By: Melinda Leigh
In She Can Run, one of my characters, a police dog reject, struck a chord with readers. In fact, Henry nearly stole the show from my hero. When I wrote the book, I had no idea how much my love of dogs would influence his character. Nor did I anticipate how much readers would fall in love with him.
Dogs are invaluable to humankind. They herd cattle and sheep and protect livestock from predators. Guard dogs protect owners and their property. Hunting dogs help their owners find and retrieve game, or as it was historically known, dinner. Canine soldiers sniff out explosives, drugs or other substances for the police and military. They’ve even been used to drag wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Police dogs tackle criminals, control crowds, and search buildings. Dogs have been used by military forces since <ahem> BC. The Romans and the Greeks used large breed dogs in battle. No one would argue the value of search and rescue dogs. Over 100 dogs worked tirelessly at Ground Zero.
My two dogs don’t have a specific job (other than crumb patrol), but based on the popularity of Henry in She Can Run, my kids insisted I write one of our dogs into my next book. I accepted the challenge. I’d already turned Midnight Exposure (releasing September 2012) in to my editor, so Bandit had to wait for She Can Tell, the sequel to She Can Run, tentatively scheduled to release in December 2012. Bandit is a dog of many breeds we rescued from the local animal shelter two years ago. There’s a large dog trapped inside his small body. I had a blast writing him into the story while keeping his personality true to life.
If you’re looking to add a canine companion to your household, please visit your local animal shelter. Dogs don’t deserve to be discarded after all they’ve done for us.
Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker, wife, mom, lifelong dog lover, and second degree black belt in kenpo karate. She is the author of She Can Run, a kindle bestselling romantic suspense released in November 2011 from Montlake Romance. She Can Run is a 2012 Thriller Award nominee for Best First Book. Her next book, Midnight Exposure, releases in September 2012. Find out more about Melinda: website / facebook / twitter