The Dog’s Publication Day Complaint

I have always been an animal lover. Possibly, like enough of my identity to be embarrassing, it was born of rebellion against my parents. Well, actually my mother. It was she who was most vocal in her adamant refusal to let me and my sister have a pet. Jan and I wanted a dog, we begged for a dog.

“They shed. They’re unsanitary. They bring in dirt and germs.” My mother chanted whenever one of us brought up the subject again. So naturally, the minute I was truly on my own, I got a dog, only to discover that my mother was absolutely right, at least about the amount of hair and dirt I’d live with. She hadn’t even mentioned that dogs also throw up on your good carpet as opposed to your ceramic tile whenever they’ve found something dead to eat out on the trail.

Despite these immutable facts, my husband and I have had a dog ever since we’ve been married. My mother had had no clue about the astonishing love factor. Our dogs are always rescues because we believe in it, and, because we’re also hikers, we’ve taken to adopting Labs; we live right near woods in which well-trained dogs are allowed off-leash. Which leads me to Scout, my Labrador retriever, who is well-trained. Occasionally.

Rather than going on about Scout’s inclination to go deaf when one of us shouts, “Leave it! Don’t eat that, don’t roll in that!” here’s the thing I want to tell you. Before THE TESTAMENT OF HAROLD’s WIFE, all my books have had dogs in them. Important dogs. My last two novels were set on an oyster farm and a horse farm respectively, but they both had significant dogs in them, too, so Scout was mollified. But when Scout got ahold of THE TESTAMENT OF HAROLD’S WIFE, imagine his outrage: it features a cat. Chickens. Deer. No Lab. Not even any other, lesser dog!  Imagine the degree of the insult, the sheer affront to his pride.

I have seriously tried to explain. “Scout,” I reasoned. People do care about animals other than dogs. Don’t you?”

“Whatever are you talking about?” he demanded. “Don’t be ridiculous. Give me a treat and try again.”

I can only hope that unlike Scout, my dog-devoted readers will stick with me to the end of THE TESTAMENT Of HAROLD’S WIFE, when Louisa clearly states her plan to get a new dog. And I hope that meanwhile, you’ll be delighted by the smart chickens on Louisa’s southeastern Indiana farm—and Marvelle, her uppity tuxedo cat—in whom she confides her Plan to bring to justice down on the drunk driver who set so much destruction in motion. And by the deer that Louisa will not allow to be hunted on her farm.

This is a novel that celebrates the connections that help us go on after overwhelming loss, whether they be between the still living, between people and dear animals, or people and land in which they are rooted. Ultimately, it’s a novel about strength and love.

Scout, however, is still annoyed. He’d like you to know that there are some wonderful stories about his exploits—which are what you should be interested in—on my website’s blog,, and pictures of him on Instagram, LynneHugoAuthor. He’s sure there are some on LynneHugoReader’s Page on Facebook, too, and if there aren’t enough, he says he’ll be sure that more get put up there. Here’s one now. He wants you to know that he’s posing against his will and says, “What kind of novel lacks a handsome, excellent-at-barking, noble Labrador retriever? It has a CAT. The prosecution rests.”

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16 Responses to The Dog’s Publication Day Complaint

  1. Lynne, Have a wonderful day in New York. Can only imagine how exciting it will be. Hope you can manage to move around, the tv shows traffic at a standstill,while the president makes his way to and from the UN. I am impatiently awaiting the arrival of the FedEx man today and my copy of The Testament of Harold’s Wife. Hope to spend this afternoon and tonight snuggled up enjoying my time with Louisa. Got a good chuckle out of Scouts’ reaction to being left out of this one. Enjoy your special day. Kathy F.

    • Thank you so much, Kathy! I hope you love the story. I had an amazing time in NYC for 2 days of meetings and signing books and two wonderful “professional” lunches, as well as a productive discussion of the next book, which is under contract. Thanks again!

  2. Congrats Lynn on another book. It is truly impressive that you have such perserverance and imagination. Steve just finished one, so I have a close up
    view of the difficulties. Looking forward to reading it, specially now that I am besotted over our new kitten. Anna fostered 2 kittens and when it was time to return them to the shelter for adoption Ella couldn’t part with the very special, affectionate, Siamese looking Yolo. But they already have a dog, two bunnies and a cat. ‘Grandpa please, please….’ so we now are parents of Yolo D. Blanco. Zoe is being a good sport, but passive aggressively chewing up my clothes when I’m not home. CIAO.

    • Marvelle, a tuxedo cat, is one of the stars of TESTAMENT. Good luck with Yolo! And sympathy to Zoe–but especially to you and your wardrobe! Let me know how you like the novel!

  3. We are owned by these shedding, loving, demanding animals and they can talk back no matter what anyone says. Sorry but no cat or chicken can quite take the place of a loyal, devoted canine!!

    • …well, that’s true, except when they eat the unmentionable stuff on the trail, right after rolling in it! Thanks, Barb!

  4. Congratulations Lynne on the launch of Testament!

    As for you, Scout, you WILL recover. In no time at all, you will be smiling ecstatically over treats, head scratches and romps through the woods. And heh- one day you might even discover your new BFF Is unbelievably, amazingly – hang on to your tail- a CAT!

  5. What an absolutely charming way to announce your newest novel! As always, I enjoy your creativity. I’m looking forward to reading this one. Please send Scout my best and convey my hope that his mom buys him an enormous bone-in ribeye to make up for her infidelity.

    • Thank you so much, Emily! Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you love the story. Scout definitely gets more than his share of bones…

  6. Lynne,
    I enjoyed the humor in Testament. More than
    that, the book conveyed an understanding
    about the mindset of people who should
    not be permitted to hunt, because of
    a lack of respect for people, animals, and
    property rights. Thank you. I finished
    in 2018.

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