DEAR SANTA PAWS, Holiday Wish Lists from our Mutts, by Disney and Riley (via author person Heather)

Dear Santa Paws,
We’ve be exceptionally good this year for Jack Russell Terriers. We moved to our new house in the woods, and we LOVE all the squirrels and birds that we get to chase. We have a big yard, and we can see anyone coming onto the cul de sac from all the windows. The new place has trails, and we get to go on more walks than ever! Riley is the Director of Security, and he takes his job seriously. He guards our house from bikers, walkers, delivery folks, and squirrels. I like the delivery drivers, especially the pizza guy. I’m the Greeter. My job is to welcome everyone (except the squirrels).
This year, we’d like a really cool chewy bone and some more squeaky toys. Riley pulls the squeaker out of all the ones we have. We would also like for you to help our wonderful friends at the Richmond Animal League clear the shelters for the holidays. There are so many puppies and kitties that need a great home. And we want all our four-legged friends to find their fur-ever home.
You are th…

PET SIDEKICKS by Heather Weidner

I love pets, and I'm drawn to mysteries and thrillers that have pet characters. My sidekicks are two crazy Jack Russell Terriers, Disney and Riley. Disney's been the model for Darby in my story, "Diggin’ up Dirt," (To Fetch a Thief) and Bijou in a cozy mystery that I'm working on. I started listing authors who have pets in their mysteries. I found lots with cats and dogs. And only one with a hamster. And I found lots to add to my TBR (To Be Read) piles.
Dogs ·Robert B. Parker's Sunny Randall and Rosie the miniature American Bull Terrier ·Ellery Adams' Olivia Limoges and Captain Haviland the Standard Poodle ·Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Pearl the Wonder Dog ·Rita Mae Brown's Tee Tucker, a Corgi ·Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie Mystery Series ·Dashiell  Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles and Asta the Terrier ·Judith Lucci's Michaela McPherson's Angel the German Shepherd ·Waverly Curtis' The Barking Detective Series with Pepe the Chihuahua ·…