Characters and Their Pets


Photo Credit: The Atlantic

We all know that there are a million things going on in most books that may or may not affect the story. Could one of those things that doesn’t be whether or not your MC has pets? I’m not sure it’s a clear cut answer. Let me think a little about this.

Katniss and her family have a goat. But then she of course hunts, so she’s not exactly a PETA spokesperson. Elvis Cole has a cat that frequents his house, but I don’t think the cat is necessarily his. Or maybe he is, can’t remember exactly. I think the cat was shot at some point too. Let’s see…Harry has Hedwig. Those are just about all the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I’m wondering if any of these say anything about their owners. Maybe that they’re responsible. And affectionate. And maybe lonely at times? I’m not sure. But maybe you know better than I do.

You all should know by now that I’m not currently writing because I’m focused on other things that I feel are more important, BUT in my current WIP Andrew and Sydney have decided to get a dog. An English bulldog that they intend to name Arnold. See, I’m not sure what it says about them that they’re doing this. I mean, they’re making some major changes and the bulldog is one of them. He’s all set to join the family very shorty after Sydney moves in. Maybe they’re paternal. Maybe they’re bored. Maybe…I don’t know why the heck they’re getting a dog? The point is that perhaps there doesn’t always have to be a particular reason for a writer to do something. At least I don’t think so.

Tell me about your characters’ pets. I think cats and dogs should be the most common, but who knows? Birds, snakes, turtles, whatever. I want to hear about them. And tell me why you chose to give your character at all.

26 thoughts on “Characters and Their Pets

  1. Katniss has a half dead cat, remember?? Buttercup.

    All of my characters have animals. They don’t really play an important role in the story, at least not for me. (Aside from Dani and her horses) But real-life people have animals, so characters should too.


  2. My character, Lara, has a dog, Barkis. He is a pit-bull mix that she rescues as part of her recovery. Loving the dog is good practice for her while she learns to connect with other people.

    I like to give my characters pets because you tell quite a bit about a person by the way they treat animals. An outwardly honorable person that hides a cruel side may kick the dog when alone.


  3. Perhaps Sydney and Andrew’s pet adoption symbolizes that they’re getting more serious about their relationship? That’s how it seems to go in real life, anyway. But not everyone follows The Life Script, and your characters don’t have to either, if you so choose.

    I haven’t written pets for my characters in a very long time. Currently, my characters are on the move too much, and then I’d have to worry about “well, who’s taking care of the cat?” If I ever write something that stays in one place, I may give the protagonist a cat or dog. Or a bearded dragon, because I’ve always wanted one of those.


    • No. They’re already serious. It’s just something new.

      A bearded dragon? I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve never read about one if those in a book. Would be interesting.


  4. Neat post. One of my characters has a pet hawk, (the character also also has wings so they like to fly around together.) But when the hawk’s dies it sets off a small chain reaction of things. Generally don’t add things unless it adds to the story in some way, so that means I don’t give all my characters pets “just because”.


  5. I have one book where a daughter nurses animals back into health. A litter of kittens was happened upon, and only one of them survived. The girl’s mother agreed that the kitten could live in the house.

    Other than that, my characters are pet free. I think they move around too much for that. Interesting post! Thanks for visiting my blog!


  6. This is an awesome post because I love animals!! I wish I could get a dog, but I can’t afford it right now, so it’ll be another few years. That’s why I give my characters pets/animals.

    My MC can talk to animals, so she doesn’t have a pet, per se, all the time, though she does have a pet squirrel at the beginning. And in a later book, she has an animal ‘partner’ that basically acts as a sidekick, and hers is a phoenix.

    Each of my characters gets a sidekick later on, and they range from minuscule dwarf hamsters to lumbering old dragons of all colors.

    I adore animals, so they have quite an important part in my fantasy books.

    But now that you’ve brought this up, I see how much my other genre stories are lacking in animal amazingness and will now add a pet or two to spice things up.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


      • Haha! Thanks. But you have to take genre into account. Fantasy books are expected to have weird creatures in them (though that’s not why I did it). I think if you put a phoenix or dragon or something in your books, your readers would be a little nervous about you. 🙂


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