Fun fact: The character of Shep was not always going to be a German shepherd. In my earliest notes, I thought my main character would be a pitt bull/boxer mix, or some other kind of young mutt. But as I thought more about my character, I knew he was a German shepherd. There’s something noble and fierce about the breed that resonated with the dog whose story of survival was developing in my imagination.

Shep was always, however, going to be a rescue from a dog fighting ring. I thought that as an escapee from a terrible life in the fight kennels, he would value his life as a pet in ways that other dogs would not understand. For example, compare Callie and Shep: when they first escape their dens, Callie wants to race off to find excitement and adventure exploring the wilds of the city, but Shep does not want to leave his den because he fears losing his home and his family.