Have you ever had your heart set on something and then fate sent you a curve ball and it ended up being the best thing after all? This year I turned 50 and my sweetheart told me that he wanted me to finally have the puppy I’ve been yearning years for. I’ve been involved in dog rescue for several years and I’ve had foster fails, adoptions, etc. but this time I wanted a girl pup from a reputable source. I do not believe in backyard breeders and for sure wouldn’t deal with a puppy mill, but I also think that there are solid breeders out there who shouldn’t be ostracized or categorized with the bad crowds.
I did my research and picked a very good Yorkie breeder who has decades of experience and many repeat customers. I started a conversation with her and throughout the weeks, we communicated back and forth as she tried to help me figure out just what sort of pup would be the best fit. I paid her a deposit and anticipated having a beauty soon. I bought puppy dresses (don’t judge) and bows, and toys.
Then one day a photo came across my feed. It was of a little scraggly-cute pup that was a mixed breed of a Yorkie with a Chihuahua. They call it a Chorkie. Something about her eyes and her little compact snout just grabbed me through the screen.
I was instantly and madly in love.
She wasn’t a purebred Yorkie. But I didn’t care. I wanted her.
I drove eight hours round trip to bring her home, and what I got was a dog infested with fleas, a bad case of coccidia, and who was very weak. She barely weighed one pound! I’m sure the pup wasn’t the 8 weeks old that was told me to me. She was looking so puny that I was terrified. I stopped an hour after picking her up and called the breeder that I had a deposit with, to get guidance on what to do! She directed me to the nearest PetSmart and gave me instructions on what to get to keep the baby going until I could get her to the vet that next Monday. For the first week, I fed her first through a tiny bottle, then syringe, while coating her gums with supplement a few times a day to keep her sugar levels up. I kept her crate on a table next to my bed so I could touch her when she cried. By the end of seven days, I was exhausted. But I was still in love.
I named her Hazel Beatrix, or Hazel Bea, for short. Her middle name is from Beatrix Potter, an author I have a lot in common with when it comes to beginning our publishing careers. Fun fact: Beatrix first submitted The Tale of Peter Rabbit to publishers in 1900. However, the initial copies and concepts were turned down. Rather than giving up, she self-published 250 copies of the book and sent them out to family and friends, including Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes fame. The books were so well-loved that publishers could no longer afford to ignore her work.
My first book was also turned down by many publishers and I self-published it and caught the eye of an editor who saw a gem in the rough. That book has gone on to sell more than 100,000 copies and was the catalyst to my successful career as an author.
Beatrix Potter was also known as a savvy entrepreneur. I’ve been called that same thing many times throughout my life, always finding ways to add to the household income and now using that savviness to market my own work.
But back to Hazel Bea. Fast forward to today, nearly two months later, and she’s healthy at two and a half pounds of sweet and spicy personality. Her dark hair seems to be turning silver, and it appears she’s going to have silly chihuahua ears that are also adorable. She will not be the show worthy beauty that a well-bred Yorkie would be, but to me she’s gorgeous and she has my heart. I’ve been going through some really tough stuff with health problems, work, and adult children issues, but my little Hazel Bea has made me smile, laugh, and brought me tons of comfort. I just love her little spunky butt. And she wants to be with her mama all the time! Well, except when she’s terrorizing her fur-brothers by jumping on their heads, nipping their feet, and wrestling up a storm.
I worried that a puppy would be to much of a distraction as I’m trying to work, but I discovered she’s just enough. I work too much anyway– and she gives me a reason to get up and stretch, or to take a much needed break. But I’m still writing!
I’ve also probably gone way over the top with her. But I just can’t help it. I told my Ben that when I turned 50, I was just going to let my crazy flag fly and not care what anyone thought. And if jazzing up her daytime bedroom makes me happy, then that’s what I’m going to do. And don’t worry that she’s incarcerated much. She only goes in there if I leave the house because she’s too tiny to be left out with the big boys. Oh, and if putting bows and boas all over her make me laugh and smile, then y’all get to be a part of it, too. And if anyone wants to tell me to cool it, that’s she’s just a dog.. well, you just aren’t my people. As my Mom likes to say, don’t let the door hit you on your backside on the way out.
Because she brings me joy. So that’s all that matters.
For others out there, Hazel Bea has her own gig writing our Bratt Pack updates in my author newsletter. She calls it Hazel Bea’s Bratt Bytes. And I’ll warn you, she gets sassy. I hope you’ll sign up to see what she has to say. Lastly, I hope you don’t wait fifty years to do what makes you happy. Life is short. Let your crazy flag fly high.