A tan and black hound dog with one blue eye/
Margie Vonn, Sjogrens, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Truman Speaks For Sjogrens Mom

Margie Vonn, Truman Blue’s fictional mom in Truman Blue Mysteries, has Sjogrens (show-grins) Disease. Unfortunately, Sjogrens Disease is not fictional. Author Jane McAllen, the writer of this blog, has Sjogrens.

When you are out and about, you won’t notice people with Sjogrens Disease. It is an invisible autoimmune disability. You won’t generally notice people who have Sjogrens because we try too hard to appear “normal,” which is a conundrum. We desperately need your understanding, but we don’t want to ask for it, and we don’t want to appear we are in need. The truth is we want to be someone who doesn’t have Sjogrens Disease.

One time, that’s all I want to have to say it to someone. One time. “I have Sjogrens Disease.” Period…nothing else. I don’t want to say anything else.

And with that, I want that person to have complete understanding of why I do what I do, and how I do it. Irrational, I know. The usual reaction I get upon telling someone that I have Sjogrens, is seeing their face turn quizzical, and they say, “You have what?” I can’t blame them. I had never heard of Sjogrens before I got it. I would like to give it back!

Not everyone remembers that in 2011 Venus Williams dropped out of the US Open Tennis championship because she was ill. I do. She was subsequently diagnosed with Sjogrens.

If Sjogrens can knock down a giant like Venus, how does it affect a person? If you ask the 1-5 million people, who have it, you will get 1-5 million different answers. Autoimmune diseases are individually unique. Lucky us. And of course, Sjogrens is incurable. Medications can help a lot, or not at all. Symptoms vary in intensity and vary from day to day. We have flares, which means the symptoms intensify. Flares can last for half a day to months. The one thing we can all agree to is that stress to the body, mind, or soul, makes it worse.

The symptoms may or may not affect every system in the body. The first symptoms are almost always dry eyes and dry mouth. Fatigue, brain fog, and joint pain are common symptoms that fluctuate. For me, having a bad flare feels like a bad flu without the hurling.

Being such a variable disease, it comes with the burden of sometimes having to explain a weakness. I hate to have to tell someone I can’t do something because it will cause a flare. I don’t want to live as a victim. I abhor people who beg sympathy and those whose goal in life is to make others feel guilty for not providing for a supposed victim. On the other hand, people who I have interactions with need to understand why I ask for accommodations. It’s tough to balance.

My promise to my friends, family and co-workers is that I will push myself as hard as I can. But I have learned my limits and the signs of when I am pushing too hard. All I ask is that folks roll with me. The promise I need from them is, if rolling with me is causing an inconvenience to them, they let me know and we talk about it like people who care about each other. No blaming, no criticism. If we care about each other, then we can work it out. It is somewhat depressing that my body cannot always do what my mind wants to do, and the one salve that heals is the compassion and flexibility of another human…or a dog.

Truman Blue always rolls with my flow. He’s a good dog, and that’s what good dogs do. (And I need to add, that my friends, family and co-workers are wonderful, too.)

Cozy mystery, dogs, elderly and dogs, Labrador Retriever, Margie Vonn, Mixed breed, Nose work, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Celebrating a New Book Release – Naturally

Celebrating can be disastrous. There’s the prep, the expense, and the stress of performance. Since it was sunny and 62 degrees, Truman and I went on a walk about on our few acres. I didn’t even put on a bra, and Truman didn’t even put on a harness. We celebrated the day, just as it was.

Truman ran, following what delighted his nose. When we walk, he keeps an eye on me most of the time. Occasionally his quarter-bloodhound DNA has him so engrossed in following his nose, I tease him by hiding. A few seconds later, when his one-third-Labrador DNA reminds him of his need to be with his mom, he starts casting his nose for my scent. It never takes more than a couple of seconds before he catches the scent of my trail and heads toward my hiding place. His less than 10% middle-eastern-hound DNA kicks into high speed, and he finds me.

Truman romped while I surveyed my micro-kingdom. Truman followed his nose and I followed my eyes, evaluating the state of living off the land. Waiting for the chance to spice up a salad, mint surrounds my still green blueberries and figs. I snapped off a few green daylily buds and snacked on them. I love eating off the bush. We stopped by one of the beehives, the girls were just waking up and sunned themselves on the deck before they took flight. The pear trees planted in January were too you ng to bloom this year, but might produce some Bartletts next year.

Nature provides something to look forward to, and the celebration was peaceful and easy. (books are free on Kindle Unlimited and don’t cost much on Kindle)

Cozy mystery, dogs, Labrador Retriever, Margie Vonn, Mixed breed, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Truman Blue Mystery Book 2 Launching Soon

Margie, Truman and their friends head to the beach for a vacation, but Margie doesn’t want to go. Will vindicating a wrongly accused person make the vacation more fun?

Margie and Truman discover that not all the residents of Dexitine Beach, an affluent Gulf of Mexico beach town, are as upstanding as the town leaders would like visitors to believe. Dexitine is downright pleasant on the outside but some of the pillars of the community are a bit shaky.

Join Margie and Truman Blue as they negotiate the perils of a summer “vacation.”

Book Cover for Cozy Therapy Dog, Connecting the Dots, A Truman Blue Mystery Book 1, Jane McAllen
Cozy mystery, dogs, elderly and dogs, Labrador Retriever, Margie Vonn, Mixed breed, old dogs, Senior dog owners, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries, Uncategorized

Book Launch! It’s Here! The first Truman Blue Mystery is out

The first book in the series is now available digitally for free from August 15 through August 19, 2020. Enjoy reading about the real life dog Truman Blue who is fictionalized Cozy Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries. Is fun, with a splash of education! Click here to order.

Book Cover for Cozy Therapy Dog, Connecting the Dots, A Truman Blue Mystery Book 1, Jane McAllen
Cozy Therapy Dog, Connecting the Dots, A Truman Blue Mystery Book 1
Chewed book cover
Cozy mystery, dogs, Margie Vonn, puppy, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Chewed Up

People often like the idea of a dog, but not the reality of a dog. When someone gets a dog, whether it is a freebee or an expensive import, the person dreams expectations as to what that dog will be. The dream is what the human wants, not what the dog actually has the capability to be. That is totally unfair, and I admit, I am guilty. In reality, the dog’s DNA, personality, training and life experiences will dictate what the dog will become, not the human’s dream.

When I brought baby Truman into my home, I dreamed he would become a wonderful therapy dog, and a great companion. It was part luck, and part hard work on my part to have that part of my dream fulfilled. Like in any relationship, there are struggles. Truman is a dog and he does what dogs do. Today, I looked out the window and he was eating horse poop. He’s a dog with dog values.

Dogs dig, dogs bark, dogs chew. As puppies, although adorable, they are horrible. They pee, poop, don’t listen and do a lot of irritating stuff. As adults they have the reasoning capabilities and maturity close to a two or three year old human. They need supervision and family.

If you want to have a dog as a companion, remember that your companion is a dog. Don’t expect a dog to be an automaton who does nothing but what you wish, and don’t expect your dog to act like a human.

When Truman is in public and is expected to behave according to human terms, sometimes he lapses into his dog brain. He does things like sniff human’s privates, a very polite thing to do in the doggie world. My corrective words are gentle and help people understand what he is doing, and relieves their (and my) embarrassment. I say to Truman, “Don’t act like a dog.”

Cozy mystery, dogs, Margie Vonn, puppy, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Therapy Dog and COVID

Truman Blue is reverting to puppyhood. True, at three-and-a-half he is barely past puppy, but six months ago he was willingly compliant. When I take him out now, he wants to play and explore. His journey back to cavorting canine was a short one.

We haven’t been visiting since February due to the COVID pandemic. He was accustomed to going somewhere at least once a week. Now, I try to get him into public every other week. When I do, he wants to run up to people to get petted. Some folks don’t want to spread their germs, others believe they are immune to disease. It is the latter ones that Truman loves because they don’t hesitate to rub him all over.I keep pet-friendly sanitizing wipes in the car and don’t touch him with my hands for at least an hour. He doesn’t seem to notice as long as I pop him treats for tricks.

I wonder how long it will take to re-train him to be a courteous dog. I wonder how long it will be before we can actually go visit. #trumanbluemysteries, #cozymystery, #therapy dog, #comfortdog, #threapypet

Cozy mystery, dogs, Margie Vonn, puppy, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

I’m Vulnerable: New Cozy Series Truman Blue

I am launching my new book series and I am terrified. As one of a zillion wanna-be popular cozy novelists, I am starting at the beginning. I guess that is where everyone starts.

I justify the possibility of “no one reads it” with who cares. I write because I love to tell stories. The truth is authors feel approval when folks like what they write. Everyone likes approval from their fellow human beings. Approval is the whipped cream and fortunately not the substance of writing. Time will tell. Marketing will tell.

I release Truman Blue Mystery Book 1, on August 1, 2020. #trumanbluemysteries