Reader Friday: Favorite Real or Fictional Pet

Let’s stroll down memory lane.

Do you have a favorite childhood pet?

If you weren’t allowed pets, choose any animal from your life.

If you’re still coming up empty, choose your favorite fictional pet.

Tell us about him or her and why you choose to spotlight that pet.

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About Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers") and Writers Helping Writers. Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Her backlist includes psychological thrillers, the Mayhem Series (books 1-3) and Grafton County Series, and true crime/narrative nonfiction. Now, she exclusively writes eco-thrillers, Mayhem Series (books 4-7 and continuing). Sue's appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion, and three episodes of A Time to Kill on Investigation Discovery. Learn more about Sue and her books at

41 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Favorite Real or Fictional Pet

  1. Dylan, my beagle, who was with me during some of the worst times of my life and who still loved me unconditionally no matter how badly I was messing up. I still miss her every single day.

  2. (Marma)Duke, the dog I’d begged for but had to wait until we moved out of our apartment into a house. The deal was I had to take care of him (and the reason we got him was because his owner’s kids had promised the same but didn’t live up to their promise.) We had some great times.

  3. My beloved Collie/Shepherd mix from childhood, named Bob Barker. I was the proudest person on the planet when I took him for Show & Tell at Kindergarten. 😎

    It took 20 years of grieving, but after Bob Barker, in adulthood, I got a black lab mix, Cody Starsky Jackson. 😎 A friend and I were hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway when I saw the little pup wandering through the woods. I took him home, advertised about the found pup, but to my delight, nobody claimed him. He and I lived a lot of life together.

    Dogs are the most precious creatures on the face of the earth.

  4. Interesting how everyone’s favorite is a dog. For me it was Teddy, a pug. Before he grew older and heavier and became a lap dog, he loved to run and dodge. With five kids in my family, we chased Teddy in the large front yard, running and diving to catch him. He could evade us like a football running back. Oh, the fun and memories.

  5. The funniest pets were a couple–a Chihuahua/doxie/? mix, Hey Dog, and a cat named Joe, both foundlings.

    Hey Dog showed up on the doorstep, convinced us to adopt him, and established himself in a bed in the kitchen.

    Later, Joe showed up and decided he liked Hey Dog’s bed. So Joe–typical cat– laid claim to it, much to Hey Dog’s distress. The territorial dispute was ongoing with alternating winners and losers. No growling or scratching. More like: “Neener, neener, I got here first, hahaha.”

    When Joe stood on the bed, claiming victory, Hey Dog would knock him over and start chewing on Joe’s ears. Must have felt good b/c Joe would lie there, thoroughly enjoying the attention for as long as Hey Dog kept up the nibbling.

    The Odd Couple.

    • Debbie, your story reminds me of a craft tip, shared, I think here at TKZ. And I can’t remember who said it. Maybe some of you can.

      “The cat sat on a mat is not a plot. The cat sat on the dog’s mat is a plot.”

      I still crack up when I read it…

  6. Hi Sue,

    My favorite childhood pet was our cat, Tango, an orange tabby. He was affectionate, confident, and fearless. Nothing would faze him.

    A family around the corner had a German shepherd named Sheba who used to get loose every now and then and roam the neighborhood, terrorizing us kids. One day Sheba escaped her one acre confines and came loping up the street, barking loudly. Tango stepped into her path. She was easily four times his size. She snarled at him. He faced her calmly, swatted her on the nose, and sent her packing. I’ve never seen a greater display of animal courage.

  7. Koko came into my life when I most needed him. He was probably a shih tzu X pekingese, but he’d been found abandoned and had no papers. He was my first dog that was all my own, though I was in my 30s then.

    He became my avatar on all social media networks – and still is. He helped me through times of illness, poverty, and joy when I was finally able to go back to work. He would do anything for food, so he was easy to train. When a foster dog bit me not long after Koko came to me, Koko calmly lay down beside me, between the biter and myself, to protect me and comfort me. That was when we connected.

    As he got older, he became deaf and blind, though you’d never know it to look at him. By then, I had Little Girl Dog, who would wake Koko up when I got home so he could happily greet me.

    He was always a happy little guy, right to the end. I had to let him go February 8, 2013. He will always be my heart dog.

  8. Isn’t it painful to see your pet suffer? Putting a pet to sleep may be merciful, but gives no sense of relief.
    Try putting those mixed feelings of grief, sadness, and guilt into the emotional life of a character.
    I promise you’ll be surprised with the results.

  9. Love all these stories.

    We had so many dogs and cats when I was a kid, I’d be hard pressed to pick one. But, most of my pet memories center on my Chihuahua, Pepe. He was a tiny little thing who thought he was a ten foot tall pit bull. He wouldn’t let anyone get near me. One time, he disappeared for two days; found him in a floor level drawer in my parents’ room, curled up on Mom’s sweaters. Ha! He gradually went blind over time, and I still carry the vision of him bumping into the furniture when Mom rearranged from time to time. We’d put him out in the yard while she did it, then let him in, and watch him figure things out. 🙂 Alas, he departed this world when my dad accidentally ran over him in our driveway.

    More recently, my husband and I had a Chow/Samoyed mix named Bear. She was the best dog ever. I’ve never seen the hub bond with an animal like that. We had her about 10-12 years, then had to put her down because of a mass in her spleen. We called a mobile vet in our area and held her across our laps in our front yard as the injections were given.

    It was a hard day.

  10. Shorty was my childhood dog, Sue. I found him wandering down the railroad tracks, took him home, and he stayed with us for the next ten or more years. As he matured, so did his name and he became Mister Short. You could set that dog like an alarm clock. When it was wakie-wakie time, Mister Short pounce on the bed, sniff your ears, and lick your face till you had no choice but to get up.

  11. Isn’t that like asking which child is your favorite? I’ve had six dogs in my life, a bunch of barn cats, one indoor/outdoor cat, and a horse. I’ve loved them all in different ways. Lady, the collie mix, protected me in life, and in death became my protector in dreams when childhood nightmares plagued me. Nothing will ever convince me she wasn’t there. Heidi, the German Shepherd, was my mom and protector as well as the smartest animal I’ve ever known. St. Bernard Chopper and golden Molly were my big, goofy kids. The closest I’ve ever come to being a mother. Pan aka Killer Kitty was a fierce protector as well as the one who healed my heart after losing Molly. Every few weeks, he’d ask to be let into the rest of the house where he was normally not allowed because of Mom’s allergies, and he’d patrol every last inch of the house, closets and basement included, to check for rodents and bogeymen. Even after his death, I’ve felt him keeping me and the house safe. He left us a mouse in Mom’s bathtub on the first anniversary of his death as a check in. Lady Horse, yes, another Lady, I’ve had 5 animals who have come into my life with that name before most were changed, was another too-smart animal who both protected and scared the heck out of me and my sister. She might toss us off, but she’d not run off. I’d go on, but I have a book-length collection of great and some really weird stories about the critters in my life.

    • Aww, love that Lady protected you from nightmares, Marilynn. Lady was a go-to name back in the day. We had a Lady, too (Beagle).

      You’re so right about choosing a favorite. Not easy! 🙂

  12. Favorite fictional pet is Asta from the Thin Man movies. A wire fox terrier, he was also in other movies, most notably The Awful Truth, where he plays a hilarious game of hide and seek with Cary Grant’s hat.

  13. I tried to respond earlier, but it didn’t take. Apologies if this is a duplicate.

    My favorite animal was my horse, Dixie. I bought her after I graduated from college and had a good job. It was the fulfillment of a childhood dream since I had always wanted a horse but my parents couldn’t afford to buy one.

    Dixie was a high-strung American Saddlebred, probably not the best match for a novice rider, but she and I had some great adventures. I wrote about one of them on my blog at
    What My Horse Taught Me About Character Arcs

    The best result of owning the horse was that my husband and I met at the barn where I boarded Dixie. (We believe that’s why we have such a stable marriage.
    ?? )

    • Haha. Stable marriage— good one, Kay!

      My sister has a bunch of horses. I have no idea what breed (?), some minis, some huge. In Kindergarten I was bitten by a horse who whipped me across the playground, so I’ve kept my distance since then. I admire them from afar. ?

  14. My childhood pet was a box turtle named Spot. He won first prize as the ugliest pet at day camp, but I liked the little guy. My brother was allergic to fur and feathers, so I couldn’t have other pets until I was grown-up. I’ve had a number of beloved cats, including Montana, a 15-pound part-Russian blue who would sit on my lap while I wrote, and Mystery, a beautiful copper-eyed Chartreux, a French breed known for their thick fur. Mystery was on the cover of my novel, CATNAPPED!

  15. Obviously I’m not a dog person. A couple of months back I added up all the cats that have been a part of my life and I am not going to share that number. Of all those cats my Number One was Romeo. Romeo was a purebred Maine Coon who I first saw as a baby kitten at a cat show. I knew he was mine. I can’t explain why, but I just knew. I struck up a conversation with his breeder. She had him there because she was contemplating keeping him and turning hime into her next show male and stud. IOW he wasn’t for sale. I was crestfallen.

    Knowing she hadn’t made any final decisions I kept in regular touch with her. A couple of months later she decided to let him go and that I would be the lucky buyer. A few days later I drove to the Great White North to her house. Her bf (now husband) was holding my little boy. As soon as he saw me he leaped from R’s arms right into mine. He knew he was mine, too.

    And thus it ever was. I can’t explain how simpatico Romeo and I were. We could communicate with looks. And he was very chatty. He was an exceptionally intelligent cat. He was my constant companion. I loved him so much. Even my customers knew his voice when we talked.

    It was total sadness when he died. I cried, the vet cried, my mom cried, my customers cried. Even writing about him now, more than a decade after his demise, brings tears to my eyes. He may not have been a childhood pet, but he was my best pet.

    • Aww, Catfriend, I understand that loss. Me and Sparky (all black with huge golden eyes and double claws) had that relationship for just shy of 17 beautiful years. When he died, I cried so much my tear ducts dried up. I had to go to Mass Eye and Ear in Boston for treatment. Years later, I wrote him into one of my series so he’d live forever (fictional Sparky is named Berkley). ?

  16. Interesting challenge to come up with a fictional pet. I read mostly SciFi and Fantasy so the animals are often intelligent in their own right, or transmogrified humans or aliens masqerading as human: so not pets. Any real pets more likely belong to the villain. it gets easier in children’s literature, Toto comes to mind. As does the hawk ‘Frightful’ from My Side of the Mountain. Captain Harding had a dog ‘Top’ in Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island.

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