Animals have always been an important part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are about a kitten named Tiger; and Ginger, a fluffy Pomeranian. My favorite childhood cat was named Puss (you can probably tell from these names that I wasn’t straining my imagination), who followed me like a dog whenever I went for a walk.
I’ve often written about animals, too. Two of my Chicken Soup for the Soul stories were about rescue dogs. “One-Eyed Lily,” about my old foster dog, appeared in MY VERY GOOD, VERY BAD DOG. Our dog Newton was the “Dog of the Month” in WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE DOG, and also helped inspire my novel DEATH BY BABYSITTING.
We have three senior cats right now: Ferris and a pair of 14-year-old littermates, Chester and BeeGee. Ferris meowed at our door about 3 AM, every night until we finally let her in—the best decision ever! My daughter found the other two alone and crying in her friend’s backyard when they were babies.
We have two dogs of our own—cattle dog Elvis, and 7-pound Spike, a Yorkie mix who arrived as a foster dog when he was in terrible shape from abuse. But we also have a senior foster dog, Katherine, who’s also an Australian cattle dog mix. Katherine is sweet, but she really only loves her people. She tolerates cats, and doesn’t really enjoy the company of other dogs or people she doesn’t know. Katherine came from a shelter, where she’d landed after showing up on somebody’s doorstep in the middle of a blizzard, and nobody claimed her.
All these animals have stories—just like people!
Have you ever tried to keep a dog off the couch? Or a cat out of the basket of clean laundry? Somehow, they always seem to find a way to get where they want to be! And even when I don’t really plan to include animals in my writing, they seem to find a way of creeping in.