The Challenge: Progress Report (and more)

It goes on, evolving and continuing. The original Challenge was to complete a novel in one month, January. That was a failure; I was only able to get a little over 20K words done by January 31st. I got off to a good start but two weeks into the Challenge, Life intruded and I was unable to set aside any time for writing. My brain was still actively composing and the novel continued to grow in my imagination. Yesterday I resumed writing, though I’m still on a compromised schedule.

By compromised I mean that I’m still unable to devote myself fully to writing. I may be able to set aside a couple of days each week but we’re still working out the details of a plan. By we I mean my wife and kids. The homeschool responsibilities are pretty demanding, as is the time for making a living (in our home-based business).

In the meantime, I’m making some interesting discoveries. These have come from people around me who’ve been opening up and sharing some of their experiences with animals, whenever I mention that I’m interested in the ways that humans communicate with cats (the subject of my current novel, ‘The Body In the Sauna’). My friend Rich Fustino (Mr Rich to his guitar students at Matt’s Music) emailed me a bit about his dog and another musician recently related some interesting stories about her experiences with cats, dogs and, believe it or not, fish. Lots of people tell me that, like the protagonist of ‘The Body in the Sauna’, they often talk with their pets and that the communication is two-way. The pets are talking back to them.

I’ve asked Rich’s permission to share his story with you and he was okay with the idea, so here it is.

There are a few things about my dog Spirit that may interest you. Spirit was a rescue dog from Niagara Falls from a troubled home. Spirit is a very loving dog; he is very protective however. He is a black beagle with a white mouth area. His full name is Spirit Star. A very small dog, a beagle chihuahua. His nick name given to him by the grand kids is “butt brain.” Spirit was the father to five puppies born to the late beagle Alexandria. Spirit was going to be called Prancer because that is what he looks like when is he gets excited. Jumping all over the place.
He sleeps in my bed at night and during the day you can find him either in the upright chair in the living room, on the couch or in the kitchen in his new bed. Spirit has tried to bite it and take the stuffing out of it but I scolded him and put decorated gold duck tape on it. He is now leaving it alone for the time being and curling up in it. Such a cutie. Sometimes he will climb up into the laundry basket in the kitchen and arrange the clean clothing just right for snuggling.
He likes to play with a tennis ball he found one day on our daily walks. He also loves ropes and will tear them apart and works on them until they are just string. Spirit knows when I bring home a new rope in a tops or dollar store bag as he just sniffs them out. He loves when I throw them and will bring it back to me but not too willing to give them up. He will even put it on my arm to get me to play with him. He has to have one of them in my bed when he goes to sleep also his tennis ball. That is his favorite toy. He even catches it in the air. No matter how far or short I throw it he brings it back to me but won’t give it up too easy.
He will sleep on the end of my bed on top of the covers but his favorite position is under the covers right up next to me. He will let me know this when he puts his nose and lifts the comforter on my bed. When I turn around or shift to get comfortable so does he and usually likes to put his head on my knee when I am lying on my side or in the bend of my knees. I let him know when I am going to bed by talking to him and saying “Spirit lets go to bed.” In the morning he will climb up on my chest and start to lick my lips to wake me up. Then he will go and lay on my feet until I am fully awake.

Next to my bed there is a step stool that is black and was used to paint the bathroom and has a white spot of paint on it. Spirit has a glass of water on it and that is where I put his treats. He usually leaves them there during the day but at night before bed will jump down off the bed to get a treat and jump back up to have his midnight snack. Spirit also has a water glass in the living room on the table where my music books and hole punch is. I call it his daddy water glass. That started when he was sick and I had to get him to drink water. I also put treats or dog food there for him. He also has his dog dish and water bowl in the kitchen near the bed and laundry basket.

He loves to go on what I call bye bye rides. Spirit can’t even wait for me to put on my shoes to go outside. He will run up and down the back stairs to get his leash put on. When I take him outside he will run right up to my car and as I open my car door he will jump right up inside and sit in the passenger seat. I put the seat belt through the handle on his walking leash. He will bark at anyone walking or any motorcycle or bike. He hates people on bikes. He tries to sit in the middle on the console sometimes too. When I am parked at Tops (supermarket) if anyone comes near the car he will bark.
Spirit Star loves to take walks around the block, several if the weather is nice. Now during the winter we put a dog sweater on him. He gets so excited when I ask him”Do you want to go outside?” He jumps up and down and won’t even let me put my shoes on. He loves to chase the squirrels and rabbits as soon as he see them. He will chase the squirrel right up the tree. I always put his leash around my wrist because he takes off in a flash. He likes to meet other dogs and will usually be good. He has two good dog friends on our street. One is called Choppers. If he sees a dog across the street he will bark loudly.
He has a keen sense of hearing and can hear the mailman when he comes to door. If he is in bed Spirit will jump out of bed and run to the door and bark. He will try to bite the mail and bark at it. And will run out when you open the door. One day when the UPS truck delivered a package I went outside to retrieve it and he ran out the door and chased the truck down the street barking. Thank goodness no cars were coming. I yelled as I was running after him in my bare feet “Get back here” and slowly he turned around and crawled back on the grass with his head down because he knew he was in trouble. We were so lucky that day and I was crying because I thought someone would hit him.He is not too friendly with the Amazon delivery also.
Spirit and his TV watching habits are really intriguing. He will sit on the chair in the living room and watch movies like a grown up. If it’s a Western he will bark at the horses and jump down off the chair and go right up to the TV set near couch and prop his from legs up and put his nose right up close to the TV. He will bark until I turn the channel off or stop the movie. He will run into the other bedroom to check if the horse is on the TV there. And then he will run back into the living room and jump right back up to where he was.

Well there’s more about my dog who is really a good caring dog but Spirit Star, a legal beagle, what I call him, lying on my crossed feet on my bed, is now tired and so am I. Nite for now for a new adventure to start tomorrow with my Spirit.

About neiladaniel

Self published writer of sci-fi, fantasy, poetry, so far.
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