Suzy Shepard Gray, Wonder Dog

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by Shelley Shepard Gray

Suzy, our twelve year old miniature dachshund, killed a field mouse two weeks ago.

Usually I’m not a fan of things like this, but I have to admit to having a bit of a shock and awe moment. See, for the last four or five years, our Suzy has been having numerous health issues. Lots of big issues that we weren’t sure she would recover from. But she did, with flying colors!

Usually she also sleeps oh, about eighteen hours a day. Most of the time, she doesn’t get up to do much. I bend down and give her a pat whenever I walk by her. Honestly, I figured a mouse could probably camp out on her back and she wouldn’t care.

I was definitely wrong. She defended our home and showed that mouse who was boss. She barked happily. Her tail wagged! Her nose went up in what had to be a pose of pride. She was one pleased wiener dog.

Go, Suzy!
Suzy’s resilience and constant surprises remind me a lot about our careers as writers. Just last week I attended the RWA Conference in San Antonio and spoke with lots of writers, agents, editors, and other professionals in the industry. Again and again, I was struck by how faith, determination, and perseverance are crucial to not only being published but staying published.

The world of publishing is forever changing. Many rules have been broken since I began writing in 1999. I find the changes fascinating.

However, I think that we are forever changing, too. We writers grow and learn from our experiences and choose to either let these experiences enhance our careers or enable them to become excuses.

I love that writers have so many organizations from which to glean information as well as critique partners, mentors, agents, and editors to help guide our careers.

So, with that in mind, Go, Writers, too! We have a lot to look forward to and to be proud of.

I’m already making plans for ACFW’s annual conference in September. Each year I seem to make at least one more good friend there. I truly love making these connections.

But before September, I’m going to settle in and continue to do what I do best-write! And, of course, keep Suzy company. She doesn’t know it, but this one little wiener dog just might be my best muse. She inspires me to get up every morning, enjoy the day the Lord has made, and every so often do something surprising~though I am going to leave all things having to do with mice up to her.

Shelley Shepard GrayShelley Shepard Gray writes Amish romances for Harper Collins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire and historical romances for Zondervan. Her novels have been Holt Medallion winners and Inspirational Readers Choice and Carol finalists. Shelley’s novels have appeared on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Living in southern Ohio and writing full time, Shelley is married, the mother of two college students, and is an active member of her church. She is active on Facebook and her website at

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