Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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IMG_0100by Sandra Elzie


How many times have you read a book where there’s a pet that steals the show?


I’ve read a couple over the past several decades of reading romance, but usually an author tosses one in and then you seldom see that animal again.


Stop and think how involved your pet is in your daily life and then consider how often you mention that pet in the book you’re writing…if you’ve added one…or how often other authors mention the pet in a book. You’d think the poor darlings are starving to death since they’re never fed…even in passing while the hero and heroine are talking. We won’t get into the fact that they’re seldom, if ever, let outside to do their private business…they’re just a convenient tool to bark when the bad guy is sneaking around at night.


Since I’ve got everything ready for the releases I’m doing the rest of this year, I’m hard at work on next year’s releases. I have a series about some sisters and in the first one, the hero owns a dog. Not just any old dog, but one who knows how to steal a scene. In one scene of Watch For The Dawn, (Book 1 of the upcoming Dawn series) the pooch did exact that on numerous occasions. I didn’t originally plan it that way, but the dog took over and his personality slipped out onto the page.n I’ll give you a little example of Rusty and his scene-stealing techniques.

Set up:

Heroine is driving in the mountains during a blizzard that arrived sooner than expected and slides into a snowbank & is knocked unconscious. Hero, who is an off-duty cop, and his trusty dog, Rusty, are on the way back to a borrowed cabin after buying food. They come upon the wrecked car. He loads her into his van since she needs medical attention and she needs to be warmed up…fast.


Before starting the engine, Steve twisted around one last time to check on his patient. He chuckled at the sight of Rusty stretching as far as possible toward the rear seat so he could sniff the person laying there and yet stay in the front as ordered.

“Rusty,” Steve gently admonished. Rusty turned innocent eyes toward his master before dropping his gaze and rearranging himself to more-or-less fit in the passenger seat. With his chin on his paws and his eyes watching for any sign that his master might change his mind, he finally heaved a big sigh and closed his eyes.

Steve continued to smile as he watched one hundred pounds of golden Lab hang over the edges of the seat, while giving the appearance of being content and comfortable.


Rusty is constantly in the story and later warns them in time for them to escape danger without injury. The point is, Rusty didn’t just get mentioned in the beginning and then bark on cue where I needed him to warn them of danger. Because the dog was going to be in the story so much, I wanted him to be lovable…and I don’t think Rusty will disappoint the reader.

Have you ever put animals in your stories? Do you like to read stories that have animals?  



About The Author:


Sandra Elzie  (awa Sandra McGregor) is married to the most patient man on the face of the earth. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, read and recently started making jewelry. Sandra accepted a challenge from her husband about fourteen years ago to not wait until retirement to write the books running around in her head and since she could never refuse a challenge, she started writing and sold her first book in 2008.

You can contact Sandra at her website….   or her Sandra McGregor blog…where there’s currently a promotional give-away in progress.

Marilyn Baron - August 4, 2014 - 10:13 am

I love when pets are featured in a book and I love when they steal the show. That’s a good point about the pet making an appearance never to be seen again. I’ll have to watch out for that. I use my dog, a Bichon Frise, who has passed away, in many of my books, as a tribute to her.

Maxine Davis - August 4, 2014 - 10:54 am

I love dogs and like to put them in my books. I talk to my own dog a lot! In a book, the hero often talks to his dog. I sent it to a book company and “she” said “People don’t talk to dogs. That is just a way of “saying,” not “showing.” I disagreed and didn’t redo my book and send it back. I know cut off my nose …

Sandy Elzie - August 4, 2014 - 11:46 am

Hi Marilyn,
I had a golden lab years ago…LuLu…and she is my inspiration for my dogs in print. She had more personality than some people.

Sandy Elzie - August 4, 2014 - 11:49 am

Hi Maxine,
Anyone sho says people don’t talk to their dogs…or their pets in general…obviously doesn’t have one. You’d think we had a kid in the house the way we talk to Jack (the resident feline) LOL LOL
My cat just meowed out in the kitchen and I yelled out that I’m in the office. He just came running in here and jumped up on his lamb’s wool-covered windowseat.

Sia Huff - August 4, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Hi Sandy,
I’ve never written a dog in my books. Lori Foster had two beautiful yellow labs in her book, When You Dare. I fell in love with them.

Sandy Elzie - August 4, 2014 - 1:05 pm

Hi Sia,
Like Marilyn, I know you love dogs, so, someday you’ll write one into a story as a tribute to the friend you lost.

Carol Burnside - August 4, 2014 - 4:32 pm

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re going to have a pet in the story, they’re another character and should have a role to fulfill.

I had a dog and a cat in Her Unexpected Family. The dog got fed and got treats to illustrate the hero was indeed ready for a family. Later on the dog bonded with the little boy while he grieved for his mother.

The cat factored in several scenes with the heroine, illustrating her resolve not to get involved and later, the heroine’s emotional growth toward accepting friendship and love into her life.

I’m sure your Rusty will be a hit with readers. Best of luck with your new releases, Sandy!

Connie Gillam - August 4, 2014 - 7:45 pm


I mentioned two dogs in my latest book and failed to carry through when (1) one owner went to the hospital and (2)the other went to jail.

Bad me.

Walt Mussell - August 4, 2014 - 11:06 pm

I like to read stories with pets, as I had pets growing up. However, as my wife is allergic to pet hair, we don’t keep a pet. None of my heroes and heroines have pets. However, I do have animals that plays roles in my Japan books.

Sandy Elzie - August 5, 2014 - 9:58 am

Hi Carol,
I totally agree. Rusty is another character…a real character at times. :) Thanks for the best wishes and the same to you.

Sandy Elzie - August 5, 2014 - 10:00 am

Hi Connie,
I’ve been guilty in the past when the pet didn’t have a role to play, other than to make a person accept responsibility…which reminded him of childhood when he’d been denied a pet because his parents didn’t think he was ready for one. Bad me also.

Sandy Elzie - August 5, 2014 - 10:02 am

Hi Walt,
I’m with you…I love pets in books. I’ve always had a pet (or two or three) in my home, so pets are a natural thing for me to include. I’m sorry about your wife having alergies that prevent you having a pet…they can add so much to your life. We laugh at our cat all the time. He has little habits that are funny to watch.

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