One for the Dogs

Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, for the first of a series of blogs plugging the next Liss MacCrimmon mystery, The Scottie Barked at Midnight, and offering, at the end of this post, a chance to win an advance reading copy of that book.

I have to confess, I’m not really a dog person. It’s not that I don’t like dogs. It’s just that I get on better with cats. That said, there have been two memorable dogs in my life.

skippy1Skippy, a fox terrier, came into the family about a year before I did. It was touch and go at first whether he’d accept me, but I apparently won him over. Thanks to my mother’s nursing, he survived two strokes and lived to the ripe old age of eighteen. He and Spot, the cat who joined the family when I was ten and Skippy was eleven must have reached some kind of agreement about living arrangements. I don’t ever remember seeing them fight.

Fast forward to age thirty or so. My husband and I had bought a house. For the first time, we had room enough for a dog. We already had two cats, soon to be three, later to be four. Looking back, we probably gave the poor dog an inferiority complex by naming him Not-a-cat, but we pronounced it Na-TAK-it, so perhaps he never realized. He was a mutt, maybe with a little retriever, maybe a hint of huskie. Who knows? He was a good dog, and he lived with us from puppyhood to the pretty good age of fifteen. He loved being outside, no matter how cold it got. He had a doghouse and blankets, but he preferred to pretend he was a sled-dog and sleep on top of the snow, letting more snow fall on top of him until he was completely covered. According to our vet, it was healthier for him to stay outside all the time than to go in and out in cold weather. Certainly, he thrived on Maine’s winters.

notacatwithsmokeyAs for the cats, Not-a-cat really really wanted them to like him. They never did. In fact, the old lady of the group, Jeremiah (yes, I know it’s a male name—we’ve never gone along gender lines when naming pets) got a real kick out of chasing him whenever they met. No matter that he was three or four times her size! As for Smokey, the cat we inherited from my parents when they moved to Florida, just let’s say that the relationship remained cool.

Scottiecover (199x300)What does this have to do with The Scottie Barked at Midnight, the Liss MacCrimmon mystery in stores on the 27th of this month? Two things. One was that I had some understanding of dog/cat dynamics. The other was that I knew I needed to consult an expert on Scottish terriers, since I was going to use two of them, Dandy and Dondi, in the story. Fortunately, the reader who emailed me in 2012 to suggest that Scotties might make a good addition to the Liss MacCrimmon series was willing to help out. What made her an expert, you ask? That’s easy—she shares her home with no fewer than four Scotties, shown below, and is active in the Rocky Mountain Scottish Terrier Club’s Scottie Rescue program, an organization that helps find loving homes for Scotties.

Clockwise, Doogie, Bentley, Magggie Rose, Gracie Grande

And now, as promised, an opportunity to win an ARC of The Scottie Barked at Midnight. I have three of them left to give away. To enter, just make a comment on this post any time between now and October 12. I’ll draw three names and contact the winners for their snail mail addresses. That means they will have the chance to read this book nearly two weeks before launch date. Good luck!


Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of over fifty books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award in 2008 for best mystery nonfiction for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2014 in the best mystery short story category for “The Blessing Witch.” Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (The Scottie Barked at Midnight) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries as Kathy (Murder in the Merchant’s Hall). The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” series and is set in Elizabethan England. Her websites are and


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20 Responses to One for the Dogs

  1. I love the name Not-a-cat! We’re cat people at home (largely because we aren’t home often) but do enjoy friends’ and family members’ visiting dogs.

  2. Karen Whalen says:

    Growing up, we were only allowed cats though my father wanted a dog. “Too messy,” my meticulous German mother insisted. When I had my own home and children we had a series of dogs and cats. I know what you mean about their relationships with each other–some were decidedly warmer than others. Alas, now that we are retired and spend winters away we are petless. We rely on our grandchildren’s and the neighbors’ pets for our “fix” of wet tongues and snuggling (and our grandchildren themselves, naturally)!

  3. dragons3 says:

    Can’t wait to read this book. I love the series and I love Scotties!

  4. MCWriTers says:

    Ah, the naming of pets. When we were kids, we had the world’s best dog, named Mrs. Kitzel. Unless it was Kitzle? Who knows where that came from. When I met my husband, he and his ex had had two cats…(she got custody) named Fatty and The Other Cat. Seriously? We’ve had a series of cats, including Albert and Beauregard and Fire Cat, and our older son named his cat Doomsday. Once, we were flying Doomsday from Boston to Los Angeles to rejoin our son, and the flight attendant peered into the carrier and said, “Oh, a kitty. I just love kitties. What’s its name?” We said, “Doomsday,” and he flapped his hands and said, “Oh, I wish you wouldn’t of told me that.” Now we only have grandogs and they have people names: Frances, Otis, Harvey, and Daisy. All rescue dogs and highly individual.


  5. Sennebec says:

    We’ve been both cat and dog folks, currently only have a dog-Bernard Hagred Dumbledore, a lovable shih tzu who loves to lick hands and sleep under the covers (still can’t figure out how he gets sufficient oxygen while doing so).

  6. Gram says:

    Animals and cozies…great combination.

  7. Mary Engels says:

    In our house the cats always have ruled the roost. The dogs who are about 10 times the size of the cats just are along for the ride.

  8. Monica says:

    When husband and I first blended our families we arrived home from work to find that both the dog (mine, home turf advantage) and the cat (his, completely new environment) had spontaneously shed enough fur (stress) for us to knit a sweater (had we wanted to).

    The kids (human) got along much better.

    The DMZ across the kitchen was maintained for 3 years until the dog died. I won’t go so far as to say the cat did a happy dance. Short lived as we brought home another dog a month later. The cat glared at me (her ‘dad’ would not have done this on his own) and from that point until her death a few years later my legs were no longer safe from attack, better still if I was wearing tights she could ladder.

    Who cradled that snarky old cat as she died? Yeah, me.

  9. dragons3 says:

    I grew up with both cats and dogs, and they always got along well. As an adult, I’ve always had cats, because they fit into my hectic lifestyle/work schedule better. I “borrow” friends’ dogs occasionally and pet sit for dogs occasionally, so I still have the benefit of both. My favorite dog/cat pairing when I was a kid consisted of a terrier mix named Buster, who followed me home from school in first grade and died the day before I left to begin my sophomore year of college, and a Maine Coon-type cat who appeared in the back yard one day and never left. For some unremembered reason, I named him Snoopy. Buster and Snoopy loved to play hide and seek with each other. Snoopy’s favorite hiding place was behind the couch, where he’d reach out and trip Buster as he ran past looking for Snoopy. They’d curl up together on the couch and nap every afternoon, and would fight for position on my bed at bedtime. I can’t imagine a life without at least one, and preferably both, in the house.

  10. Carole Price says:

    How great that you followed up with a reader from a couple of years back about Scotties (my neighbor has 3). I take seriously comments from my readers. Yesterday, I posted a blog on about dogs/cats in mysteries. Check it out if interested.

  11. Brenda Erickson says:

    I am not a dog person, either. In fact, I have four cats of my own and am babysitting my sister’s cat. I have always enjoyed your books. Keep up the great writing!

  12. Elaine Roberson says:

    I’ve read some of her face down mysteries and loved them. This also sounds like a book that I would enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  13. Elaine Roberson says:

    I have read her face down series previously and loved them. This sounds like a series I would enjoy also. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  14. Ruth Nixon says:

    My mother wasn’t a lover of animals until she was in a post office in an other town and saw this very little black terrier and decided I need a dog. The owner and my mom exchanged phone numbers as the lady thought there might be one pup left.My mom got a call saying she could have the pup she fell in love with.I named her San Jose, ZAY for short, I married 2 years later and Zay came home with me. She was my 3sons protector and lived to be 21. Then came a long list of dogs, SuzieQ, Peanuts , Missy Nixon.Blackie, Tina the dancing Ballerina. Always used dogs but wonderful pals.Along the way cats arrived and stayed , the latest a feral that we found in our backyard with a litter of new born babies. Homes for the kittens and sprayed MAMA Cat and kept her. I feel that there is more coming they just haven’t arrived.

  15. Sally A. Peckham says:

    I love cats & dogs, but living in a small apartment, I prefer to have a cat. 🙂

  16. Loving the comments everyone. Keep them coming!

  17. Ann hough says:

    I have always had both cats and dogs and, knock wood, they have always gotten along with each other. Currently the hubby and I have two cats. I am currently in Maine for two weeks and love seeing all the dogs walking their owners. Maine is such a pet friendly state..another reason to LOVE Maine! While my vacations are great it would be even better to actually live here full time as I did as a child.

  18. Lil Gluckstern says:

    I didn’t have a pet until I moved to California and was adopted by a kitty and fell in
    love. He was a yellow tabby with the long hair of a persian, and very affectionate. My favorite story about him is that I worked as a therapist in my house, and when my clients
    would get unhappy and cry, he would come running and try to comfort them. Each one would tell how good they were with cats, and I’d smile. Just as your books do. It starts with the name if the town. Looking forward to the next one.

  19. Kaye Killgore says:

    I’ve always been a dog person, but currently have just 3 cats. They may not be as unconditional loving as dogs, but they certainly make their presence known

  20. Jane says:

    I’m definitely more of a cat person than a dog person, have had numerous cats over the years, but only a couple of dogs. Looking forward (as usual) to reading this book.

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