Pet Spotlight: Laurien Berenson

Blaze

Blaze

I’ve had the great good fortune to live my life surrounded by animals which probably explains, at least in part, why I love writing about them so much. I learned at an early age that people can be difficult, but dogs are always just right. My first dog was our family pet, a Springer Spaniel named Gumdrops. My parents believed that dogs and children went together but unfortunately their largesse did not extend to allowing the dog inside the house. Through cold winters and hot summers, Gumdrops lived outside in a wooden dog house. She ate rocks, demolished a plastic swimming pool, and drove my father crazy with her barking.

I decided that I when I grew up I would do things differently. My three decade long love affair with the Poodle breed began quite innocently. I knew I wanted a smart dog and Poodles seemed to fit the bill. My first Poodle, a big, black, Standard named Raven was not only intelligent, she was also thoughtful and empathetic. She also had a better sense of humor than most people I know. It was inevitable that a succession of Poodles would follow over the years: Standards and Minis, whites and blacks. They entertained us, they understood us. They were never pets, they were members of our extended family.

Laurien and Dash

Laurien and Dash

Dinah slept with my infant son from the day he came home from the hospital. She was both comforting presence and guardian angel. Jesse taught herself to open and close the refrigerator. She liked to help herself to cheese and yogurt, and pass around treats to the other dogs. Max was our only dumb Poodle—endearingly sweet, he couldn’t think his way out of a dark corner.

When our last Poodle died, I decided I needed a break from grooming. We now live with two smooth Collies, a sable male named Dash and a blue merle female, Blaze. Dash, like his name, does everything quickly. He’s our runner, our thinker, our watchdog. Blaze has the laid back attitude of a Caribbean beach bum. Nothing ever fazes her. I wish I could emulate her cool aplomb but unfortunately I’m not that lucky. My dogs have shaped who I am today in so many ways. I know they’ve made me a better person. My life wouldn’t have been the same without them.

Laurien Berenson

Laurien is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses. Her latest, Death of a Dog Whisperer, was released on August 24th and is the seventeenth in the Melanie Travis series.