First a big THANKS to Matt at The Quintessential Questionable Query Experiment for his critique of my query letter. And thanks to all of you who took the time to comment and/or make suggestions. I truly appreciate it.
Last week I got this picture from a friend. It's a picture I'd never seen before.
I look so young, like around 17. I was at least 31 or 32. But this isn't about me, it's about the puppy I'm holding.
My friend (who sent the picture) and I were on a short road trip to visit her family. On the way back to the Hill Country somewhere between Houston and San Antonio on I10, we stopped at a rest stop to stretch our legs. As I wandered around, there on the other side of a barbed wire fence, in the underbrush and cedar, was a puppy. She was whimpering, scared, hungry and thirsty. She was covered in fleas, bitten all over by them and by fire ants. Who knows how long she'd been there.
Well of course we had to rescue her and I ended up keeping her. She was probably about three months when we found so I suspect the picture was taken soon afterwards.
I named her Atta Fohat. Atta, in Buddhism, means soul or ego or self-nature. Fohat is a word possibly coined by H. P. (Helena Petrovna) Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, and means primordial light or spiritual energy. Fohat is the intelligent vital force of the Universe. I also named her Atta so I could praise her by saying, "Atta girl!" or call her by saying, "Come on Atta girl."
Atta grew up to be about a 35 pound dog. We loved exploring the Hill Country together. She was a great car dog. When we were on the main roads and highways, she curled up in the back and slept. But the moment I turned off the main road, somehow she knew, and she was up and looking out the windows sightseeing along with me. We grew quite attached to each other.
She was at least part Australian shepherd and would herd anything, including people. The only problem with her herding was that she tended to nip at heels. It was never done out of meanness or aggression, it was simply in her nature.
Because of where I lived and worked (there were lots of people and kids around all the time) I eventually had to give Atta up. We couldn't have a nipping dog. The only place available to take her was the pound. I was heartbroken and have never completely forgiven myself for (for all practical purposes) giving her a death sentence. Thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes.
Here's to you my sweet Atta Girl Fohat. Your memory will always be safe with me. And I am ever so grateful for this picture. It's the only one I have of you.