by Linda O, Johnston
Linda O. Johnston writes an animal rescue mystery series. Her latest book, Teacup Turbulence, just came out and is reviewed in this issue of KRL. Check out the review & enter for a chance to win a copy of the book.
As you may know if you have read any of my Pet Rescue Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, each has focused on a particular theme involving animal rescues. My intent is to entertain readers with a fun cozy mystery, but I also hope that I can inform them about a different aspect of rescues that they may not be familiar with.
This month, the fifth in the series, Teacup Turbulence, was published. Its underlying theme is the moving of animals from one location to another to help them find homes. Some locales, usually including my home of Los Angeles, tend to have an overabundance of rescued animals, and therefore they’re not all adopted quickly–if at all. Other areas of this country and even parts of Canada generally welcome pets that are relocated there, and they’re usually adopted much more quickly.
How does that relocation occur? Thanks to human volunteers! They step in and undertake this kind of rescue by plane or car or whatever it takes, including relays that involve several volunteers, each moving the rescued pets for a portion of their long journey until they finally reach their ultimate destination.
That’s what happens in Teacup Turbulence. It’s fiction, of course, and so I found a way to ensure that there weren’t enough teacup-sized dogs available in Los Angeles to meet the demand–which isn’t usually the case. The benefactor of my fictional no-kill pet shelter HotRescues made his fortune via his wonderful chain of pet stores and he develops a new kind of bling collar that he advertises by having small dogs wear them. That makes tiny dogs extremely popular in Southern California, so my protagonist Lauren Vancouver finds a way to try to meet the demand while saving tiny dogs that were rescued elsewhere in the country. They’re brought to L.A. via an airplane relay. But since it’s a cozy mystery, someone gets murdered and Lauren needs to figure out whodunit.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with one of my primary research sources for Teacup Turbulence–a very dedicated pilot who had just flown another planeload of rescue dogs from Los Angeles, where they hadn’t found new homes, to someplace where people were panting for new pets. He showed pictures of the dogs who’d accompanied him, his face and tone glowing about how wonderful those dogs were and how much he had enjoyed relocating them. He was clearly passionate and proud about what he had done. And that definitely made me smile, too.
At least one nonfiction book has been written about these kinds of rescues, too: Dog is My Copilot, by Patrick Regan. It describes quite a few situations in which dogs were rescued by being flown from one spot to another.
Relocating rescued pets saves a lot of lives–and that’s something I, for one, absolutely approve of. And if I can show it being done in a fun and entertaining way that encourages people to adopt homeless pets… well, why not?