posted on October 14, 2013 by Shirley Jump


thebillionaire'smatchmakerWhen the four of us set out to create Charlie, the matchmaking Jack Russell Terrier in THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER, we drew partly from our own experiences with animals that have melted our hearts. Our pets may only be in our lives for a few years, but the bond they create is strong and ever-lasting. Today, the four authors of THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER wanted to share their favorite pet stories, and give you a peek at the pets that became family.

Shirley Jump: Several years ago I wrote a book featuring a little dog who did tricks (Harvey the Wonder Dog in THE OTHER WIFE) and I decided I really wanted a little dog of my own. We already had a cat and two dogs, and my husband said no-way, no-how were we getting any more animals. I’d also been having a hard time in the time since my mother passed away, especially after writing AROUND THE BEND, which was a mother-daughter relationship book and drew a great deal from my real life.

sophieI talked my husband into going to look at puppies anyway. The one I wanted was a male, and since we already had a male dog, we knew that wouldn’t work. Then I saw a tiny little female Havanese puppy, and asked just to hold her (that whole, I-swear-I-won’t-want-to-buy-her trick ;-). My husband took one look at me with Sophie, and said, “I haven’t seen you smile that much since your mom died.” Then he turned to the clerk, and said, “we’ll take the dog, and everything she needs.” That was it—Sophie became my little buddy, and has also managed to wrap my husband around her little paw. She’s brought more joy to our lives than I could ever imagine.

SophiaSusan Meier: My favorite pet is my cat Sophia — her full name being Sophia Maria Lolita Conchita Chiquita Banana. My niece found her in the woods on the way back from a wedding in Pittsburgh.  A new mother, Kelli couldn’t let this kitten alone in the woods, and I’d just had to put my gorgeous black cat to sleep. She thought we were a perfect match. Sophia thought otherwise. When we brought her home, she fit in the palm of my hand. But she was also filthy. Covered in twigs, dead leaves and dirt. So my husband, odd man that he can be sometimes, decided to put her under the shower spray, after lathering her down with shampoo. She hissed and spit and fought like a banshee and my husband came out wetter and soapier than she was. We had to teach her to eat by putting drops of milk on our fingers. And since Fluffy, our other cat, wanted nothing to do with her, I taught her how to wash herself by running my chin over her fur until she got the idea that she was to do the same thing but with her tongue. Even now when she wants to show me love, she shoves the top of her head under my chin so I can pretend wash her.

We’re pretty sure that since I mothered her, she believes I’m her mom. And since my husband tried to bath her, he must be her dad. Which makes Fluffy, the household pet. LOL She’s fifteen years old now and still as cuddly and happy as she was once she realized she wasn’t alone in the world anymore.

We don’t know what we’d do without her. 🙂

pipJackie Braun: In a way, Charlie, the matchmaking Jack Russell terrier from THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER, is responsible for matching me with my dog, Pip.

Last fall when my husband and I started talking about adding a four-legged friend to our family, he wanted a hunting dog, preferably one that came to us as a pedigreed puppy. I didn’t care about the breed, but I was adamant that a rescued dog was the way to go.

Christmas came and went and a couple of contenders, including a purebred German Short-Hair, were scooped up at local shelters before I could convince my husband to go see them. Then Charlie stepped in.

In January I while doing a little research on Jack Russells for my story, Love Unleashed, I came across one on a rescue site.  I knew from the breed wasn’t for me — too small, yappy and hyper. But the site did have a possible contender, a 2-year-old, medium-sized coon hound. I called. The lady I spoke to gave me a little background on the animal and it became apparent the dog wasn’t a good match for my family.

Then, she mentioned a 4-year-old miniature poodle rescued from a breeding operation. Okay, a miniature poodle is about as far from a medium-sized hunting dog as you can get, but once I saw Pip in person, I knew he was meant for our family.

HoWe’ve had some ups and downs as he’s settled into our home, but that’s to be expected with an animal that was abused and neglected.  Pip is now a full-fledged member of our family, and, truly, I can’t imagine a more perfect pet.

Barb Wallace: I’ve had two pets that melted my heart.  The very first pet my husband and I ever adopted was a cat named Ho.  (Yes, Ho!)  When

we walked into the animal shelter 25 years ago, Ho – a big, black Tom Cat – meowed and demanded I pick him up.  I carried him the entire tour.  At the end, it was clear he’d decided we would take him home.  He lived with us for 17 years and was the best cat an owner could ever ask for.  I think his only regret was that he didn’t have opposable thumbs.  If nature saw fit to give them to him, he’d have ruled the world.chuckie

Fast forward 20 years.  My husband, son and I decided to adopt a dog.  After talking it over, we agreed on an older dog, an 8 year old mutt who while, not attractive, needed a home.  I went to meet her and frankly, she and I didn’t click.  I did however, fall in love with the five year old spaniel in the next cage.  But, we committed to taking the 8 year old, so I sadly waved by to the spaniel. The next day I got a call from the shelter.  Another family was dying to take the 8 year old mutt, they said, and would we mind taking the spaniel instead.  No brainer there!  We’ve had Chuckie for three years now.  He is my best friend.  He sleeps under my desk every day while I work, and at the foot of my bed every night.  In the end both dogs got forever homes and I couldn’t be happier.

Buy THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER, featuring the lovable Charlie the matchmaking pup, on Amazon, Nook, and all major etailers. Leave a comment below about your favorite pet and be entered to win a copy of the book!

Shirley Jump

Shirley Jump

Writing has not only been Shirley Jump's Life, but also her passion. She wrote her first published article at the age of eleven and was hired as a reporter for a weekly newspaper at twelve. In the ensuing years, she wrote more than 3000 articles for national and local publications before turning her writing skills toward romance novels.

Originally from Massachusetts, she received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Massachusetts, graduating with honors. She now lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

In addition to writing for Silhouette Romance, Shirley also writes single title romantic comedies for Kensington Books.

Readers can contact her at Shirley Jump, P.O. Box 5126, Fort Wayne, IN 46895 or by emailing her at Shirley@ShirleyJump.c om


  1. Shari says:

    We have two dogs in our house. A boxer and a shih tzu. They are our best buddies. They love going on car rides and they have us wrapped around their paws.
    It is the best feeling when you come home from a bad night at work and they are so excited to see us. Could never be with out furry friends.

  2. shirleyjump says:

    I love little dogs, Shari! Yours sound super cute!

  3. KateS says:

    Such cute pictures.. we’ve always had small dogs.

    1. Sophie is our first small dog, but after getting her, we’re hooked on having a small dog instead of a big dog!

  4. Christine L. says:

    My family and I are between pets at the present time. As a little kid, one of my first words was “puppydog.” When I was 4, my dad called my mom on the way home from work one evening to say he was bring home something cute and blond. He meant, of course, the cocker spaniel mix who would become my first pet and first best friend. Rusty and I did everything together. He suffered tremendous motion sickness but endured the long trip from Texas to California in the backseat of a non-A/C Buick with me. During my school years, he would wait for the bus to deliver me in the afternoons and race up our long driveway, ears flying, to meet me. Though an outdoor pet, as he got older, my mom relented and would occasionally let him in the house, but only in the kitchen. Time took its toll on him and eventually he fell ill at the age of 14. Eighteen-year-old me made the decision to end his suffering and held him as the vet administered the euthanasia. I hope to reunite with my best pal at the Rainbow Bridge, where I believe Rusty is waiting for me just as he did when listening for the schoolbus lo these many years ago. (And, yes, tears are streaming down my nearly 40-year-old visage as I type this.)

    1. Oh, what a sweet story!! He sounds like a lovely dog. So sorry he passed away, but oh, that story touched my heart!

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