Devin’s Tails: Dogs Who Dance

Show Dog Sings the Blues CoverIn my humorous novella, SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES, Talisman is a prissy, pampered diva dog who is mistaken for a cowdog and has to work on a ranch. By the time her adventure is over, Talisman’s stockdog instincts save the day, but she has a few mishaps along the way. Um, this includes her decision to use an unconventional technique to boost her self-confidence. Please enjoy this excerpt:

“We’re gonna move the bulls to the next pasture over,” Josh said.

Bulls? A whine escaped me.

He grinned. “Exciting, ain’t it?”

Josh and I had very different ideas about what constituted a good time.

We reached the rise of a low hill and looked down at the pasture below—and there they were. A sea of bulls. Omigod, it was like the seventh circle of bovine hell.

Josh pointed to a big gate on the far side of the pasture. “I’m gonna open that gate, and we’re gonna move them to that pasture yonder.”

Sure we are.

“What a good-looking herd,” Josh said as we headed down the hill toward the pasture. “The bigger ones look to be around a ton.” His grin widened. “I love a challenge.”

Oh, for crissakes. I wondered who had more testosterone, him or them. What was it with men?

On that subject, I was well-known in my own circle of friends for being a tad gender-confused. I was famous for raising my leg like a boy dog in order to make personal statements. This seemed like an ideal time to make one of those, so right before he opened the gate to the pasture I paused at one of the posts, raised my leg, and peed all over it.

Josh chuckled. “Feeling tough, are you, girl?”

Nope. Not me. Just putting on a show. I’m good at that.

He jumped down and unhooked the gate, led me and Beauty inside, and closed it. He climbed back onto Beauty, smiled, and said, “Well, cowdog it up good. This ain’t no time for slackin’. You push ‘em, and I’ll funnel ‘em through the gate on the other side.” With that, he kicked Beauty into motion and rode around the small herd to open the gate on the other side.

I watched as he got the gate open and gave me a signal that I supposed meant to “push ‘em.”

I can honestly say that never in my entire life had I ever been more terrified. This was a nightmare beyond comprehension. When the ginormous, mean-smelling monsters took notice of me, any confidence I had managed to muster during my adventures of the day dissolved in an instant. So, I decided to do what I always did to bolster my confidence—I did my daily rousing celebratory tribal dance of success. I crouched in a play bow, then leapt into the air where I spun around and landed facing the opposite direction. Falling to the ground, I rolled completely over and bounced to my feet, facing back the other way. I kicked each foot in turn, in sync with the music in my mind, and pranced about in a circle while imagining the theme song to the movie Fame. The song, “I’m Gonna Live Forever,” seemed especially inspiring—and hopeful—given the circumstances. Since the music was just in my head, I thought a little singing wouldn’t hurt. Inside I was singing, I’m Gonna Live Forever, but it came out as melodic barks punctuated by wild howling. That was okay because it was the thought that counted—and right now living forever was a really important thought.

I was so caught up in my dance that I didn’t immediately notice the stampede.


SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES was nominated as best humor book of 2011 by the Dog Writers Association of America. A portion of sales are donated to the national Australian Shepherd rescue organization www.AussieRescue.org.

To learn more about this novella and to read additional excerpts, please visit www.CanineChickLit.com

Devin O'BranaganBestselling novelist Devin O’Branagan writes paranormal thrillers, comic mysteries, and young adult urban fantasy. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, and many of her writing projects support animal rescue. All of her books are available in both print and eBook formats. Visit her website at www.DevinWrites.com

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