Friday, October 18, 2019


Understanding Sassie: A Novel of Dog and Human Communication
Goldie  was alone. 

She missed the company of her puppies.  She had taught her puppies how to hunt as a team, and this education made it easier for them to kill for their food.  Now she was hunting alone, and it was necessary for her to go farther from the den to obtain her food.  The nights were getting colder, and she no longer had the warmth of her puppies to dull the icy hands of the night.  She was lonesome and hungered for comfort.  As she traveled a greater distance to hunt, she found the dirt road.  She discovered the black skins and, like Sassie discovered, that man was responsible for the appearance of these black skins.  It was easy prey and she took advantage of the black treasurers that held food. 

She wondered about a man that she noticed came to walk in this area of the forest every day at the same time.  He always seemed to be looking at the ground and mumbling something to himself.  I really love Millie!  I know she wants to graduate college, but I don’t think our relationship would stop her ability to graduate!  Should I propose?  What if I do propose and she says no?  It will only be a few months until she graduates.  Does she love me enough to trust me? 

Mike’s conversations with himself were filled with confusing thoughts.  He came to this wooded area because Mother Nature helped him to think.  He started to bring his lunch here, because the wooded area was peaceful and comforting.  Unknown to him was Goldie’s presence.  Like Goldie, he was beginning to realize how lonely it was to live alone.

Goldie sensed that the man was troubled.  She liked the fact that he always left some of his lunch.  It was as if he knew there was a dog that needed to eat.  Impossible, Goldie thought, I would never let man see me!  Man is dangerous! 

Yet Goldie saw gentleness and compassion in this man and wondered what it would be like to live with him.   She was thinking about breaking her own rule.  Stay away from Man!  She began to wonder, is this man really dangerous?

At the shelter, Sassie was getting more freedom and more time with Ruth.  She kept hearing something about a Puppy Play Day.  Play is something that she always enjoyed.  She missed the play with her brother and sister. What did Puppy Play Day mean?  Would I be able to meet some new friends? 

Sassie heard Ruth and Jane talk about a time called “Saturday,” but it meant little to Sassie.  Sassie did understand that Ruth was excited about something, and as she listened to Jane and Ruth talk, she decided they were planning something fun.

Ruth was excited about introducing Sassie to the Puppy Play Day that would be held on Saturday.  Jane was explaining the rules and the fact that Millie would be there to help new owners understand what puppy play actions are good and what actions needed redirection. 

Jane was smiling and laughing as she thought about past play dates, I have many toys, I have places for the puppies to hide if they want a time-out, and the owners are given directions for proper redirection or protecting a puppy’s personal space or their wish to hide. 

Jane went on to describe one of the recent puppy play dates.   “Everyone was laughing and enjoying the moment.  Outside, the weather may have been miserable, but the noise of the wind was unnoticed as we watched the puppies play.  That day there was a group of four German Shepherd puppy siblings that were chasing each other around the large room.  Dog toys were scattered throughout the area.  Some of the other puppies were chewing on balls, ropes, and things of every shape and size.  A mixed-breed puppy was shaking a fluffy toy squirrel that squealed, much to the delight of those who wanted to steal this fun toy.

At one point, three of the German Shepherd puppies decided to lie down to rest.  However, the fourth puppy wanted them to continue the chase game.  He picked up a snake toy and shook it in front of the three resting puppies.  It was a temptation they could not ignore.  The chase game began again with everyone wanting to capture the snake toy.

Jane told Ruth, “It is a fun time, and we try to have a scheduled Puppy Play Day on the first and third Saturday of each month at 6 p.m.  If the weather is bad or there is a holiday, there will be no play dates scheduled.  Tomorrow is a Puppy Play Day.  You can bring Sassie to this one if you’d like.  She will already be here at the shelter; just come a little early and bring dog treats.”

Ruth was looking forward to giving Sassie a nice adventure at this puppy play time.


With her permission, I am serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, near-final material from this novel by Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through

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