Pet Spotlight: Chevy Stevens

Oona and PiperMy mother raised me to believe that animals were more than pets and working animals, they were family. On our ranch in Shawnigan Lake, BC, we had horses, chickens, cats, dogs, a pig named Patty, and even, at one point, a seagull and a crow. My mom was always rescuing animals. If a wayward dog or cat made its way onto our property, it had found a home for life.
One my favorite pets as a child was a black long-haired cat named Love. She’d follow me around the ranch as I explored the woods and valleys, made imaginary fairy castles in old stumps or floated leaf boats on one of our ponds. Her soft mew would remind me not to go too far. I’d also carry her in my arms like a baby doll, and we’d often end up sleeping in the barn in the hayloft, burrowed down into the sweet-scented hay. I’d sneak off into the woods sometimes with a book when I was supposed to be doing chores, and lean back against a tree, letting the stories take me away, while Love curled up in my lap, purring and kneading any part of my body she could touch. Every night she slept on my bed.

When it was time for my husband and me to start our family, I hoped that our daughter would have the same relationship with animals growing up as I’d had. But I wasn’t sure how our dog, Oona, would feel about a baby. We’d only had Oona for less than a year and I was worried that she might be jealous. We expected a little adjustment but the day we brought the baby home from the hospital, Oona gave her a sniff, and instantly appointed herself guardian. There was a knowing about her, as though she had been intune with the baby long before she arrived, as though she had been waiting for her.

Our daughter, Piper, now smiles and laughs at Oona—and Oona always comes to check on her after she’s been outside. Oona also follows us around if we are carrying Piper, and sits by my feet when I’m nursing, her soft brown eyes watching lovingly. Protecting her family. When we are lying in bed cuddling in the morning, Piper’s tiny hand reaches out to caress Oona’s fur or hold her paw for a moment, and I catch my breath, my heart filling with joy at the sweetness of these tender beginnings. I can see the next years unfold—Piper and Oona playing in the backyard, chasing each other around, curled up somewhere sleeping—and I am so grateful to this little dog. My daughter’s first best friend.

Chevy

CHEVY STEVENS grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. At open houses, waiting between potential buyers, she spent hours scaring herself with thoughts of horrible things that could happen to her. Her most terrifying scenario, which began with being abducted, was the inspiration for STILL MISSING. After six months Chevy sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book.

Chevy enjoys writing thrillers that allow her to blend her interest in family dynamics with her love of the west coast lifestyle. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s camping and canoeing with her husband and daughter in the local mountains. Her latest, ALWAYS WATCHING, came out on June 18th.