Insert Pets to Add Interest and Insight

Adding pets to a novel is a way to generate interest and add depth to scenes. Interacting with a pet can also give readers a better view of a character’s personality, showing a softer side, or conversely, demonstrating cruelness. Even the breed of dog can tell readers something about the dog’s owner. Want to cast a character as strong, tough, or macho? Have him/her own a pit bull or Rottweiler. Someone who owns a bloodhound is likely to wear plaid flannel shirts and be at home in the outdoors. Those with primped Pomeranians under their arms can be painted as narcissistic, focused more on appearance than with pet ownership.

I have inserted dogs into each novel of the Mountain Mystery series. None of these canines are meant to play major roles, but rather complement the main characters. In “Fallen from Sight,” Patches is a springer spaniel owned by Sarah, a young woman who vanishes while out for a hike. Sarah’s boyfriend, Ryan, finds Patches alone the next day at Sarah’s home. In coming scenes, Patches is often at Ryan’s side during the frantic search for Sarah.

In “At the River’s Edge,” Rufus, a floppy-eared coonhound, is Emily Edwards’ companion. Emily is a strong-willed, independent mountain woman who lives alone in a cabin at the top of Sunset Mountain. Emily’s deceased grandfather is rumored to have buried moonshine money in the nearby foothills. With unwanted treasure hunters threatening Emily, Rufus makes several appearances as her protector.

In “Butcher Road,” the mayor of Stonefield, Fred Willis, has his bulldog, Rocky, constantly at his side—even in his city hall office. Fred Willis is a moonfaced, portly man, with a resemblance to his pet. The dog’s jowly mug is used as an effective prop, sitting beside the mayor in his political ads. Rocky makes several cameo appearances with the mayor.

I just started the fourth novel in the series and have yet to bring a canine into the mix…but I will. You can learn more about these novels by CLICKING HERE.

D.R. Shoultz

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