Below is another sketch a fan sent me. It portrays Monster from the fourth story in the Duty Series (Duty with Honor). In DwH, a wardog puppy was frequently addressed (read that as yelled at) as ‘you little monster’ by the soldiers of the Caralok Levy in the Vladeshan army because of the pup’s tendency to chew on their leather gear (shield straps, tent ties, boots, etc.). This was shortened to simply Monster. This is her interpretation of Monster’s appearance (she pictured him with much longer fur than I do). Thank you, Kathy. (You can see more of her fan art here.)
The concept of the ‘wardog’ came from the real dogs used for war in Roman times and later.
Monster was inspired by my son’s English Mastiff. We dog-sat him while our son was deployed to Afghanistan. It was an interesting learning experience.
I grew up with dogs that I considered large dogs (hunting dogs: blue tick and black & tans. There was a beagle–not large dog–that I named Lucky.) When I met the English Mastiff, I discovered the true meaning of a ‘large dog’ and what was meant by a ‘sight hound.’
Before he was one year old, he weighed more than I did, and was much stronger. From the back of the kitchen counter to the center of the kitchen table, nothing was out of his reach. For the table he just stood on all fours and stretched his neck, without even having to jump. Luckily he was a well-behaved dog and didn’t disturb items on either counter or table once he had inspected them to make sure they were safe for his humans. (He treated our cats the same way: a couple of sniffs and all was good.)
The Mastiff would walk out onto the patio each morning and freeze. Only his head moved in a slow semi-circle as he surveyed everything. Nothing escaped his notice. If he saw something new, his hackles would rise and he would stalk toward it. If he decided it was harmless to his humans, the hackles would lower. If he remained unsure, he would continue stalking stiff-legged. If it ran away (got out of his yard or didn’t rush forward toward the human), he would relax.
And so Monster was born. 🙂