What Happens After the Happily Ever After? (For Pets and People)

My Alpine Grove novels explore the relationships people have with each other, but also the relationships people have with their pets.

Throughout the series, people acquire dogs and cats for various reasons. In my first book, Chez Stinky, Kat inherits dogs and cats with a house. In the second book, Fuzzy Logic, Jan adopts her mother’s dog before the story begins. The characters in the other books have found and adopted stray dogs and cats during the course of the novel or beforehand.

Because the Alpine Grove series of books are romantic comedies, I’m not giving away anything by saying that by the end of each book, two humans end up in love, possibly living together, or even engaged to be married. As an author who writes romance, that guarantee of a “happily ever after” is one of those things you don’t mess around with, unless you want to get hate mail.

So in my books, I end up with happy couples and happy critters. But relationships change over time, including the relationship between pets and their people. When you adopt a dog, there’s an adjustment period as you get to know each other.

After the HEA

Unlike many books out there, in the Alpine Grove series, you get to find out what happens after the happily ever after. Over the course of the books in the series, you see the evolution of both the animal and human relationships over time, particularly with Kat and Joel who meet in the first book and reappear in every subsequent book.

When you adopt a new pet, that relationship also evolves over time. I’ve been thinking about that more lately because we adopted a dog a few months ago named Tasha. Like any relationship, our relationship with Tasha goes through phases the longer we’re together. It’s like a marriage where the love evolves over time.

1. Infatuation

“You are the cutest dog I’ve ever seen!”

A very cute Samoyed

“I got adopted!”

2. Learning to cohabitate

“Sharing is important.”

two dogs sharing

“That chew toy looks really good.”

3. Establishing boundaries

“No you are not allowed to eat the sofa.”

dogs and sofa

“You’ll get in trouble.”

4. Testing limits

“Your bathroom is outside, not inside.”

dog on floor

“Aren’t hard floors great?”

5. Deepening trust

“I promise the vet is okay.”

dog in truck

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

6. Working on the relationship

“Let’s go to obedience classes.”

dog riding in truck

“That was fun.”

7. Unconditional emotional bond

“You need to live to be the oldest dog ever.”

sleeping dog

“I’ll try.”

About Susan Daffron

Susan Daffron is the author the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies and multiple award-winning nonfiction books, including several about pets and animal rescue. Check out all her books on her Amazon Author page.