I’m delighted to have Karen Whiddon here to share her love of boxers and the fine work she does for these wonderful dogs, and a book dear to her heart, The Texas Soldier’s Son (Romantic Suspense).
Karen: I was thrilled when asked to post about a beloved furbaby. Rescuing dogs is my passion and I’ve volunteered for years with Legacy Boxer Rescue here in north Texas. Over the years, I’ve fostered and adopted and currently have a full house – four personal Boxers (two foster-failures) and one foster who is currently considered a Keeper due to a medical condition.
So which one to talk about? I love them all in different ways. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to discuss my first foster dog, Katniss.
Katniss was brought into the shelter on the edge of death. Severely emaciated, she was anemic and covered in ticks. Her age was estimated at 4-6 years. When I stepped up to foster her, she was immediately taken from the shelter to the rescue’s vet. In addition to this, she had erlichia. My husband and I picked off over one hundred ticks off this girl. The vet said she was so anemic that if we let her run, her heart could stop, so she had to be crated. After a warm bath, we put her on a regimen of four meals a day and medicine.
Despite all she’d gone through, she still wagged her tail and was friendly. As she gained weight and her anemia cleared up, I rejoiced when she did her first Boxer zoom around the back yard. She got along with all my dogs except my grump old male Macadoo. The two of them got into several dog fights, so I ended up keeping them separated.
Katniss was adopted 7 months after I got her in April of 2013, but the adopter returned her in ten days because his vet learned she had kidney failure. Which explained the constant drinking of water and the fact that I had to take her out in the middle of the night every single night. I took her back, and she was put on prescription food and fish oil. This was in November of 2013.
In May of 2014, I took Katniss on a Home Visit for a potential adopter. The man (a single father) fell in love with her. Even the fact that she had kidney failure didn’t deter him. He took her to his own vet and had her checked out and then adopted her. She thrived there. I kept in touch and received many photos over the years.
However in October of 2017, her adoptive father called me. He was at the vet with Katniss and her kidney failure had won. She’d stopped eating and drinking and the vet had run tests and the time had come to help her to the Rainbow Bridge. He asked if I would like to be there – and said he didn’t think he could do this alone.
She remembered me. Despite her clear weakness, she wiggled her tail and kissed me. I was honored to stand with her dad as the vet helped her peacefully pass.
For me, Katniss will always signify all that is good about rescue. I still miss her, her dad does too, but she had 4 more years of a good life, being loved, than she would have. And in March of 2018, I found another dog for Katniss’s dad to love. A boy this time. The adoption is finalized and another dog will know a loving home.
Katniss’s pic and story can be read here: http://www.savetheboxers.com/beforeandafter2.php?dogID=3076
I have a book coming out in May called The Texas Soldier’s Son (Harlequin Romantic Suspense) To quote from my Dear Reader letter in the beginning of the book:
As a writer, every now and then it feels like a story is given as a gift from the cosmos. The Texas Soldier’s Son is one of these books. Writing it felt like telling the story of good friends, maybe even family. I was there with them, just recounting what happened. Moved to tears with them, frightened for them, rejoicing with them, and falling in love just as they did.
From the back cover blurb: “Jacob is your son.” A thrilling new Top Secret Deliveries story. Army Ranger Kyle Benning never expected to live again… or have a family. When he was believed dead in an explosion, Nicole Shelton gave birth to Kyle’s baby. Now she’s someone else’s widow and a prime suspect in a murder case! Everything Kyle once knew is a dangerous as a war zone, but he battles trauma and a killer to rescue the woman he loves.
Excerpt from The Texas Soldier’s Son:
No matter. He’d be setting things straight soon.
The 2013 Chevy Silverado he drove had been one of his lone expenditures. He’d paid cash for the used pickup, knowing he’d need something reliable for the drive west to Anniversary. Excitement jumped inside him, drowning out some of the ever-present anxiety. Excitement and, dare he say, joy. Because soon, he’d be with Nicole. He couldn’t wait to see her face when he knocked on her door, to pull her into his arms and breathe the fresh strawberry scent of her shampoo, to kiss her lips until they both felt as if they were drowning.
In his pocket, he had the only other thing he’d spent part of his savings on. An engagement ring. As soon as he and Nicole got caught up, he planned to get down on bended knee and ask her formally to be his wife.
They’d talked about marrying before he’d signed up for the army. He’d even given her his high school class ring as a token, proof that he was hers and vice versa. She’d taken to wearing it with a long chain around her neck, safely tucked under her shirt so her strict parents wouldn’t see.
God, he loved her. As his truck ate up the miles, he amused himself with imagining several different scenarios when they saw each other for the first time in over a year. His favorite was the one where she hopped into his truck, they drove out to the lake and made love right there in the cab.
Finally, he crossed from Louisiana into Texas. Not too much farther now. The hum of his tires on the asphalt soothed him and he felt more relaxed than he had since the explosion.
When the Anniversary city limits sign came into view, dusk had settled over the sky. The sunset colored the sky pink and orange, promising another hot East Texas day tomorrow. He remembered how everyone liked to complain about the summer heat. It would be a cakewalk compared to the temperatures in Kabul.
Instead of heading toward the small frame home he’d rented via the internet for the next six months, he drove directly to Nicole’s parents’ house, praying she’d be home. Parking out front, he jogged up the sidewalk, his heart pounding in his chest, and rang the bell.
A moment later, the door opened. Nicole’s mother stared at him, frowning. “What are you doing here?” she asked, the rancor in her voice startling.
“I’ve been discharged from the hospital, ma’am,” he said, figuring he’d kill her with kindness. “If you don’t mind, I’d really like to see Nicole.”
“Nicole?” She recoiled as violently as if he’d struck her. “Nicole doesn’t live here. She’s over on Broad Street in the house she shared with her husband and son.” A slow, malicious smile spread across her face. “Bill Mabry? I’m thinking you might remember him?”
He hadn’t gotten much past the words husband and son. When he finally caught up, the name Bill Mabry made his stomach churn. That had been the same guy her parents had tried to force her to marry when he and Nicole had been together.
“Well?” The older woman stared, her gaze hard. “Is there anything else that I can help you with?”
For a moment he couldn’t speak, couldn’t force the words out past the huge lump in his throat. Only when she’d started to close the huge oak door in his face did he think of the one other thing he needed to know. “Did Nicole even mourn me at all?”
“Of course not,” she said smoothly, without missing a beat. “Once the army notified your foster family of your death, she’d moved on. She was already married with a newborn by then. I didn’t want to disrupt her life.”
And then she waited, eying him with a certain mocking relish, waiting for him to reveal how devastating he found her answer. He refused to give her the pleasure.
Though his head spun, he turned on his heel, the military precision of the movement kicking in by instinctive habit. Somehow, he made it to his truck, unlocked the doors and slid inside. Turning the key, he started the engine, put the shifter into Drive and pulled away.
He started to head to the park by the lake, the same secluded place he’d intended to take Nicole, but instead he found himself heading toward Broad Street. He still couldn’t believe her mother’s words, couldn’t accept that she hadn’t waited barely any time at all before getting married and pregnant. For her to have a newborn, that meant she’d jumped into bed with this Bill Mabry guy right after getting the erroneous news of Kyle’s demise.
Had he truly meant that little to her?
Get The Texas Soldier’s Son in Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Texas-Soldiers-Son-Secret-Deliveries-ebook/dp/B075XYJDHW/
Award winning author Karen Whiddon spun fanciful tales for her younger brothers as early as the age of eleven. Growing up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, then the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she found enough magic in the rugged peaks to keep her imagination fueled for years.
Now making her home in North Texas, she shares her life with her hero-like husband and five doting dogs. In her spare time she volunteers for Legacy Boxer Rescue, Inc. She has published around 45 books. Currently she writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne.
You can email Karen at [email protected]
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