The July Round Robin: Pets in Books
It's a rare person or family who either does not have or has never had a pet. Pets become part of our families and lives. Study after study has shown that pets are valuable to us as companions. Scads of money has been thrown at these findings only to ascertain what pet owners already know.
That said, I've used pets sparingly in my books. I hadn't realized how sparingly until Robin suggested this topic. As a lifelong cat owner, I've only put them in one of my books, the romantic suspense Once Upon a McLeod. In it, the two black and white cats, Tuxedo and Penguin, are both comfort to the heroine and harbinger of the bad acts perpetrated upon her. If something's up with the cats, bad doings are afoot!
I've used large dogs, golden retrievers (personally, our first "children" were Cocker Spaniels, alas a breed which wouldn't have worked in these books), in After the Thunder Rolls Away and T's Trial. In the former, a household of men, the outgoing, rambunctious retriever was just the right companion. In T's Trial, an older, more staid retriever guards the door of the convenience store and checks out all who enter. At night, they sleep with "their" boys.
Pets add humanity to a story just as they add it to our personal stories. My house is empty without a cat. From now on, when I pen a novel, I shall have to think about whether my book is empty without them also.
Interested in how other authors view pets in novels? Check out my fellow Round Robin-ers: