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The Bone Ranger by Louisa Bennet, inspired by her dog Pickles

My wooftastic inspiration: Pickles, the dog behind The Bone Ranger

My Golden Retriever, Pickles, is the inspiration for my new dog detective mystery, The Bone Ranger, which is mainly narrated from the point of view of the dog.

Pickles came from a litter of nine puppies. He was the mischievous one: he playfully chased his brothers and sisters around the enclosure and tried to chew their tails. 

The breeder wanted us to give him a regal name: something that reflected his pedigree. Bit I wanted to call him Pickles because I knew the cheeky fellow would get into a lot of pickles. The breeder was horrified at such a silly name and insisted on putting Mr. Pickles on his registration certificate. Little did I know that Pickles would inspire me to write animal sleuth mysteries, as well as thrillers as L.A. Larkin.

Pickles is my best buddy. He’s with me when I work. We have long, adventurous walks together. 

He comes away on vacation with us. He’s family. He is also an endless source of ideas for my novels. Take his obsession with a fluffy toy duck. 

He doesn’t like me washing it. If I put his toy in the front-loading washing machine, he’ll remove it, run into the back yard, and attempt to bury it. 

It’s clear that he thinks his duck pongs to perfection! When I hang the clean duck on the line to dry, Pickles stares at it mournfully until I return it to him. 

He sleeps with his duck every night, his jaw resting on it. The Bone Ranger opens with a tug-of-war over between Monty (the dog character) and Rose (the young detective), all because Rose wants to wash his duck. This first chapter establishes the humorous tone of the book and demonstrates their close and loving relationship.

My dog loves riding in my car. The back seats are flattened so he has a large space to himself. He sticks his nose out the window and lets the wind flap his ears and wobble his jowl. I jokingly call my little car the pooch 

His favourite destination is a dog beach where the water is shallow. He’s a fishing dog.

People often ask me how he learned to catch fish. I believe it is mostly through trial and error. He has learned not to move in the water, not even to wag his tail, in case he frightens the fish away. He waits for hours until a fish swims close enough for him to plunge his open jaws into the water. Pickles is obsessed with watching David Attenborough’s nature programs and he especially loves to watch the brown bears catch salmon. I wonder if he picked up any tips from the bears?

Pickles is a gentle dog. Golden Retrievers are known for their loving nature which is why they make excellent therapy and guide dogs. 

A few years ago, our house was being renovated so we moved into a rental. I set up an office at the rear of the house and worked from home, with Pickles snoozing at my feet. I was deep in concentration when suddenly Pickles leapt up and dashed to the back door, growling – something I had never seen him do. I thought that he might have heard a neighbour’s dog bark, or he had a bad tummy, so I let him out. 

He charged around the corner, snarling and snapping and by the time I caught up with him he had a man pinned against the fence. I called the police and the burglar was taken away. Pickles didn’t hurt the intruder, but there is no doubt in my mind that Pickles would defend the people he loves. This experience helped me write a scene in The Bone Ranger when Monty successfully defends Rose from her attacker.

Pickles is almost twelve years old. Recently, we adopted a rescued Golden Retriever we have called Lilly, and she’s three years younger than Pickles. Lilly has given Pickles a new lease of life. They play like puppies. She now accompanies him to bookstores when he is paw-signing books. 

Who knows – perhaps I will introduce a girlfriend for Monty in my next dog detective mystery? In the meantime, enjoy reading The Bone Ranger.

Win 1 of 5 copies of The Bone Ranger by Louisa Bennet

The Story: Meet Monty, the food-obsessed, naughty, and totally loving Golden Retriever who will do anything for his owner, Detective Constable Rose Sidebottom. 

Of course, as these things go, Monty is no ordinary dog and Rose is no ordinary hooman. He has a super-smart nose and a network of unique informers via wee-mail; while Rose has an uncanny ability to know when people are lying. 

Together they make a formidable team. But Rose is battling anxiety and her boss has put her on sick leave, so there's nothing much going on - until a stranger begs for their help to find a missing person. The case soon becomes a murder investigation, and Rose's boss warns her not to interfere. 

But when dogs also start disappearing, Monty and Rose have no choice and set out to solve it. Louisa Bennet also writes crime thrillers, like Prey, as L.A. Larkin.

Hardback / Paperback, 360 pages

Publisher: Clan Destine Press18th November 2021

RRP: $32.95 (paperback); $39.95 (hardback) from all good bookstores and online.

You can follow Louisa Bennet on Facebookon Instagram @PicklesandLilly and on Twitter @MontyDogD 


1) Like our post (3/12/2021) + Facebook page and/or our Instagram Account
2) Simply tell us "What breed of dog is Monty in The Bone Ranger?" via the Australian Dog Lover Facebook page or Instagram page.
3) Tag 3 friends to receive extra entries (3) in the draw!

Terms and Conditions:

1. This Competition opened on Friday 3rd December 2021 (5pm) and closed on Thursday 9th December 2021 (midnight A.E.S.T.). Open to Australian residents only. 
Please allow 2 weeks to receive your prize(s) directly from the company.
Congratulations to our winners: M. Hertik-Tainton, S. Swick, A. Parkinson (via Facebook), @emmatheservicedog, @abundantbella88 (via Instagram).
2. To Enter, Like our post (03/12/2021) + Tell us "What breed of dog is Monty in The Bone Ranger?" via the Australian Dog Lover Facebook page or Instagram page.
3. This Promotion is a game of skill and chance plays no part in determining the winner.
The entries will be judged by the Australian Dog Lover team. The winning entries will be selected based on the most creative, informative or useful statement.
4. Entrants in the competition can only enter once.
5. Prizes not claimed within 48 hours will be redrawn.
* Entry into the competition is deemed acceptance of all terms and conditions.

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