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Monday, 9 June 2014

Guest Post: An Inconvenient Dog

KBR warmly welcomes author Charlotte Lance with this guest post on the adorable inspiration behind her new picture book I Have A Dog.

The very things in our lives that drive us truly nutty can sneak up on us as the very things we can’t live without. Strange, but it’s a beautiful thing to be surprised by how much we need something, don’t you think?

So I tell myself when I wake up each morning to my dog. My inconvenient dog.

I Have A Dog is as close to a true story as I could write about my dog. Having removed all expletives, all adjectives used for said dog’s daily unsavory poo trail, the same for the half-a-garden he brings inside on his feet, the marital arguments that ensue and other less wholesome realities, the final version of the story emerged quite a sweet, wholesome and surprisingly truthful book.

Loosely, in the end, it's based on the true story of my life with the inconvenient dog.

While pregnant and at home with a toddler, my husband brought home the three-month-old dog in question. While I should have felt maternal love for all creatures great, not-so-great and small, any that I had was properly focused on my human and nearly born human.

There was a lot less maternal over flow for the filthier, hairier, more hyperactive, smellier, dribblier, hungrier non-human who required far more clean up than any baby, anywhere, ever. Ever.

Very inconvenient dog.

As time went by, the teddy bear grew and shed and barked and jumped and grew and pooed and ate and pooed and grew and morphed into a horse/polar bear combo.

Horse/polar bear combo, with Billy the cat

Despite my resistance to the inconvenient dog, my two boys, bigger by now, adored him. They sat on him, rolled on him, cuddled him, put their faces in his, put capes on him, hats on him, texta, lipstick, sat on him again and again. They pestered and bothered him every day.

Anyone could see that there was a solid two way pester/bother street forming. With one great difference. The inconvenient dog didn’t roll his eyes or shoo the boys away as I did to him. He didn’t put his hand on his hip and sigh so audibly as I did. He didn’t even get up. He lay there with the sweetest, dopiest face you’ve ever seen, maybe even a smile, and let the boys go for it.

To present day, while he is the size of a pony and all the mess, noise, jumping, dirt, shedding is only worse, it seems the rigmarole of life with the inconvenient dog is now so familiar to us, the rolling of my eyes so on auto pilot, that put simply, this here is our life with dog. And while I don’t love it, I think that I like it. While I didn’t exactly want a horse polar bear, he’s snuck into my everyday and it would be a different day without him.

If the things that drive us the nuttiest can be the things we unsuspectingly need the most, then I cannot live without this dog. And that is just how nutty he has made me.

Charlotte Lance is an illustrator from Melbourne. She works predominately in book publishing, and also has an illustrated children's T-shirt label BOY GIRL. She sells selected prints, and occasionally exhibits her work. See more at www.charlielance.com.

I Have A Dog is published by Allen and Unwin, $19.99.

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