Friday, February 9, 2018

For the Love of Pets

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, I shared about the first of 3 books I'm writing this year, one centered around the Delaware State Fair. If you missed that post, you can read it here:

I also never replied to comments in January, and I apologize for that. If you posted a comment, be sure to go back to the post above and see my responses. Had a dear friend who had a baby, and I took care of her other 3 kids, plus offered to be a general mother's helper to her. That obviously took precedence. *grins*

Now, on with the post for this month!

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For the Love of Pets

It appears Kathleen and I were traveling along a similar line of thought for this month. Yesterday, she did a fantastic job sharing about the American Kennel Club, popular breeds now, popular breeds 100 years ago, and how those breeds have changed over the years or even developed and become popular in more recent years. She also shared her own personal love affair with our canine family members. Today's post will build off of that.

I have personally always had a love for dogs much more than for cats. I don't mind having a cat in my lap or rubbing against my leg or hand, or even petting one when it crosses my path, and my favorite wild animal is a tiger (cat). However, after growing up with my father and two of my brothers having allergies to cats, we never had them in our own home, so I became accustomed to always having dogs around.

This is just my opinion, but there is so much more you can do with a dog, and a dog often is far more excited to be a part of your life. Cats frequently express disinterest, although I know there are several breeds known for being affectionate and playful. Still, you never see anyone "walking a cat" or out in a park with a cat throwing a ball or frisbee, splashing in the water, etc.

Roxie, my flat-coat retriever
For me, dogs defined so much of my childhood and even my adult years so far. With great detail, I can recall each and every dog we had as a pet from Peace (beagle) to Diamond (black lab) to Champ (one of her puppies) to Bootsie (grandfather's dog) to Duke (black lab) and King (black lab/great dane) and now the flat-coat retriever I own named Roxie. They each have greatly enhanced my life in abundant ways, and so many of my good memories involve them. Several of my sad memories also include them, though, especially when I had to say goodbye to my precious friends.

It's funny when I think of historical TV shows, movies, or novels, there almost always seems to be a dog featured if a pet is included. Perhaps they are easier to work with or considered to be more appealing to viewers and readers. Perhaps they are in greater abundance. Of course, I do recall some horses, birds, cats, and even frogs. So, it's not always dogs.

In show business it's always said to never work with children or animals, but there is something about animals and pets that automatically make us care about them just by being on-screen or in a novel.

Jack / Little House on the Prairie
One key pet is Jack from Little House on the Prairie. Set in the late 1800's, it showcased the prairie life and challenges homesteaders and farmers faced right near the turn of the 20th century. I'm not sure if the breeds chosen were historically accurate, so I'll leave that to Kathleen to analyze, but so many side story lines involved that dog, and eventually Bandit entered the picture. This show utilized both children AND dogs, and did it well.

Silver / The Lone Ranger
Another significant pet is Silver from the Lone Ranger, although I'm not sure you can consider Silver a "pet" as much as a necessary companion. According to legend, the Lone Ranger rescues Silver from a dangerous buffalo, and in return Silver gives up his life as a wild stallion to serve as the companion to the Ranger. In several ways, Silver stole the scene and developed a personality all his own. Pets have a way of doing that. No matter who or what they are, they enhance everything around them, people included.

A definite favorite from childhood is Lassie. She started out in a novel, made it into her own movies, and eventually made the successful transition to TV. Lassie established the heroic dog cliché. A fascinating fact I learned is almost all live action appearances of Lassie were from the same family of dogs. The original was a dog named Pal, and Pal’s descendants continued to carry on the name for many years. This pup has appeared in comics, novels, movies, television, radio, toys, and even an animated series. Definitely iconic and ingrained in our pop culture.

Flash / Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman
Wrapping it up, I have to also mention Flash, Wolf, and Pup from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. This is by far my favorite period TV show, in spite of several historical inaccuracies. *grins* Flash was a trick horse in real life, and they showcased some of that in a few scenes. He definitely stole the scene when he was featured in any way. The same goes with Wolf and Pup, the malamutes pretending to be wild wolves in Colorado that were trained to be pets and loyal companions. Like Lassie and Pal's descendants, Wolf and Pup were all played by malamutes in the same family.

Wolf & Pup / Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman
Whether it is man’s best friend or a fictional creature, the pets we see or meet can add some drama, comedy, or emotion to any scene on a screen or in a book. Adding a cute little pet to any series is an easy way to give us something to like. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am often more emotional about the feelings of pets over the feelings of people.

There is something about the innocence of an animal that makes people so much more sympathetic. I am sure there were a lot of challenges when working with animals for a movie or TV show, but they all added something special to the story. I know you animal lovers out there will be able to think of many examples, but these were the ones from TV which stand out to me.

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* Do you have a pet? What is it? How long has that pet been in your life?

* What is a fond memory you have of any pet you've ever owned?

* Is there a pet or animal in a book you've read that stands out in your mind? What animal and what book and why?

* What did you like most about today's post?


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an author and speaker who works in the health & wellness and personal development industry, helping others become their best from the inside out. She is also an educational consultant with Usborne Books.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and a Retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on FacebookTwitterGoodReadsPinterest, and LinkedIn.


  1. As a teen I got started on The Black Stallion books, which was a great adventure series. My childhood pet was actually my mom's dog, Taffy. I have no idea what kind she was, just a lovable mutt, but the family joke was that my mom loved that dog more than any one of us!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your great post! I love dogs and have never been without one my whole life. Last year, for the very first time, I got two cats. Now I am a four pet owner....two dogs and two cats! Heidi, Josie, Copper and Tip are all rotten but I just can't he myself.

  3. I loved reading about horses when I was growing up. Living in Texas, I loved all things western even though I lived in Dallas and had no hope of ever owning a horse. I remember my pets from childhood, and my two favorites were Tippy Lou and Honeypot, two golden Cocker Spaniels we loved to pieces. Our last pet was a Golden Retriever named Bingo. He died of old age at 14. I sure hated to see him go and cried for several days. I still miss him.

    The manuscript I'm working on now features a heroine who owns a dog bakery. The two star pets are a black lab named Max and a Yorkie named Daisy who stir things up for the hero and heroine. Another series features a Schnauzer named Mitzi.

  4. BTW: I found some great recipes for dog biscuits and treats on line. Using some of them for my heroine's Biscuits and Bones store.

  5. I grew up with dogs. Six years ago, I lost Happy to cancer. I got him at 8 weeks and he was 11 went he went to Heaven. I've not gotten another dog. I've left it up to the Lord if I am go have another one.

    Tiffany, Thank you for this wonderful post!

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