Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's That Writer's Fault!

Some time back, one of our local doctors came to a signing and brought her Great Dane. I didn't know she was coming, but she had emailed me in the past about Spot, the dog in my books, and I came to understand that the character of Spot was an influence in her decision to buy a Harlequin Great Dane.
This is something that I've worried about in the past. What if people are influenced by the fictional dog Spot, buy a real dog as a result, and are disappointed? I hope that I make Spot real enough that readers understand that, while Danes are great dogs, they're not perfect.
I went out to the doctor's car to meet the dog. Before I even got close, I could tell two things. One, he was a Harlequin, just like Spot in my books. He had a beautiful smattering of black spots over his white coat. The other thing I could tell from a distance was that he was the happiest and sweetest of dogs. He wagged his tail so hard that his entire body shook.
As I approached the car, his head was out the window, panting, smiling, so excited to meet a stranger.
Photo from

Wow,” I said to the doctor as I rubbed the dog's head. “He is so friendly, so enthusiastic! He must be a perfect joy to have in your home.”
He's a great joy,” she said. “My husband and I really love him, but I wouldn't say he's perfect.”
Really,” I said. “Misbehaves now and then like any other dog, does he?”
Yeah,” she said. And then, with a grin and a twinkling eye, she added, “and when he screws up, my husband says, 'It's that writer's fault!'”


  1. Todd, I have a girlfriend in Arizona, who is a big fan of yours. Just today, she asked if I had inquired about Spot, when we met up yesterday. I am so glad this posting was here to share with her.

    I think if this is the worst thing you get blamed for ('It's that writer's fault!'”), then life is pretty okay.

    "Inside every Newfoundland, Boxer, Elkhound and Great Dane is a puppy longing to climb on to your lap." -Helen Thomson

    1. Denise, your Thomson quote is perfect.

      When you sit on a chair, a Great Dane will lower its head to rest it on your lap. If you sit on the floor, a Dane will lie down so that it can flop its head and part of its shoulders onto your lap. If you make the mistake of letting a Dane onto your bed, it will try to lie on top of you. And if you refuse to sit down, a Dane will stand next to you and lean against you. The breed will do anything to increase human contact.