Most of us have pets, even it they’re only pet rocks. And pets make great supporting characters when writing fiction. They can be protagonist, used as a sounding board, comedy during serious subject matter, they can even be that one thing to drive home a moral lesson.
In my debut, coming in March 2014, I use a stubborn donkey to resist my hero. It keeps my hero where I need him, frustrates him, and causes him to reflect on the heroine. Plus it adds a bit of humor.
In my western, yet to be sold, I use two horses to reveal a little bit about my heroine and how she perceives life.
“Why’d you name your horse Brown?”
“Same reason I named that one Spot. She’s spotted and Brown’s brown. What would you have called them?” The light of the moon caught the shrug of her shoulders.
“I dunno. Thistle and Patches,” he chuckled.
“Just be thankful I didn’t name them both Horse”.
Garrison heard the tightness in her voice. Another twig snapped beyond the tree line. He couldn’t help but wonder if they were being followed. In fact, he was sure of it. Did she feel it, too? Was that the cause for her short-tempered answer? Or had he said something to upset her? He maneuvered Spot around what looked to be a fallen tree. “What makes you say that?”
Darby guided Brown around the other side of the tree. “If it weren’t for Rev’s encouragement, that is what their names would have been.”
“And what would you name a puppy?”
Again her shoulders shrugged. “Dog. Why form unnecessary attachments? Horses die. Dogs run away. If you don’t care enough to give them a proper name, it can’t hurt you when they do.”
So you see, using pets in your story can work well, and if you have your own pets you can use personal experience. Here are a few of ours, past and present.
We’ve also had things such as crawdads, turtles, frogs, snakes and lizards, even an Italian Wall lizard that is rare to the United States but my son found, and a three toed turtle rare to Kansas but had found on the side of the road. Yes, my son loved Steve Irwin and followed his example. At one time we had over twenty turtles all rescued from the road. We even took one to a nature preserve so his shell could be rebuilt. They were all our pets. We cared for them, we cried when we lost them or let them go. Okay, maybe I didn’t cry when the snake ran off, but it was sad to see my son upset.
As we continue through the month, we’ll see all sorts of pets, and hopefully some exotic ones too. We’ll learn about their character, because believe me each of our pets has had their own personality, even the turtles. We’ll learn about their care and many other things.
Now, for what you all have been waiting for……
Or maybe not. I have a few more pictures to share with you. Gotta love the Danes. They’re so pristine and protective, yet gentle. Danes were a cross breed between an English Mastiff and an Irish Wolfhound back before the 16th century. The nobility loved them. Why? Well, just look at them. But they were also a practical pet, not that they were actually pets. The nobility loved to hunt and wild boars were a constant in the woods. One jab from a boar and the hunting expedition was over. The Danes had no problem cornering a boar and taking him down. When we first got MooCow, a pound puppy, I witnessed my Danes in action. Boy, were they impressive. No doubt in my mind, if I was out wandering in the forest I’d want Danes at my side.
The winner for July’s gift card is……………………………………. Judy Bodmer.