Please join us in welcoming back our wonderful friend Liz Milliron, author of The Laurel Highlands Mysteries series and The Homefront Mysteries! We are very excited to hear about her newest book–check out the gorgeous cover below.
Hello to all the Chicks and thanks for having me back (again). Yes, it feels like I was just here. Maybe because I was. That’s life when you have multiple book releases per year.
The latest in the Laurel Highlands Mysteries series features the world of greyhound racing. How’d I get here? Well, it’s a story.
Early in 2019, my husband told me it was time to get another dog. I was very happy. I’d been waiting (somewhat) patiently for this moment since our last dog died in 2011. I’d prepared. I knew what kind of dog I wanted. I’d know ever since I met Solomon, a retired-racer greyhound belonging to a friend of mine. The Hubby, of course, took a little more convincing. But in March 2019, we met Koda at the kennel and the rest is history.
I’ve had dogs before. I figured I knew all about dog ownership. Well, yes, but…no. I didn’t know about greyhound dog ownership. While ’hounds are like “normal” dogs in some ways, they are very…unique in others. They are sometimes called “the cats of the canine world” and three years later, I know why.
First, I was not prepared for the regimented schedule of a greyhound. I suppose that makes sense. After all, at the track life is scheduled to the minute. Time to eat, time to exercise, time to train, time to race. This carried over into retirement. My last dog (Casey) was very flexible. Breakfast at seven, six-thirty, eight or even nine (especially on the weekends)? No problem. Not Koda. He presents himself at my bedside promptly at six-thirty Every Stinking Morning. Weekday, weekend, holiday…doesn’t matter. He gets antsy in the late afternoon. Inevitably, I look at the clock and it’s five. I call him “the amazing time-telling dog” because he’s rarely off by more than a few minutes either way.
I was not that scheduled. I am better-trained now.
Casey loved to snuggle. If I sat on the couch, Casey would leap up to be beside me. If I happened to be sitting next to The Hubby, Casey would worm his way in.
Not Koda. It’s not that he doesn’t like affection. He does. But on his terms. He will seek me out and demand pets. If I try to leave before he is done, I get “the paw of more,” where he reaches out and “holds” me in place. However. Much like a cat, when he is done, he is DONE. He’ll get up and retire to his bed or a back room to snooze. Sometimes I can follow and continue, sometimes not.
A weird combination of points one and two, is Koda’s bedtime routine. First, I brush his teeth (yes, with a toothbrush – greyhounds are prone to bad teeth). Then he gets a Greenie. Then he goes outside. After that, he comes upstairs to get a drink from the toilet (hey, to him it’s a perfectly-placed water dish that is automatically refilled). Then he comes into my bedroom and flops down. I have to get on the floor (because Koda has never attempted to jump up on furniture and has no interest in doing so) and pet him. This lasts for anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. At that point, he pops up, leaves the bedroom, and goes to his own bed.
Message received: Thank you, human slave. You’ve been dismissed.
Casey used to run to the door to greet me. Even if I only went as far as the trash cans, it was as if I’d been gone forever when I returned.
You guessed it, not Koda. Oh, sometimes he’ll run to the gate to meet me, say if I’ve been gone for a few days at a convention. The family tells me he most definitely pines for me when I’m not around. But you wouldn’t know it. If I’m gone for a few hours, he doesn’t move from his bed. He enthusiastically thumps his tail and reaches his snoot forward for attention. If I enter and walk past him, he’s upset. But get up and run to me? Not on your life. No, the “dog of pharaohs” demands the humans come to him, not the other way around.
But for all that, I wouldn’t trade my 85-pound goofball for anything. After all, he also knows that the best place for him while I’m writing is on his bed at my desk side, being quiet, and making no demands.
Which makes him the perfect dog for a writer.
Pet owners: What behaviors from your pets surprised you? Or what would you like to know about greyhounds in general?
Liz Milliron is the author of The Laurel Highlands Mysteries series, set in the scenic Laurel Highlands and The Homefront Mysteries, set in Buffalo, NY during the early years of World War II. She is a member of Pennwriters, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and The Historical Novel Society and is the current vice-President of the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime. Liz splits her time between homes in Pittsburgh and the Laurel Highlands, were she lives with her husband and a very spoiled retired-racer greyhound.
About Lie Down With Dogs:
Trooper Jim Duncan’s first day with the Criminal Investigation Division starts off with a bang when he is called to a murder scene with a badly decomposed body. After he finds an abused greyhound in the victim’s garage, the simple homicide becomes more complicated. Why would anyone want an unreliable racetrack employee dead, especially when greyhound racing is illegal in Pennsylvania?
Assistant public defender Sally Castle is facing her own career change. When she accepts a position with an old law school friend, her first case seems to be one that is exactly what she wants to do. Then she learns the greyhound adoption group her client may have embezzled from has ties to the shooting victim. What else is her client hiding?
Jim and Sally work their respective investigations, which may or may not be related. Along the way, they learn important lessons about themselves, those they work with, and the people they protect. But can they complete their tasks without falling prey to a killer?