Title: Desiree, The Music of My Soul
Author: Peggy Race
Staunch and rooted to her childhood values, Peggy engages in a battle to overcome a failed marriage, the sudden, heartrending loss of her second husband and her own self-doubts. While sandwiched between each layer of uncertainty, Peggy fights her way forward through the love of her dogs.
Amid personal tragedy, Peggy’s life takes an unexpected turn when she meets Desiree, a rescued Hurricane Katrina dog. Fueled by the serendipitous connection, Peggy deploys an unending passion for answers as she searches for purpose. As Peggy unravels Desiree’s significance in her life, she looks beyond the confines of loss and discovers her true self.
Desiree, The Music of My Soul is a poetic and soul-stirring love story which captures one woman’s journey of strength and self-discovery that transcends grief and loss. Filled with hope and inspiration, Desiree, The Music of My Soul, symbolizes the resilience of the human spirit.
A tight smile sat plastered against my face as I said goodbye to the other interns. It was an easier farewell than the one that lay ahead. Rubbing my hand across my chest, I tried to ease the ache in my heart. Staff were aware of the connection I developed with Desiree and gave me permission to take her out to lunch prior to my departure. One last diversion before saying our final goodbye.
The aroma of a cheeseburger and a chicken sandwich masked the smell of my sadness. Sitting beneath the shade tree on a small side street in town, absent of any utensils, I used my fingers to break each meat patty into tiny pieces.
As Desiree took each morsel from my hand, my eyes locked onto the beautiful creature sitting before me. Desiree appeared to be a connoisseur of food, a dog who appreciated the smell, taste and texture of each bite. Her behavior stood in stark contrast to Dakota, who displayed alligator-style chomping, when given a treat. I never knew for sure whether Dakota ever tasted what went into her mouth. After nearly losing a finger or two, I quickly learned an open palm provided a safety net when doling out treats to Dakota.
Summer was in full force in Kanab on this July afternoon. With temperatures reaching ninety degrees, the cool shadows of the tree made for a comfortable resting spot. The greasy wrappers were the only things left of our lunch as Desiree sprawled out on the cool grass beneath us and lay next to my bare leg.
For a moment, I averted my eyes from the truth. Hanging my head while running my fingers through her silky fur coat, I dreaded walking away and leaving her behind. In another time or another place, I would have applied to adopt her.
My common sense told me Desiree’s dog-related issues were not compatible with Jilly’s unstable behavior. Even though Dakota would tolerate another pack member, I doubted we could manage Desiree’s and Jilly’s unbalanced issues. Although I never witnessed Desiree’s dog aggression issues firsthand, her profile stated that the adoption process required a meet and greet. In the end, I reaped the consequence of falling in love. I filled my pocket of grief with another loss. The time had arrived to make our final drive together back to the sanctuary.
We arrived at Dogtown headquarters. Normal protocol required the front desk to radio the caregivers at the respective octagon. A caretaker typically picked up the dog. On this day, I received permission to walk the remaining leg of the journey with her.
Our pace was slow and labored. Plodding wearily, we sauntered towards Octagons 7 and 8. The heaviness in my heart hung like excess baggage. An array of emotions filled me. My rapid and shallow breathing left me gasping for air as thoughts raced through my mind. The dry heat left my mouth parched while I felt the tears welling up inside. I failed to prepare myself for this moment. I was a vessel overflowing with an abundance of memories filling each of the empty crevices of my internal being. The remembrance of our time together would be eternally cherished.
For a moment, time stood still. I envisioned myself as the hero in my own fairytale. My heart aglow as off in a distant land, I heard the thunderous claps of the crowd, while galloping hooves tossed the tiny grains of red sand into the air. From the cloud of dust, I appeared: the rescuer who arrived to take Desiree home. The roar of the crowd became deafening as the caregivers handed over her leash. The crowd lined the red sandy trail leading from the octagon. Each waved their goodbye as I whisked her off to her forever home.
As Desiree and I stood outside of her run, the barking of her kennel mates brought me back to reality.
What had I been thinking? I allowed my emotions to rule my head when searching for a project dog. I was no rescuer. Like a punctured tire, I stood deflated. The Dogtown intercom would not come alive with the announcement that Desiree was going home. Instead, a gloomy silence filled the air. The leash, the lifeline that connected us, dangled out of reach as I handed it to the caregiver.
A flood of tears rippled down my face as I made the slow, steady walk back to my car. The floodgates opened as I stood stricken with the conscious awareness of one powerful final lesson. Hidden deep within our souls we shared a common bond. Embedded within each of us were the emotional scars of our wounded past. We were survivors who shared a special moment in time. We needed each other.
What’s your favorite thing about the fall season:
As much as I love the seasonal changes that occur in nature, Pumpkin spice lattes top my list of favorites.
What inspired you to write this story:
After adopting Desiree, I went on a mission to learn more about her past. During my search there were so many connections that appeared. I found post-Katrina photos of Desiree on the internet, made contact with her pre-Katrina owner and even participated in a volunteer activity that took me right outside her original New Orleans pre-Katrina home. I was not a writer at that time, but recognized these are the types of events that make good stories. Thus a new hobby was born-writing.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US account to win.
Runs September 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on October 1.
Peggy Race grew up on a dairy farm in Palmyra, Wisconsin. Rooted in the fertile fields of her youth, she cultivated an appreciation for nature and a love for animals. Peggy spreads her seeds of hope through advocacy, dog fostering and her writing. Peggy lives with her two dogs, Faith, a ball-herding border collie and Deputy, a puppy mill rescue. She carries a treasure chest filled with memories of her rescued Hurricane Katrina dog, Desiree.
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