It's great to have you here, you guys! Nancy sounds like a wonderful person. Describe her as a writer and as a pet owner.
HANA: Since I can’t read, it’s hard to comment on her talent as a writer. Nancy spends an awful lot of time pecking away at that thing on the table with the screen. I’m not sure if that means she’s good at it or terribly bad.
She’d be the first person to tell you that she doesn’t own my brother and me. She is our person, and we’re her dogs. Nancy abhors the word “owner.” We’ve been with her since leaving our mom and siblings. I think she’s great despite spending too much time pecking at that thing, but I guess whatever she’s doing is important.
She showers me with love, but I do cause her some grief at times. As she tells me, “You’re just a devil-catcher.” Apparently, it was something her father used to say. Sometimes she yells if I go too far, but she doesn’t stay angry for long.
SABA: I’m sure she’s a wonderful writer. Nancy’s happy most of the time, so I guess what she does at that table thing is satisfying to her. I know my brother and I keep her smiling and laughing too. I’m so glad I picked Nancy to be my person. She loves me too and takes great care of us. We have so many toys and bones although she’s pretty strict about our eating habits. She does give us treats and marrow bones, but not nearly as much as I’d like.
I hate it when Hana gets her upset. My brother gets in trouble much more than I do. I’m definitely more sensitive than he is. Hana’s the carefree one. I’m the thoughtful and emotional one. We share Nancy pretty well though, and she loves us equally; that is obvious.
I’m guessing your human mom chose your name... tsk, tsk, tsk. What has that done to your self esteem?
HANA: We agreed on it together. She can talk to animals, which is her other job. She explained about Hana and asked if I liked it. I told her, “Yes!” Hana is the name of a special place far away in Hawaii, wherever that is, that she visits. She loves the exceptional healing energy there. She knew that Saba and I would help heal the hole in her heart from losing the Labs that lived with her before us. They got old and returned Home.
Nancy calls me Hana Banana all the time. I really don’t care for it. What does banana mean? She says it with lots of love in her voice, so I put up with it. I love my name, but I don’t think I’m as calming & healing as she thought I’d be.
SABA: It was the same for me. She actually asked! So far she’s the only person that talks to me this way. She explained that Saba was a very special island in the Caribbean, wherever that is, that she visited several times. It is volcanic, so she chose this name for me since I’m black. She says the place Hana is volcanic too, but she thought Saba was supposed to be my name. I agreed. I am black like lava, but I don’t erupt like my brother does at times. Maybe he should have been Saba? I’m glad he’s not. She thanks me all the time for coming to live with her because I balance Hana’s mischievousness.
Has your Mom immortalized you in any of her books? Did she show your real character or did she exaggerate it for the book’s purpose? Are you happy with her portrayal of you?
SABA: I want to answer first this time. Nancy wrote a book about a painful time in her life just before we came to live with her. Hana and I arrived in her life just as she was almost over the worst of her pain. We appear towards the end of her book, Letting Go.
Nancy was pretty needy when we came to live with her. Just after we arrived she got really sick and her patience was low. She yelled at me once when I wouldn’t go out in the rain to pee, but I didn’t have to. She was outside with me and got angry when I sat by her feet under the covering thing (umbrella). I hate rain even though I adore water, especially snow!
Nancy wrote about it honestly and gave me credit for forgiving her very quickly, which made me proud. I forgave her a lot sooner than she forgave herself. People are odd that way. They worry too much about things that have already happened. I was embarrassed when she wrote about some accidents I had in the house. All in all, she tells it like it is.
HANA: Nancy doesn’t exaggerate. Why would she have to when we’re such great dogs? She wrote in her book that I’ve been in her life three other times. I don’t remember that, but I knew when I first saw her that she was my person. She writes about how much Saba and I have taught her, especially that she is worth loving. I don’t know why she would need to be taught that. She’s easy to love.
I wasn’t thrilled when she wrote about how much I whined in the car when she brought us to live with her. I wasn’t scared just confused. She had a hard time with us when she got so sick, but I think we helped her feel better. At least that’s what she kept telling us. I’m so happy Nancy found Saba and me.
What type of books does your human mom write?
HANA: Nancy’s book, Letting Go: An Ordinary Woman’s Extraordinary Journey of Healing & Transformation, is about her life before we were born. It’s called a memoir. Something terrible happened when she moved from her horse farm in some place she calls New Jersey to where we live in the mountains of somewhere called North Carolina.
Her man, husband they call them, left her while they were building the house we should be living in. Thanks to her animals, 2 dogs, 3 cats and a horse, and her journaling, she was able to recover from her devastation.
Nancy says by writing she was able to discover lessons buried beneath all her pain. Her recovery was dependent upon her ability to learn the lessons and let go of the pain. She published her writing so that other humans that are suffering can learn from her story and let go of their pain more quickly.
I can tell every time Nancy hears from someone that her book has helped. She is filled with the most wonderful energy. I didn’t know her two dogs, Shadow and Licorice, but she has pictures of them all over. They were Black and Yellow Labs just like Saba and me. I’m thankful they took such good care of her until we were ready to take over. Nancy needs to be reminded all the time how great she is.
SABA: Hana told you about Letting Go, so I’ll tell you about her next book. Nancy’s been so busy promoting her first book that she has only just started the next one. It’s going to be about her animal communication stories. Nancy knows it will be a series, because the animals have taught her so much that humans need to know. Nancy always intended to write her animal stories, but Letting Go had to be written first.
With all the time Nancy spends pecking at that thing, I can’t believe she hasn’t written more of it, but she writes other things too. She’s had lots of online and print articles published, as well as print interviews and guest blog posts. What’s a blog? What an odd word.
Nancy writes a weekly column on Thursdays for Petsense.com called Animal Insights. Hana & I are so excited that she’s agreed to be a regular contributor to a neat, new publication, “Dogs…Naturally! Magazine.” That starts this March. Nancy’s happy about that too and also about writing for “The Infinite Field Magazine” starting in February.
What does Nancy do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors?
SABA: Me first! Nancy talks to animals and helps their people deal with all sorts of problems. It is so cool. She’s been doing this for a really long time; longer than she’s been writing. I’m not exactly sure how, but Nancy helps animals overcome fears they have from many things that happen when living with humans. Not all animals are as lucky as Hana and I are which we hear all the time!
Nancy does her animal work downstairs away from that screen thing. It’s very important that we don’t bark when she’s communicating or she gets upset with us. I’m not the barker of the family though. You know who is. Nancy helps lots of animals live more happily with their people. I want to help her by keeping her happy too. She must be pretty good at it, because she’s always doing it.
HANA: Nancy takes us everywhere in the car, as long as it’s not too cold or too hot. Mostly we go to the stable where her horse, Stormy, lives. He lived with her on her farm. We have to stay in the car while she rides Stormy, but afterwards we get out and play with the two dogs that live there. I love going to the barn. It’s so much fun. Really I love going anywhere. We both do.
The other place we go to that’s so cool is what Nancy calls, “The Mountain.” We run free all over the place, and it’s big. I think it’s where we’re supposed to be living, but the man ruined that plan. We both love it since there’s no fence like at the house we live in. I can feel sadness in Nancy when we’re there. She thinks she’s let it all go, but she hasn’t. I don’t care where we live as long as we’re all together.
SABA: Hana didn’t tell you that we go hiking too. We have to have our leashes on mostly, but sometimes Nancy takes them off. That’s the best! She’s more willing to do that since we’ve gotten better at coming when she calls. Of course, I always come.
HANA: I heard that. You don’t always come. You know how our sensitive, Labrador noses interfere with our hearing. But, we are getting better at coming when Nancy calls. It’s those thousands of smells that direct us away from her shouts. Who can blame us? We have a great life with Nancy. Saba and I are lucky dogs!