What You Need When You Need It Most

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.




  1. Kirsten Swackhamer on September 18, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Love, love, love this! Hazel Bea makes my day, as do you, when I read about the shenanagins she and the boys..and her mom and dad…get into! I’m the crazy cat lady with 8 cats, you’re my favorite dog lady, and there can never be enough posts about your babies…human and 4 legged. My hope is to some day meet you in person….you are a strong amazing lady and a great author! So keep those doggie stories coming~

  2. Margaret Yelton on September 18, 2020 at 10:03 am

    I love reading all you stories about Hazel Bea and her big brothers!

  3. Bobbie Ulmer on September 18, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Love this…the pictures of Hazel Bea are so sweet.

  4. Susan Craig on September 18, 2020 at 10:46 am

    She is a cutie. Congratulations on being adopted by her.

  5. Taryn Askey on September 18, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Wave that flag girl!!! YOLO!!! I love following your blog writings… it’s a wonderful distraction from my everyday crazy! ❤️❤️🤙🏼🌺

  6. Kirsten Storey on September 18, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Love it!! You both could bring a smile to even the darkest of souls 🙂

    • Deborah Tait on October 11, 2020 at 11:46 am

      Cutest dog ever!
      So glad Hazel Bea is a part of your life.

  7. Charlotte Nilsson on September 18, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Hi Kay, well I certainly Love all that you have written today! It is nice to follow your thoughts, that you share with us your feelings.
    It’s a pure joy to read and what makes me happy is your sharing of dog stories! I am happy to see how Hazel Bea makes you happy. Hazel Bea is such a cutie with that look un her eyes, she loves her Mama! Stay happy and enjoy your moments with your dogs ! 🙂
    Thanks for your sharing with us. Lots of Love , Charlie

  8. Liz on September 18, 2020 at 11:05 am

    You do you Kay! Brava!!

  9. Jamie Whitten on September 18, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Hazel Bea has my heart. I love her spunk and sassiness!!

  10. Gloria Youngbauer on September 18, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Live life to the fullest and fly that freak flag girl! I truly feel that we are sent Angel’s when we need them most, Hazel Bea has also rescued you! She’s so darn photogenic! Maybe a calendar is in the making?
    How do we sign up to be a Hazel Hipster?

  11. Kathy Mansk-Billehus on September 18, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Love both your fictional and real-life stories! So happy you got your Hazel Bea! Keep on sharing!!!

  12. Serena Soape on September 18, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Love love love it all !!! Look forward to your posts and especially the newsletters!!!!! Keep your spirits high. You have so many people sending positive energy!!! 💜💜💜

  13. Jessie Lanier on September 18, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    You do you. I’m so thrilled you have Hazel Bea in your life. I’ve felt so guilty since getting Primrose because I’ve known that left a huge hole in your heart. Even though you’ll always love Prim, Hazel Bea has filled that part that went missing. You’re getting much needed kisses. Don’t we all need them? She’s perfect! I love reading about her and seeing her pictures. You’re a good mama.

  14. Carol Copeland on September 18, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    I love this little girl! What a perfect addition to your household! Love her pictures!

  15. Lila McNutt on September 18, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    Hazel Bea has brought joy to all of us in these times! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your new baby with us🐾❤️🇨🇱

  16. Belle on September 18, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    I have waited until now to totally pull out the crazy flag. I am 66 and wish I had done it it sooner. Bailey is to me what Hazel Bea is to you. Only he is 13. I bought a parakeet when my daughter went off to college this year (last child of raising 3 generations). I bought the biggest sage cage for him after a couple of months. He and I are both happy with it.
    I understand health problems. My autoimmune disease is myasthenia gravis. There are other health problems as well. Time to live for me and give no thought to what others think.
    I thank you for sharing Bea with us. I thank you for being real.

  17. Patty Nedrow on September 18, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Love hearing about it all!

  18. Trudy Anderson on September 18, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    You two are soulmates, plain and simple. It was meant to be and couldn’t have happened any other way. There is no such thing as a coincidence in life. All things happen for a reason. Yep! Old adage but true.

  19. Cris on September 18, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    I just 💘 love all your posts about Hazel Bea and the boys, your family also. There are some days that we all need a bright ray of sunshine and your posts gives us all that. I remember how just getting in contact with you when my Dudley passed made me feel a little bit more peaceful.
    Keep writing those wonderful posts and your great books. Thank you for being who you are.

  20. Terri Chlapek on September 18, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    I too think she is your doggie soulmate, just like my sweet Murphy was mine. There’s nothing like having someone love you so desperately.

  21. Louetta Waters on September 20, 2020 at 5:04 am

    I love that you have found something that has made you this happy.♥❤♥
    You just let that crazy flag wave! Look forward to all your posts!

  22. Mary Ore on September 20, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Glad you connected with this sweet soul but I can’t gloss over that the breeder is a disappointment and confirms my bias toward breeding for profit.

  23. Tricia on September 21, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Wonderful! Hazel is a beautiful, blessed baby girl! Love reading your life adventures, Tricia

  24. Jacqueline Imhoff on September 24, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Love 💕 love little Bea. But you know that. She puts such a smile in my heart. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  25. Connie Stiger on April 26, 2024 at 4:44 pm

    Such a cutie! Love your Hart’s Ridge Series. My sister and I have binge-read all of them and can’t wait to read Hello Little Girl. They are a positive beacon in this world where we are all trying to make the best of what we have and turn the realities of life into happy endings. I so admire your own story of doing that! 😊❤️👏🌹

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