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In Memory of TRAPPER

Greene's Bear Trap Du Rozzi

Greene’s Bear Trap Du Rozzi

A week ago, we said our last goodbye to a precious family member – our Belgian Malinois, Trapper.

aka  –  Baby, Bear, Mutley and in later years, Old Man.

Trapper came to us 13 years ago as a one year old. His owner/breeder was training him for personal protection or police work. Falling on hard times, he had to sell some dogs. A new litter of puppies and Trapper were available so we took a day trip to Maine to meet everyone.

The puppies were cute, but we were drawn to Trapper. He had a great personality and would come to us trained. Off the lead, he raced in circles around the field before coming to us for attention. On that first meeting, I leaned over to pat him and he went belly up. He wasn’t an assertive alpha male. Once he was ours, we discovered two puncture scars beneath his chin. Another dog had gotten a hold on him at some point in his first year. Perhaps that was why his automatic response was submissive. Always a love bug with the family, as he grew he developed a protective streak.

Just a big baby

Just a big baby

We didn’t bring Trapper home that first trip. We wanted to think about our choice and be sure. A week later, we went back to Maine to make him ours. His trainer spent time training ME on the leash. I loved that I could walk him without being pulled along. We also had to learn his commands in French. We never remembered in the ‘heat of the moment’, so he soon became bilingual and over time the French disappeared.

Leaving a kennel situation and coming into a home, there were new lessons for Trapper to learn. No paws on the kitchen counter, no snitching food from the dinner table and how to navigate a flight of stairs. He’d always worked on a lead so we had to teach him to come when called which entailed us acting like fools while calling his name. He loved it.

Because bite work had been a part of Trapper’s training, Old Roady lost two winter coats that first year. All it took was a sleeved arm cocked a certain way and it was game on! I didn’t want him jumping on me. If he did, I wouldn’t touch him until he got ‘off’  and sat. Then I’d love on him like crazy. A quick study, it wasn’t long and he’d run up to me and sit, waiting for the attention. Thankfully, he did the same with extended family including elderly grandparents.

Crate trained, he never charged out the door, but would step out with his front paws, stretch in a play bow then come out the rest of the way. Crating didn’t last Trapper1long. He was a ‘velcro dog’. He wanted to be with the family and we wanted him with us. If he became truly upset about being left home alone, he’d empty the wastebasket beneath my desk, leaving a trail of tissues and papers for us to find.

He always entered the house on our left. If he was on our right, he’d back up and switch sides before coming through the door. I’ve wondered if this was a holdover from his early training. Maybe so he didn’t interfere with an officer’s gun hand? Not sure.

A good dog, he chewed only two pairs of shoes. Both were mine. Both of them had thick chunky heels and were bone color. I think Trapper thought they were his chew bones. An easy mistake to make, yes? His nose was into everything. If a bag, box or tote came into the house, his nose was in it. He loved to help ‘bring in the groceries’, sniffing every bag especially the ones containing meat. He came to us on a raw diet. (Another thing we eventually changed!)

A true ‘Maine-iac’, he loved snow. He would roll and romp and run with his nose beneath the surface then come up with a face full of it. When he came inside and it began to melt, he’d rub his face on chairs, coats, anything he could find to dry it. Same with rain. He hated a wet face.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies

For a week now, we’ve been adjusting to that empty spot in the family. Coming through the front door, a greeting on the tip of our tongues before we remember  Trapper won’t be standing there waiting for us.  There’s no nose at my elbow, sniffing and hoping for a tidbit when I prepare chicken for supper. No happy dog at my side when I run out for the mail. No stepping over him on late night runs to the loo. Trapper had two unwavering objectives each and every day. To love his family and to get a dog ‘cookie’ when he came in from outdoors.

If you’re still reading, thank you. He had a long life for a dog, fourteen and a half years. Even so, it was too short a time for us. 

We buried him beneath the front bushes where he liked to lay and watch the world go by.

Rest in Peace, Trapper.

Trapper old man

The Scary Fun of Self-Publishing!

I feel like that gawky teenager all over again. On a family vacation, standing at the end of the high diving board and looking down. Scary fun! That excited feeling accompanied by a ping of fear. Hoping – praying – I don’t belly-flop.

That’s how I feel as I release the first book of my SeaMount Series, OUT OF THE WILDERNESS. 

I’m excited! I’m scared! I’m a little bit overwhelmed. I love the story. I love the characters. I hope you will, too!

Now available on Amazon. All other venues to follow soon.

Former Navy SEAL Grayson Kerr’s honor has become tarnished working as a soldier for hire. His newfound faith in God has him longing to restore his integrity. His new mission is to qualify for a job with the SeaMount Agency. He wants to be one of the good guys. In the midst of a wilderness survival trial, he discovers a woman and her children lost in the forest. Abandoning his own mission in order to help them could disqualify him for the job.

Sophie Moore has fought to hold heart and home together since her husband’s death. To lose custody of her daughters to his influential parents would be her undoing. Determined to make every moment together count, Sophie plans a weekend away. Almost at their destination, she takes a wrong turn and becomes lost in a labyrinth of logging roads. The scruffy, hard-edged soldier that finds them is their only chance at survival.

From the wilderness of Maine to the SeaMount Agency headquarters on the coast of Rhode Island, Gray works to expose the criminal plot behind Sophie’s custody battle. He jeopardizes getting the job he wants for having the love of the woman he needs. Being a good guy may cost him his one shot at redemption.

Baxter State Park, Maine

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The opening for my current work-in-progress (WIP), Out of the Wilderness, is set in the wilderness of Maine. I felt like I’d stepped into my book on a research trip to Baxter State Park.

I was there the very end of June 2009. The hawkweed and sheep laurel were in bloom. Low to the ground wild red raspberries and strawberries ripened in spots where the sun pierced the forest canopy. The blueberries were still green and inedible.

This photo was taken from the East Spur Overlook and shows the vast expanse of forest. The perfect place for Sophie and her daughters to lose their way.

Have you ever been lost? Where? What did you do to find your way again?

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