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Pet expert and best-selling author

Dean Koontz Unleashed! We Chat About Dogs, Words and More with This Best-selling Author

Dean Koontz on Pet Life Radio ........

..Dean Koontz


Say the name, Dean Koontz and it is understandable if you shudder involuntarily. After all, it is strongly advised to read many of his books with the lights on – unless you like being spooked. But Koontz chats with host Arden Moore about one notable – and delightful exception -- his latest release, Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life.  Discover how a Golden Retriever named Trixie brought out the best in this world-renowned suspense author, why Koontz describes dogs as “beauty without vanity” and more on this special episode of Oh Behave!

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Announcer: There's nothing like a shaggy dog, baby. They're shagadelic. This is the place to find out how to achieve harmony in the household with your pets. Yes, peace, harmony, pet power! Holy shih-tzu, baby. You want to know how to keep your pets from chewing your shoes or eating your cat? It's all about relationships, baby. You and your pet. Pet! So, tune in, turn on, and get ready for the positively grooviest pet podcast on the planet. Oh, that’s a lot of Ps, baby. Yes, isn’t it?

Man 2: What's this show called?

Announcer: “Oh, Behave!”

Man 2: No, really. What's this show called?

Announcer: “Oh, Behave!” with your shagadelic host, Arden Moore. What's happening, Arden? Yes, baby, yes, yes. Tell us.

Arden Moore: Welcome to the “Oh, Behave! Show” on Pet Life Radio. I'm your host, Arden Moore. How many of you love to be spooked a bit? To feel the thrill of the chill. You're in for a special treat today. I won't keep you in suspense any longer. That’s because our special guest today is the master of suspense and one of the best-selling authors of all time, Dean Koontz.

Welcome to “Oh, Behave!,” Dean.

Dean Koontz: Well, thanks for having me there.

Arden Moore: I appreciate it. So why is an author so gifted that causing the hair to raise on our arms with each turn of a page on a pet show? For that answer, we ask you to hang on for this commercial break and we will explain. So sit, stay, and be ready to be spooked and delighted.

Announcer: Would you like to go out?

[dog barks]

Announcer: Actually, I was talking to your owner. I'm on a date, baby. Yes, you and me.

“Oh, Behave!” will be right back after these groovy, shagadelic messages. Oh, yes!

[podcast break]

Announcer: We're switched back on, baby, yes. So let's talk pets with our smashing host, pet-edutainer, Arden Moore, and the groovy show that’s cool, baby, really shagadelic, “Oh, Behave!”

Arden Moore: We're back. You're listening to the “Oh, Behave! Show” on Pet Life Radio. I'm your host, Arden Moore. Recently, I opted to spend the Saturday afternoon standing in line for three hours to get a book signed by an author. This is no ordinary author and this is no ordinary book. He is Dean Koontz, described as America’s most popular suspense novelist by Rolling Stone Magazine and I have to agree. If you're into stats, consider that 25 of his books have bolted to the number one perch on the New York Times bestsellers’ list. In total, more than 375 million copies of books bearing his byline have been gobbled up by avid readers. That’s a lot of books.

But specifically, we invited Dean Koontz on our show because of two special books by him. The first is called “Bliss To You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life.” The second one is a paperback release of his hardcover bestseller, “The Darkest Evening of the Year.” The first book spotlights the canine insights of a remarkable Golden Retriever named Trixie. The second book unleashes quite a fetching fiction tale of a protagonist named Amy Redwing and Nikki, her Golden Retriever. Whether it's fact or fiction, both of these books showcase the amazing power of dogs.

So, Dean, wow! You can do it either way! The real deal or what comes out of your creative soul and mind. Right?

Dean Koontz: Well, thank God, it keeps working because I never want to have to get real work. This stuff is too much like a dream and I wanted to continue. It comes as a gift. You can't pick too much credit for it because the writing is an honor and grace, it's given to you. But what you can take credit for is how you try to apply it and the time you spend working on the craft. I'm just lucky that it was a grace I was born with and I'm trying to do the best I can with it.

Arden Moore: Well, I think you're doing all right. I love the way you describe dogs on your website, which is easy to find, folks. It's, and you describe dogs as “beauty without vanity.”

Dean Koontz: They are exceptional creatures. When I lost Trixie a year ago, it was just like losing a child, I think. I've never lost a child but I would imagine it is in the same vein of painfulness to lose a beloved dog you’ve had a long time. When I talked about it on radio before, I had a number of callers calling in and say that they had the same experience. They said, I think, it's very strange of me that I was in more grief losing a dog than I was losing a parent or a sibling. I said, “No, because no matter how much we love the people in our lives, all human relationships have flaws to them because we're flawed, we're fallen. But animals are innocent. Dogs are innocent. So the relationship is almost always perfect. No wonder, over a period of ten or 12 years, you develop such a close attachment to them and they'd become so important to your life because it's almost the perfect relationship.

Arden Moore: Yes. I think you’ve hit that one on the nose, if you will. Trixie was destined to be a service dog through the Canine Companions for Independence, a group that you're very close with. Just at the end, didn’t quite make it but landed in a great home, that of you and your wife, Gerda. So get the folks catch up with Trixie’s bio, if you would.

Dean Koontz: Trixie, actually, did make it. She completed the two-year’s training and she went into service. She was in service with the young woman who lost both legs in a traffic accident and was about 20, 21. Trixie became her service assistant dog for about six months. Then, Trixie developed an elbow problem. When they examined her, they discovered she had a congenital elbow problem. She eventually needed surgery on both elbows. While the surgery was perfect and she was a runner and an athlete, thereafter, they had to take her out of the service because a service dog must been in a real pinch to be able to pull the chair and nobody worry about any joint problem.

So the joint problem led her to early retirement. So she came to us when she was three. She was also the first dog of my adult life and I'd wanted one for a long time. But I've always said, “We're just too busy to give a dog the time.” Finally, I said to Gerda, my wife, one day, “You know, if we don’t take this dog, which, CCI was offering us, and say we're too busy, we'll be saying we're too busy when we're 90. So it's now or never.” It was one of the greatest decisions of our life.

Arden Moore: Describe that first day when you and Trixie were there face to face, nose to nose.

Dean Koontz: Well, she was known in her class at CCI as something of a clown. When they were training them for a “stay” position, for instance, they put them in a big training room. All the dogs are sitting around and there's usually some food left on the floor just to see if they’ll be tempted to break stay and go for food. Then, the trainers all leave the room and go behind the two-way mirror and watch them. They told us that all the time through the learning stay and extending the stay, Trixie behaved exactly the same way.

They'd leave the room and there’ll be 12 or 14 dogs in the room sitting on the stay. Trixie would wait until they were alone for 10, 15, 20 seconds and then she'd snoop around and she'd break her stay. She would go to each of the other dogs trying to get it to break its stay, trying to get it to play. When the trainers rattle the doorknob as if they were coming back into the room, Trixie would run back to her original position, sit up straight, and pretend she'd been on her stay the whole time. So, we knew the day she came, we recognized that same little playfulness in her. That was a major part of her personality for as long as we had her.

Arden Moore: I think you need that, don’t you, with the sort of the dark suspense that you dived into with each page of your books? How is having that goof ball on four legs benefited you?

Dean Koontz: I'm a goof ball on two legs a lot of the time, so we hit it off perfectly for that reason. She changed totally the way I write. Before I had her, I had always been in trouble with publishers because I mixed genres. I combined with suspense, love stories, and different other elements. Sometimes, a little science fiction; sometimes a little something else. My publishers kept saying, “You can't do this because you just confuse the public.” I said, “You know, I think the public would really like somebody who doesn’t write the same book every time.” They would all say, “No. The public wants somebody that they can trust that it’ll always be the same thing.”

Well, I think, over time, I proved that wasn’t right, but I used to struggle with publishers all the time. One of the biggest struggles was I have again to put humor into the books, and that was not accepted well. In fact, when I switched from Putnam and the first book had a lot of humor in it, it was so not accepted that I never did it again on the next two books and I left them for Bantam.

But after Trixie – and I actually pulled back a little at that point at that – “Well, I'm not going to fight this.” But then, Trixie came to us around the time I went to Bantam and I started not worrying about putting the humor in. And once in a while I had a book that has humor in it, but a lot of my book have an awful lot of humor in them as well as suspense. She was the one that allowed that to happen for me because she was here at my side all the time and we were having fun all the time. It loosened me up towards my writings so that I was not longer concerned about putting the humor into a suspense novel.

Arden Moore: I think it also keeps us grounded, don’t you think? Dogs do goofy things and you said you're a goof ball on two legs, but you have a lot of accolades attributed to your name. You don’t strike me as a guy that sits there and has an ego trip, but how do you think that Trixie helped your outlook on life? You get to be a writer, you're a damn good one, but this dog has some magical way of bringing out the best in you.

Dean Koontz: When you watch the dog and that absolute love that the dog gives, and I hesitate to say, unconditional love because love should always be unconditional. But dogs give you such an amazing constancy of love that it's unlike any other experience you have. If you watch how dogs behave, as I took Trixie on a walk, for instance, we would walk around the neighborhood I had lived in for years and I knew everything about it. So I'd stopped to notice many of the things about it that were kind of wonderful or beautiful.

When you take a dog for a walk, the dog often gets interested in the smell of a flower. Trixie, particularly, loved to smell flowers. She would stopped and be intrigued by the flowers and she would stopped and intrigued by the play of light and shadow on a wall. That’s what it seemed she was intrigued with, and it would make you stop and look at things that you haven’t looked at in a long, long time. Walking a dog and not just rushing it to get the pooping done, enjoy the whole experience and brings you into a more intimate relationship with the natural world around you.

That begins to change the way your write. You begin to t hink about the natural world more. It became more a part of my novels. Also, the values of the dog, which are almost perfect. I forget who it is, I mentioned it in “Bliss” now,  but I quote somebody as saying, “A dog is the only person in this world that loves you more than itself.” I'm not sure that’s entirely true, but it is true of every dog. They do love you more than they love themselves, and it's an incredible relationship. It begins to make you less selfish, I think. It begins to open you up in what you want to do more for that dog and you'd find yourself wanting to do more for everybody around you. The dog, therefore, becomes a teacher in a way.

Arden Moore: Yes. I think, that today in USA Today, they had a full blown feature on the healing power of dogs for folks that have recovered from cancer, folks that are connected to Canine Companions for Independence that may have a physical disability or whatever. It's so nice to see these high, prestigious, well-credentialed individuals at places like the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and all who are finally getting it to that. This is not just antidotal, this is the real deal. Right, Dean?

Dean Koontz: Yes. When you work with an organization like Canine Companions for Independence, as we have for so many years and you see now what they can do with certain autistic children by pairing them with a social dog – a dog tha t is trained to socialize. You see these kids who might have had behavioral problems or, in addition, might have been withdrawn, you see them beginning to be better behaved. You see them beginning to associate more with people around them, to relate more to their family, and it all comes about because of this mysterious relationship with this dog .

It's a breathtaking thing to watch. I'd seen extremely disabled kids, supposedly withdrawn from the world because of the mental aspect of their disability, flower and come out of that shell and become people who relate to the world and are no longer withdrawn from it and that is something that nobody can explain. In some of these instances, these kids have conditions that are supposedly incurable. When they have this condition, it's not only the physical effect but the mental effect is supposedly incurable. Yet, in many instances, it's not entirely incurable. These kids who have blocked the way by their disease overcome that part of it and become more social and happier, and it's all because of this relationship.

Arden Moore: I think, you're right. How did you hear about CCI? Was it through Trixie? I think you’ve been connected with them for some time.

Dean Koontz: Yes, we were connected with them long before Trixie came to us. I wrote a book called “Midnight”, and I'd read something about CCI. In the book, I just said it, there would be a character in a wheelchair and that he would have a CCI dog. I wrote the book and it was actually my first number one bestseller. Canine Companions wrote me and said, “Gee, when the paperback comes out, would you mind putting our address in the back and tell what we do?” I thought, “Wow! I should have thought of doing that in the first place.” So from that, we went to a CCI event. We were so enamored with them that we became ever more involved with them over the years. Ultimately, they kept saying, “Would you take a release dog?” A dog that either doesn’t quite make it through the program or one that does, but then like Trixie, has a problem. We had been saying no until the day we said yes to Trixie, which was the life changing moment.

Arden Moore: Well, in the book that…well, I guess, it was Trixie and you collaborated on and Trixie is on the other side. One of my favorite mentions of Trixie’s in the eight steps, if you will, on “How to Have a Happy Life” is you and Trixie are together and Trixie said that dogs live most of life in quiet heart, humans live mostly next door in desperate heart. Now and then, we’ll do you good to live in our zip code.” Wow! That’s pretty powerful!

Dean Koontz: Well, it's true. Dogs take the world as it is. They don’t want to change it, they don’t have the capacity to change it. They deal with everything that comes along, whether it's good or bad, with the same good spirit. That takes a quiet heart that doesn’t want to change the world and that understands the limitations of life. It doesn’t mean that you give up on the world or anything else, but it means you'd become just more quiet about how you face the vicissitudes of life, how you decide to handle them. How you decide to pursue what you want, whether you're going to do it in desperation or going to do it with the quiet sort of resolve. Doing it more with a quiet resolve and with far less anxiety than we tend to bring to everything we do, it turns out to give you a much happier life. I think that’s one reason people who have dogs most of their life live longer than people who don’t. Some of the studies say, “Well, that might be because of other factors.” Yes, but I think, the dog had an awful lot to do with it.

Arden Moore: I think you're right, and a little dash of humor. I mean, Trixie say, “When throwing a party, cats can't hold their liquor.”

Dean Koontz: Well, it's something she wants to be sure we know because it's disastrous. If you have a lot of cats, they have liquor, you wish you wouldn’t have done that.

Arden Moore: We're speaking with Dean Koontz. We're going to take a break and we're going to get back and find out a little bit more about the Trixie book as well as his other book that is now going to paperback right after we pay for this show.

Announcer: Would you like to go out?

[dog barks]

Announcer: Actually, I was talking to your owner. I'm on a date, baby. Yes, you and me.

“Oh, Behave!” will be right back after these groovy, shagadelic messages. Oh, yes!

[podcast break]

Announcer: We're switched back on, baby, yes. So let's talk pets with our smashing host, pet-edutainer, Arden Moore, and the groovy show that’s cool, baby, really shagadelic, “Oh, Behave!”

Arden Moore: Welcome back. You're listening to the “Oh, Behave Show” on Pet Life Radio. I'm your host, Arden Moore. Our special guest today is Dean Koontz, who’s written a zillion bestsellers on the New York Times’ list. He has a great connection with dogs and the Canine Companions for Independence. It's a great organization that helps bring independence for folks that have some physical or mental challenges or obstacles. These dogs are amazingly trained.

Dean, you can talk a little bit about this. You’ve been there and you’ve done the book signing and all that, but the training is very, very intensive. Only the very, very best get to get placed in homes, correct?

Dean Koontz: Yes. The CCI has its list of selected breeders and they're always looking to increase the intelligence and the strength of the dogs. They get these wonderful animals, they go to puppy raisers for the better part of 18 months. I think they go in there 11 weeks old. Then, when they're 18 months, they leave the puppy trainer who’s taught them such things as toilet on command, which is an amazing thing.  You get a command with the dog because the disabled person, somebody in a wheelchair who’s paraplegic or quadriplegic can not always take the dog out anytime the dog wants to go. So the dog is fed and everything on a schedule that allows it also to be trained to toilet on command.

So, it's an astonishing thing to see. You take the dog out, you walk it a few steps you give it to command and the dog does what she's supposed to do. It's very effective for somebody disabled to do. Then, after 18 months of the training for, basically, to just be a very good dog, not to bark and so forth, then they go to a special trainer for six months. That’s especial trainer trains them in a tremendous variety of special of commands. One of the things I do for people in wheelchair is pick up dropped objects because many people in wheelchairs can't reach to the ground, especially if they have limited mobility in their upper arms, in the arms as well as a pair of lost legs. These dogs, I have seen it done, can pick up something from the ground as thin as a dime, and that’s pretty amazing to watch them do that and return it to the owner.

But they also can remember serial commands. For instance, you can say to one of these dogs, let's say, you’ve had one, you went to bed, moved from the wheelchair to bed, got settled in, and realized, “Oops,” you didn’t bring that bottle of water or that can of soda that you always like to have in the nightstand. You can say these are not the commands, but these are what the dogs know they mean. You can say to the dog, five commands, and the dog will remember them and perform them. The first command will be go to the kitchen, second command – open the refrigerator door, which can be done by leaving a rag tied to the handle or dish towel tied to the handle. Go to the kitchen, open the door, remove a drink. If you stack the bottom two shelves of the refrigerator with four different drinks, you tell the dog which of the four you want and it will know which that is. Then, close the refrigerator and return to me with the can and the dog will do all those things bring it back to bed.

So you can see when these commands can be put together in various ways and dogs can do all these things, what a difference they can make in a life. Some people who could not live on their own, comfortably  but they have to leave their relatives, find that with one of these dogs they actually, can live on their own and quite handily.

Arden Moore: Now, to get copies of the book “Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life,” I know it's available everywhere, you signed what, over a thousand books you sold out at a recent signing.

Dean Koontz: Yes. I think the final number is 1,150 sold and we've out of books. There were still people who want them. So it was a wonderful day because it was all at CCI and we had a lot of fun there, too.

Arden Moore: You donated all the royalties for that, and I was amazed, I heard afterwards, you sat there. You must have the strongest bladder because you never took a break. Were you starting to write with both hands at the end?

Dean Koontz: I'd like to say that I was trained by CCI on the go on command, but that wouldn’t be true.   I don’t like to get up in a book signing and leave people standing in line while I attempt to having a snack or anything. So, I just I don’t need to. But, all of Trixie’s income from her various books and things, and this is her third book after “Life in Christmas is Good” and she has signed with Hyperion to do another one. She's also signed something very amazing it's been happening with the Trixie image.

She had gained such popularity that we have signed with Putnam Penguin Children’s Books to do a series of Trixie books, told by Trixie, illustrated by Janet Cleland, who did the wonderful illustrations in “Christmas is Good.” The first one is called, “I, Trixie, Who is Dog” and the second one is called “Trixie and Jinx.   They're aimed at the four to eight year old reader and they're in the vein of a Dr. Seuss or an Olivia but a lot of fun because Trixie is always a lot of fun.

Then, in 2010, or actually starting next summer, there’d be for sale a Trixie 2010 calendar by Hyperion Publishing. We're in discussions with somebody to do a video game called “Trixie’s Big Backyard.” Things just keep happening for Trixie and people are coming to ask about it. So it strikes me as a lot of fun if we can build a little industry here that feeds Canine Companion income for many years to come. All by these little dog who left such a long shadow.

Arden Moore: I know there's a dog named Marley out there and a good friend of mine, John Grogan, - we worked together for many years and we're friends - it was quite a touchstone dog as well, for not great behavior. You seem like Trixie is the opposite, if you will, of the goofy Marley, but you're both getting out good m essages to all generations.

Dean Koontz: Thank you. Yes, Trixie is sort of different from Marley. Trixie, would go months and we’d never hear her bark. She was such a wonderful dog that when she had a serious illness once which couldn’t get diagnosed – it turned out to be a food allergy – but for about four to six weeks, she threw up all the time. This little dog would not throw up in a carpeted area. She would wake you in the middle of the night and insist on being taken out until she got to a limestone floor, and then she would do it. She was so astonishingly wonderful that it's funny in its own right. In fact, Hyperion, which published “Bliss To You”,  surprised me by coming to us a couple of months ago and making an offer to me to write two non-fiction books, the first to be a memoir of Trixie. We've reached a deal and I just saw their jacket, the book of the ethnic summer, and it's called “A Big Little Life.”

Arden Moore: Oh, great name.

Dean Koontz: It's really a story about this little dog had such a profound impact on us. It's really about the mystery of the human dog balm the mystery of our life and this world and what may lay beyond it. It's a spiritual book and an emotional book. A funny book, I think, because it touches upon the humor and also the deep emotion that stems from a good relationship with the dog. I'm writing it right now and it's been a lot of fun to work on.

Arden Moore: For a person who had the first dog in their adult life, you’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this dog. I just think there is something in the cosmic forces out there that brought the two of you together.

Dean Koontz: I've some friends who are monks. I've quite a few friends who are monks for a particular abbey here in Orange County. As we were first getting to know them, that was in the last year of Trixie’s life and we didn’t know that, of course. About two months before Trixie passed and she was seemed completely healthy and vigorous, we had first couple of times at some of these monks came to dinner. One night, two of them were here, they're Norbertine, so they’re a particularly intellectual group and it's always amazing what areas they're educated in. It's no surprise to find a Norbertine monk who is a physicist.

So we were spending the first part of the evening and having a little wine and everything. Of course, Trixie was hanging out with us and what not and we were heading toward dinner. Suddenly, one of the monks looked at the other one and said, “What do you think of this dog?” The other monk said, “What do you think of this dog?” The first one looked at me and said, “Have you had any reason to think there's something more about this dog, there's something very unusual about this dog?” I said, “Yes, I've had many reasons to think this dog. I have no doubt that dogs have souls and this dog has a very wise soul.”

So then I said, “Why don’t you go read in the Apocrypha if you never have, in the Book of Tobit,  which probably has to be one of the earth’s and a dog is mentioned in it only couple of times. But it turns out that at the end, when you discover this one human figure was really the Angel Rafael in the sky who does great things for the dog named Tobit and his son, Tobias. When Tobit says to him, “Why did you do all these wonderful things?” He said, “Because of the way of your life and the good things you’ve done for other people.” He mentions the things that Tobit had done for people and Tobit was mystified but you will never hear you didn’t see it.” Angel Rafael said, “I was always at your side. You just didn’t recognize who I was.” The only character who’s always at his side is the dog.

Arden Moore: There you go.

Dean Koontz: So it's a wonderful story, you can read it and miss that whole point, but it's a very subtle story. So I said, “You know, I know there's a special spirit in this dog because she changed my life.”

Arden Moore: That’s true. That’s true. I did want to ask you a little bit about the release now of your fiction book, “The Darkest Evening of the Year.” Another story of a Golden Retriever and more of a “got to risk the life for the Golden Retriever with the main character, Amy Redwing. You want to talk a little bit about how people get their hands or paws wrap around this book coming out?

Dean Koontz: Well, it's out there in just another week and I just heard yesterday, the first week was the biggest first week paperback sales I've ever had in every single market, whether it was Barnes & Nobles or any retail outlet, which given the current economy, we're rather startled by. But I think it's because people know, from what they’ve heard about hard cover what the book is about. It centers around a woman who's into dog rescue. She runs a Golden Retriever rescue group. It's really a book about the human-dog bond and about the grace that they bring in to our lives and the mystery of our lives. She saves one particular Golden Retriever named Nikki right in the earlier things from a very potentially violent situation. It was a drunk involved who’s going to kill the dog and she saves the dog, truly even more than a rescuer group usually do. Then, begins to feel there's something very special this dog, that there's something very unusual about it. As the story evolves, I won't give anything away, but, yes, you're right, there's something very unusual about the dog.

Arden Moore: You had us at “woof”. I mean, come on.

Dean Koontz: I like that. I'm going to use that.

Arden Moore: Go for it. Go for it. I'm just full of them. I don’t know, they just peter out of my head. I just wonder, you must have some amazing dreams at night. To dash between fiction and non-fiction in your writing, what's going on in that head of yours when you put that head on the pillow and you're saying, “Good night?”

Dean Koontz: You know, I hardly ever dreamed until I was in my early 30s. I had nightmares now and then and occasionally a dream. But when I got to about my mid-30s, dreams started fading away from me, and now, I rarely, rarely ever dream. I think it's partly because of what I do for a living. I'm tapping the subconscious all day long. When you're writing and you treat writing not as just a craft but as a gift that you're being given and you have to open your subconscious to tear down all barriers to what's coming to your mind. You just go with the inspiration you're given, it means you really get into some deep territory. I think you end up sort of being cleansed of all those things that give you nightmares by the time you go to bed.

Arden Moore: That’s great! I don’t know about you, but when I meet people and then I always had a little bubble in my head that’s popping out sometimes I say it out loud, sometimes I don’t. I can just imagine you might have the same thing. There's always a story somewhere.

Dean Koontz: Yes. People say, “Where do you get all these ideas?” I say, “You know, it isn’t that hard.” I think it's partly when you use your imagination a lot, it's like a muscle. The more you use it, the better it gets. So I'm using it all the time and ideas are always coming to me. Sometimes that’ll be a line from a song. I got the whole idea for “Life Expectancy” when I was coming home from a meeting of film executives which, believe me, it's almost never a positive experience. I was in desperate heart and I was driving along, I was in my wife’s car, and she had a bunch of old Simon and Garfunkel albums on the deck. There was a song “Patterns” and there was one line in the song , “my life is made of patterns that can scarcely be controlled”. Something out of that line just sparked an idea in my head and about 15 miles, I had the idea for “Life Expectancy” which I couldn’t wait to write. So ideas come from everywhere and you just have to be open for them.

Arden Moore: Yes, I agree with you. Dean, I'm so glad that you could be a guest on our show. You're listening to the “Oh, Behave” show on Pet Life Radio. We want you all to dash right out now to the website. We want you to buy not just one but oodles of the book, “Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life” and also the new paperback version of “The Darkest Evening of the Year.” Any book with the Dean Koontz stamp on it is good by me, and you will be enriched. You'll be spooked a little bit, you'll be delighted, that’s the purpose of good writing and good storytelling. I also ask you to take a look at the Canine Companions for Independence website. It's a great organization helping a lot of people and they're always looking for good volunteers. They bring out the best in people and dogs.

Is there anything else you'd like to add at this point, Dean?

Dean Koontz: I think you’ve done it all. I just want to thank you for giving me the time.

Arden Moore: I guess, we're going to post this on your website, too, this radio show at absolutely amazing, talented, great producer. We'll give you, folks, all the nuts and bolts on how to do that. So not only can you listen to it on but you can also tune in to the site and you can listen to Dean give us some insights into the powerful world of pets and in writing. For somebody like you who has simple taste, I guess, you like burnt toast. You’ve been enriched by the lives of a few amazing dogs.

Dean Koontz: I'm sitting here right now with a second one, Anna, and she's another Golden Retriever. She is a joy and a great herself. It took us ten months after losing Trixie to get another one, but she is her own dog. Each one has a unique personality and she's totally different than Trixie, but glorious in her own way.

Arden Moore: It's glorious that you also recognize that instead of having her have to fit the bill of always being compared to Trixie. That’s a trick in itself.

Dean Koontz: I think even people have animals and love them. I've known people who the animal is a pet. If you make that step and say the animal is part of the family and the animal is a mysterious being and dogs are particularly mysterious beings, that there's much more going on in that head than you think. If you open yourself to seeing that, the relationship becomes so deep and different than just being a pet. So looking at Anna, it's just unique little girl has a lot to see all kinds of things about her that we now treasure that I don’t think we seen if we didn’t look at her that way.

Arden Moore: That sounds great. You're listening to the “Oh, Behave Show” on Pet Life Radio. I want to thank our special guest, Dean Koontz, for being on the show. Until next time, I have just two words for all you two, three, and four leggers out there – “Oh, Behave!”

Announcer: There's nothing like shaggy dog, baby. They're shagadelic. This is the place to find out how to have harmony in the household with your pets. Oh, yes. So stop by our every week and get switched on, baby. Switched on with the show that’s all about attitude – “Oh, Behave!” with your groovy host, pet edutainer, Arden Moore. Yes, baby, yes.  Every week on demand on



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