The Writer's Pet

 The Writer's Pet explores the world of contemporary writers and their pets.

Two cats curled up by a book by the window: The Writer's Pet
Photo: Irina Kozorog/Shutterstock


By Zazie Todd, PhD

Charles Dickens had his pet raven, Grip; Ernest Hemingway had many polydactyl cats; Virginia Woolf had a cocker spaniel called Pinka; and Alice Walker keeps pet chickens. Authors love their pets, but how do they influence their writing? The Writer’s Pet explores the world of contemporary writers and their companion animals.

These are the writers who have been featured on The Writer's Pet. If you are a traditionally published author and think your book might be a good fit, see the guidelines for The Writer's Pet.

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14. Trina Moyles and Lookout. In Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest Moyles writes of finding herself in the wilderness and her increasing awareness of the effects of climate change on the forest. Learn about Holly, the amazing dog who is her only company at the fire tower.

13. Jen Sookfong Lee, Finding Home, and The Shadow List. Finding Home: The Journey of Immigrants and Refugees (Orca Think, 1) is a children's book about immigration, while The Shadow List features raw, tender, poems. Rosie McDoggle is the Mexican rescue dog who centres Sookfong Lee while she writes. 

12. Jen Hirt and Hear Me Ohio. The beautifully-written essays in Hear Me Ohio touch on the wilderness found in both urban and suburban landscapes. Hirt told me all about the book and doing agility with her rescue dog, Wesley. 

11. Hannah Gold and The Last Bear. Hannah Gold's highly anticipated debut, The Last Bear, described as "deeply moving, beautifully told, quite unforgettable” by Michael Morpurgo, is for 8-12 year old animal lovers. Learn about the book and how Gold's own pets have influenced her writing.

10. Jessica Redland and the Hedgehog Hollow series. Jessica Redland's latest series is set in a rescue centre for sick and injured hedgehogs in Yorkshire, England. Learn about Redland's own pets, why she loves hedgehogs, and this captivating story of finding love and friendship.

9. Maureen Fergus and Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story. In this hilarious children's book, we find out whether a hundreds-of-years-old vampire can learn to play hockey. And in the interview, Maureen Fergus explains how her adorable little dog Buddy helps her writing and even helped inspire a book series.

8. Jenni Keer and The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows. In this heart-warming book from Jenni Keer, Maisie Meadows' new job at an auction house inspires her to try to reunite her family... And read the sweet story of Keer's blind cat, Seymour, and how all three of her cats help her writing.

7. Nicole Blades and Have You Met Nora? About to marry into one of New York's richest family, someone from Nora's past threatens to reveal her secret... that she's been "passing" as white. Have You Met Nora? is suspenseful, surprising, and topical. Nicole Blades tells me about the book, her little dog, and where her writing inspiration comes from.

6. Roz Watkins and Cut to the Bone. The acclaimed DI Meg Dalton crime series is set in England's Peak District. Roz Watkins tells us about the latest in the series, Cut to the Bone (which can be read as a standalone), and how her love of animals influences her writing.

5. Philippa East and Little White Lies. Philippa East on her thrilling debut, Little White Lies, and how her cat Mimi both helps and hinders her writing.

4. Jen Gilroy and A Wish in Irish Falls. Romance writer Jen Gilroy, author of A A Wish in Irish Falls, on her dog Floppy Ears and how she helps her to write heart-warming stories.

3. Eva Holland and Nerve. Eva Holland, author of Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear on her rescued sled dog, learning to cope with her fears, and why some fear is essential.

2. Grant Hayter-Menzies and Woo. Grant Hayter-Menzies, author of Woo, the Monkey Who Inspired Emily Carr: A Biography on how his dog Freddie inspires his own writing, and his biography of Woo.

1. Aislinn Hunter and The Certainties Aislinn Hunter, author of The Certainties, on her three gorgeous dogs, writing about animals, and the animals in her latest book.

0. Introducing The Writer's Pet Zazie Todd, PhD, author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, on how her own pets inspire her writing, and inspired this series on how animals influence writers.

The Writer's Pet, illustrated by a portrait of Bodger the Australian Shepherd
Zazie Todd's late dog Bodger, inspiration for her book Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy
Photo: Bad Monkey


Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

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