In 2009 I held a raffle to benefit Best Friends Animal Society the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless, abused, and abandoned animals. All proceeds went to Best Friends, and the prize was that the winner’s pet would become a character in one of my novels. The winner of the 2009 contest was a Labradoodle named Bocker.
The book I slated for Bocker was the third novel in my comic RED HOT series, which is about the misadventures of a plucky rookie real estate agent named Molly O’Malley. This was the second raffle I held for Best Friends, and, as before, the challenge was how to incorporate the winner into one of my novels.
So, I needed to learn more about the real Bocker.
As it turns out, Bocker the Labradoodle is a celebrity in his own right. He’s appeared in films, television, and fashion shoots. He’s modeled for Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, he’s been featured on “Dogs 101” and “The View.” And on an episode of “The Mike and Juliet Morning Show” he represented Hillary Clinton for a segment featuring political candidate look-alikes, which actually resulted in a fan letter to Bocker from the Secretary of State herself. Wow.
Bocker is also an actor. He was in Steven Spielberg’s movie, War of the Worlds, and the Julia Roberts movie, Eat Pray Love. I must admit that I was rather taken by this aspect of Bocker’s celebrity, because if I weren’t a novelist, I would have been a movie star. (Well, that was my plan.) Not to mention the fact that I have been a die-hard fan of Steven Spielberg ever since I learned he has Australian Shepherds. (I am an Aussie-aholic.)
At the time that Bocker won, the only thing I knew about the planned third novel in the comic RED HOT series was that it was going to poke fun at all things supernatural. My vampire-themed young adult novel series, GLORY, was about to be launched, and I had spent so much time in bed with vampires, witches, and angels (well, not literally) that I needed to lighten things up a bit. I came up with the title RED HOT VAMPYRE and waited for further inspiration.
Bocker the Labradoodle came to my rescue.
It occurred to me that—rather than have Bocker play a fictional character in the novel—I would have him play himself as an actor in a Steven Spielberg movie. A spooky, remote mansion that real estate agent Molly O’Malley has listed for sale is the location Spielberg chooses to shoot his new movie, VAMPYRE. During filming, Bocker is kidnapped by “real vampires” who hold him ransom until Spielberg agrees to use “real vampire actors” to play the “vampire characters.” (Are you following me here?) It’s a humorous take on the “real politics” of Hollywood.
So, the novel RED HOT VAMPYRE will be real life imitating art imitating life imitating art. (Or something like that.) Really.
And I owe this amazing inspiration all to Bocker the Labradoodle. However, Bocker isn’t just a pretty face, but also lends his celebrity to help other animals less fortunate. He is the official spokesdog for the Pet Postcard Project, a program that provides food to shelter animals, and donates his time to numerous animal welfare causes. Bocker is The Man…um…The Dog!
Now, in closing, allow me to add an open letter to Steven Spielberg:
Dear Mr. Spielberg,
My novel RED HOT VAMPYRE would make a great movie. I would be willing to write the screenplay. I could even star in it as Molly O’Malley…we look alike. (Well, except I’m a lot older, but being the brilliant director that you are, I’m sure you can figure out a way to compensate for that.) And I know Bocker would be willing to play himself. There’s also the role of Molly’s Australian Shepherd that one of your Aussies could fill. (A little nepotism never hurts.) Please, Mr. Spielberg, consider the possibilities! Thank you.
Copyright © 2011 by Devin O’Branagan
Photo of Bocker by Christopher Appoldt
Devin O’Branagan is the author of the RED HOT novels, a hilarious chick-lit series, and the legend of GLORY, a young adult vampire series. Devin is crazy passionate about animals and her books abound with marvelous four-legged characters. Devin is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, and lives in Colorado.