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Old 08-31-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
KC Hughes
Author, Man in the Mirror
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Pets in books

I'm curious as to your thoughts on pets in books. Every book that I read in which pets were killed, they still stick with me. It's not a good sticky, though. But for mine, I used them to show characterization.

Do you have any pet stories from books that stand out?

~KC
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:41 PM   #2
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I really haven't thought too much about it, but now that I have...I do feel I get a little attached to the pets in books. I find myself pulling for the pet and hoping that they don't get hurt or anything.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:49 PM   #3
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as a horror fan i've read some brutal stuff especially in the realm of "extreme" horror. i can handle anything the author can throw at me when it comes to humans but i can't handle things involving animals.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:53 PM   #4
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My favorite book as a kid was Where the Red Fern Grows (it is still one of my favorite books of all-time). I also enjoyed Old Yeller, and another great pet turned bad book is Cujo. All three books made me cry.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:03 PM   #5
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I really loved A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle (and I'm still hoping I'll be able to purchase it in ebook form). Other than that, pets don't tend to feature much in the books I read and since I mostly read happily ever after romances, it's always a happy ending for the pets.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:18 PM   #6
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Oh, I am an animal lover so naturally like to read books with pets in it. I guess the most recent animal story I've read was Marley and me. That one sticks with me because I have an old dog and it sorta hits home. The movie even made my dad sniffle which is saying something.
Lots of books I read as a child though have sad endings. Most famous are Old Yeller and Black Beauty. I also loved Where the Red Fern Grows. My next read will be Alex and Me which is about the famous talking parrot that died a few years ago.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:48 PM   #7
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I am NOT an animal lover. So animals dying aren't a big thing for me. And depending on what kind of pet it is, I might even cheer...
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:17 PM   #8
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I liked this one "book" (I put it in quotes because each page contained only 1 sentence or phrases that continued onto the next page) called Mostly Bob by Tom Corwin. Takes about 5 minutes to read (no, really), but the story was touching.
http://www.mostlybob.com/

As I was browsing around for Kindle covers, I found this site that sells leather Kindle sleeves:
http://www.saddlebackleather.com/cat...k-Coffee-Brown. I looked over to the right and there was a tab called "In Memory of Blue." An unlikely place to find a pet story, but it was sweet.

I love his last line: "By the way, if you ever wonder who has the more unconditional love for you, put your spouse and your dog in the trunk of the car for one hour. When you open it, who's still happy to see you?"
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:28 PM   #9
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Pets in stories can be used not just as symbols, cannon fodder, or heartstring pulls but also as character cues or major characters in their own right.

Off the top of my head I can think of:

Heinlein's DOOR INTO SUMMER prominently features the protagonist's cat, Petronius (Pete) who is clearly a better judge of character than the hero. The cat faces peril, gets a few good licks in, and gets you rooting for him. Plus he gives the story its title.

Dickson's TIME STORM features a traumatized leopard that attaches itself, housecat-like, to the monomaniacal protagonist and an equally traumatized girl, both of which provide the crazed protagonist with dependents that ground him in the chaotic fractured universe of the story and ultimately get him to appreciate the extent of his insane quest.

Heinlein's entire THE STAR BEAST revolves around a young adult's effort to protect his inherited alien pet who turns out to have a "hobby" of its own. (Besides eating used cars.)
Spoiler:
The Lummox considers the boy and his ancestors it's pets; it's hobby is raising human boys.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:15 AM   #10
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I hate it when animals get hurt in books or movies, I remember when I saw Alien for the first time all I could think of was Ripley getting the cat out! What I do hate is pets in a book as an obvious device for something happening, they should be just part of the story and the people's lives as they are in real life. Not sure if that makes sense but hope you get it.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:46 AM   #11
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Haha, yeah, lots of movies where the pet is used as a moment of suspense. The pet either dies or escapes death by a very narrow margin only to die later on and at the last minute when you least expect it.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:48 AM   #12
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Not even pets, exactly. It bugs me seeing dogs/cats getting killed. I just like them.

There's a particularly graphic scene in one of Michael Jenks's Last Templar mysteries that I really wish I could forget...
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:17 AM   #13
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"I can't kill dogs. Humans OK, but no dogs." Martin Riggs in "Lethal Weapon"

As a dog owner and pet/animal lover I don't like pets/animals being mistreated or killed in any case. Not in real world, not in books and not in movies.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:42 PM   #14
KC Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeygirl351 View Post
Oh, I am an animal lover so naturally like to read books with pets in it. I guess the most recent animal story I've read was Marley and me. That one sticks with me because I have an old dog and it sorta hits home. The movie even made my dad sniffle which is saying something.
Lots of books I read as a child though have sad endings. Most famous are Old Yeller and Black Beauty. I also loved Where the Red Fern Grows. My next read will be Alex and Me which is about the famous talking parrot that died a few years ago.
Monkeygirl, please tell me that you read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It's a book written in the pov of a dog. The best book!!!! Let's chat after you read it.

KC
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:46 PM   #15
KC Hughes
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I'm seeing a trend that we don't mind humans being murdered, but can't tolerate it when animals get harmed. I thought I was the only one. But I do use animals, as FJTORRES so elegantly puts it, "Pets in stories can be used not just as symbols, cannon fodder, or heartstring"

KC
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