Our guest today is author Eve Marie Mont.
Her debut novel, Free to a Good Home, is about a young woman who rescues dogs for a living, even though she’s in need of rescue herself. Set in a small New England town over the course of one year, the novel chronicles each month in the life of Noelle Ryan, a veterinary technician searching for a place to call home. When she discovers she cannot have a baby and her husband leaves her, Noelle has only her Great Dane, Zeke, to comfort her. To add insult to injury, Noelle’s ex asks her to act as a caretaker for his elderly mother, who blames Noelle for the breakup. But when a carefree musician named Jasper gives Noelle a second chance at life—and at love—Noelle learns that home is truly where the heart is.
Eve Marie Mont lives with her husband in suburban Philadelphia, where she teaches high school English and creative writing. She drew inspiration for the novel from her relationship with her own mother-in-law and with her adorable shelter dog, Maggie.
Thanks Eve, for stopping by the Debutante Ball!
What Our Pets Can Teach Us
In writing Free to a Good Home, I spent a lot of time thinking about what makes the human-animal bond so extraordinary. How do pets seem to know instinctively what we’re feeling and how to make us feel better? Why do they seem to enjoy life so much while the rest of us seem content to lead lives of quiet desperation? What do our pets know that we don’t? Perhaps it is that they still have a sense of innocence and wonder about the world. They are like children who never have to grow up. And when we learn to see life through their eyes, it restores our humanity.
Our relationships with our pets are among the least complicated and most rewarding of our lives. Pets ask so little of us, yet they give so much. They listen without judgment. They play with us when we need to decompress from life’s human stresses, but they know how to be gentle and still in our moments of sadness and grief. With their soulful eyes, playful paws, and wagging tails, they enter our homes and hearts, leaving our lives changed forever. I cannot imagine a life without pets, just as I cannot imagine a heaven without my dog.
Yes, I am a dog person. That is not to say I don’t like cats because I do. But dogs move me. Dogs like me. To paraphrase Jerry Maguire, dogs complete me. So when my husband and I were first thinking of getting a dog, we decided to adopt so we could repay the favor—complete a dog’s life by providing shelter, food, companionship, and love to a dog in need. Maggie had been discovered on the edge of a farmer’s field, covered with ticks. She’d also been adopted and returned three times before we found her. Thank God the shelter had a no-kill policy, as otherwise, Maggie’s fate might have been three strikes, you’re out. For us, it was love at first sight. Like meeting my husband, finding Maggie seemed like fate.
Since the day we brought Maggie home, she has been an integral part of our lives. She’s experienced all our joys and sorrows right along with us, ready to offer support and love whenever needed. She’s been sick and has had to be rushed to the vet, and she’s comforted us through our own illnesses. Watching a movie just isn’t the same without her sitting between us on the sofa. Sadly, I must confess, she also sleeps with us on the bed. I get an inordinate amount of pleasure watching her roll around on the grass in our backyard or trying to catch water coming out of the garden hose. The sight of Maggie eating bubbles is ridiculously funny.
Sure, she is older now and suffers from arthritis, and her eyes are getting cloudy with age, but she still manages to act like a puppy at least once every day. While we still have her with us, I hope to keep learning from her how to live in the moment, play well with others, embrace life fully, and most of all, how to love unconditionally. Maggie knows that lesson well.
What is the best lesson your pet has taught you? I’d love to hear your stories.
*To enter a drawing for a free copy of Free to a Good Home, please leave a comment below!