When Beef bulldozed his way into the end table, I grabbed the lamp to save it from hitting the floor. Even as I held the lamp in one hand and dodged out of the way of the toppling table, it was love at first sight. I say first sight, because all of that happened literally within thirty seconds of Beef coming to our house for the home visit. The home visit was after we’d completed our written application and phone interview to confirm whether we were candidates for adoption.

Is Beef a strange name for a child, you ask? No, it is the name of our bouncing, baby boy bulldog we adopted from Bullies2TheRescue in August of 2021. As hard as it is to believe, we will have had him with us for two whole years this summer. He is a stubborn, snuggly, slobbery bundle of bulldog goodness and I cannot imagine not having him in our lives.

When our last bulldog, Gixie, passed away, we decided to explore adoption instead of getting a puppy from a breeder. It sounds naïve to say now, but until we made that decision, I hadn’t realized the huge number of bulldogs that were in rescue. I also hadn’t realized even the tiniest percentage of the work these rescues do on behalf of these dogs. Work done largely by volunteers. People who give their time and open their homes in exchange for no compensation, other than the heart felt knowledge that they have made a huge difference in the life of an animal who needed them.

Without these dedicated volunteers, these rescues would not be able to help animals who deserve a second chance. Animals who, because of at worst callous and at best misguided humans, are homeless, scared and have no place to go through no fault of their own. They are the very reason that Sarah Mclaughlin song plucks at the heartstrings, because we know these loving, precious creatures deserve so much more than they’ve received at the hands of humans.

How could I be anything other than inspired to put pen to paper, or warm fingers to keyboard, and craft a story to highlight the work these rescues are doing? In my book, A Higher Standard, the rescue in question is an equine rescue rather than a dog rescue. I made that decision, because while most people nowadays are familiar with rescue organizations geared toward smaller animals, like cats and dogs, a lot of people don’t have any exposure to those organizations that rescue larger animals, like horses and other farm animals. People need to know places like Second Chance Farms, the equine rescue in my book, do exist and need their support to continue saving the lives of animals in need. Animals that deserve a happy ending to their story, just like the one Beef now has.

About E.F. Dodd

Like her heroines, E.F. Dodd came from a close-knit family in a small town in North Carolina. Although she dallied briefly with city life, she retreated back to the country, where she now lives with her long-time boyfriend and an English bulldog. From a young age, she enjoyed creating stories, including the time at five years old when she’d almost convinced her grandmother that she’d gone horseback riding all alone... until she added a friendly crab to the storyline. With age came wisdom and the understanding of how far to stretch a plotline. Now she pursues writing as a creative outlet and hopes, one day, to have this be her career instead of a pastime.

Connect with Dodd at www.efdoddwrites.com and on Instagram @e.f.dodd.

A Higher Standard

A Higher Standard E. F. Dodd
A Higher Standard E. F. Dodd

As one of Boston's most eligible bachelors, real estate developer Gideon West has the golden touch, both with the ladies-from Beacon Hill to Southie and all points in between—and every project he's helmed for Standard Development. Hungry for his next challenge, he's set his sights on the untapped potential in the rolling hills and tranquil farmland of the sleepy town of Mimosa, North Carolina. To confirm it's the idyllic perfection it appears to be, Gideon heads south, where he's enveloped in Southern hospitality by everyone and everything with the exception of two: Monty, a runaway horse, and Everest Kennedy, an emerald-eyed spit re who can knock everything he's working toward right on its axis.

Everest's life in her hometown of Mimosa revolves around one thing-the equine rescue she's scrimped and saved for and struggled to get to the ground since college. After years of work, Second Chance Farms can finally stand on its own four hooves. What she needs now is the ability to expand her little slice of paradise by buying the hundred acres next door-that Gideon has under contract. There's no way she's going to let Gideon West upend everything she's worked for, regardless of the fact she appears to be the only one immune to the spell of the silver-tongued developer. But with each dimpled grin and blue-eyed glance, Everest can't deny her resistance to his charm is waning. If she isn't careful, Gideon might turn her carefully planned world upside down.

Even worse is that maybe - just maybe - she wants him to.

A smart and charming romance story with strong, female characters who we can all relate too, they are believable. The leading man is just right who couldn't not fall for him. The story line is exceptional - a great read for the romance lovers - 5 Stars from E F Dodd - FemaleFirst.co.uk

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