I believe that within the creative process of every story or novel, an author runs the risk of developing an affinity for a particular character; one which strikes their fancy or touches their heart more so than any other. Although my first love will always be Mister Marmee, who is the creative voice behind the chronicles, one of my favorite characters in The Chronicles of Mister Marmee ~ The Case of Jack the Nipper is Lady Jasmine, a Staffordshire Terrier or pitbull, who is saved from the horrors of the fighting ring and helps Sir Happy Heart and Mister Marmee in their investigation.
For those of you who have yet to read the story and discover the magic of this character on your own, Lady Jasmine is a story of incredible redemption and love. Jasmine was born and raised under ruthless conditions on a breeding farm for illegal dog fighting. She was handpicked as a pup and trained to fight under the most deplorable conditions. Jasmine was neither cruel nor brutal by nature, and she hated every bloody moment she was forced to be in the ring. As the blood lust of her master and the spectators grew, Jasmine was faced with a choice. Would she allow herself to become the monster her ‘master’ wanted her to be, or would she refuse to follow the dark path that had been thrust upon her?
In the midst of her tragedy, rather than surrender to the evils of her world and become in truth what her ‘master’ had endeavored to mold her into, Lady Jasmine rejected the darkness and refused to fight. She knew it would mean her life, but in her mind and heart, Jasmine chose the right path. She wanted to be free from the torment, but most importantly she didn’t want to be the means or the method of tormenting another. Her decision was to be different – to reject the circumstances that were foisted upon her – ultimately leading to her true freedom from the ring and to the great love story of her life.
Lady Jasmine is saved from her situation as a fighting dog through a series of events and is rescued by a loving family. Through their love and gentleness, she is restored to health and is finally able to be the dog she was meant to be – strong, noble, loving, loyal, and true.
Lady Jasmine is in every way the epitome of the true redemption story. She comes from harsh beginnings. She lives a tough life. She is faced with the choice of either surrendering to the evils in her life or overcoming them. She chooses the later and finds a better life ahead. For me, however, Jasmine is more than just a redemption story in my heart. She also represents a story of hope for a breed group that currently faces impossible odds because of being misrepresented, misunderstood, and misused.
The pitbull breeds, which include the Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pitbull, over the last few years have been targeted and demonized in the media because of the unscrupulous actions of evil men who secretly breed aggressive versions of these dogs and use them for the most despicable ‘sports’ imaginable. Terrible things have happened it is true, but the pitbull breeds as a whole are being black listed because of them. In countries all over the world, breed specific legislation (BSL) is being passed that makes owning one of these breeds illegal, and families are finding themselves overnight in violation of these new, often loosely worded laws. Family pets that have never exhibited aggressive behavior are being taken from their homes and destroyed, just because they look like they might have a pitbull type breed in their bloodline.
There is a terrible irony to all of this because back in the Victorian Age, the pitbull breeds like the Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pitbull were considered the ‘family’ dogs to own. They were to the Victorian era family what labs and golden retrievers are to the modern era. How far we have come in our view of these noble breeds and yet how little we have changed in our treatment of them.
With Lady Jasmine’s story, I hope to offer the incredible pitbull breeds a representative that is worthy of them, with a heart and spirit as strong, noble, loving, loyal, and true as the breed standard has always been. And perhaps, just perhaps, as readers discover this incredible character, Lady Jasmine can help to turn the tide of opinion in favor of a breed group that is truly worth saving. Who knows, just as Lady Jasmine chose to reject that dark path before her, we too can reject a similarly dark path and put an end to BSL before it is too late to turn back.