Monday, November 11, 2019


Understanding Sassie: A Novel of Dog and Human Communication

Mike continued to spend his lunchtime at the peaceful forest retreat.  He would watch the clouds and sometimes close his eyes for a short nap. 

It was on a sunny but cool day that he noticed a patch of golden fur.  At first, he thought he had been imagining this bit of gold, but as he started to pick up his lunch containers, he saw that patch of golden fur near a distant tree.  He had an extra roast beef sandwich that he had not eaten, so he decided to see if he could lure this animal with the food.  He laid a roast beef trail from his lunch area to the dirt road.  He then hid behind some shrubbery and watched to see what would happen. 

Goldie saw the food trail, and when Mike got out of sight, she was too hungry to be cautious.  Goldie gobbled all the food on the trail to the road and bolted back to the seclusion of the forest.

The next day, Millie had reluctantly agreed to take a break and have a cup of coffee with Mike.  “Millie,” Mike said, “I am so glad you were willing to join me this morning!” 

Millie was about to take a sip of her coffee but set it down instead.  “What’s up, Mike?” she asked. 

Mike continued, “You know that I’ve been taking my lunch to a peaceful forest location.”  Millie nodded yes, and Mike continued, “I’ve discovered an adult dog that looks like a Golden Retriever is living near that area.  She reminds me of a dog I used to have as a child.  I believe she is a young adult.  She may be two or three years old.  If I can get her to trust me, I would like to give her a home.  She is thin, and I am afraid she might not be able to survive the upcoming winter.  Can you help me?”

Millie was interested and decided it would not hurt for her to go with Mike and see what she could do to help this dog.  She asked another waitress to cover the rest of her shift and then joined Mike.  As they left the diner, Mike asked, “do you have any ideas?’ 

“I do have a number of tricks that may be helpful.” Millie replied.  They continued to talk about the golden-haired dog as they drove to Mike’s forest lunch spot.

When they got to the forest, Millie and Mike decided to lay another roast beef trail.  Mike showed Millie the hiding place he had used the day before, and together they watched for Goldie.  It was only a short time before Millie whispered, “I think that is her!  She is so beautiful.”  Then Millie added, “You were right about her being thin.  I can see her ribs.”  

They waited as they watched Goldie’s movements.  She was trying to hide behind a tree but slowly began to move to the roast beef trail.  She gobbled the treats and then bolted back to her hide-a-way. 

Millie recognized Goldie’s need for food.  They decided to move slowly from their hiding place and drop more roast beef as they moved to Mike’s lunch spot.  They continued to toss the food away from where they were sitting.  “Don’t look in her direction,” Millie warned Mike.  “She is hungry but will not come to the food if she thinks we are watching her.”  

Goldie would bolt from her tree and grab a piece of food.  However, she came to realize that Millie and Mike were not a danger but a source of the good food. She gradually began to trust Mike and Millie.  The food was satisfying her hunger and they gave her a lot of it.  She came closer and closer.  Neither Mike nor Millie made any attempt to touch her.  Soon Goldie did become brave enough to take a piece of the food from their hands.  They still made no move to pet her. 

The next time they came to Mike’s lunch spot, Goldie came to them and not only took food from their hands but nudged them as well.  That was when they decided that it was time to reach for her slowly. 

Mike was so excited when Goldie began to run to Mike whenever he came to his lunch spot.  That’s when Mike knew it was time to bring Goldie home.

Millie began to enjoy spending the evenings with Mike and Goldie.  Millie especially liked to bring new toys for Goldie.  Mike laughed at how Goldie seemed to look for a toy every time Millie would arrive at the house.  Mike kept saying, “You’re spoiling her,”

Millie’s response was always, “I enjoy watching Goldie play with her toys.” 

On this occasion, Millie had brought a long unstuffed fuzzy creature.  Millie was trying to get Goldie to pull on it.  Goldie gave a Play Bow and pounced on the creature.  Then Goldie tossed the toy into the air.  When she caught it, she shook it. Mike laughed and asked Millie, “What was that all about?”

Millie explained the Play Bow and the other actions.  Mike looked at Millie and said, “Wow, that college behavior you are learning is interesting!”  Millie smiled at Mike and only answered, “Dogs understand more than you realize.”


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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