Ask A Wench: Pets in Historicals

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

In our continuing series of “Ask A Wench” joint posts, December’s question comes from Lindsay Hoffman:

“Many of my favorite contemporary novels have pets that are very important to the H/H or even play important roles in the story.  I haven't noticed many historical novels with pets, though.  Is there are reason for that?  Also, if you've written novels where the H/H had pets, do you base them off pets you've had?”

So that’s a free book by me for you, Lindsay!  As you might imagine, getting people to talk about pets isn’t difficult.  Here’s what the Wenches have to say about pets and books.

Cara/Andrea and Doggy Dreams

An interesting question! A few authors come to mind who do feature pets in their historical. Barbara Metzger, a dear friend of Edith Layton, has some delightful animals in her books-including one with a very mischievous monkey.

But we have to remember that for the most part, people in the past did not have quite the same “sentimental” view of pets as we do today. Animals were kept for practical reasons and expected to “work” for their keep-dogs helped with the hunt, cats kept barns free of rodents. So I think historical writers who strive to stay true their era tend to reflect that attitude.

CElliot'sHansli As for my own household, my erratic schedule wouldn't be fair to an animal, so alas, I don't have a pet right now. I grew up with German Shepherds and adore big dogs. (This is Hansli, one of our family's wonderful companions.) As soon I as feel I can manage it, I'd love to one just like him-or a Lab. In the meantime, however, I do have an animal in residence-here is Teddy, who's been with me since I was five years old. I recently found the thank you note I drew for my grandmother. Apparently, I dressed him in my brother's clothes and made up stories . . . so my earliest works did CE-Pet-composite indeed feature a very natty bear. I regret to say, they remain unpublished (and unremembered.) Probably for good reason!

Pat and Her Peke-a-poo:

Pets in historicals can be a bit difficult since many of the animals with which we're Pat's peekapoo familiar today aren't likely to have been around in say, 1810.  (my peke-a-poo, left, for instance, would have been unheard of, although I'm currently writing a Pomeranian mutt, which comes close enough)  Hamsters and goldfish are unlikely. There's always the local farm cat, but having one sitting in the parlor, all fluffed up and beribboned, probably didn't happen often. Pet pigs and lambs got eaten. 🙂   Still, I'm determined to do an
animal-loving heroine, even if exotic birds are a wee bit tough in an English climate!

Anne and Pets as Needed

Pets can be difficult as, like characters and events, they should only be there to further the story. I've started a book with a pet in it and then taken it out as it doesn't play any role in the story, or that the action will take the main characters away from where the pet is. And I know that if readers are anything like me, they'll Anne--English Setters be worrying about what happened to the pet. 😉

Some pets have survived this editing process, though. In The Perfect Kiss,  the hero had a dog who was inspired by this picture of an English setter on the cover of a calendar.

In The Stolen Princess, I committed the cardinal crime of killing a puppy on the first page, for which some of my friends will never forgive me.  However the little boy who innocently gave his puppy the poisoned milk meant for him got a lovely dog in the end. In my next book, His Captive Lady, the heroine's beloved companion was her dog, Freckles, a springer spaniel.

Anne--Egyptian Mau Finally, in my latest book, To Catch a Bride, the heroine had to leave her very elderly street cat with her friends when she went on a long journey to England. The hero, however, later presented her with a kitten, who would easily adjust to travel and confined living.  This gorgeous pic of a Mau kitten inspired my heroine's adventurous kitten, Cleo. Mau is Egyptian for cat.

Nicola: Pets at Home, Not in Books

 My first pet was a hamster called Cuddles when I was five years old and since that time I have always shared my life with animals. These days I have an adorable Labrador called Monty and an endearingly bad-tempered cat called Bob, but despite Nicola--Max and Becky, a Dandie Dimont my love of pets I seldom feature them in any of my books. I don't know why this is, as animals have been important to people throughout history in a variety of different roles from hunting to companions, and the subject of pets in history fascinates me.

In my next book, Whisper of Scandal, I do feature a dog called Max who is a Dandie Dinmont terrier and is a fashion accessory for the heroine as well as a pet. Max was inspired by a real live Dandie called Becky. Here she is with Monty! Dandie Dinmonts were first mentioned as a breed in the writing of Sir Walter Scott and went on to become favourites of Queen Victoria.

Susan King and Her Research Assistant

We have a White West Highland Terrier, Molly, who adds a little authenticity to a household interested in Scotland and our Scottish heritage. They're related to cairn terriers, and the story goes that long ago, the occasional white cairns were discouraged and even destroyed at birth in Scotland because they were considered useless for hunting, being too easily seen. Some sources say that a 19th century Molly_Macbeth2 MacDonald chief in the Western Isles went hunting one day and accidentally shot his favorite dun-colored cairn terrier because he had not seen him in the bracken. After that, he raised white cairns for hunting, so that tragedy would never happen again. Trust me, Westies are easy to spot — even in the dark we can see Molly running around the back hill, refusing to come inside because she's just so busy ….

I've occasionally included pets in my novels, adding them now and then as minor and supporting characters. I particularly remember a wolfhound in The Stone Maiden, who went everywhere with the heroine as a sort of silent bodyguard. I adore quiet, gentle wolfhounds, though my allergies and the size of my house would never tolerate one as a pet. We are more than content with adorable, impish, smart and hypoallergenic Molly (who as you can see, helps me with my research!). 

Jo, Who Keeps Her Pets in Books

Hooded pet rat I haven't really had pets. A couple of budgies when I was young, some tropical fish, and a rat my sons wanted — which turned out to be antisocial. That was slight inspiration for the pet rat owned by Judith's son in Christmas Angel, which created some mayhem for the hero, who really hadn't thought enough about marrying a widow with young children!

Despite the lack of pets in my life, I do enjoy them in books because they're just about guaranteed to bring humor and plot mayhem, but I don't plan them. They just arrive. In Forbidden Magic my hero collected difficult cases, and one turned out to be dog a who looked ferocious but hid at the first sign of trouble. He also had a misogynistic parrot. In Dangerous Joy, the Irish cats get their revenge.

In A Lady's Secret, the tiny Papillon dog, Coquette, simply arrived, and was so right for the fun-loving Earl of Huntersdown, and in The Secret Wedding, Tabbie, the "talking" Manx cat, prowled in from the dark. She, of course, is a ferocious Hessian cat, bred to kill the terrifying fanged rabbit of that land…

Can you tell I'm a fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

Then there were kittens, ready to tangle events for the Duke of Ithorne next year.

Ah yes, animal characters. Lets have more of them!

Sherrie Holmes, our Pet Mistress

FancyTempest6-3-08a (Pictures of her multiple critters on the left)

Animals in romances can be entertaining and also revealing about the owner's character.  In Georgette Heyer's Arabella, the seemingly stuffy Mr. Beaumaris rescues a scrappy mongrel, and in subsequent scenes delights the reader (and Mr. B's household staff) by having conversations with the dog. This reveals a softer side to Mr. B's character. 

ByronChris-sm Jo Beverley uses mysterious cats to good effect in several of her stories, and like Heyer's animals, the cats become a running tag through the story, often with humorous undertones.  Laura Kinsale has used ferrets and hedgehogs.  Mary Balogh's heroine in Indiscreet has a hilariously demented terrier.

NovaAsterBlankets Each of these animals tells us a lot about the characters in the story.  I enjoy stories that include animals, though I do roll my eyes at how many authors seem to think a hero can't be a true hero unless he's mounted on a black stallion.  <g>

Mary Jo and the Lurking Felines

I love animals in books, though they need to have at least a fig leaf of relevance.  There are almost always cats lurking in the corners of my stories (unless it’s a road book and cats just aren’t possible), just as they lurk around my house in real life.  (At the moment, Grady has his paw on my trackball and the Fluffster is sitting in door of my office, blocking traffic.) 

Interestingly, while my characters are always invented, the cats are always based on real cats. <g> 

Being ecumenical, I’ve occasionally included dogs, and in A Distant Magic, a hyacinth macaw in honor of a friend who shares her house with five large and opinionated birds. 

Lacey on sofa So how do you feel about pets in books, especially historicals?  Do you have favorites?  Ones you couldn’t stand? 

Mary Jo, adding that that's the elusive Lacey on the left 

90 thoughts on “Ask A Wench: Pets in Historicals”

  1. Pets can be important supporting characters. They were around many estates. The misunderstood pit bull was originally bred from the mastiff line to be a family dog for the children of the manor. Ours is smart, funny and affectionate. She is also stubborn and rambunctious. She is still a puppy so she will eventually settle down, I hope.
    We have had just about everything for a pet. We currently have 4 dogs, 2 cats, 4 peacocks, and a ball python. Our daughter up the road had an even larger menagerie.

    Reply
  2. Pets can be important supporting characters. They were around many estates. The misunderstood pit bull was originally bred from the mastiff line to be a family dog for the children of the manor. Ours is smart, funny and affectionate. She is also stubborn and rambunctious. She is still a puppy so she will eventually settle down, I hope.
    We have had just about everything for a pet. We currently have 4 dogs, 2 cats, 4 peacocks, and a ball python. Our daughter up the road had an even larger menagerie.

    Reply
  3. Pets can be important supporting characters. They were around many estates. The misunderstood pit bull was originally bred from the mastiff line to be a family dog for the children of the manor. Ours is smart, funny and affectionate. She is also stubborn and rambunctious. She is still a puppy so she will eventually settle down, I hope.
    We have had just about everything for a pet. We currently have 4 dogs, 2 cats, 4 peacocks, and a ball python. Our daughter up the road had an even larger menagerie.

    Reply
  4. Pets can be important supporting characters. They were around many estates. The misunderstood pit bull was originally bred from the mastiff line to be a family dog for the children of the manor. Ours is smart, funny and affectionate. She is also stubborn and rambunctious. She is still a puppy so she will eventually settle down, I hope.
    We have had just about everything for a pet. We currently have 4 dogs, 2 cats, 4 peacocks, and a ball python. Our daughter up the road had an even larger menagerie.

    Reply
  5. Pets can be important supporting characters. They were around many estates. The misunderstood pit bull was originally bred from the mastiff line to be a family dog for the children of the manor. Ours is smart, funny and affectionate. She is also stubborn and rambunctious. She is still a puppy so she will eventually settle down, I hope.
    We have had just about everything for a pet. We currently have 4 dogs, 2 cats, 4 peacocks, and a ball python. Our daughter up the road had an even larger menagerie.

    Reply
  6. One of my favorite recent animal characters is the little dog Oyster from this year’s “A Duke of Her Own” by Eloisa James. Oyster is a fabulous character who is the catalyst for the most surprising and shocking moment of the book–and thereby orchestrates the happy ending.

    Reply
  7. One of my favorite recent animal characters is the little dog Oyster from this year’s “A Duke of Her Own” by Eloisa James. Oyster is a fabulous character who is the catalyst for the most surprising and shocking moment of the book–and thereby orchestrates the happy ending.

    Reply
  8. One of my favorite recent animal characters is the little dog Oyster from this year’s “A Duke of Her Own” by Eloisa James. Oyster is a fabulous character who is the catalyst for the most surprising and shocking moment of the book–and thereby orchestrates the happy ending.

    Reply
  9. One of my favorite recent animal characters is the little dog Oyster from this year’s “A Duke of Her Own” by Eloisa James. Oyster is a fabulous character who is the catalyst for the most surprising and shocking moment of the book–and thereby orchestrates the happy ending.

    Reply
  10. One of my favorite recent animal characters is the little dog Oyster from this year’s “A Duke of Her Own” by Eloisa James. Oyster is a fabulous character who is the catalyst for the most surprising and shocking moment of the book–and thereby orchestrates the happy ending.

    Reply
  11. While I like animals in stories, I agree with those who said the animal must be relevant.
    And though I agree that in historical times animals were utilitarian–cats keeping the rats under control, dogs guarding property and hunting with the master–I also believe that many of them became devoted and beloved pets. There are so many contemporary accounts of favored pets mentioned in letters, memoirs, biographies, etc., as well as portrayed with their masters in portraits, to believe otherwise.

    Reply
  12. While I like animals in stories, I agree with those who said the animal must be relevant.
    And though I agree that in historical times animals were utilitarian–cats keeping the rats under control, dogs guarding property and hunting with the master–I also believe that many of them became devoted and beloved pets. There are so many contemporary accounts of favored pets mentioned in letters, memoirs, biographies, etc., as well as portrayed with their masters in portraits, to believe otherwise.

    Reply
  13. While I like animals in stories, I agree with those who said the animal must be relevant.
    And though I agree that in historical times animals were utilitarian–cats keeping the rats under control, dogs guarding property and hunting with the master–I also believe that many of them became devoted and beloved pets. There are so many contemporary accounts of favored pets mentioned in letters, memoirs, biographies, etc., as well as portrayed with their masters in portraits, to believe otherwise.

    Reply
  14. While I like animals in stories, I agree with those who said the animal must be relevant.
    And though I agree that in historical times animals were utilitarian–cats keeping the rats under control, dogs guarding property and hunting with the master–I also believe that many of them became devoted and beloved pets. There are so many contemporary accounts of favored pets mentioned in letters, memoirs, biographies, etc., as well as portrayed with their masters in portraits, to believe otherwise.

    Reply
  15. While I like animals in stories, I agree with those who said the animal must be relevant.
    And though I agree that in historical times animals were utilitarian–cats keeping the rats under control, dogs guarding property and hunting with the master–I also believe that many of them became devoted and beloved pets. There are so many contemporary accounts of favored pets mentioned in letters, memoirs, biographies, etc., as well as portrayed with their masters in portraits, to believe otherwise.

    Reply
  16. From MJP:
    A ball python, Patricia? I’m curious what sort of relationship one can have with a ball python. Could be interesting!
    Maggie, it sounds as if you have the research material you need for putting a dog in the next book. *g*
    Birds are good, Linda. I hope the goose wasn’t a major character on the dinner table of a Christmas story. *g*
    I had peacocks in one novella, and penguins in Thunder and Roses. Inserting Gratuitious Pet Humor into a story is a diversion of energy, but I do think that animals are part of the enviroment, just like houses and furniture and carriages, so a minor interaction with one in a story is on the level of sipping a cup of tea: part of the setting.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. From MJP:
    A ball python, Patricia? I’m curious what sort of relationship one can have with a ball python. Could be interesting!
    Maggie, it sounds as if you have the research material you need for putting a dog in the next book. *g*
    Birds are good, Linda. I hope the goose wasn’t a major character on the dinner table of a Christmas story. *g*
    I had peacocks in one novella, and penguins in Thunder and Roses. Inserting Gratuitious Pet Humor into a story is a diversion of energy, but I do think that animals are part of the enviroment, just like houses and furniture and carriages, so a minor interaction with one in a story is on the level of sipping a cup of tea: part of the setting.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. From MJP:
    A ball python, Patricia? I’m curious what sort of relationship one can have with a ball python. Could be interesting!
    Maggie, it sounds as if you have the research material you need for putting a dog in the next book. *g*
    Birds are good, Linda. I hope the goose wasn’t a major character on the dinner table of a Christmas story. *g*
    I had peacocks in one novella, and penguins in Thunder and Roses. Inserting Gratuitious Pet Humor into a story is a diversion of energy, but I do think that animals are part of the enviroment, just like houses and furniture and carriages, so a minor interaction with one in a story is on the level of sipping a cup of tea: part of the setting.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. From MJP:
    A ball python, Patricia? I’m curious what sort of relationship one can have with a ball python. Could be interesting!
    Maggie, it sounds as if you have the research material you need for putting a dog in the next book. *g*
    Birds are good, Linda. I hope the goose wasn’t a major character on the dinner table of a Christmas story. *g*
    I had peacocks in one novella, and penguins in Thunder and Roses. Inserting Gratuitious Pet Humor into a story is a diversion of energy, but I do think that animals are part of the enviroment, just like houses and furniture and carriages, so a minor interaction with one in a story is on the level of sipping a cup of tea: part of the setting.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. From MJP:
    A ball python, Patricia? I’m curious what sort of relationship one can have with a ball python. Could be interesting!
    Maggie, it sounds as if you have the research material you need for putting a dog in the next book. *g*
    Birds are good, Linda. I hope the goose wasn’t a major character on the dinner table of a Christmas story. *g*
    I had peacocks in one novella, and penguins in Thunder and Roses. Inserting Gratuitious Pet Humor into a story is a diversion of energy, but I do think that animals are part of the enviroment, just like houses and furniture and carriages, so a minor interaction with one in a story is on the level of sipping a cup of tea: part of the setting.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. I agree with Mary jo that pets are just a natural part of the scenery. (Author Patricia Veryan had animals in almost all of her books.) I think introducing animals can be a way to tell something about the characters- the man or woman who objects to pets is not really the person our hero or heroine should choose- after all, how you treat animals shows how you would treat anyone weaker or more helpless. Being kind to animals can indicate a kind heart in the most gruff curmudgeon or primmest spinster.

    Reply
  22. I agree with Mary jo that pets are just a natural part of the scenery. (Author Patricia Veryan had animals in almost all of her books.) I think introducing animals can be a way to tell something about the characters- the man or woman who objects to pets is not really the person our hero or heroine should choose- after all, how you treat animals shows how you would treat anyone weaker or more helpless. Being kind to animals can indicate a kind heart in the most gruff curmudgeon or primmest spinster.

    Reply
  23. I agree with Mary jo that pets are just a natural part of the scenery. (Author Patricia Veryan had animals in almost all of her books.) I think introducing animals can be a way to tell something about the characters- the man or woman who objects to pets is not really the person our hero or heroine should choose- after all, how you treat animals shows how you would treat anyone weaker or more helpless. Being kind to animals can indicate a kind heart in the most gruff curmudgeon or primmest spinster.

    Reply
  24. I agree with Mary jo that pets are just a natural part of the scenery. (Author Patricia Veryan had animals in almost all of her books.) I think introducing animals can be a way to tell something about the characters- the man or woman who objects to pets is not really the person our hero or heroine should choose- after all, how you treat animals shows how you would treat anyone weaker or more helpless. Being kind to animals can indicate a kind heart in the most gruff curmudgeon or primmest spinster.

    Reply
  25. I agree with Mary jo that pets are just a natural part of the scenery. (Author Patricia Veryan had animals in almost all of her books.) I think introducing animals can be a way to tell something about the characters- the man or woman who objects to pets is not really the person our hero or heroine should choose- after all, how you treat animals shows how you would treat anyone weaker or more helpless. Being kind to animals can indicate a kind heart in the most gruff curmudgeon or primmest spinster.

    Reply
  26. Okay, laughing here. I just wrote a scene for the 2011 book where the h/h are at complete odds over almost anything, even though they’re considering a marriage of convenience. She’s marrying partially because she wants a home for her pets, which includes a fowl-mouthed (pun intended) parrot, and if you want character–my hero tells her birds were meant to be hunted and eaten.
    So, yes, there are many ways of using animals in books!

    Reply
  27. Okay, laughing here. I just wrote a scene for the 2011 book where the h/h are at complete odds over almost anything, even though they’re considering a marriage of convenience. She’s marrying partially because she wants a home for her pets, which includes a fowl-mouthed (pun intended) parrot, and if you want character–my hero tells her birds were meant to be hunted and eaten.
    So, yes, there are many ways of using animals in books!

    Reply
  28. Okay, laughing here. I just wrote a scene for the 2011 book where the h/h are at complete odds over almost anything, even though they’re considering a marriage of convenience. She’s marrying partially because she wants a home for her pets, which includes a fowl-mouthed (pun intended) parrot, and if you want character–my hero tells her birds were meant to be hunted and eaten.
    So, yes, there are many ways of using animals in books!

    Reply
  29. Okay, laughing here. I just wrote a scene for the 2011 book where the h/h are at complete odds over almost anything, even though they’re considering a marriage of convenience. She’s marrying partially because she wants a home for her pets, which includes a fowl-mouthed (pun intended) parrot, and if you want character–my hero tells her birds were meant to be hunted and eaten.
    So, yes, there are many ways of using animals in books!

    Reply
  30. Okay, laughing here. I just wrote a scene for the 2011 book where the h/h are at complete odds over almost anything, even though they’re considering a marriage of convenience. She’s marrying partially because she wants a home for her pets, which includes a fowl-mouthed (pun intended) parrot, and if you want character–my hero tells her birds were meant to be hunted and eaten.
    So, yes, there are many ways of using animals in books!

    Reply
  31. “Mary Jo, adding that that’s Lacey above”
    Mary Jo, Typepad ate the picture of Lacey. I’d love to see a pic of her! Have you included Lacey or Grady or The Fluffster in any of your books yet? *g*

    Reply
  32. “Mary Jo, adding that that’s Lacey above”
    Mary Jo, Typepad ate the picture of Lacey. I’d love to see a pic of her! Have you included Lacey or Grady or The Fluffster in any of your books yet? *g*

    Reply
  33. “Mary Jo, adding that that’s Lacey above”
    Mary Jo, Typepad ate the picture of Lacey. I’d love to see a pic of her! Have you included Lacey or Grady or The Fluffster in any of your books yet? *g*

    Reply
  34. “Mary Jo, adding that that’s Lacey above”
    Mary Jo, Typepad ate the picture of Lacey. I’d love to see a pic of her! Have you included Lacey or Grady or The Fluffster in any of your books yet? *g*

    Reply
  35. “Mary Jo, adding that that’s Lacey above”
    Mary Jo, Typepad ate the picture of Lacey. I’d love to see a pic of her! Have you included Lacey or Grady or The Fluffster in any of your books yet? *g*

    Reply
  36. Lufra, the Baluchistan hound, in Heyer’s Frederica is probably my favorite animal in historical romance. I’m smiling now just thinking about that park scene. I very recently reread Barbara Metzger’s Christmas Wishes, so Pansy the pig is the most vividly remembered at the moment.

    Reply
  37. Lufra, the Baluchistan hound, in Heyer’s Frederica is probably my favorite animal in historical romance. I’m smiling now just thinking about that park scene. I very recently reread Barbara Metzger’s Christmas Wishes, so Pansy the pig is the most vividly remembered at the moment.

    Reply
  38. Lufra, the Baluchistan hound, in Heyer’s Frederica is probably my favorite animal in historical romance. I’m smiling now just thinking about that park scene. I very recently reread Barbara Metzger’s Christmas Wishes, so Pansy the pig is the most vividly remembered at the moment.

    Reply
  39. Lufra, the Baluchistan hound, in Heyer’s Frederica is probably my favorite animal in historical romance. I’m smiling now just thinking about that park scene. I very recently reread Barbara Metzger’s Christmas Wishes, so Pansy the pig is the most vividly remembered at the moment.

    Reply
  40. Lufra, the Baluchistan hound, in Heyer’s Frederica is probably my favorite animal in historical romance. I’m smiling now just thinking about that park scene. I very recently reread Barbara Metzger’s Christmas Wishes, so Pansy the pig is the most vividly remembered at the moment.

    Reply
  41. :… a fig leaf of relevance.” LOL, Mary Jo! I’ve always found that fig leaf most relevant. 🙂
    I love animals in stories. The huge (an opinionated) parrot in Jo’s Christmas Magic comes to mind along with your heroine’s huge Main-Coon-like cat in Kiss of Fate.
    Can anyone recommend a historical/paranormal romance with a large dog as a strong secondary character? One that isn’t 101-dalmation-ish, that is.
    Nina, who owns two 70# male German Shepherds, one crazy bird, an ancient JRT and is raising a black lab puppy for The Seeing Eye.

    Reply
  42. :… a fig leaf of relevance.” LOL, Mary Jo! I’ve always found that fig leaf most relevant. 🙂
    I love animals in stories. The huge (an opinionated) parrot in Jo’s Christmas Magic comes to mind along with your heroine’s huge Main-Coon-like cat in Kiss of Fate.
    Can anyone recommend a historical/paranormal romance with a large dog as a strong secondary character? One that isn’t 101-dalmation-ish, that is.
    Nina, who owns two 70# male German Shepherds, one crazy bird, an ancient JRT and is raising a black lab puppy for The Seeing Eye.

    Reply
  43. :… a fig leaf of relevance.” LOL, Mary Jo! I’ve always found that fig leaf most relevant. 🙂
    I love animals in stories. The huge (an opinionated) parrot in Jo’s Christmas Magic comes to mind along with your heroine’s huge Main-Coon-like cat in Kiss of Fate.
    Can anyone recommend a historical/paranormal romance with a large dog as a strong secondary character? One that isn’t 101-dalmation-ish, that is.
    Nina, who owns two 70# male German Shepherds, one crazy bird, an ancient JRT and is raising a black lab puppy for The Seeing Eye.

    Reply
  44. :… a fig leaf of relevance.” LOL, Mary Jo! I’ve always found that fig leaf most relevant. 🙂
    I love animals in stories. The huge (an opinionated) parrot in Jo’s Christmas Magic comes to mind along with your heroine’s huge Main-Coon-like cat in Kiss of Fate.
    Can anyone recommend a historical/paranormal romance with a large dog as a strong secondary character? One that isn’t 101-dalmation-ish, that is.
    Nina, who owns two 70# male German Shepherds, one crazy bird, an ancient JRT and is raising a black lab puppy for The Seeing Eye.

    Reply
  45. :… a fig leaf of relevance.” LOL, Mary Jo! I’ve always found that fig leaf most relevant. 🙂
    I love animals in stories. The huge (an opinionated) parrot in Jo’s Christmas Magic comes to mind along with your heroine’s huge Main-Coon-like cat in Kiss of Fate.
    Can anyone recommend a historical/paranormal romance with a large dog as a strong secondary character? One that isn’t 101-dalmation-ish, that is.
    Nina, who owns two 70# male German Shepherds, one crazy bird, an ancient JRT and is raising a black lab puppy for The Seeing Eye.

    Reply
  46. There are some super-cute animals in those photos, Mary Jo! Nina, I’m wondering how you are getting on with that puppy. We’ve raised 3 for guide dogs over here in the UK and it’s been quite an experience!

    Reply
  47. There are some super-cute animals in those photos, Mary Jo! Nina, I’m wondering how you are getting on with that puppy. We’ve raised 3 for guide dogs over here in the UK and it’s been quite an experience!

    Reply
  48. There are some super-cute animals in those photos, Mary Jo! Nina, I’m wondering how you are getting on with that puppy. We’ve raised 3 for guide dogs over here in the UK and it’s been quite an experience!

    Reply
  49. There are some super-cute animals in those photos, Mary Jo! Nina, I’m wondering how you are getting on with that puppy. We’ve raised 3 for guide dogs over here in the UK and it’s been quite an experience!

    Reply
  50. There are some super-cute animals in those photos, Mary Jo! Nina, I’m wondering how you are getting on with that puppy. We’ve raised 3 for guide dogs over here in the UK and it’s been quite an experience!

    Reply
  51. From MJP:
    Ah, he’s THAT sort of goose, Linda! Sounds like great fun. *g*
    Sherrie, I knew Lacey was elusive, but didn’t realize she’d snuck off the blog! She’s back in place now. I hope this time she stays.
    Nina, the great big Maine Coon Cat type feline in A Kiss of Fate was half Scottish wildcat. Apparently that happens when a domestic cat gets frisky with a wildcat. *g* My own Maine Coon type cat, is lying in front of my keyboard now, and is quite mellow.
    I know I’ve read historicals with large dogs as characters, but darned if I can remember the books right now.
    Mary Jo, smiling fondly at the remember of Heyer’s Baluchistan hound.

    Reply
  52. From MJP:
    Ah, he’s THAT sort of goose, Linda! Sounds like great fun. *g*
    Sherrie, I knew Lacey was elusive, but didn’t realize she’d snuck off the blog! She’s back in place now. I hope this time she stays.
    Nina, the great big Maine Coon Cat type feline in A Kiss of Fate was half Scottish wildcat. Apparently that happens when a domestic cat gets frisky with a wildcat. *g* My own Maine Coon type cat, is lying in front of my keyboard now, and is quite mellow.
    I know I’ve read historicals with large dogs as characters, but darned if I can remember the books right now.
    Mary Jo, smiling fondly at the remember of Heyer’s Baluchistan hound.

    Reply
  53. From MJP:
    Ah, he’s THAT sort of goose, Linda! Sounds like great fun. *g*
    Sherrie, I knew Lacey was elusive, but didn’t realize she’d snuck off the blog! She’s back in place now. I hope this time she stays.
    Nina, the great big Maine Coon Cat type feline in A Kiss of Fate was half Scottish wildcat. Apparently that happens when a domestic cat gets frisky with a wildcat. *g* My own Maine Coon type cat, is lying in front of my keyboard now, and is quite mellow.
    I know I’ve read historicals with large dogs as characters, but darned if I can remember the books right now.
    Mary Jo, smiling fondly at the remember of Heyer’s Baluchistan hound.

    Reply
  54. From MJP:
    Ah, he’s THAT sort of goose, Linda! Sounds like great fun. *g*
    Sherrie, I knew Lacey was elusive, but didn’t realize she’d snuck off the blog! She’s back in place now. I hope this time she stays.
    Nina, the great big Maine Coon Cat type feline in A Kiss of Fate was half Scottish wildcat. Apparently that happens when a domestic cat gets frisky with a wildcat. *g* My own Maine Coon type cat, is lying in front of my keyboard now, and is quite mellow.
    I know I’ve read historicals with large dogs as characters, but darned if I can remember the books right now.
    Mary Jo, smiling fondly at the remember of Heyer’s Baluchistan hound.

    Reply
  55. From MJP:
    Ah, he’s THAT sort of goose, Linda! Sounds like great fun. *g*
    Sherrie, I knew Lacey was elusive, but didn’t realize she’d snuck off the blog! She’s back in place now. I hope this time she stays.
    Nina, the great big Maine Coon Cat type feline in A Kiss of Fate was half Scottish wildcat. Apparently that happens when a domestic cat gets frisky with a wildcat. *g* My own Maine Coon type cat, is lying in front of my keyboard now, and is quite mellow.
    I know I’ve read historicals with large dogs as characters, but darned if I can remember the books right now.
    Mary Jo, smiling fondly at the remember of Heyer’s Baluchistan hound.

    Reply
  56. An experience indeed, Nicola! Our first Seeing Eye puppy was Drake. What an awesome dog, from little on up! And the Seeing Eye loved him, too, right up until a week from graduation when they discovered a defect in his front paws. A defect which would eventually cause Drake to spend much of his service life in pain. So, they offered him back to us as a fully trained Seeing Eye dog. And, of course, we took him. Drake is a very sweet walk and, when I have time, I take him to the local library for Tales for Tails and to the retirement homes for visits. They love him. Voltan was our second try. From the first week we had him, I could have told the Seeing Eye he wasn’t going to make it. You see, where Drake always wanted to be human, all Voltan ever wanted to be was a dog. So, six weeks after letting him go, the Seeing Eye called us back, asking if we wanted him. How could we refuse? Voltan is the sweetest, happiest dog I know. Now, we are trying our hand at a lab. At the moment, Karson is whining at me. Aagain. Intelligent as all get-out, he’s is just as much a baby. And he’s cuddly too, unlike the Drake & Voltan. It’s going to be really hard to let Karson go, but I am looking forward to seeing him in harness, at his graduation, and knowing that somewhere out there, he’s giving someone a freedom never before known. I’d love to know how you got into raising guide eye dogs?

    Reply
  57. An experience indeed, Nicola! Our first Seeing Eye puppy was Drake. What an awesome dog, from little on up! And the Seeing Eye loved him, too, right up until a week from graduation when they discovered a defect in his front paws. A defect which would eventually cause Drake to spend much of his service life in pain. So, they offered him back to us as a fully trained Seeing Eye dog. And, of course, we took him. Drake is a very sweet walk and, when I have time, I take him to the local library for Tales for Tails and to the retirement homes for visits. They love him. Voltan was our second try. From the first week we had him, I could have told the Seeing Eye he wasn’t going to make it. You see, where Drake always wanted to be human, all Voltan ever wanted to be was a dog. So, six weeks after letting him go, the Seeing Eye called us back, asking if we wanted him. How could we refuse? Voltan is the sweetest, happiest dog I know. Now, we are trying our hand at a lab. At the moment, Karson is whining at me. Aagain. Intelligent as all get-out, he’s is just as much a baby. And he’s cuddly too, unlike the Drake & Voltan. It’s going to be really hard to let Karson go, but I am looking forward to seeing him in harness, at his graduation, and knowing that somewhere out there, he’s giving someone a freedom never before known. I’d love to know how you got into raising guide eye dogs?

    Reply
  58. An experience indeed, Nicola! Our first Seeing Eye puppy was Drake. What an awesome dog, from little on up! And the Seeing Eye loved him, too, right up until a week from graduation when they discovered a defect in his front paws. A defect which would eventually cause Drake to spend much of his service life in pain. So, they offered him back to us as a fully trained Seeing Eye dog. And, of course, we took him. Drake is a very sweet walk and, when I have time, I take him to the local library for Tales for Tails and to the retirement homes for visits. They love him. Voltan was our second try. From the first week we had him, I could have told the Seeing Eye he wasn’t going to make it. You see, where Drake always wanted to be human, all Voltan ever wanted to be was a dog. So, six weeks after letting him go, the Seeing Eye called us back, asking if we wanted him. How could we refuse? Voltan is the sweetest, happiest dog I know. Now, we are trying our hand at a lab. At the moment, Karson is whining at me. Aagain. Intelligent as all get-out, he’s is just as much a baby. And he’s cuddly too, unlike the Drake & Voltan. It’s going to be really hard to let Karson go, but I am looking forward to seeing him in harness, at his graduation, and knowing that somewhere out there, he’s giving someone a freedom never before known. I’d love to know how you got into raising guide eye dogs?

    Reply
  59. An experience indeed, Nicola! Our first Seeing Eye puppy was Drake. What an awesome dog, from little on up! And the Seeing Eye loved him, too, right up until a week from graduation when they discovered a defect in his front paws. A defect which would eventually cause Drake to spend much of his service life in pain. So, they offered him back to us as a fully trained Seeing Eye dog. And, of course, we took him. Drake is a very sweet walk and, when I have time, I take him to the local library for Tales for Tails and to the retirement homes for visits. They love him. Voltan was our second try. From the first week we had him, I could have told the Seeing Eye he wasn’t going to make it. You see, where Drake always wanted to be human, all Voltan ever wanted to be was a dog. So, six weeks after letting him go, the Seeing Eye called us back, asking if we wanted him. How could we refuse? Voltan is the sweetest, happiest dog I know. Now, we are trying our hand at a lab. At the moment, Karson is whining at me. Aagain. Intelligent as all get-out, he’s is just as much a baby. And he’s cuddly too, unlike the Drake & Voltan. It’s going to be really hard to let Karson go, but I am looking forward to seeing him in harness, at his graduation, and knowing that somewhere out there, he’s giving someone a freedom never before known. I’d love to know how you got into raising guide eye dogs?

    Reply
  60. An experience indeed, Nicola! Our first Seeing Eye puppy was Drake. What an awesome dog, from little on up! And the Seeing Eye loved him, too, right up until a week from graduation when they discovered a defect in his front paws. A defect which would eventually cause Drake to spend much of his service life in pain. So, they offered him back to us as a fully trained Seeing Eye dog. And, of course, we took him. Drake is a very sweet walk and, when I have time, I take him to the local library for Tales for Tails and to the retirement homes for visits. They love him. Voltan was our second try. From the first week we had him, I could have told the Seeing Eye he wasn’t going to make it. You see, where Drake always wanted to be human, all Voltan ever wanted to be was a dog. So, six weeks after letting him go, the Seeing Eye called us back, asking if we wanted him. How could we refuse? Voltan is the sweetest, happiest dog I know. Now, we are trying our hand at a lab. At the moment, Karson is whining at me. Aagain. Intelligent as all get-out, he’s is just as much a baby. And he’s cuddly too, unlike the Drake & Voltan. It’s going to be really hard to let Karson go, but I am looking forward to seeing him in harness, at his graduation, and knowing that somewhere out there, he’s giving someone a freedom never before known. I’d love to know how you got into raising guide eye dogs?

    Reply
  61. Oh Nina, what a lovely story about Drake and Voltan. I think it’s so tough for these dogs, trained up from such a young age and so much expected of them. They are a marvel. We have a friend who is partially-sighted and does many talks about Guide Dogs, which was how we became interested and involved. As my dh and I work from home and already had a pet dog who is a good mentor, we realised we could maybe help out. It’s been such an experience – our first puppy has been working with a lady a few miles away and when we see him in harness we are very proud of him! All out three trainees are very strong characters. I have quite a few stories about them!

    Reply
  62. Oh Nina, what a lovely story about Drake and Voltan. I think it’s so tough for these dogs, trained up from such a young age and so much expected of them. They are a marvel. We have a friend who is partially-sighted and does many talks about Guide Dogs, which was how we became interested and involved. As my dh and I work from home and already had a pet dog who is a good mentor, we realised we could maybe help out. It’s been such an experience – our first puppy has been working with a lady a few miles away and when we see him in harness we are very proud of him! All out three trainees are very strong characters. I have quite a few stories about them!

    Reply
  63. Oh Nina, what a lovely story about Drake and Voltan. I think it’s so tough for these dogs, trained up from such a young age and so much expected of them. They are a marvel. We have a friend who is partially-sighted and does many talks about Guide Dogs, which was how we became interested and involved. As my dh and I work from home and already had a pet dog who is a good mentor, we realised we could maybe help out. It’s been such an experience – our first puppy has been working with a lady a few miles away and when we see him in harness we are very proud of him! All out three trainees are very strong characters. I have quite a few stories about them!

    Reply
  64. Oh Nina, what a lovely story about Drake and Voltan. I think it’s so tough for these dogs, trained up from such a young age and so much expected of them. They are a marvel. We have a friend who is partially-sighted and does many talks about Guide Dogs, which was how we became interested and involved. As my dh and I work from home and already had a pet dog who is a good mentor, we realised we could maybe help out. It’s been such an experience – our first puppy has been working with a lady a few miles away and when we see him in harness we are very proud of him! All out three trainees are very strong characters. I have quite a few stories about them!

    Reply
  65. Oh Nina, what a lovely story about Drake and Voltan. I think it’s so tough for these dogs, trained up from such a young age and so much expected of them. They are a marvel. We have a friend who is partially-sighted and does many talks about Guide Dogs, which was how we became interested and involved. As my dh and I work from home and already had a pet dog who is a good mentor, we realised we could maybe help out. It’s been such an experience – our first puppy has been working with a lady a few miles away and when we see him in harness we are very proud of him! All out three trainees are very strong characters. I have quite a few stories about them!

    Reply

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