Why I wrote Dixie’s Gift by Barbara Edwards

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
― Will Rogers

Dixie by Barbara Edwards

Dixie’s Gift

Dixie’s Gift, my Christmas novella is based on memories of my Dixie who spent her days keeping me from becoming a hermit. She’d demand a walk. Taking me out of my house to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise. She’d sleep on my feet, keeping them warm while I wrote.

We got Dixie from a retired teacher who fostered dogs waiting for a forever home. It was a serendipitous happening.

My husband wanted a German Shepherd, but ever time I got bitten it was a shepherd so I said no. I was watching the Westminster Dog show and a beautiful dog called a Belgian Malinois was competing for best of show. They described the breed as being family oriented, energetic and needing an owner who spent time with them. Since the breed looked similar to what my husband  wanted, I checked with several breeders who said their females weren’t breed every season.

My husband and I were having coffee and I  was flipping through the Penny Saver when I spotted the ad for adopting her. I called despite the fact we weren’t going to be home the following weekend. It was love at first sight. This beautiful dog had been discarded after a bitter divorce. She’d been kept in a dog cage all day every day.

When we got home we didn’t know if she was housebroken and put her in a dog cage. I never heard such a horrible scream from a dog. She vomit and pooped and I let her out promising not to do it again.

We decided to take a chance and took her inside. She was housebroken, but wouldn’t answer to the name they provided. My son came over and started calling her by dog names until he laughingly called Dixie, a reference to our Civil War reenacting. She perked up and went to him so Dixie it was.

Dixie loved re-enacting and went with us to events, she loved riding in the car, sleeping in the tent and watching the horses.

Dixie went with us to Yellowstone.

I didn’t really think about my companion passing away and when she was diagnosed with cancer, it broke my heart. She was in terrible pain, but I didn’t want to let her go. It took me a week but I finally made the wrenching decision to send her over the rainbow bridge.

This story features the ghost of a dog who doesn’t want to leave her mistress alone and writing it helped me through those first lonely months.

I still miss her. Dixie is buried in my flower garden next to our house.

Dixie’s Gift

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-

Buy Links: http://a.co/hvdAjFY

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/3671-dixie-s-gift.html

Author: Barbara Edwards

Blurb: Ellen Carter deeply grieves for her husband Dan, but at least she still has Dixie, her beloved Malinois. However, soon Dixie leaves her too. But the faithful dog cannot rest easy in heaven while her mistress is unhappy. Dixie pleads with the Archangel Michael to let her send help, and intercedes for Ellen in the only way she can. But will Ellen get the message, and more importantly, will she accept Dixie’s gift?

Sexy newcomer Michael Burke can barely take enough time from his successful restaurant for a decent night’s sleep, let alone romance. Still, he is intrigued by the beautiful widow and can’t resist entering her shop. Sparks fly, and when Ellen has an accident in a snowstorm, he comes to her rescue. Trapped by a blizzard and aided by Dixie’s Gift, Ellen and Michael find more than shelter–they find love.

Cover artist: Debbie Taylor

Excerpt:

He brushed a wisp of her hair from her cheek. It clung like spider silk to his fingers.

He rubbed the strand and his heart raced. When her lips parted, he bent forward to taste their soft curve.

Sweet, so sweet, he thought as her mouth melded with his. His hands slowly slid from her slender shoulders to her waist. Soft as a feather, she sighed. Her curves fit against his hard chest like matching puzzle pieces.

The lights blinked, dimmed, and then flared back on.

Comments:

Dixie’s Gift tugs at your heart, and though the snow threatens, you can’t help but be warmed by this sweet story. A must read! — Kara O’Neal, Author

“Dog lovers, do not read this book . . . without a box of tissues nearby. A touching story of love and compassion.” – Diane Burton, author of the Outer Rim series.

“Delightful. . .Barbara Edwards weaves a heartwarming holiday tale of rediscovering love after the death of a spouse and the loss of a beloved pet. It’s a refreshing story with a theme of joy and peace and filled with engaging characters. And who can resist a romantic winter setting with lots and lots of snow?” ~ Judy Ann Davis, Author and Educator

Dixie’s Gift by Barbara Edwards is a gift of a read. Sweet, romantic, poignant, and touching, it will bring a lump to your throat and satisfaction to your heart. If you don’t shed a tear, you’re a robot.” ~ Award winning author Alicia Dean

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I adopted a dog by Barbara Edwards

Image
Dixie

 

With the ever-swelling numbers of stray dogs and feral cats, I’m a firm believer that they should be spayed or neutered unless they are full-blooded for breeding.

That’s one of the reasons we adopted our last dog. Dixie was a Belgian Malinois. She had all the best features of her breed: intelligent, family-oriented, well-behaved and beautiful. She became ill with an inoperable bone cancer after almost ten years as a devoted companion and fellow traveler. It broke my heart to lose her.

Lots of people said to get another dog, maybe a puppy, another female, no a male. I didn’t want another dog. I wanted my Dixie back.

It’s been months. My husband asked about another dog. Hint, hint.

 I went on the Belgian Malinois adoption site to check what was out there. http://www.malinoisrescue.org/

There are some lovely dogs available for ‘forever’ homes.

But—a big but- you need to fill out the adoption forms.

Belgians are not an easy dog to own. Probably why so many are dumped at shelters or the pound. They need lots of exercise, they love to run and can be stubborn as a three year old child. Belgians love to work. They’ll herd children like a flock of sheep or qualify in competitions for the most agile, best herder, tracker, bomb sniffer, drug dog.

I also joined the American Belgian Malinois Club Rescue on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/132825836736322/

We filled the forms and had the home approval visit a few days before we left for our snowbird months in Florida. Since we have an electric fence instead of a wire enclosure we needed to look for a Begian Malinois who would obey the limits. Some of them need a high fence to keep them home.

Image
Keno

A friend mentioned he’d seen a Mal at the County animal control and I went online to check. So many shelters put up photos of the available pets. I put in looking for a Belgian Malinois, either sex, young and got a hit at the German Shepherd Rescue in Dunellon, Florida. They had four Malinois. I expressed an interest in the female. So we went to visit.

I have to warn you. It isn’t easy to see all the animals begging to be taken home. I’m such a sucker. I liked the female but asked about the others and the handler let them out to play. They ran and barked and chased and begged for petting and I wanted to take them all.

I finally turned to my husband and demanded he decide—Which one do you like the most?

He picked out the two year old male named Keno.

Image
Keno, a Belgian Malinois

Keno has a good amount of training: he heels, sits, comes, brings a thrown toy, and loves riding in the truck . He also thinks he’s a 70 pound lap dog and needs to be discouraged from climbing on my lap. Like all Mals, he wants to be with us constantly. Not a big problem since we’re retired and I like taking him for a walk four times a day.

Now we’re thinking about fostering another Belgian Malinois when we’re back in our summer home. Maybe we’ll wire fence the yard. All those sweet dogs who need a ‘forever’ home are tugging at my heart.

Keno will never replace Dixie in my heart, but he’s making a place of his own.

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