I've been getting emails about Spice and a few of you asked why I decided to have my photo taken with him for the jacket cover of the novel. The answer has nothing to do with authorial cuteness, I'm afraid. The simple fact is Spice is 16 and we're extremely partial to him and, not having any aspirations toward parenthood other than to produce books if you will, I decided I'd love to have a photo of him to look back on with warm and fuzzy thoughts when I get on a bit.
Regarding his name, it was originally to have been 'Spike'. However, despite his being quite large in that he's half Standard poodle, we decided his champagne-colored ears and tail and overall demeanor precluded such an appellation. He would undoubtedly have been traumatized and veterinarian bills would thus have been astronomical.
On one occasion though, he did respond to the name of 'Spike'. A couple of guys were doing some work in the grounds of the house and heard me call out to him loudly because I happened to see him charging down the driveway toward the road with his Beagle mate, Louis.
"What's the name of your dog?" one of them asked
as he leaned on his shovel and cocked his head.
"Spice" I replied warily.
Obviously confused by my Northern Irish accent which
he initially thought Scottish, he said, "Did you say, Spike?"
"Yes," I said. "His name is Spike."
He very kindly assisted by hollering, "Spike, come here."
Spice stopped dead in his tracks, looked toward the house,
looked at Louis, started toward me.
"Lovely dog," he said as both men watched him gallop with
his short tail between his legs up the drive.
[technorati: Dogs, Cockerpoo, Dog breeds]