By Donna Kauffman, author of UNLEASHED: A Christmas Novella

My mom and dad welcomed both their first born (me!) and a new puppy at the same time. As a mom myself now, I think that was beyond brave, but as their first born, I am forever grateful my parents took that simultaneous leap. It was love at first sight!  

scamp high chairScamper, a scruffy little terrier mix, was my buddy all the way until my sophomore year in high school. I knew I was blessed to have spent so many wonderful years with him, but when the time came, losing him was still devastating. It was my first time dealing with the death of a loved one. As hard as that was, though, I soon discovered that living without a canine companion was much, much harder. In all the years since, there have been many beloved pups in my life. In fact, I never went for long without a four-legged companion. So, it will come as no surprise that dogs frequently find their way into my characters’ lives and in between the covers of my books. 

In my recently re-released holiday novella, Unleashed, heroine Emma Lafferty runs her own pet sitting business. She takes on the eclectic menagerie of the elderly town magnate, agreeing to spend the holidays at his weekend estate in the snowy Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. (A romance with the magnate’s nephew and a family mystery ensue!) 

When I wrote this story, my family had our beloved goofball Chloe, whose antics came to mind when I was creating Martha, the Harlequin Dane in the story. Chloe even had her own pet cat, Bert. (I can’t believe I didn’t include that in the story as well!) 

Fetty the Beagle/Basset MixNow we have the utterly adorable Fetty, a Beagle/Basset mix who is exactly how I envisioned the sweet, adorkable basset, Jack, another of Emma’s charges in the story (and he landed a feature spot on the front cover as well!) Like Jack, Fetty trips over her own ears in her exuberance to keep up with the pack. 

This isn’t the first and will be far from the last time my beloved four-legged companions find their way between the covers of my books. With tongues lolling and tails wagging, they’ll continue to steal the hearts of my characters, and hopefully bring happy smiles to my readers as well. 




Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. Unleashed,an eBook novella about a woman who’s hired to pet-sit for a billionaire over the holidays, is on sale now everywhere eBooks are sold. Donna’s next full-length novel, Lavender Bluecomes out February 2019. The recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, Donna is also a National Readers Choice Award and PRISM Award winner and a RITA finalist. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C., politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she is surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife.  A contributing blogger for, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at