Waaaaaay back when, when I first decided to become a *cough* writer, I KNEW my stories would have pets in them. Cats, dogs, frogs – an iguana. Didn’t matter, there would HAVE to be some kind of pet in the story.
Possibly it’s because I’ve lived my entire life with pets. Either my own, my parents or someone in my family has always had a pet even if I didn’t have one at the time. I can’t possibly imagine someone in one of my stories not having one as well.
There’s a variety of challenging problems that come with writing a romance while the hero and/or heroine has a pet.
1. They can’t go on exotic vacations – without finding a pet sitter.
2. They must have quality time with their pet – without the pet taking over the story.
3. They must share their innermost feelings with their pet – without looking psycho.
4. They have to show their concern and care for their pet – without actually having to change the kitty litter box or clean up vomit. (NOT good to write into a romance!)
5. They have to show they can understand their pet – the lifted brow, the sharp bark, the paw on the leg. A bit like when Lassie gave a bark and everyone knew immediately Timmy had fallen in the well. Again.
On the other hand, pets can be used to ratchet up tension, especially if the pet hates the hero/heroine. Or if they become ill. Or pet-napped. In one of my little short stories, the dog leaps in front of a car to save the little girl, and ends up with a broken leg. It honestly makes me tear up right here just typing this! But of course, the dog is fine, a lady veterinarian just happens to be RIGHT THERE, and she’s beautiful, and he’s handsome and…well, you can just see the HEA can’t you?
My first stories featured cats. Of course. =) Each of my cats will feature in a story at some point. However, my latest also features a bulldog. With a lisp. =) I haven’t actually written one with an iguana as of yet, but when I come up with an appropriate plot, nothing will stop me I guarantee you! I have a YA that features a yak. There will also be horses, possibly an enormous goldfish, possums and . . . well, the list goes on.
Do YOU use pets in your stories? If so, what are some of the challenges you’ve run across writing them in?
Maybe a story with a ring-tailed lemur . . .