Since formerly easygoing Jack has added new dogs to his list of enemies (right behind roadrunners, armadillos, moles, rabbits, squirrels, and deer), Bear's appearance did not go well. I wasn't sure which one of the three of us would need stitches first. And Bear didn't seem to get the memo because nothing Jack said convinced him to move along.
Desperate for help, I called both shelters in my small town. Then I called again a few days later. And then I called again a few days later. Shelters are often full (please, please, please consider shelters when its time to add a new furry family member).
Eventually, my local Humane Society said, "Bring him in." Because I was unable to surrender him without knowing what happened to him, I started volunteering there. For me, that meant three hours, two days a week, where all I did was walk dogs and pet dogs and dodge dog kisses and listen to dog stories and have my heart broken by really terrible behavior and then put back together by happy endings. For months, Bear was a happy dog at the Humane Society. But he's a big, boisterous boy. And black. Two challenges in the world of rescued dogs.
Then I learned about a program called Paws in Prison. Inmates work with dogs from shelters all over the state to teach them basic obedience and more. Here's a link to the Arkansas Paws in Prison Facebook page. I've done a lot of research lately about similar programs in several states (for a book! Of course it's for a new book! Coming next year from Harlequin Heartwarming!) and this Arkansas page is the best. Warning: DO NOT GO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO LAUGH AND CRY HAPPY TEARS.
This was the missing piece for Bear. He was adopted. And I had a book series in the works with a mean girl who needed a cause that could change her life. The cause closest to my heart? Animals. Nothing except the good work my fictional shelter does matches my real life experience (but Bub the dog could be Bear if we're casting the movie), but that's where the important pieces of Heart's Refuge started. And the next book in the Lucky Numbers series has no title but it's going to be great. It has to be.
Just in case you'd like to read Heart's Refuge (available now!), here's the back cover copy and the buy links. Also, Heart's Refuge is a part of this giveaway. Have you entered yet?
Author Kate James called it "an animal lover's must read" and she's awesome.
Her life has turned upside down
Back in high school, Sarah Hillman was a rich girl who protected herself by always being on the attack. Now her father's skipped town, the money's gone and she's sleeping in her office. Too bad the only person she can turn to has every reason to reject her.
Will Barnes isn't a gangly math nerd anymore. He's a financial advisor and a father, and when Sarah shows up in his office, he threatens to kick her out. And yet, Will agrees to help. But if Sarah falls for this kind, strong man, she'll have to stay in Holly Heights, a town where everyone knows her…and hates her.
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1dI2H4OGoodreads: http://bit.ly/1Mtq1jJ