K. B. Inglee on Dog Walks and Newfoundlands

People often walk their dogs at the park where I work. We have eight miles of trails, streams and ponds and a raceway that provides water power to run the 18th century mill. Dogs and people love it.

Most of the dogs who visit the park are friendly, many are beautiful. They are usually happy to be petted by the staff and other visitors.

Dogs I have met.

I was not prepared for what I saw a couple of Sundays ago. It was nearly closing time, and I was checking the fishing ponds when I saw a young couple walking a bear by the blacksmith shop. There are no bears in the park, so this must be their private bear. By the time I got out the back door and halfway to the shop, I realized that it wasn’t a bear but a Newfoundland dog.

I find it difficult to ignore any dogs that come to the park and this one was particularly appealing. I just had to get my hands into that lovely black fur. And feel the giant tongue on my hands. Maybe even take him home if I could fit him in my car.

His people told me that there was a newfoundland gathering that afternoon at the park. By the time we closed the visitors center an hour later, a dozen a dozen or so of these huge dogs had assembled with their people. One family came all the way across the county to meet up with other wonders of these astonishing animals.

 Most of the dogs were black, some with white markings One small on was the size of a calf. There was a Jack Russell who looked out of place, and a mutt of some appealing heritage.

 Every year for the last 15 or so I have written a short story which I send out in place of Christmas cards. Last Christmas, I wrote a story about a Portuguese Water dog who worked as a service dog for a college professor with a bum hip.  Now I wish I had used a Nufie. Too late, I have half a dozen stories of Anonymous Dog’s crime fighting. While he hadn’t made it into print yet, he is well established in my mind.

 AD had already met a police dog and made friends. I thought about it for a week or so before I decided there was no reason that DC couldn’t have a second best friend. Maybe I could have a whole posse of crime fighting dogs.

 Most of all, I hope these big beautify digs keep coming to our park.

About K.B. Inglee:

I always wanted to write mystery stories but like most somehow life interfered. That is probably true for 90% of people who want to be writers.

There came a time in my life when I had some leisure to write, easy access to research materials, and a strong desire to fulfill my dream. I wrote my first novel after reading a biography of the James family, so I set it in Cambridge in the early 1890’s. I knew what was wrong with it. First of all, there was no murder. It was crammed full of back story and descriptions of a Victorian household. But I became fond of the characters: a lady detective and the people who lived in her boarding house.

I wrote a collection, maybe several collections, of short stories for my main character, Emily Lothorp Lawrence. Writing is way more fun than selling so it was a long time before any of the short stories appeared in print.

When I began the novel, I exchanged manuscripts with a friend who was a Civil War re-enactor. He said that if I was going to write history I had better do it, so I stitched up a simple outfit and attended several local Civil War battles.

Then one day I crossed a bridge into the New Republic (1790-1830). That crossing changed my life. I began interpreting that period, for which I needed a whole new set of clothes. I showed off the Oliver Evans mill, one of the first automated mills in the country. In time I was trusted with the care of a flock of heritage sheep.

Since I crossed that bridge, I have driven oxen, plowed a field with a team of horses, cooked in a wood fired oven, and spent a weekend in Maine in a 1870s household without running water or electricity. I have sheared a sheep, cleaned and spun the wool, knit and woven, and finally made a garment with the wool.

And I kept writing short stories.

“Weaver’s Trade” was my Christmas story in 2012, and it won second place in the Bethlehem Writers Round Table.

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