A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

Where did you get the name, Zac, for Penny’s dog?


The name, Zac, for Penny’s dog was selected by Penny and Johnny’s grandson for his new puppy in 1991, the same year in which PERSONAL BAGGAGE begins. That year radio and television newscasts were full of reports about the exhumation of Zachary Taylor’s body to discover whether or not he died of arsnic poisoning.

In an effort to shorten my monumental original manuscript, my great friend and wonderful editor, Marlena Bremseth, suggested that I delete the paragraphs explaining this and telling how the Pewitts inherited Zac when their son’s marriage ended.

Many dogs have owned us, but Lucy and Zac were so personable and unique that I had plenty of dog episodes for my book.

Search result for 'Zac' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 1: Chapter One
"...Long past the puppy stage, Penny’s dog Zac seized any opportunity to swipe the neighbors’ papers. He dug up flower beds with joyous barking and pilfered trophies from all over town: a cell phone which rang incessantly, several hats from a baseball cap to a bonnet, and innumerable shoes from the porch of their Japanese friends. ..."
"...Unnerved, Penny felt every heartbeat like someone was kicking her in the chest again and again. Had the driver tried to run her down? It was lucky that both she and Zac had escaped injury! She sprinted over her lawn while Zac scampered ahead of her. His short hair was mostly white, but in places the white faded to a brownish tan, making him appear perpetually dirty. She collected her yard gloves and kneeling pad and coaxed him ..."
"...After cleaning up the kitchen, Penny fed Callie and Zac and retired to her room. She needed rest to be at her best the next day, but her thoughts returned to the week during which she had agonized over whether to apply for the job in Jacksonville. She had asked Johnny’s opinion, since he always had one, ..."
"...Determined to make a good first impression, Penny selected her outfit carefully: black slacks, a silky gray blouse, and her new Bass flats. With her clothes laid out and the room tidied, she propped up in bed and scribbled a letter describing Zac’s panty theft to her parents. They enjoyed receiving mail, and Penny made her story entertaining. ..."

Chapter 2: Chapter Two
"... When the aquarium was finally clean, Penny aired out her house. She released Zac from his pen for a brief back-yard romp in the fading light, and watched as dusk deepened and darkness moved forward through the trees and spilled unevenly across the yard, leaving patches of light. ..."

Chapter 6: Chapter Six
"...She pulled on shorts and running shoes, untangled Zac’s leash, and walked out through the garage to his pen. Zac jumped up ready to go, then sat panting while Penny stretched her legs. Starting this late there shouldn’t be much traffic since most of the neighbors were already at work. Zac ran in front, straining ..."
"... At the dead end, pausing for Zac to sniff around and do his business, she noticed little puffs of dust rising from beneath her pet’s paws. The searing sun was baking the earth, and the lopsided fireball appeared to be melting itself as it blasted down brilliant-yellow light. Her ..."
"...Her return run seemed shorter. As she stopped at the end of her driveway to collect the mail, Penny accidentally dropped the leash, and Zac picked up the hand loop with his teeth. He trotted through the yard and jumped up, panting frantically, to sit beside Penny on the bench at the edge of the woods. The air was so muggy that breathing was an achievement. Penny held the front of ..."

Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
"...Along Oakwood, her neighbors’ tree trimmings, bright as confetti, awaited pickup at the curb, and in her own driveway the tangy odor of chrysanthemums reached Penny as she stepped from her car, welcomed by Zac’s insane barking and howling. In the garage she discovered that UPS had delivered the box she had packed for herself in Charleston. Leaving it unopened, she ate a cheese sandwich, changed into yard clothes, and released her pet from his pen. ..."
"...The wind had picked up, and airborne leaves filled the backyard with dancing color; the ground was covered and still they hurried down. Zac exhausted himself chasing squirrels, then rested nearby observing as Penny raked crisp leaves into three large piles. She planned to load them onto a piece of canvas and drag them into the woods before the expected evening rain arrived. ..."
"...She had finished raking her first pile onto the canvas when Zac jumped to his feet, ran in a circle around her and the canvas, and tore into the center of the pile, thrashing back and forth, scattering the leaves. Stopping, he looked at Penny, awaiting her reaction. “Atta boy, Zac.” Penny encouraged the dog who now attacked ..."
"...After feeding Callie and Zac, Penny took a shower and dressed quickly. It was an open Friday night for the football team, and Johnny would soon be home for supper so she broiled hamburgers, one of his favorite foods. After supper, he remained at the table calculating something on a legal pad ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"...Zac howled a greeting and by the dim light of a fingernail moon, she walked with him around the yard before opening his can of Alpo. Callie was nowhere to be seen, but plenty of cat chow remained in her bowl. Penny tried to remember the last time ..."
"...Penny arrived home in the middle of Sunday afternoon and stepped from her car into a gusty wind carrying a trace of wood smoke. Exhilarated by unexpected free time, she changed into jeans and running shoes and unhooked the gate to Zac’s pen. He could not be still while she tried to snap the leash onto his collar, but the connector finally clicked, just as Johnny’s blue car pulled into the driveway. ..."
"... as Johnny’s blue car pulled into the driveway. “Hold on a minute and I’ll go too,” he said, with a smile for Penny and a howl, mimicking Zac’s. He extracted a pair of Nikes from his trunk and leaned against the car to change shoes. Following Penny’s usual route, they walked at a ..."
"... Nikes from his trunk and leaned against the car to change shoes. Following Penny’s usual route, they walked at a brisk pace while Zac strained ahead, pulling the collar so hard against his throat that his respirations were noisy. “I was at a Salvation Army meeting,” Johnny said. ..."
"... it before want to do it again. I think timing was our problem.” At the top of the hill Penny pulled back on Zac’s leash. “Johnny, I shouldn’t tell you about this, but something terrible happened at work yesterday.” They turned around and he took her hand as they started toward ..."
"... said. Turning back onto Oakwood, they passed in front of their house and continued on toward the dead end. Pausing beside the Vanlandinghams’ dying flower garden, Penny unsnapped Zac’s leash. There was no traffic and the dog ran free, zig zagging from side to side down the street. Nearing ..."
"... Nearing the end, they turned into the driveway of a house under construction and Zac explored it with them, his paws clicking on the plywood floors. As they left the garage and proceeded down the driveway, a red motorcycle roared up and stopped. Penny called Zac and reattached his leash. ..."
"... “I bought it from Doc Scales. We’re buddies.” Buck stooped to pat Zac’s head, then rubbed the dog’s ears and Zac jumped against him, begging for more. When Buck stood up, Zac tightened the slack in his leash, pulling away. “Louise told me you’re working in Jacksonville,” ..."
"... in his leash, pulling away. “Louise told me you’re working in Jacksonville,” Penny said, skirting the motorcycle as Zac drew her toward the street. “I’ll be up in Oncology Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights so maybe I’ll see you at work.” “Hey!” Buck yelled after ..."
"...But Penny walked on. That was close! She should be strong enough to keep her mouth shut! She provided fresh water and canned food for Zac, then checked the cat’s bowls in the garage. Callie’s dry food appeared untouched, and Penny couldn’t remember when she had added any to the bowl. The cat was a picky eater. Purina Cat Chow, made in little star shapes, was all she ate and she preferred ..."
"... about the snake. At home she told Zac about it. “I should have brushed her more and taken better care of her. Then I would have known she was sick. Dr. Allen said animals hide their pain and I don’t want her to hurt, but how can I kill her? She’s part of our family.” By 2 p.m., Penny ..."

Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
"... love you too, sister.” Later, entering the kitchen after a run with Zac, Penny picked up the ringing phone. Agnes Gwen said, “Penny, Dr. Scales has been in my office complaining about you. Can you tell me anything that might help the situation?” “There’s a situation every ..."

Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
"... Mae. “Merry Christmas!” It was nine Christmas evening when the children left, and Penny, who had slept for two hours before they came, said, “Let’s take Zac for a walk, Johnny. It’s fifty-five degrees outside. I can clean this up when we get back.” They took the usual route up ..."
"... degrees outside. I can clean this up when we get back.” They took the usual route up the hill with Zac straining forward against his leash. Red and green lights shone from their neighbors’ decorations, but the street was deserted. “Man! I had fun with our children—BIG ..."
"...Caught off-guard, the pain of remembering ambushed Penny. She walked faster, rounding the corner onto Oakwood with Zac prancing. Johnny sped up to catch them, then stopped while Penny bent to unsnap Zac’s leash from his collar. After giving her a questioning look, Zac ran in front of them, crossed the street, and jumped into the flower bed beside the Vanlandinghams’ driveway, barking. ..."
"...The flower bed, five-feet-wide and perpendicular to the street, was filled with tall ornamental grasses and nandina bushes. Near the middle of the bed an electric pole jutted upward. It’s base was hidden by shrubbery, and it was at the bottom of the pole that Zac continued to lunge and bark in spite of Penny’s calls and Johnny’s whistles. ..."
"...Penny entered the shrubbery and squatted beside the man, who lay on his stomach with one leg turned around so that the toe of his shoe pointed skyward. Zac snapped his teeth at him and Penny held the dog back. The man raised his head, laid it down briefly, then with one arm he pushed himself up, raising both shoulders and his head. ..."
"...Johnny returned, and Penny handed him the leash. “Put this on Zac and pull him away from here! If this man bends his neck with a fractured cervical spine he could damage his spinal cord, maybe become paralyzed.” The man moaned. “Lie still!” Penny commanded, gripping his head with both hands, attempting to keep his neck and back ..."

Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
"...Johnny had said that they would leave for a mini-vacation in Columbus around four this afternoon, spend two nights in a motel, and have two days to explore. Penny phoned the veterinarian’s office, then invited Zac into the car. The dog could have his yearly checkup and vaccinations while they were gone. She considered purchasing mice to feed to the snake but discarded the idea. She wouldn’t be here to clean the tank. ..."

Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two
"... to Penny, sitting beside him in the passenger seat. “Did you pack your camera?” “I’ve got it; and this morning after I took Zac to the vet, I went to Sack and Pack and bought a map of Columbus.” “Sounds like we’re all set, then.” Johnny activated the headlights as they ..."

"...In mid-afternoon, the sun appeared and Penny walked Zac around the yard on his leash, afraid to let him run free because the street in front of their house was full of out-of-towners. She then locked the unhappy dog in his pen. Johnny would be late returning from practice, so there was plenty of time to ..."

"...Grabbing a jacket, she carried her Reebocks onto the front steps. Zac barked at her from his pen, but Penny, craving solitude after untold hours of talking to police officers, ignored him and pushed up the hill alone. The morning sun at her back cast on the pavement a long shadow: an extremely thin giant with a stalk-like neck, pendulum ..."

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Where did you get the name, Zac, for Penny’s dog?

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"Margaret McMillion's PERSONAL BAGGAGE is a very entertaining story of professional life within a corrupt medical community, and the toll..."

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