The True Story behind Pokey the Greyhound

fawn-colored greyhound dog sleeping
Several readers have asked me how I choose the breed and personality of the dogs in my K-9 Companions books. In most cases, I model the dog on an animal I’ve met or even owned.  Ziggy, the Goldendoodle in Cottage at the Beach, is modelled after my goldendoodle, Nash. I’ve cast Nash’s friend Nemo, another doodle, as the emotional support dog in my work in progress.

The story for A Companion for Christmas’s dog is from my life, too. Yes, I did own a retired racing greyhound, all too briefly. Her name was Duchess. My daughter and I adored her, and she adored us.

Lee and daughter feeding treats to fawn-colored greyhound dog

However… she didn’t adore other people. It started as a simple gender divide: she didn’t like men, and would snarl and posture around them, sometimes even nipping my dates. Soon, her dislike expanded to include our relatives and my ten-year-old daughter’s friends. She had claimed my daughter and I so strongly that she wanted to protect us from everyone.

The day she nearly bit one of Grace’s friends, a gentle girl who’d done nothing to provoke her, I knew we had to find Duchess a new home. It broke my heart, and it really broke my daughter’s heart, as Duchess was the first dog she’d ever had. The good news is, Duchess got a new owner who lived a quieter lifestyle than we did and had multiple other greyhounds to help Duchess calm down and feel safe. Giving her up was so sad for us, but it was the right move for her.

In A Companion for Christmas, I got to express all my fondness for Duchess as I created Pokey, the retired racing greyhound who is heroine Kelly’s therapy dog. A lot of Duchess’s traits, like shivering when it’s even slightly cold, and being lazy, and counter-surfing, made their way into the book. Pokey is patient with kids, just as Duchess was patient with my daughter. I can’t take credit for Pokey’s name, though; that honor belongs to my friend Mary Kay, who pointed out the humor of a racing dog who is Pokey.

Blonde woman kneeling beside greyhound dog. Both are wearing red coats in this winter scene.

A Companion for Christmas comes out September 26th and is available for preorder:


Barnes and Noble:

Google Play:



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