Promises to Horton

A Service Dog’s Final Request

When I met Michelle Ryan over twelve years ago, I met a kindred soul that was forever giving and generous, sometimes at the cost of her own health. It was soon after that she would start a wonderful journey to restore  her soul. She was blessed with a new friend. A beautiful Golden Retriever named Horton. He was learning to be her service dog.

Horton’s duties were to help Michelle take care of herself. At times, Michelle’s illness was so debilitating that at night, he would be the crutch she used to get to the bathroom. We’ve been at Starbucks when a very quiet Horton would jump up and nuzzle her chin. She needed to take her medicine. Horton was a wonderful service dog and like all good dogs he was her best friend.  

He was the reason she started Horton’s House – a doggie daycare and vacation kennel.  She now hosts dogs on a regular basis. Even when she needed to move twenty miles away from her old place to a new sprawling farm to expand her services, customers followed her. Horton by her side helping evaluate all her new guests.

Just under a week ago, Michelle sent a message saying Horton was dying of cancer.  I rushed an hour away to the farm to be by her side. We talked for hours about his life and what she was going to do.  She had been told that Horton had maybe two months. She had time to figure it out.

My last moments with Horton were that night. When Michelle was out of the room, Horton came to me. Bringing me one of his favorite toys he looked up and stared at me it as if he was trying to tell me something. Through tears, I promised him I would take care of Michelle when he was gone. Then, a dog that had been trained from puppyhood not to lick, licked the tears from my cheek. He dropped the toy in my lap and went to lay back on his bed. I knew how sick he was and hoped with the new medicine he was going to start the next day, we would once again be a able to play fetch – something that Horton was allowed to do only when I came over. We had time — two months to play fetch.

But veterinary medicine is not exact science  and life is not fair.

This morning, as I was finishing my first cup of coffee I received a hurried message of, “I need you to come over!  They are going to put him to sleep tonight here at the house.”

I got dressed while looking for my coffee maker and simultaneously calling the grocery store to arrange to pick up food for all those that would arrive throughout the day to help Michelle mourn.

Then, another frantic message arrived telling me that it was over.  He was already gone. He had died in Michelle’s arms. I was stunned. I would not get my play time with Horton. As the grief rolled over me, I realized I had to get moving and broke every speed limit on the way.

I had to keep my promise to Horton. I had to go take care of Michelle. Now we sit around discussing how to best honor him. A tree, or bench with his ashes? A small garden? Nothing seems adequate enough to honor a dog that made such a major impact on my friend Michelle’s, life.

Michelle is stronger than she was ten years ago, and Horton’s House will continue. His name forever on the gate and door.

Book Cover Changes

It’s been eighteen months since I originally published Magic’s Lover in August 2016.

I did see the reviews (Thank you!), the emails, and private messages requesting that Shay & Pierce’s book become a series. I happily jumped into book two and wrote the second most requested story. Ghost’s book was published as Magic Denied in September 2017. You can find the e-book through most retail sites. Yes, there is a book planned for Petra.

During the writing of the second book I found with Ghost’s story and the additional storylines, and the series as a whole was going in a much different direction than originally anticipated. While I loved the first cover, I felt the covers need to be updated. All e-book versions will automatically update with the new cover when you sync with your retailer.

Author Biography

I was raised by my paternal Grandma, Georgette.  My life was filled with good food, stories, and lots of lessons about antiques, old plantations, and what proper etiquette was for young ladies. Grandma’s retirement was dedicated to me. That love resonates with me every day, especially in my writing. When I was thirteen years old Georgette handed me a paperback book and told her to dream. From that moment on I have not stopped reading or dreaming of becoming a writer.

After a long career in technology, real estate, and raising three children I decided it was time to pursue a dream. While I had written technical documents during my career in technology I had no idea what it meant to be a fiction writer. With determination and the guiding hand of a veteran writer as my mentor, I slowly learned to craft a story. Finally, I realized my dream with my first publication of Magic’s Lovers in August 2016.

I saw the reviews for Magic’s Lovers, the emails, and private messages requesting that Shay & Pierce’s book become a series. I eagerly jumped into book two and wrote the second most requested story. Magic Denied was published in September 2017. Petra’s book is planned!

I live in Seattle, Washington area with my geeky husband of over twenty years and three teenagers, squeezing in writing when I can. The house includes four dogs, six cats, two birds, and whatever lizards my husband keeps in his basement lab. She spends most of her time researching, writing, and video conferencing with friends across the country.

Scroll to top