Lady Glamis, as usual, had a very good post about pets in your writing. I left an amazingly brilliant comment. Okay, so it wasn't amazingly brilliant. In my defense, it was early this morning, and the coffee IV wasn't working . . . that's my story, and I'm sticking to it, dear readers.
Personally, I love it when author's insert pets (dogs, cats, parakeets, hamsters, whatever) into their writing. Pets, for me at least, make people more real.
The best example (current example) is Rex the hamster in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, oh, and Bob the Dog. The pets, without being major characters, are integral to the story. What's a good Stephanie Plum novel without her hauling Rex to . . . Ranger's apartment, Morelli's house, or her parents' house, not to mention all the different foods (pizza, cake, etc.) she gives Rex.
For me, pets provide more depth to the main characters.
In most of my mainstream (commercial/literary fiction), at least one or more of the characters have either a dog, a cat, or multiple dogs/cats. I guess it's fiction mirroring real life since my partner and I currently have two dogs (Jesse & James - Cocker Spaniels) and two cats (Tasmyn & Squeaky - both black, with Tasmyn having one gold eye and one green eye - seriously). So, as I write, somehow, someway, a dog or cat (multiples sometimes) pop up in my writing. The insertion of pets is never intentional on my part, it is just part of the writing process.
Lady Glamis' post made me wonder why more writers don't insert pets into their stories. I mean, almost every one I know has either a dog or a cat, or multiple dogs/cats. In fact, I have one friend who has eight (yes, eight) dogs. At one point, my partner and I had three cats and two dogs. : ) Life is never dull around our house. So, why don't more writers give their characters pets? Is it too hard? Do the writers not have pets themselves? Do they not know the joy of coming home at the end of the day and having the cat curl up in their laps? Do they not know the joy of having a crappy day, coming home, and there are the boyz (Jesse and James in my case) furiously wagging their tales in greeting? No matter how bad a day, they always make me smile. Do they (those authors who do not include pets in their writing) not know the joys (sarcasm here) of getting up at 3 AM to let the boyz out? Do they not know the joys (double dose of sarcasm here) of cleaning up the ginormous hairball that the cat just hacked up at 2 AM? Why, oh, why, can't they hack up hairballs when I'm not in bed? Why?
Speaking of hairballs, I've never made one of the fictional cats hack up a hairball at 2 AM to disturb a character's much deserved rest. Hmmmmm . . . (note to self: in editing process, include a ginormous hairball incident!!). Talk about inspiration . . . and not necessarily a good visual.
So (yes, I use that word way too often, get over it), go on over and read Lady Glamis' post, then pop back over here and tell me why you do or don't put animals in your writing.