Last week I was lucky enough to have a heart-to-heart chat with a new friend. We chatted over wine in typical girls-night-out-fashion. We bared our souls, shared our secrets, trashed men, we cried and laughed until our sides hurt.
My new “friend” is Maggie Baxter the lead character in the delightful novel What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard.
While Maggie wasn’t with me in the literal sense, she was with me in every other way, because if you are a woman, we all have a little Maggie in us, or we know someone like Maggie.
That is just part of what makes this book so easy to relate to. If you are a woman, you “get it!”
Maggie Baxter’s world was completely changed the day she brought her beloved chocolate lab, Kona to the vet and was told he had an obstruction. After surgery, Maggie was handed a specimen bag with the object that caused the obstruction laying inside. It wasn’t a bone, a toy, nothing THAT easy to cure. It was a pair of “size-tiny lavender thong panties” that had been extracted from Kona. The problem was. They were NOT Maggie’s.
Imagine how you would feel with the Victoria’s Secret realization thrust in your face that your husband of 17 years was cheating on you.
It’s hard enough under normal circumstances, but when you are clearly a “Type A” Accountant with your life meticulously planned, it becomes almost unfathomable to have to come up with Plan B.
But come up with Plan B Maggie does. Or does she? Was Plan B in place all along, or did Maggie have to experience and learn different things, smell different scents to realize that? You will have to embark on this delicious journey to find out!
Maggie decides she needs to live her life more like her “the-world-is-my-smorgasbord chocolate Lab, Kona.” Her mantra became “What would Kona do?”
From What the Dog Ate some great “Maggie-isms”
“Ok, maybe I won’t act a LOT like Kona, but, you know, try to go with the flow more. Don’t over-think everything….Kona’s always up for some fun. In fact, with the exception of going to the vet, he sees potential for fun in every situation. And he never worries about the consequences.”
“On the way home, she fantasized about how much better it would be if finding a new man was like getting a dog. You could go online and research the type you wanted. Would you prefer one who’ll be a couch-potato with you? Or one that would fit into an active life-style? Toy or worker? Purebred or mutt? More influenced by scent or sight? Guard or companion?…with her spec’s nailed down, she’d go to the HUMAN Society website and search for an appealing picture. She’d go meet him and if they hit it off, bring him home. And he’d be grateful and love her for saving him from a life spent alone in a cage. And he’d be loyal and never stray.”
“What the Dog Ate” is a funny, tender story of mending a broken heart and finding love and a new life right under your nose, with woman’s best friend at your side.”
Maggie’s “metaphor for love”: “Real love isn’t one way-it goes back and forth. And it’s involuntary. Maybe…like…a tornado. No, that’s no good. Too destructive. That’s wrong. No, it’s like…a dog’s tail. That’s it! True love goes back and forth and you can’t control it. You find that person you’re in love with, and it’s gonna wag. And there’s no stopping it.”
So often in life we become too focused on our destination instead of just relaxing and enjoying the journey. Maggie learns as many of us have to, to learn from our dogs. They never care about the destination, they are focused on the here-and-now. The journey. They enjoy every minute of it. They don’t obsess about what might be, they focus on what IS.
We should all take a lesson from Maggie and Kona, do you have doubts about something? “does it make your tail wag?” If your answer is: “Holy crap; YES.” go for it.
While you’re at it, make sure you pick up a copy of this engrossing, fast-moving, visit with a trusted friend. You can count on it making YOUR tail wag!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie was born in Southern California and lived there until she and a friend got the crazy idea to move to Bermuda. It turned out to not be such a crazy idea after all since she met her husband there. Jackie used to be trapped in the hamster wheel of corporate America, but after being bitten by the writing bug, she ultimately managed to escape. Now, Jackie puts her undergraduate degree in Accounting and Masters in Library and Information Sciences (two fields based on hard facts) to excellent use writing humorous fiction. Learn more at www.jackiebouchard.com
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WHAT THE DOG ATE e-book available at:
A portion of the print sales will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society