A Dog’s Life by Janie Devos
I lost my dog on a Friday. I don’t mean we left the gate open and he wandered away. We lost him because we took him to the vet, held him and cried as the doctor sent him to a place I hope to go someday, too. It has left a hole in our hearts as big as his heart was.
Bogart was a Basset Hound. The common characteristics of this wonderful breed are stubbornness, loyalty, kindness and deep, deep love of children, food and family. And this dog was not short on any of those traits. Many years ago, we had a flock of ducks that waited at our fence for their morning bread. One of the ducks was exceptionally tiny and the other ducks pecked and poked at that poor little thing, trying to keep her from having any of the bread. The little duck was a gutsy little thing, though, and would push its way through the flock to the front. Then it would push its way through the slats of the fence and actually come into our yard to eat her bread in peace. And Bogart let her. He didn’t let any of the others come through the fence except for that one tiny duck, who we named Little Bit. If any of the larger, bullying ducks tried coming through, Bogart barked them right back out. He seemed to understand Little Bit’s problem and took up the cause for her. They soon became bosom buddies. Little Bit would swim around in our pool as if it were her own little pond, and Bogart would sit on the pool’s edge and cock his head watching her. Then, after she’d had her morning swim, the two would laze under the palm trees, cooled by the South Florida breeze, and fall into a state of perpetual bliss. Side by side.
Eventually, Little Bit became too big, (thanks to many slices of bread) to come through the slats, but that didn’t stop her from coming to our patio. She flew over the fence railing and landed in our pool as if she were a sea plane. Talk about Bogart cocking his head at that! It was quite a feat and he was quite impressed.
After a couple of years, Little Bit came around a little bit less and less. Until finally she came no more. I told myself that she’d found her prince and that there were a lot of little little bits swimming around on the other side of the canal. And oddly enough, I noticed Bogart didn’t look for her. I wondered if he knew that she’d not be coming back. I wondered if animals have some universal language that they all understand, no matter the breed. And, if that was indeed the case, I wondered why we humans couldn’t have that same universal understanding of each other even when we do speak the same language. There was much to be learned through the relationship of that unlikely pair.
I never saw Little Bit again, just as I’ll never see Bogart again – on this earthly plane, anyway. But, someday, I fully expect to see the two of them sitting together, enjoying a heavenly breeze beneath an exquisite palm tree. Then I’ll know I’ve made it to heaven. All things considered, I had a little bit of heaven with the two of them right here on earth. And all because of an angel named Bogart.
THE ART OF BREATHING……..
When Kathryn Cavanaugh steps over the threshold of the Pelham Sanatorium in 1954, she has no idea when, or if, she will ever leave it again. Despite the rise of promising new treatments, Tuberculosis is still feared and often fatal. But twenty-four-year-old Kate has proven her resilience before, leaving her Blue Ridge Mountain home for a very different life in the city with her ambitious attorney husband, Geoffrey. For the sake of her family, especially her young son, she’s determined to get healthy again.
The sanatorium is a strange battlefield, with every patient fighting for survival amidst a numbing routine of tests, treatment, and enforced rest. Kate quickly finds camaraderie among the women on her ward—and a growing kinship with fellow patient Philip McAllister. As weeks pass, the hospital’s confines come to offer more independence than Geoffrey’s preoccupation with status ever allowed. And with this surprising new discovery comes the courage to contemplate the choices she has made—and, perhaps, the chance to breathe freely at last…
You can purchase THE ART OF BREATHING at:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Janie DeVos, a native of Coral Gables, Florida, began her career in the advertising industry. After more than a decade in that field, she focused her time and attention on her love of writing. DeVos began her freelance writing company, Rainy Day Creations, in 2000, and began composing verses for several greeting card companies. Then, How High Can You Fly?, DeVos’ first hardcover picture book published through River Road Press, made its debut in 2001. In 2003, Ms. DeVos’ second hardcover picture book, The Path Winds Home, was released.
Both books grabbed the attention of a New York publisher, East End Publishing, and in 2007, Ms. DeVos’ third book, Barthello’s Wing, made its debut. Scholastic Books was interested in including Barthello’s Wing in their North American school book fairs, and asked that it be produced in soft-cover. It was, and to date it has sold over 90,000 copies. In the spring of 2012, DeVos once again teamed up with seasoned publisher Pat Avery to release her latest children’s book, The Shopkeeper’s Bear. It was released in November of that year, and has become a fan favorite.
In 2015, DeVos’ first adult novel found a home with prestigious Kensington Publishing. Beneath a Thousand Apple Trees was released in the fall of 2016, and its sequel, The Art of Breathing, will be released in February, 2017. Recently, Kensington signed DeVos to a three-book series about old Florida, beginning in the 1870’s. The first book in the Glory Land series is set to be released in December, 2017, with the second and third books planned for publication in 2018.
Ms. DeVos has made numerous appearances in schools, libraries and bookstores. She has been a keynote speaker for Miami, Florida’s Title One Program, as well as the authors’ liaison for the Reading Across Broward Festival, and was one of three authors selected by Border’s Books, Children Services of Broward County, and Broward County Libraries as part of a joint effort in targeting at risk children in after-school programming. She continues to give presentations about her books at different venues, to diverse audiences. She lives in a log cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and beloved Bassets. To read more about her and her upcoming work, please visit her website at www.janiedevos.com