This blog post is dedicated to my friends and former co-workers (Tracey, Rusty, Susan, and Kelli) and to teachers everywhere, to my husband, the brave firefighters at the Urbana Fire Department and all their brothers/sisters in blue, to the men and women who are sworn to Protect & Serve (including my brother-in-law, Todd), to the dedicated nurses (like my sister-in-law, Shelley) who work hard to make our lives better, and to all the amazing veterinarians who make such a difference in the lives of our fur babies (Dr. Beaumont, Dr. Andrews-Hollwedel, Dr. Francis & Dr. Heldt this most definitely means YOU!)
Heroes. It has become abundantly clear to me that heroes can be found in all shapes and sizes in all walks of life. Teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, and veterinarians are just a few who currently inhabit my life. There are days set aside each year for us to show our appreciation to them. We celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week from May 3-7. International Firefighter Day was May 4, Law Enforcement Appreciation Day was January 9, and Nurses Appreciation Day was May 12. Veterinarian Appreciation Day will be June 18 (I'll need to remember this one and get a little something for my bosses).
With the way things are today, I believe we need all the heroes we can get, and we should step up and support them. People are too quick to tear down and criticize our educators who are working harder than they've ever worked during an extremely difficult time. People want to take away funding from the police and cut the firefighters' budgets, but who will we call when a mass shooting incident is in progress, or a building is on fire with people trapped inside? Let's not forget the nurses (and doctors and all medical personnel, for that matter) who've been working tirelessly for over a year with little regard for their own health while taking care of their patients. And I've witnessed myself the dedication of the veterinarians I work with who go above and beyond for their clients and their beloved pets. Let's show all these people our appreciation, not our derision. Support them, don't ridicule them. Be respectful of their time and talents, not critical of them. And please don't attack me, saying I'm representing these people as the only heroes (see bold print above).
A hero is defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. With that in mind, I believe we can ALL be heroes. Each of us should aspire to be a hero to someone-a child, a spouse, a friend, a neighbor, and maybe most importantly, a stranger. Just imagine a world where we all made it our goal to become someone's hero. Wouldn't that be a place you'd like to live in?
With all this talk about heroes, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about some of the ones you can find in my novel, Murdered by the Book (MBTB). There's Travis, the brave and handsome firefighter Jillian falls in love with. Also, Ethan, the no-nonsense, smart detective who always saves the day. And even Jillian, my main character, who never backs away from a challenge, even when it more often than not turns dangerous. But in this excerpt from MBTB, I'd like to introduce a new 'hero' who will play a much larger role in a future book-Dr. Curtis, the local veterinarian who, as you will see, saves the day for a few furry friends. Enjoy!
~~~ Leaving The Book Shelf, Travis drove as quickly as he dared to the Furry Friends Veterinary Clinic, while Jillian took out her phone to place a call to let the clinic know they were coming. She noticed quite a few texts and missed calls. I can’t deal with those now—they’ll have to wait.
Jillian spoke with Brittany, the receptionist, who told her they’d be ready when she arrived.
“Thank you.” A sob caught in Jillian’s throat.
Travis rocketed into the parking lot. Jillian hopped out while he wrenched open the backdoor, scooping the dogs into his arms. Dr. Curtis waited for them at the door.
“You two stay in here.” He pointed to the small but cozy lobby. “I’ll run some bloodwork to see what, if anything, I can find out.”
Dr. Curtis took both limp dogs from Travis and walked through the door marked ‘Staff Only’. Travis sank into the nearest chair while Jillian paced the floor, twisting and untwisting the scarf she’d removed from her neck.
After what seemed like hours, Dr. Curtis returned, his face giving away nothing.
“Are Abbey and Hayley alright? Did someone drug them?” Jillian's voice quivered and broke.
“Their bloodwork showed no toxic drugs, which is good news. But from their lethargic behavior, I’d hazard to guess your girls were given a moderate dose of a sedative—much like the ones we use here in the clinic.”
“How in the world did they get sedatives in their system?” Jillian feared she already knew the answer.
“More than likely, it was put into something they ate,” the vet said.
“Like a half-eaten granola bar left on a bookshelf,” Jillian growled between gritted teeth. “And I blamed one of my younger customers for accidentally dropping it.”
Dr. Curtis advised keeping the girls overnight for observation, and while she hated leaving them, Jillian agreed it was for the best.
“They’ll sleep off the effects and be ready to go home in the morning,” Dr. Curtis assured Jillian.
“Now, how about I take a look at that neck wound before you go? I may be a veterinarian, but I think I can handle this one human issue.” The vet smiled, gently steering Jillian to an exam room where he cleaned the wound and put on a new bandage.~~~
Thank goodness the pups will be ok. Jillian's life (and my novels) would never be the same if something happened to Abbey and Hayley.
My own personal hero (the hubby) is muttering about being hungry and wanting to go out for dinner (another reason he's my hero). That's my cue to wrap things up. Don't forget-support the heroes in your life and if you can, try becoming a hero to someone else. The world will be a much better place for it.
I'm always open to questions or comments, and please feel free to share my website and blog with all your family and friends. The more, the merrier, in my humble opinion.
Until next time,