Monday, February 21, 2011

Introducing Hamish

The timing could have probably been better (though who could have predicted the house flooding?!) but last Thursday we picked up our new collie puppy, Hamish. Followers of TKZ may recall that we had to put down our previous collie but now we have finally welcomed a new puppy into our hearts and home. It's been a while since we've done the whole puppy thing and I'd forgotten how much like having a baby it can be - crying in the middle of the night, potty training and, of course, all the delightful curiosity and playfulness.

Despite the potty training trials, Hamish is an lovely, friendly, mellow puppy and hopefully his presence will bring the same comfort our old dog, Benjamin, brought to our home. More importantly I hope he heralds the normalization of my writing schedule (finally!! Please!!) - Jim's post yesterday actually made me a bit depressed as I would love to type faster but life seems to be getting in the way lately (sigh!). In fact it feels rather like trying to walk up a slippery slide...but enough about me...back to Hamish...

I can't say I am a huge fan of pets in mysteries - especially not the pseudo-detective types - but I do believe pets can be excellent muses. My old dog was always happy to sit and listen to me talk about plot issues or offer me a ruff to hug when the middle of the books started to sag. I think pets provide writers with a myriad of support services - and besides who else would sit by hour after hour as you type, asking only for a small tummy rub now and again in return?

So do you have a pet 'muse'? Do you have a cat, dog, horse, guinea pig, chicken, fish or exotic pet that supports you as a writer?


  1. Clare, I tend to do some of my most creative writing when my cat jumps up on my desk and walks across the keyboard. Congrats on the new pup.

  2. OH!!! I LOVE collies. He's beautiful!

    My Aztec (picture a girlie Marmaduke type) listens very patiently while I bounce things off of her. Sometimes I get a look of understanding from those soft brown eyes. Other times the look is more like "Are you crazy?" Other times (most often) she can't be bothered because she's busy minding what the neighbors are doing through the cracks in the fence.

    The magnet on my refrigerator says it all: "A house is not a home without a dog."

  3. We had our collie for 15+ years. Having to put her down was awful, & we've not had a dog since. She actually saved my son (then 3, now 30) from being run over by a speeding car. He was chasing a ball & the driveway gates were open. We were yelling, but too far away to do anything. She came out of nowhere & stopped him as his foot hit the street. A Lassie moment? The kids had a tree house & she would climb up to be with 'her boys' but couldn't get down & I'd have to climb up to carry her down the ladder.

    Sorry,didn't mean to hijack your post, but it brought back lotsa happy/sad memories.
    Good luck with the pup, a collie is a great breed.

  4. I often cruise the internet or write with my Cairn terrier li'l Henny Dumb Dumb on my lap. Congratulations on your new puppy, he's a cutie.

  5. I have a black Lab, Macintosh, and three cats, so I have my choice of muses!

  6. Hamish is so cute, Clare. He'll make a great muse. We have a little Shizu and had to put our Bichon down in August. So hard. We also have 4 cats and the youngest, Holden, lays on top of my old computer monitor and gives advice. I have to admit I bought a new monitor in Decemeber but haven't set it up yet because it's a flat screen and he won't be able to lay on that one.

  7. Congrats on your new muse, Clare. Very adorable.

    I lost my four-legged co-author, Emma, just two weeks ago. A elegant black standard poodle who loved to prance around the neighborhood showing off the feathers in her hair after a visit to the groomers. Such a girl. I still can't bring myself to take her bed out of my office.

    Jaxpop - We had a gordon setter, named Gina, who saved my middle brother from walking out into the street too. She heard my mother yell a warning, knocked him down and sat on him until she came. Heck of a dog.

  8. Aren't pet muses great?! The collie I grew up with had many Lassie moments including leaping over a sofa and through an open window to come and 'save' us from a boy who had dared to swing a chain over his head (for fun). I am hoping Hamish will be similarly inclined:)

  9. Since my youngest is allergic to dogs, and my wife, my eldest and myself are allergic to cats we've been devoid of pets for a long time...unless you count the fish. This bothers my middle son who is allergic to nothing and badly wants a pet.

    And then this happened.

    The rabbit sat quietly on the bench next to the table.
    My friend turned toward me and said, quite matter-of-factly,“That rabbit talks”

    I looked in disbelief at the small grey and white ball of fluff gently chewing its cud and staring at some unseen point under the table. I walked over and looked at the rabbit. He stopped chewing his cud and looked straight up at me with a stare like a two year old
    waiting to see what’s going to happen next.

    Making eye contact with him, I asked directly,“Do you talk?”

    He stared for a moment, motionless.
    “Yes,” came the reply from the small pink mouth with large front teeth

    Too shocked to think of anything else to say I continued with, “How long have you been able to talk?”

    To which he replied,“Always.”

    Still in a stunned state of mind I said “Do all animals talk?”

    “No,”he responded,“Only those who can.”

    I reached toward him for an introductory handshake and before I could say a word he took a few short hops and was in my arms.

    “My name, is Brian. I’m a rabbit,” he said, “let me show you around.”

    He led me on a tour of this house and its people from a rabbits perspective.

    After several hours of touring and discussing various topics such as Teflon coated frying pans and which kind of rabbit pellet was actually the tastiest, we returned to the table where I sat him back down.

    My friend had left and the pillow was getting uncomfortable. I turned to the right and saw my alarm clock. It was 2:35 am and the room was very dark. I realized that it probably was not a good idea to have such a strong cup of coffee, not to mention the frosted biscotti, so close to bed time.

    We now have a pet rabbit, to whom no one is allergic, his name is Pepper, and he does not talk...not often that is.


  10. Our poodle used to keep me company by lying on her rug here in my home office. Alas, we had to put her down last year just before she turned 17. We're enjoying our freedom from the responsibility of a pet these days, but I hope your puppy brings you lots of love.

  11. Stephanie St. ClairFebruary 21, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Congrats on the the new addition to your family! He is beautiful.

    My original muse, Kilarney, passed away last July at the age of 11. In November, Sophie joined our family and while she'll never replace Kilarney, she is my new muse. :-)

    Having a puppy in the house has brought a new sense of excitement and joy to our household and I hope that Hamish does the same for yours. :-)

  12. We have certainly had lots of excitement since Hamish joined the clan! Unlike Basil's pet rabbit he hasn't been talking much:) but he has been giving us lots of licks. I can't wait till we have carpets back and I can reclaim my office from the piles of furniture in there so he can snuggle up there while I write.

  13. Congrats.
    Dogs seem to effortlessly and unfailingly display the most desirable traits known. I wish i was anywhere near as good-natured, loyal and loving as any of the three awesome dogs I have had the pleasure to have in our family (one mutt followed by two English Setters).
    While not so much muses I have used dogs(or other animals) in stories to influence/reveal character. A despicable villain that loves a dog/pet is humanized to a degree. An individual who seems swell is revealed to be lowdown when, out of the sight of others, is abusive towards a helpless pet.

    Sorry to jump topic but the picture of your new buddy reminded me of the wide and telling range of human can anyone not be a sucker for a puppy?

  14. My heart led me in a little "ahhhh" when I came upon Hamish's photo. After 35 years of breeding Shelties and living with anywhere from two to five of them at any one time, his sweet face reminded me of how much I miss them now that we have only one black Lab in the household. Shelties are not Collies in miniature, but as puppies they have much in common.

    Our dogs always curl up under my desk where I can warm my feet on them. Creativity is much easier with warm feet than with cold. :)

    I wish you many joy-filled years of canine love and inspiration with Hamish.

  15. Creativity certainly is much easier with warm feet than cold!

  16. Great pic and a great addition to your household, I'm sure. We had a collie when I was growing up and I miss her to this day. Congrats!