I am, which is why I became a canine handler for search and rescue. Is it my day job? No. It’s actually all volunteer. But I love what I do and I love working with my dogs. So much in fact that I even decided to write a romance novel involving k-9 search and rescue.
Jager is my first SAR dog. He is also a rescue from a local shelter. This dog taught me so much. Not just about training but also about myself, and how to handle myself. Lessons that I even apply to my author life. Like having a Positive Mental Attitude. One of the biggest components that can actually affect survival rates.
My second dog, Drogon, is from a breeder and his specialty is human remains. Talk about working dog blood lines, I don’t think this dog ever sleeps. And he never gets tired. This boy is the one I have to watch to keep him from working himself to death. But boy is he methodical. Like he would make an EXCELLENT copywriter/proofreader.
Bringing these two into my book, Called Into Action, was a lot of fun. I wanted to make the story more authentic to what SAR actually is, something that I always found upsetting when reading SAR novels in the past. Of course, because both of my dogs have interesting stories, I blended them together into a dog named Havoc (no joke, both my dogs cause tons of havoc inside my house and Havoc’s antics are taken from real-life incidents).
Speaking of real-life incidents that I pulled from, Jager used to be a jump alert dog, which means when he found his person, he would run back to me and jump on me as an alert. Imagine a 60 lb. pitbull tank running full speed and leaping into the air. Yup, you got it. Clipped by knees and down I went. Face first. Thank God, this was during training. His alert is different now to say the least.
These two dogs, and all the dogs I have worked with on calls and during trainings, are so inspiring. They love what they do, and they do it for their toy or food reward. That is their payday. I hope these dogs continue to inspire people, continue to show people not to discount shelter dogs, and to let people know there is hope out there.
By the way, did you know SAR teams always need volunteer hiders to help train their dogs? If that sounds interesting, reach out to your local SAR team and offer to hide for a dog. Always tons of fun.
Excerpt from Called Into Action…
Jay glanced sideways at the dog as the truck bounced over the gravel road. His markings were beautiful, and if it was possible, the damned thing had soulful eyes full of blame Jay couldn’t bear to look at. “Face the front.”
If the dog would have howled or yipped in reply, Jay would have been impressed. As it was, Havoc only drooled in response. On the seat. Of his personal truck. Jay winced and sighed. Cleaning the car was one more thing to add to his day. His mood matched the impending rainstorm about to break overhead. It had been a long time since he’d had a canine companion. A companion of any kind, if he was honest.
For a minute today, when he’d first put his arms around Penelope, he’d felt something. A shock. A vibration. A tingling, at least. It had been a while. Too long since he’d had such close contact with another woman. Try as he might, he couldn’t help but notice the way she molded into him. Like God had created her just for him.
He rolled his eyes at such romantic notions.
Okay, maybe he needed a night out. Some female attention. He went through his mental contact list and came up bone dry. There was a joke in there somewhere, but after the day he’d had, he didn’t have the heart to look for it.
“Dick move to put your owner in jail. On the bright side, you’re not going to have to put up with me much longer.” The German Shepherd looked at Jay before dropping to his belly, head laying on Jay’s lap. He gave Havoc a rub between his ears, running his fingers through the dog’s well-groomed coat. Penelope took care of the dog. A couple of shed strands floated in the air in front of him. Remarkably, Havoc didn’t smell much like smoke, but more the clean fresh scent of some shampoo. He was one of the most beautiful creatures Jay had ever seen with his exquisite markings—reddish brown and black and tan that blended to create stunning fur.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/called-into-action-paris-wynters/1139906354
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Paris_Wynters_Called_into_Action?id=sUkDEAAAQBAJ