For the LOVE of a dog named Canoli…. and why I decided to write and publish my book…
If I told you that this book was over ten years in the making, would you believe me?
You see, over a decade ago I lost my dear father. He was young— only 60— so it was, to say the least… heartbreaking. The pain of the loss was buried so deep in my heart and soul that I thought I might never recover from it. It literally took me years before I could speak his name without becoming teary-eyed, or even rejoice in a memory without sadness… years.
As my entire family lived and still lives in Canada, I had to rely on my friends in Los Angeles as a support system to help me heal; and they were truly wonderful. But the one constant I had in my life, my only true source of joy during those first few years of grief recovery, was my little dog that I called Canoli. Canoli was always making me laugh, and keeping me busy, as he not only needed — but demanded — my full attention. We became devoted to each other, and I think he really knew deep in his sweet little soul, that his love was my life-anchor in what felt sometimes like a sinking ship. As a result, we became inseparable.
At one point, I looked down at Canoli and I remember thinking to myself that if I lost him, I would truly die. He had transitioned from being my puppy, into becoming my baby— my family— and eventually, he had completely stolen my heart. I thought about how hard it would be to lose him one day, as I realized that my life would ‘most likely’ out-live his. (Although… it is LA and I have done a shit load of dumb things, so truthfully, Canoli did have a chance at being a puppy orphan!)
Although I had grown up with dogs on my family farm, and always had some sort of a pet, I had never raised a puppy on my own— from 10 weeks old—and had never realized how ‘human like’ dogs truly are. It was the first time I had ever had a dog live in my home, and sleep in my bed with me. Canoli changed my view of life, of the universe, and our symbiotic reactions and how we are all—humans, animals and nature— so much more interdependent on each other then we even realize. He truly was my best teacher.
Because of Canoli, an idea was born!
So, I had an idea to write a story about life, and about loss, and about love. And about the love that transpires between two entities — two entirely different life forces — and the beauty of that love. I hoped that the story would help people to heal with the loss of their pet, or any loved one for that matter. I always knew the beginning and the ending, but what transpired within the pages became an ongoing and fun creative discovery.
I only managed to write the story in small segments, as each time I would sit down to hammer out a few pages, I swear to God, Canoli would get sick, or attacked by a dog, or some travesty would befall him, and I started to worry that I was somehow unknowingly willing his early demise. But over the years, I managed to outline the majority of the story, and during the last several months of his life, I gutted out the rest, as I knew that if I didn’t finish it before he passed, I would never be able to complete it.
So once again, I was grieving a loss: The loss of my little baby, my sweet baby dog, my Canoli… another heartbreaking trauma had beset me. Healing takes time, and honestly I still miss him terribly. I am still sad at times, but the good memories are pouring in and finally replacing the aching pain that tugs so severely at a wounded heart.
Time heals all wounds!
Then two years ago, my cousin Lori from Calgary came to visit me. I had my story sitting on my kitchen counter, hoping to read and proof it yet again, but had never had the heart to look at it since Canoli had passed.
My cousin knew that I had been working on a story based on Canoli, and she asked if she could perhaps read it while she was visiting me. The story wasn’t in perfect form, and I asked if she would allow me to read it to her out loud so I could hear my mistakes. I tell you, we laughed, and cried, and laughed out loud, and cried from laughing so hard as, little by little, the story unfolded over the course of the four days she was here. Lori had a dog named Bear back in Canada, who was 14 years old, and he had started to have some health issues, and Lori was worried during her entire visit as to how he was doing. She called her husband two or there times a day to check on her baby ‘Bear’.
A few weeks after Lori returned to Canada, her sweet little Bear passed away. Several weeks later I received a beautiful letter from my cousin, thanking me for having shared my story with her, and that picturing her little Bear the way I had imagined a dog’s life to be, was all that was getting her through her grief. As it turns out, my story was somewhat poignantly positioned for her and what she was going through in her own life.
It was at that moment that I felt compelled to share this story, and I hope that the joy and the love that is written within its pages, brings happiness and peace to all who read it. I always felt like I knew what Canoli was thinking, and I hope you enjoy his little journey, as told by the little doggie character in my story (you need to read it to find out his ‘story name’)—as Where the Dogs Go is truly inspired from our lives together.
Always remember that the one gift that life gives us all is the power of love. It is better than shoes, or handbags or cars, it is the one intangible gift that we are given in this life—for the only cost to give and receive it is an open and loving heart.
PS… Don’t worry, this book isn’t a sad tale, rather it is a heartwarming, funny, charming story about the POWER OF LOVE! LOVE is what make our Universe orbit after all! If you love dogs, and wonder how they think and view life and all that is comprised within, you will love this ‘doggie tail’ ….
Audio link for those who prefer to listen to this story… Woof!