Stories with Pets

Happy Friday everyone!  Hope you all have a great weekend ahead of you.  I will keep this post short and simple.  Feel free to respond with your thoughts on this important matter!  Now on to the topic.

Some authors include animals as part of the story in books.  This can be a fun addition to the character list, regardless of how they are used.  At times, a pet might only get a brief mention.  At others, they might play a pivotal role.  Personally, I love seeing them in the storyline, but I don’t have to have it.  My question to authors is this, do you use animals in any of your books, and if so how?  For the readers out there, do you enjoy seeing them in the novels you read?  What are your thoughts?  Hopefully we can hear some intriguing examples to whet our appetites.


~ by Suzie on July 15, 2011.

17 Responses to “Stories with Pets”

  1. I did read one of those books once where the cat(s) helped to solve the crime and I did the eyeroll thing. (Does remind me of a comment one reader once made that if there is a cat in a mystery book, it better be under the wheel of a car — okay, I’m ducking arrows here). I’m reading a book now where the main character has a dog that just lies there, sticks his head up every now and then but travels with the protagonist since his job is a solo thing. Back to cats — although I did the eyeroll thing, for some reason I thought it was important for my character to have a “pet” but I didn’t want the typical “Fluffy” or “Buster.” I ended up giving Dagger a scarlet macaw and to make him useful I gave him a photographic memory so my protagonist doesn’t have to use a rolodex.

  2. Animals, whether pets or wild ones, add intimacy to a story. Most people I know have unmistakeable reactions to animals. Pets almost universally can connect our characters with readers on a personal level. I use animals every chance I can to do that, whether the animal has a given name, or is just a working stiff around the farm, or a silent watcher. I see all animals as expressions of intelligence and beauty, and most readers can connect with that.

  3. I agree with Richard. I love animals. I love the faithful companionship they represent. I used them a lot in my fantasy stories (animals seem to just fit in better in fantasy). I still use them, but they have a purpose, whether as natural background or to reveal more about my character in how he/she responds to the animal.

    I don’t think I’ve ever used an animal as a simple token piece–at least I hope not, because I don’t like that. I think animals should at least have personality if they’re not playing a role in the plot; they should be treated as a secondary character. You wouldn’t write about the homeless guy on the corner who stares at you everyday but doesn’t have a bigger role than that in the story.

    I like reading books with animals in them too, for the same reasons. But I’m a big softy when it comes to animals, so if they die, I get unhappy.

  4. In one of my romance novels, “The Seduction of Faith”, what Faith assumes is a stray Calico shows up on her doorstep. Without giving too much of the subplot away, appearances are deceiving. Ulterior motives are afoot. . . .

    • Now that is storyline! Thanks for sharing. You have me curious. Might just have to check your book out sometime soon.

      • Thanks, Susan. I’ve requested to be put on your TBR list for review. I did this fairly recently, so I’m probably down near the bottom of the list. When you have the time, I’ll be thrilled to learn what you think of the book, which is the 1st in a series. And thanks again for giving a new Indie author this opportunity to have a platform in which to share!

        • No problem Debbie. I love to chat with Indie authors. As for the TBR, call me a horrible person, but I have started chosing them by mood rather than order. Though if I don’t have a particular need for a certain genre, then I revert to the order. Sometimes, though, I just want a certain type of book so its easier to just jump to the one that fits my desire at the moment. Plus it keeps everyone on their toes as to whether they are next, lol.

  5. Yes we have a pet/guard dog but he has a very unhappy ending. In this case it was a way to move the story forward…as it makes the main characters very angry. (Sorry guys but I didn’t write that particular section)

    On the other hand, Dee Henderson uses animals as pets quite effectively throughout the O’Malley Chronicles. More as a way to bring people together on another level.

    • I’m such a sucker for pet tales, whether they are true or fiction. I nearly all the Chicken Soup for the Soul books that deal with animals. Cried through most of them. Even in fiction, though, a good pet story can really touch me. I understand why you had to kill off the dog in your book. If someone hurt any of my animals, and I knew who did it, they would have hell to pay. Using that in a story can be quite effective when done right.

  6. Problem with pets is they die or get lost. my last two cats, brothers both black and white, socks and claws, I took to the vet to get them neutered and chipped, one of them died during the procedure, the vets made the mistake of injecting them for the process, I later found out, after doing some research, that this procedure should never be done to cats under one year old as young cats under a year old have a high mortality rate from this process (putting them out while surgery is performed should be done with gas when they are younger than 1 year, not injection). I blame the vet for not being thorough. The other cat survived, and stayed with me for 2 years almost, he was like a pet dog, he would go outside all night and come in during the day, Id call his name and he would come running, when he got out while I was leaving for work in the mornings, and I wanted him inside, Id just call his name or sometimes tell him to get his ass in there when he was being stubborn, and hed listen, never had to chase em.. Then I had to go to okc for my divorce and one day I let him out and he never came back. I saw him 6 months later nearby. He was thin and wild, he ran into a dilapidated building where I could not retrieve him, nor would he recognize me or responde to his name. I never saw him again. Seems like having a cat chipped is almost pointless when no one bothers to capture “wild” cats or pay them any attention the way they do with dogs. That cat was the last member of my family to go, I do miss my cat.

    • That’s sad, so sorry for your lose. At least you have some good memories.

    • Cats are very much their own animals. It can be very hard to catch them. My cat will not let any stranger near her. My Dad lived with me for quite some time, but within weeks of him moving out, she stopped letting him pet her when he came to visit. The chips work better if the animal is the friendly type. Unfortunately, in your case, it didn’t help. Sorry you had such an awful experience with those two cats. I know it isn’t easy.

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