“The grief hung on as I turned the corner into 2017. Raja had figured things out by then, and I really saw her grow up during that time. At ten years old, she was the kind of dog that still had plenty of puppy in her. But she had come to realize she needed to try to take care of Mama as Tampa had.
She was calmer and very aware of my every move and emotion. She even moved to sleeping at the foot of the bed where Tampa used to sleep—facing the door to keep an eye on things.
I was still looking for something to pull me out of the pain. And one day, in early May of that year, I found it. It all began with a trip to Park City Center Mall to get some makeup. I was going to take myself out to a late lunch after that, so I wanted to possibly try to find something to read at the bookstore.
Of course, I gravitated to the animal section.
I flipped through several books, mostly all dog books. I remember seeing pretty photos, and reading a few lines of chapters. But nothing was really grabbing me. That is when it hit me.
“What am I thinking? Tampa! I need to be writing the beautiful life story of my own dog!”
Something changed in me at that moment. For the first time since his death, I began to feel alive again. Sticking to my late lunch schedule, I settled in at a nearby restaurant and treated myself to a warm bowl of soup with a nice glass of chardonnay.
As I sipped the wine and enjoyed the comfort food, I put my plan together.
Later that day, with Raja curled up on the couch next to me, I began writing Tampa’s Story. At first, I worried I might not be able to get through it emotionally. But as the memories of him began to pour out, it turned into a mission of love that was very therapeutic. This is what I was supposed to do—to honor his life and share it with you.”
More On The Story About Tampa The Dog
What you just read is only a part of the final chapter of Tampa’s Story. I wanted you to know how it all started – because it was a very special moment for a lot of different reasons.
I was a journalism major in college. Graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1987 on the Dean’s List. Oh, I was a good writer! Term papers, book reports, public speeches – you name it I could write it. I even got good grades writing about books that I didn’t even read. I just glazed over a few chapters in the beginning, then at the end. And I could pretty easily put together what was going on – and put it down on paper.
But, writing about my baby’s life was a whole different thing. I had emotions all tangled up in it. And I had never written a book before!
My format was pretty sloppy in the beginning. I was just typing away, digging at my memory to somehow put Tampa’s life on paper. I researched a lot about writing a book. So many opinions out there.
The one that stuck with me the most was: “Keep writing. Don’t go backwards to try and correct words and phrases. Keep going forward and you can make corrections later.” So, that’s what I did.