May 23, 2012

{Character & Deleted Scene Post + Giveaway} of Dog Days by Elsa Watson

Dog Days
Very excited to have author Elsa Watson who wrote Dog Days, which was released yesterday, here on the blog. I have such a soft spot for my puppy and can't imagine what it would be like to switch bodies, which is what Dog Days is all about! 
Elsa Watson: About Zoe
Thanks so much for having me on Seeing Night! 
I wanted to introduce Zoë, the dog character in my book Dog Days (released May 22).  Dog Days is about a person, Jessica, and a dog, Zoë, who switch bodies when they’re struck by magical lightning. 
No matter what body she’s in, Zoë is what non-dog-owners would call “a handful.”  She’s the kind of dog who will pull their owner’s clean clothes out of the laundry basket and take them to her special sleeping spot just so she can have something comfy and dry to lie on. 
I thought the best way to present Zoë would be to let you see a bit of her in action.  Below is a scene from Dog Days that didn’t make it into the final book—in the end, it just didn’t fit with the rest of the storyline.  But it certainly show’s Zoë in action, and I’m glad to get to share it here.  The scene involves Jessica and Zoë (still in their rightful bodies) at a dog obedience class.  It’s based on something that actually happened in a dog class I attended, when a Labradoodle let his internal goof-off get the better of him and went zooming around the room, disrupting every dog in the place.

Deleted Scene from Dog Days
Zoë looked like she’d just found Nirvana.  I tried to steer her to an empty place in the back, but she dug in her paws and strained toward a Labradoodle in the far corner, dragging me across the room.  I zoomed past Blythe, the instructor, like a water-skier.
“Jessica, if you and Zoë could just...”
Find a seat by the wall, yeah, I know.  If only it were that simple.  I tried to change the slant of Zoë’s trajectory, but her desire was stronger than mine.  We arrived—me sweating in my raincoat—in front of the Doodle’s owner.  Zoë shoved her nose in its butt.  The Doodle’s owner, a large man in his fifties who’d clearly never been towed anywhere by his dog, was not amused.
“Zoë, come on!” 
Blythe was trying to get the class’s attention, but everyone—dogs and humans—were busy watching Zoë meet the Doodle.  And watching me turn red as a beet.  Somewhere behind me, I heard muffled laughter.  I hissed something unprintable at Zoë and tried—for the fiftieth time—to pull her away.
At last she relented.  I dragged her to an empty space and sank myself on the bench like an anchor.  Blythe came to the front of the room, clasped her hands in front of her navel, and started talking.
“Show your dog the reward in your hand,” Blythe was saying, “so they know there’s a treat coming.  We all work better with a promised reward, don’t we?”  Blythe’s voice was chipper.  “We’re going to start with a basic sit and stay.  I’d like these four over here—” she gestured to the dogs on the far side of the room “—to take places in the middle of the room.”
No one needed practice like Zoë and me, so I popped to my feet when Blythe called for the next group.  Keeping Zoë on a short leash, I did my power walk to the front of the room and stopped in the place closest to Blythe.
“Come on into the middle and practice a sit-and-stay,” she said, walking up and down like an inspecting officer.  “Ask your dog to sit, then ask it to stay and back up about five steps.  Go ahead and start.”
I looked at Zoë, this stranger of a dog, and asked her to sit.
She stared at me.  Her ears drooped like lazy tulip petals.  Then she turned to the left and stretched her nose toward the black lab next to us, ruining his chances at a successful sit.  His owner looked horrified. 
“Gizmo, sit!”
Gizmo couldn’t sit, because now he had to sniff Zoë.  Fair was fair.  I tried to pull her away, but I only ricocheted her into the Norwich terrier on the other side.  The terrier started barking and ran between its owner’s legs.  Farther down the row, a beagle broke away from its owner and ran circles around the terrier, yipping.  Zoë dove after the terrier, knocking its owner down.  Every dog in the joint started to bark.
I was trying to pull Zoë away when Blythe jumped into the fray.  She started tugging on leashes, but she pulled me into the Gordian Knot instead of yanking Zoë out.  Three more dogs broke away from their owners and joined the mêlée. 
The terrier piddled on the floor. 
“That’s the wrong end—you’ve got the wrong end!” I yelled to Blythe, though no one could hear me over the barking.  The terrier was reading the beagle the riot act.  Zoë had decided to lie down right in the middle of the mess.  And the beagle’s owner darted all around the fringes, like a referee waiting to blow the whistle on the whole gig.
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  1. I always want to know what my dog is thinking - especially when she is barking at me.

  2. Well, I know what my cat is thinking. I am going to kill the dog as soon as you leave the house,until then, I am taking a nap.

  3. I've always wondered what our pets are thinking. Is it something like "I'm hungry, oh look at that squirrel, I'm supposed to sit here, oh, look at that lizard," or do they have philosophical conversations with each other. :D

  4. I know Chloe thinks we are totally off our rocker and she has us in the palm of her paw.