Hi, my name is Belladonna, but you can call me Bella like my human. I’m a seven-year old German Shepard and a Military Working Dog, or MWD for short.
For practically my whole career I’ve worked with the same partner – Jax – and, to be honest with you, he’d be lost without me. We’ve been through a lot together. Some good times and some pretty scary moments too. It’s okay though, because Jax always knew I had his back and I wouldn’t want be with anyone else.
Not just any dog can be a MWD. You have to start when you’re young and only the best of the best make the cut. The humans say it’s a lot of hard work, but really its just play to me. I loved learning how to communicate with humans, but it was more than just learning to sit and say. I learned how to find things that go “BOOM”, which is really important because I save lives.
And not all humans are smart enough to work with us MWDs either. The first guy they assigned to me when I got to the “Sand Box” was clueless. He actually thought he was in charge. Puh-lease! He didn’t get that I outranked him and had the better sniffer, which is how I met Jax.
Jax got it. He knew I called the shots and in turn I did everything he asked of me. When we weren’t out on patrol—that’s looking for bad guys and things that go “BOOM” for you non-military types—we trained. At night, I slept with Jax instead of in the kennel like when I was in Texas. I liked that, except, Jax is a bit of a bed hog. We did everything together. Went everywhere together.
One night things got a little dicey. The bad guys were everywhere. My nose was going crazy from the smell. We were surrounded.
I’ll let you in on a secret, but don’t tell Jax.
I didn’t think we were going to make it out of there.
But we did what we always do and had each other’s six (more military speak for having someone’s back). Morning came and brought backup and well, obviously, we made it. Not long after that Jax and I got orders to The States where we continued to work together. But now, I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. See he’s leaving and I’m not.
What’s a girl to do?
I guess I’ll just have to change his mind.
If you’re wondering what happened to Bella and Jax and if she did indeed change his mind, you can read all about them and their relationship as well as the struggles they’re both going through as they face this new crossroads in their life in A HERO TO LOVE by Gail Chianese.
For Chief Jax (Jackson) Faraday he’s at that point every military person I know has hit: the “should I stay or should I go” moment. It usually happens about ten years in, or halfway to retirement. There is no one right or wrong answer to this question, but it is a huge step.
When my husband hit that milestone, the decision was a little easier for us as we had three children to think of and the economy at the time wasn’t doing so well. For many others, like Jax, there’s the age factor to consider. Many jobs, such as working for NCIS or the FBI have an age cutoff.
Of course, I happily threw other obstacles in Jax’s way. A decision like this (to leave your best girl and career) can’t be taken lightly, but also because sometimes when we think we know what we want, we miss what we really need. We also tend to miss what’s right in front of us, like that one person who gets us and makes us smile, lights up our hearts and sends all sorts of tingles racing through us. Of course, this is one of Jax’s problems, but, well…you’ll have to read the book to find out if he took those blinders off in time.
In ways this story, and the one that follows, really touched close to home. Jax’s struggle mirrored my husband’s (the decision, and then later the job hunt). And while I’m not British, there is definitely a part of me in Risa (I’m a softy for animals and I swear horribly when I’m mad) and even in her best friend, Fiona, which made them not only fun to write, but a little on the difficult side at times.
The Changing Tides series is about facing the curves life throws at us and coming out on top. I know in reality that doesn’t always happen, but hey, this is fiction and I’m all about giving my readers a Happily Every After!
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