...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Inspiration—German Shepherd Style!

by Tracy Weber

I’m delighted to join all of you here on Writers & Other Animals! As a certified animal nut, I can’t imagine a place I’d rather be. Since my mystery series revolves around a feisty German shepherd named Bella, I decided to share a little about the two German shepherds that have most inspired my writing.

I barely remember the far-from-perfect German shepherd my parents owned when I was a preschooler out on the farm. She barked, chased cows, and had a passion for hunting skunks, porcupines, and most any other critter that would fit in her mouth. In my mind, Duchess was a veritable Lassie. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t agree. After an ill-fated altercation with a neighbor’s cat, Duchess was sent to a new home. I never quite got over the loss, and I vowed that I would someday own a German shepherd of my own.

Tasha and Tracy
Fast forward about thirty-five years to the day I picked up my eight-week-old bundle of fur. I vowed to not repeat the mistakes of my parents. I was determined to do everything “right.” I studied books about German shepherds and enrolled in multiple dog training classes. I told everyone my dog would be the paragon of proper doggy behavior. I even believed it.

I should have known I was in for trouble the day Tasha chewed up all of my dog training books.

Cursed with a variety of illnesses and a fearful temperament, Tasha will never be the poster child for German shepherd temperament and behavior, but every day I get to spend with her is a gift. Tasha has taught me patience and creativity, and she’s forced me to learn how to give up control. Most of all, she’s shown me that I can give love unconditionally, even when the recipient is far from perfect. Tasha has made me a better human being.

My first mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose, involves a yoga teacher, Kate Davidson, and her German shepherd sidekick, Bella. Like Tasha—and Duchess before her—Bella is huge, often unruly, and smarter than most human beings. She sometimes gets Kate into trouble, sometimes saves her from it. Above all else, she’s the love of Kate’s life.

I can’t wait to see how their path unfolds in the rest of the Downward Dog Mysteries. Writing about yoga, dogs, and murder. What could be more fun?

Murder Strikes a Pose introduces Kate Davidson, a feisty Seattle yoga instructor who’s more interested in savasana than solving crimes, until she stumbles over a body in the studio’s parking lot. The police dismiss the murder as drug-related street crime, but Kate knows that George—a homeless alcoholic she had befriended—was no drug dealer.

Kate stretches herself and takes on two new challenges. First, solve George’s murder. Second, find someone—anyone—willing to adopt his intimidating, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, before Animal Control sends her to the big dog park in the sky. But with Bella’s time almost up and the murderer hot on her trail, Kate will have to work fast, or the next time she practices corpse pose, it may be for real

Praise for Murder Strikes a Pose:

“Kate Davidson’s pluck, humor, and determination make her a welcome addition to the ranks of amateur sleuths. Reading MURDER STRIKES A POSE made me want to study yoga.”

“A delightful debut novel. Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!”

“Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogs—what more could we want?”

Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she currently lives with her husband and German shepherd. Weber is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Dog Writers Association of America, and Sisters in Crime. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Murder Strikes a Pose is Weber’s debut. For more information, visit her online at TracyWeberAuthor.com and WholeLifeYoga.com.


  1. Yes, we do learn a lot about patience and unconditional love through our animals. I loved your use of a difficult dog with behavior problems. It was refreshing to understand the dog' s reactions, since I rescued a very troubled dog years ago. He is now my soul mate. With lots of training, I understand when he is stressed and it's up to me to keep him safe. Can't wait to read your next book!

    1. Thank you, Sheri! Reactive dogs are often highly intelligent. They aren't always easy, but they are so worth it. Thank you for rescuing and sticking with your dog. It is all about keeping them emotionally safe.

  2. Hi all! I'm delighted to be here today on writers and Other animals. Please send me questions, feedback, and stories about your own wonderful animals!

  3. There is no other breed for me--I had one special German Shepherd that changed my life and even with him gone--I carry what he lesson he taught me.

  4. I didn't realize that German Shepherds could have behavior issues like other dogs, Tracy, but how wonderful that you formed such a bond with Tasha anyway!