08 September 2009

Furry Characters

This week we are going to talk about about animals. This is one of those subjects we'll return to a lot, because animals can teach us so much and are such a major part of our lives. And they are a lot of fun!



Meet Mitsi Gail Boodylicious, the best poodle in the whole world. She's just really good at being a poodle. She loves to play with her squeak toy hippo, to cuddle with her "sister" (that's me!), to eat, and to feel the wind in her ears. She's my sidekick, my "sister", my best friend; my dragon, my Dobby, my little Reepicheep. Whenever I watch a Narnia movie, I become so convinced that my poodle can actually talk that I sit and stare at her for hours, just waiting for it to happen. She interprets that as me declaring my intention to play for the rest of the day. In my house, she is the comic relief. She's also the one everything is blamed on. If something goes wrong, it's all her fault. We cuddle every night that we can and whenever I am away, I miss her like crazy. She forgives me for leaving and is so excited whenever I return. She's more than just a dog to me.

What role does your pet play in your household, if you have one? Have you ever written a furry character? What were his/her traits?

Animals can teach us so much about the world and our own stories. They just add an extra dimension, where we can see another side of our characters and what's going on. Dogs, especially, view us through loyalty-colored lenses. They stand by us and love us no matter what. This subject is paramount to me right now, because of a canine character that has quietly walked into my mind's picture for my new story. She has a name now. And she doesn't seem to care that I already thought this character had a cat (with a great name, might I add). She just let herself be known and said that there was no need for discussion, really. This is her story. Obviously, she knows what's going on. The cat has narrowed its eyes and walked away, knowing that its time might not be now. Or maybe it is. I haven't completely negated the idea of having both.

But pets are mostly a Western phenomenon. There are a lot of wild dogs wherever I am overseas, and I usually do whatever I can to stay away from them. They roam the streets, skinny and mangy, looking for shelter. Or maybe they are used as guard dogs. Cats exist to catch mice and not for any other reason. Lizards climb walls and scurry across the floor, not as a past time but to catch insects. Pets say a lot about us as a culture, what we value, and what we can afford.

If your pets could talk, what would they say? What would your animal characters say if they could? How do they tell your stories?

See y'all Thursday!

22 comments:

  1. We have two long-haired orange cats. Don't tell anyone, but they do "talk." Each has a distinctive voice and personality. Strange, perhaps, but a writer is used to putting words into others' mouths. :)

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  2. If my dog could talk she would ask why we let 'that man' (my husband) sleep in 'our' bed instead of putting him in the laundry in a basket. Really! She feels this is outrageous and needs to be rectified immediately! :)

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  3. That makes me laugh just thinking about what my animals would say to me. I'm afraid of what my daughter's cat would say. She's crazy!

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  4. We have five pets: a golden retriever, 2 cats, and 2 hamsters. Since I also have 5 children, there are days when I feel like I live in a zoo. But. . . I also realized that the chaos can help teach me to let go of my unrealistic expectations for my home and my life. I hope we can find joy in our relationships and in the beauty of being a big loving family--pets included!

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  5. She's adorable! Reminds me of our old family dog, a maltese-poodle, who's passed on now. Good memories.

    I'd swear our dog, a mixed-breed stray, looks into my eyes and conveys a "Thank You" thought. She's very serious and in-tuned.

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  6. You know, I just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and that book had a lot to say about dogs and communciation. I love my dog to no end! I wish she cuddled even MORE than she does, but she's entirely lovable (panting at my feet now).

    I just wrote a dog into my WIP that represents the neighborhood, aloof and not all that trustworthy. I named him Jesse.

    I love pets (dogs in particular) so I'll be here all week.

    ~ Wendy

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  7. LOL Funny post! I love our pets and you're right, it says a lot about our culture.
    My kitties are outdoor cats but occassionally I'll find the male (kiah) curled up in our bed. He's a sneaky one. LOL

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  8. I have a drug sniffing canine in my completed manuscript. I'm sure he'd have a lot to say if he could talk.

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  9. Ooh--LazyWriter, that's awesome!

    I love hearing about everyone's pets! This is making my animal-lover's heart so happy! Your houses sound like a lot of fun!

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  10. I have a poodle, too! An adorable little red one named Daisy.

    And, my manuscript is repleat with frogs. Yep, frogs. Do they count as pets?

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  11. I don't have any pets at home right now, which works fine enough for me. With two children and writing, I keep busy enough.

    In writing, I use pets on occasion. I had a parrot that was a pretty substantial secondary character in a book once. And the one I'm writing now has a dog--which most everyone knows because I wrote all about him :) He's going to be a pretty big character, I think, and I'm really looking forward to writing about him.

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  12. Cindy, I'm excited about your dog. He has the greatest name! And what I've seen of him already makes me love him!

    Tess, your red poodle named Daisy sounds adorable! Poodle love is a special thing, wouldn't you say?
    :0) And I love the the frogs; they are definitely pets. Can't wait to read that! I once wrote a book that was filled with bird imagery. It was a lot of fun!

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  13. I love reading books with pets and I write pets in mine too. They are so loyal and such a comfort to have. They're the breathing things that keep on giving and giving like the never-drained everyready bunny. How characters relate to their pets can show a lot about the characters too.

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  14. I don't have kids so my dog becomes my child...in a sense. I baby her and take care of her a whole lot more than I would if I had a child, that's for sure.

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  15. fun post! i have a cat, named cookie - but we call her booboo. she sheds a lot, and hairballs end up everywhere. and they're really visible since she's a white cat! but we love her. :)

    great web presence, kristen, to have started only in july! kudos! :)

    jeannie
    Where Romance Meets Therapy

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  16. Thanks so much, Jeannie! This was something that I wanted to commit to and do well, even with mistakes, so that means a lot!

    I call my poodle so many different names that it's a wonder she knows her own. It just makes life really interesting!

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  17. I no longer have a pet--tried a dog last year at Christmas and woke to a present we didn't want!!
    Anyways-- I love it when animals are in stories--they add a wonderful dimension. My current WIP has a black Lab in it.

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  18. Bubba is our black lab and he's a part of the family. We love him to pieces. Unfortunately, when Brogan was born, he went from being the baby to the dog. But he's a very well treated dog. :)

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  19. I have a cat, but it is not my favorite thing. It would probably just say "leave me alon" or "clean out the kitty litter!". My husband just told me that I could get a puppy this summer!!! I'm excited and am hoping for a little Scotty dog!

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  20. I wish I could have ASLAN as a pet. That would be amazing! Maybe scary, but amazing! lol. As for your poodle. I must admit, She's a cute one. I don't know if I've ever thought about writing a story with a dog in it. I wonder if I added an animal creature to my story how that would pan out. I'll think about it.

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  21. My dog's loyal, but she'd still look at me, crook her head and say, "What is up with you?"

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  22. We have had a Golden Retriever since Feb. She is such a sweetheart, so gentle and loving. Right now we are also dog sitting for my daughter's Great Dane. It is so entertaining to watch the two of them play. They love tug of war. The fuzzy toys that they use don't last long once they get going. Once they have torn a hole in the toy they take turns pulling the stuffing out. I have white puffs all over my family rooms.
    If I pet one of the dogs the other comes over immediately and sticks their head in begging for attention. I have always been a dog person, their unconditional love gets to my heart.
    Diane

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