I think most of you know by now that I love dogs and have three of the little rascals who more or less rule my life. (Yes, I know I’m supposed to be the “alpha dog” of the pack, but somehow I got ousted … no idea how that happened!) Maybe that’s why they keep ending up in my novels? Not exactly like mine, but just dogs in general. They’re not always the centre of attention or have huge roles to play, but they are there in the background, doing what dogs excel at – being man’s best friend.
I was reminded of their appeal and why I love them so much when I happened to see the cover of this week’s Country Life magazine. Normally they have castles, gundogs or other such things on the front and portraits of debutantes inside, but this week they’re featuring Sykes the thespian dog. In case you don’t know who he is, he’s an extremely clever and talented little actor, who has appeared in countless films (including some with Johnny Depp apparently!). He also starred in an award-winning advert where he played Harvey, a rescue dog with unbelievable skills looking for a home! (See for yourself on Youtube here if you missed it). Currently he’s stealing the show in the new series of Midsomer Murders – I thought maybe it was just me, but apparently most other people think so too. Personally, whenever he’s on set, I forget all about the Inspector and the grisly murder victims. I’m much more interested in seeing what Sykes is going to get up to. And he never disappoints. He has a very expressive face!
So am I going mad? Turning into a crazy old dog lady? I don’t think so (at least not yet ). There is something particularly appealing about a dog (or any pet I suppose) who is intelligent enough to help their human owners. Especially if they save the day, sound the alarm when danger approaches or just leans on their human friend to give them sympathy when it’s needed. I explored this in Highland Storms, where the heroine’s dog Liath does his best to get in on the action and I have to admit I loved writing the scenes featuring him. I only wish my own dogs were as obedient or had half his brain cells, but that’s another story …
Any other animal lovers out there? Please tell me it’s not just me!