Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pets in Fiction

Isn't he pretty?  Well, he's got a major role in DLN.  (Not exactly him, but a Kuvasz just like him.)

This morning I was editing along and thinking about the roles pets play in fiction.  This is only the second pet I've written, and now that I think about it, I wonder why.

I own a cat.  I think most writers have a pet of some kind or other.  They enrich our lives - even if mine doesn't recognize that I'm working and her demands for breakfast are distracting.  Why shouldn't our characters have the same enrichment in their lives?

The first pet I wrote was for a novel I haven't quite finished yet.  I threw Honey in because I thought my MC was the kind of solitary gal who would come home to a cat after a long day of fighting bad guys.  She didn't have anyone else in her life and she didn't really have time for anything more involved than a cat.  (I imagine Honey looks something like this cat.)

As for the other MCs?  Well, they don't even have time for a pet at all.  I mean, if you're never home, it's kind of cruel to have a pet, right?

But I digress...

Off the top of my head, the first fictional pet that comes to mind is Pilot from Jane Eyre.  He didn't even serve a purpose, if memory serves, other than showing a softer edge to Rochester.  I mean any guy who owns a dog can't be all that bad, right?

And the next pets I think of are Harry Dresden's - Mister the cat and Mouse the dog.  They're Harry's companions, but throughout the series they even grow as characters .  (Excellent writing, btw, Mr. Butcher.) I can't imagine The Dresden Files without either animal.  I mean, my folks used to have a cat named Mister - who from all accounts was similar to Harry's cat - and I want a dog just like Mouse.  How cool would that be?

So, who's your favorite fictional pet?  I know I'm missing tons, but unless they really stick out, I tend not to remember pets from the novels I read.  (And I'm not talking about anthropomorphic characters - like in Watership Down or The Wind in the Willows.  Those aren't pets, they're peoples.)

And finally, have you ever written a pet into your stories?  How'd that work out for you?

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*


  1. The only fictional "pet" I can remember at the moment is Flipper. Too tired. ;-)

    I wrote a cat into Monsoon Rain, but he's really a shape shifter, so I suspect he doesn't count.

    I enjoyed this post! Linking back to you.

  2. The only fictional pets I can think of are from Harry Potter, LOL! I mean, who wouldnt want a cat and an owl?

  3. Actually, I haven't written in pets... haven't written so much :-D
    I come to think about Harry Potter familiari :-D and James Herriot and Gerald Durrell :-) Then I think of Susan Cooper and Darkness Rises series. There was Cafall... "mere" dog, and wasn't part of the story for long, but a very big part of the story :-)
    Pets do give more facets to the story...