Monday, October 21, 2013

Companions Along the Journey

Let me introduce you to my writing partner: 

Max has been a part of our family for close to fourteen years now.  He was a gift for my son on his fifth birthday, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. 

That was just a ruse. 

He’s mine.    The moment he bounced out of his travel crate and into my arms, he’s had me wrapped around his dewclaw.   (My son received a bunch of Pokemon stuff that year too, so we’re even.)  During the day when I write, Max is my constant companion.  Warming my feet, reminding me to get fresh air and exercise or letting me know, with a gentle nudge, when it’s time for lunch or a break.  He’s also a fabulous listener.  I’ve talked through many a plot twist with him as he sat patiently; wise brown eyes reminding me to kill my darlingsWhen I took the picture above, that was exactly how I found him.  Why he likes to have his paws on things, I don’t know, but I love his face – it’s like we’ve got some serious editing to do and you think it’s time for a snack?    Just this morning as I poured myself a cup of coffee, he paced around my feet, anxious to get to work.  Work for me being this writing thing, work for him sitting with me, curled up in a blanket and dozing to the sound of my tapping keyboard.  

Sometimes I wonder who has the better end of this deal.

I’m not alone.  Many writers through the years have had beloved animal companions.  Charles Dickens had a pet raven named Grip.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning had a cocker spaniel named Flush.  And Ernest Hemingway had so many cats there are still ancestors of them roaming around the grounds of his historic home in Key West, FL.

For me, Max is a reminder that even though this writing life can be a solitary one, I’m not alone.  And any time it all becomes a tiny bit frustrating or I get stuck – a brisk walk, nap time, or allowing myself time to play – is all it takes to make it better.

So how about you?  Do you have any animal companions?  Why do you think animals and writers make great friends? 


  1. I miss our doggy :(. I do think animals make great writing companions, walking companions, crying companions, you name it. How sweet that your doggy loves to be with you.

  2. I had to say goodbye to mine in June, and I still expect to see her around every corner of my house. She was my best "thinking" companion on those daily walks. When she refused to walk, off and on, in her last year, I felt off, too.

  3. I find myself talking through things with my dog almost every day. Glad to hear I'm not the only one... And there's nothing like a good walk with her to clear my head, and help me to refocus on my desk, instead of my kitchen or some other distraction.

  4. Robin,
    Here's an idea: in honor of Max, give someone a dog in your next book - how about Maddie?