It’s a quiet night. Everyone is fast asleep, including my puppy, who is dreaming away by my feet. My little pup has finally passed out after a busy day of playing, chewing on things he shouldn’t, running laps around the yard, and repeatedly stealing our shoes. Needless to say, he’s been keeping me busy. I spend more time chasing him around, while yelling, “hey,” or “no,” or “drop that,” than I do writing.
But I’m not complaining. I love seeing his cute little face and warm brown eyes every day. I love how he runs up to greet me—his tail wagging in an excited back and forth. I love hearing him bark and growl while playing with his toys. I love his puppy cuddles. I love the way he rests his head on my lap. I love watching him sleep. Hell, I just love him.
All this talk about my dog has me thinking about the fictional animals in my stories. Several of my characters have pets. Nick has a mischievous German Shepherd, Ash has a sassy Calico, and Raichel has a laid-back black cat with bright green eyes. All of them are different—and all of them were inspired by my real-life fur babies.
Nick’s one-year-old German Shepherd, Max, is most like my first dog, who sadly passed this year. My first dog, aka my muse, played an important role in Max’s character development. The two share almost identical personality traits. Max is protective, vocal, mischievous, and loyal to his core. He’s also a kleptomaniac with a penchant for stealing clothes, socks, shoes, and anything else that might be lying around the house.
Thankfully, Nick is organized and keeps his belongings out of Max’s reach. But a few of my other fictional people aren’t as neat. Karina, Marissa, and Ryan all have been victimized by Max’s thieving ways—especially Ryan—who seems to get the brunt of it all. And it’s not like Ryan is messy or anything, he just tends to leave his shoes and socks out, which turn into Max’s chew toys.
Ryan will complain. Nick will scold Max, then remind Ryan not to leave his shit lying around. Rinse. And repeat. It’s an endless cycle—and an amusing one at that, at least for Nick and the rest of the group. Ryan will pretend to be upset. But the truth is, he often finds Max’s antics to be amusing—especially when someone else is the victim of Max’s thievery.
But Max is so much more than just a playful clothing thief. He’s also Nick’s best friend. Like most animals, Max isn’t the judgy type. He’s always there for Nick—whether Nick needs him or not. Max can sense Nick’s moods, needs, and emotions. He supports him the best way he can—and vice versa. Nick loves his dog—there’s not a single doubt about that. Anyone can see just how much Nick adores Max by watching the two interact. He takes care of Max as much as Max takes care of him. And Nick will do anything to protect and support his pup. The pair have a mutual understanding and love for each other.
Ash’s cat, Kiki, thinks she rules the proverbial roost. Kiki is a lot like my mom’s old kitty. She’s spoiled, sassy, stubborn, independent, and has a knack for stirring up all sorts of trouble. If Kiki wants something, she won’t stop until she gets it—unless someone stops her. Naturally, they have to catch Kiki first—and good luck with that, because she’s as tiny as she is fast. Kiki or Keeks, as Ash calls her, loves zooming around the house.
Kiki is feisty and free-spirited, just like Ash. It was like the two of them were made for each other. And to be honest, they were. Kiki came into Ash’s life when Ash needed her the most. Ash was drowning in despair after a devastating loss. She found Kiki at a shelter fundraiser and fell in love with her instantly. She adopted her and Kiki’s been a part of Ash’s life for sixteen years. And as long as Ash continues breathing, so does Kiki. That’s part of the magical bond that pets share with their immortals and witches—they’re bonded for life.
Pets don’t die of old age in my stories. In fact, you won’t find any mention of animal death, abuse, neglect, or magical sacrifice in any of my books, blogs, short stories, or slices of life. My fictional people respect animals and never mistreat them. That’s just the way my magical world works.
But I’m straying off course. Back to Kiki, who has a thirst for adventure. Always curious, she’ll nose and paw her way into any space. Empty storage containers and cardboard boxes are a couple of her favorite places to hide and hang out. But nothing compares to the Yule trees that go up around Winter Solstice. Every year during the holidays, you’ll find her bright blue eyes poking out from beneath the glittery pine needles. And those shiny ornaments placed on the branches become her favorite toys. She has a mischievous side to her, just like Max. So it should be no surprise that the two of them are partners in crime.
Raichel’s cat, Ivy, is the opposite of Kiki and the least like any of my pets. Ivy is laid-back, lazy, and doesn’t seem to have a single care in the world—unlike Raichel, who’s an impulsive hothead. These two are the perfect example of opposites attract. Ivy is exactly the kind of emotional support animal that Raichel needs. She helps Raichel mellow out by tamping down those mercurial moods of hers. Ivy provides comfort, joy, and the kind of unconditional love that only a pet could give.
And the thing is, Raichel wasn’t looking to adopt a cat. Hell, she didn’t even want a pet, but fate had other plans when Ivy showed up on Raichel’s doorstep on a warm summer night. Raichel took her in, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. And while Raichel rarely admits to loving anyone or anything, she dotes on Ivy, spoiling her and treating her like a little princess. But then, all of my fictional people treat their pets like royalty.
I’d love to tell you more about my characters’ fur babies, but I don’t want to give away too much. You’ll be able to see more of my fictional pets in future slices of life and character blogs. I have plenty of stories to share featuring the animal companions from my fictional world.
I’ve posted two new life bites, which you can find under the Life Bites section on my website. I’ve also posted the Magic and Medicine playlist. You can find that under the Songs section—and you can listen to the playlist in its entirety on my Spotify. Just click on the Spotify icon located on top of my website, and it will direct you to my profile, which contains all of my WIP and character blog playlists.
Ryan’s blog is scheduled for Friday, June 23rd. I’m hoping to hit my deadline, but there’s a chance that I might have to delay his blog by a week or two. It all depends on my state of mind. The truth is, I’m still struggling to adjust to my new normal after losing my dog. Thankfully, my husband, my family, and new little pup have helped keep me afloat.
But grief is a bitch. Once it sinks its hooks into you, it never lets go. Sure, the pain eases over time, but it never goes away. It’s always there—a dull ache—a constant reminder of the hole in your heart. For anyone who says it’s just a dog, you can kindly fuck off.
Sixteen years is a long time to spend with someone. My dog was my best friend and my muse. He was by my side when I first started writing Nick and Karina’s story. He used to lay by my feet while I worked on their book. He used to listen to me rant, rave, and swear whenever my characters did something stupid—or whenever I fought with a blank page. He was always by my side, through the good, bad, and downright ugly. He was my best friend and my faithful companion. This blog is dedicated to him, my little muse. You are forever in my heart.
I plan on having the new summer blog schedule posted by the end this of month. Keep an eye on the Announcements page for any changes and updates.
As always, stay safe and stay healthy. Until next time.
~Due to technical difficulties from inclement weather, Ryan’s blog has been pushed back and will be posted on Sunday, July 2nd instead.~
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