Pets add dimension to a story, whether a dog, cat, horse, pig, or any other animal, and shows the humane side of a character. I consider them family and they’re always important to my characters. In the second book of my Shakespeare in the Vineyard series, I included Niki, a chocolate lab, at the request of my niece’s husband, and used him as a gift from my protagonist’s romantic interest. Niki became quite useful when he found critical evidence of a crime in a cave. I also added a cat, Velcro (named for obvious reasons), who wanders in and out of the story only to tease Niki.
There’s an endless list of beloved pets in literature, but we can’t forget those used as canine police officers. German Shepherds are one of the most common breeds used. A well-trained canine is essential in preventing criminal activity and in locating illegal drugs and explosives. In Vineyard Prey, the third book in my Shakespeare in the Vineyard series, Finn, a canine German shepherd, searches a vineyard for drugs until he stops and begins pawing the floor where he finds a suspicious scent.
I haven’t read fairy tales in . . . well, decades and had to do a little research to come up with a few titles. Unfortunately, I don’t have grandchildren to buy books for, but if I did I might have bought the following: How Ian Direach got the Blue Falcon, and Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf where the hero is aided by a fox and a wolf. Then there’s the Golden Bird where the talking fox is freed from a spell to become the heroine’s brother.
Lassie, the famous collie dog, was first created in a short story, and in 1940 expanded to a full-length novel called Lassie Come-Home. Toto, a small terrier, and Dorothy, of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, are swept away from their Kansas home by a cyclone. I read a lot of comics when I was young, such as Blondie. The Bumstead’s family dog was Daisy. And no one could forget Gnasher, the pet dog of Dennis the Menace. Snoopy is Charlie Brown’s loyal, good-natured pet beagle in the comic strip Peanuts. Sadly, his short “novels” are never published.
Alert! Don’t forget the animals! It happens, depending on their purpose for being in the story. My critique group has saved me when I’d forgotten all about Niki or Velcro. Finn I had a definite purpose for.