I'm delighted to share a character from my new novel A Family of Strangers. I really felt that Bismarck, a German Shepherd and formerly a member of a police K-9 unit, needed a chance to have his say. So here's Bismarck. Enjoy.
Retirement? Most dogs don't worry about it. If their people take them for walks and feed them regularly, how different could retirement be? After all they can't exactly play Bingo or cruise to St. Thomas. Most dogs of any age are content to bark at the mail carrier or hop up on the couch when no one's looking. Their work is done.
Not true for a police K-9. I know because for years my job was to do anything my K-9 officer Teo Santiago required. Together we sniffed out the worst of the bad guys and apprehended them. I slept in a kennel in his yard and spent hours each day with him. I would gladly have died for Teo, and nearly did. More accurately I nearly died for the woman in his life, Ryan Gracey.
Teo nearly died saving Ryan, too, and while we both survived, afterwards neither of us were fit enough to remain in the sheriff's department. We left together, and now Teo puts his knowledge and training to work at Confidence K-9s, the kennel he owns and manages.
These days I sleep on Teo's bed, and I go to work with him every day. Some of the dogs he trains are pals, and some need to be put in their place. But honestly, I've been getting a little bored. Then Ryan came back into our lives with a request. She needed a security dog to protect the two young nieces she was suddenly caring for during her sister's unexpected absence.
I may only be a dog, but even I sensed there was more to Ryan's story. Why was she really in town? Why had someone tried to break into her sister's townhouse? And where had her sister gone and why?
I wasn't sure I wanted to leave Teo for the weeks that guarding the townhouse would take, but if I had to go off with anybody else, Ryan would have been my choice. After all, I saved her life, and that's a connection that can't be broken. And those little girls? Let's just say tea parties aren't as bad as I'd expected.
I know that more is coming. German shepherds never take anything for granted. But while I'm watching and waiting, I'm glad, once again, that retirement is still a long time away.