This was a tough one. Tying my book A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale to romance. At first I thought it couldn’t be done. I was defeated before I even began. But then I decided to look up the official definition of the word, and lo and behold, there were five definitions of romance to choose from. This task had just gotten easier for me. Certainly one would meet my need. And one did. This one:
“(3): a love story especially in the form of a novel”
I was saved! A Place to Call Home is a love story. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. But no doubt, Toby was one of the loves of my life. He wooed me and won me over without even trying. I was swept off my feet. He was my literal (excuse the pun) white knight. If that isn’t romance, what is? Okay, so there wasn’t any S E X involved, but my definition of romance has evolved at this stage in my life. Let’s just say it’s gone from the more of the physical to more of the metaphysical.
Mission accomplished. Time to move on to the wolf-dog part of this blog post. We have to go back in time a little bit. 1989. My son and I had stopped at the Connecticut Humane Society after doing some Saturday afternoon shopping just to “look” at the dogs. I had never lived with a dog. I had three cats for goodness sake, there was no way I was adopting a dog. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t even have to read the rest of this because you know what happened, right? Ok, you’re right, but read the rest anyway, please
As I was slowly walking up and down the aisles of cages, my son called me over to one of the pens in the back of the room. A beautiful white dog was huddled in the corner. It wasn't until I got closer that I saw the fear in his eyes. I found it hard to look away. No, I found it impossible to look away. A woman who worked there saw us by the cage and came over to say hello. I asked her what had happened to the dog, and she proceeded to tell us his tale. His story was heart-breaking, and he was only seven months old.
I’m usually one who has to weigh all my options and take my time to make a decision. I’m always the last one to order in a restaurant, so that tells you something. And you would think the fact that Toby could be part wolf would be a little off-putting to someone known as the cat woman, that it might dissuade me, right? But I decided right then and there without giving it a second thought that I was going to adopt this dog. It was the fastest decision I ever made, and I haven’t come close since.
It was a couple of years after that fateful Saturday that I decided to put Toby’s tale down on paper. To fill in the gaps of his backstory. To share the life of this beautiful soul with the world. My time with Toby seemed fleeting. From the moment our eyes first locked on to each other we belonged to each other. Ten years passed quickly, and then he was gone. But he changed my life forever and for the better. That’s romance.
Every rescue dog has a tale to tell, a story uniquely their own.
A Place to Call Home is Toby’s tale.
Born on a small farm in northern California, Toby’s carefree days as a puppy are cut short when he narrowly escapes the death sentence imposed upon him by his breeder. Through a series of events driven by good intentions, he finds himself in a Connecticut suburb, where life with his new family soon collapses on him, and his newfound happiness is brutally destroyed.
On his quest to find a place to call home, Toby encounters and endures the best and worst of humanity, as he comes face to face with sorrow and joy, fear and courage, and ultimately, with the power of love.
Part of the proceeds of from the sale of each book will be donated to an organization of the author’s choice that promotes and advocates for the protection and welfare of dogs.
Was this another dream? Who would visit him in this dream?
As if in answer to his question, a large pack of wolves and dogs slowly materialized out of the enshrouding gray and one-by-one encircled him.
The snow stopped falling. All was still and quiet.
A long, wailing howl pierced the silence.
Followed by another.
After a few moments, a chorus of howls erupted from the group that now surrounded Toby. A primordial urge rose within him. He stood up and shook off the light layer of snow that had accumulated on his fur. The urge grew stronger, more compelling, until he realized his own voice had joined the others. The multitude of voices became one as they howled on and on, until the cry reached its crescendo and abruptly ended, leaving an echoing silence around them once again.
A large, white figure approached Toby.
“Welcome to our pack, Toby.” The figure turned, and with a nod of his head, indicated the others. He turned back to Toby. “How did you come to be here?”
Toby tried to find his voice, but the howl still reverberated in his throat. When he finally spoke, his reply was weak and raspy. “I don’t know. I don’t even know where here is.” He hesitated, and then asked, “How do you know my name?”
“My name is Strider, Toby. I am your grandfather.”
Strider! The memory of lying with Tara next to his mother as she told them the story of Sadie and Strider came flooding back to him and he felt a warmth of emotion flow through his body.
“Where is this place? How did I get here?” Toby asked.
Strider paused in thought for a moment, and then replied, “This land is a different place for different creatures, yet it is the same place for all creatures. For us,” Strider swept his large head around him, “this is the place we call home.”
About the Author
Ms. Whitmore’s passion for writing and her love of dogs come together in her series The Rescue Dog Tales. The first book in the series, A Place to Call Home, was inspired by Toby, an abused dog she adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society. Ms. Whitmore currently lives in Connecticut with her two rescue dogs, Kadee and Zeus.
Author/community Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/authorgawhitmore
The giveaway is 3 x bracelets which have been uniquely designed by a graphic artist and link with the story.