Paul Meisel, VAMPIRE BABY's illustrator, the Dr. Frankenstein of our illustrator/writer partnership--in that he brings our creations to life--is a dog lover. He's never told me this directly, but I added dog + dog + dog together:
he sneaked a dog into the illustration for our other book together, DAD AND POP;
his author photo shows him hugging not his wife . . . not his kids . . . . His dog;
and after illustrating 70 some books, he burst onto the author scene with an easy-reader SEE ME RUN that earns the coveted ALA Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor.
No surprise then, that when I asked Paul to share some biting story--vampire or otherwise, he writes about a vampire dog:
"Well, we had the craziest biting dog [Rusty]*. He was a Brittany, and from the moment we got him he did nothing but go into a frenzy for no reason, which was odd as he was most of the time a loving dog who even smiled at us (full teeth smile!). We thought he had rage syndrome so we took him to a dog trainer who specialized in aggressive dogs. She said he was "fearful", but fine. Turned out she was wrong too. . . .
Other than all of my children having torn pants at the cuffs, there was one particularly amusing story relating to his biting.
One day while still a puppy, he went into one of his fits. I was walking him on the leash. He suddenly jumped up and grabbed hold of my jeans back pocket and pulled the pocket down, ripping my pants. Later that day I had to go to Petco and had forgotten about the rather large hole exposing my underwear until I reached the counter and went for my wallet, which I had of course had to put in my other back pocket."
Spoiler Alert: Turns out Rusty wasn't a Vampire Dog. Paul went onto explain: "As he aged, he [Rusty] mellowed a bit (and stopped biting us), and at around two and a half he went blind and couldn't stop drinking water. The vet guessed that he was born with a tumor on his pituitary which accounted for the rage syndrome symptoms as well as the drinking and blindness. His drinking obsession was stabilized with a drug that humans get (desmopressin), and he went on to live 7 more years as a happy, blind dog. (He only really had trouble getting around in the snow, when all scents were covered up.)
(You've got to admit, my Vampire Dog theory makes for a better story...)
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