MEOW, WOOF, and TWEET

Austin Mystery Writers

ANIMAL SIDEKICKS AND PETS IN FICTION

By Francine Paino AKA F. Della Notte

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”—Groucho Marx

Animal characters in stories aren’t just for children. You can go through millions of children’s books and find the same number of animal sidekicks and pets as main characters and their antagonists, providing comfort, support, and companionship to the children’s heroes.

Animals are near and dear. We often imagine them to be all that we are not. Thus it’s no great wonder that they show up and play important roles in our stories. There are hundreds of tales that sentimentally humanize animals, but even in the ones that don’t, animals are essential to the completeness of many characters’ lives and the mysteries of humans.

But why are ‘grown-up’ books featuring animals as sidekicks or just

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