It’s April again and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge and this year, my theme for the A to Z Challenge is characters and narrators.
Okay, work with me on this one. Z is for zoological, which I am using to discuss how/when authors give human traits to animals in books/tv/film…and also sometimes on this very blog.
There are the typical attributes given to animals – dogs are loyal and cats are generally cranky. But it’s equally fun (usually more so) when animals have their very own unique personalities and characters.
The beautiful thing about these kinds of characters, is that while we loved stories of animals having human traits as children, many of us never outgrew this love. There are tons of stories that feature pets as prominent and developed characters – and they can be more than just campy or silly, they can be beloved characters.
There are also stories of pets playing a prominent role (with no fictionalized character development/internal pet monologues) in a person’s life. I love these as well, and if book/movie/tv trends are accurate, a lot of other people do as well. I even have one of my own –
When I left my ex, a little more than a year ago, I took my dog with me. (Side note: She was a present to me from my ex when we were still newlyweds and since my ex was never a dog person, I was the dog’s main caregiver/trainer/person.) So many people – family, friends, coworkers, and also random strangers – comforted and propped me up in my time of need. I don’t know what I would have done without the so many wonderful people in my life (the kind things they did, the healing words they said, and the support that they lovingly gave) and I don’t think I can ever repay this debt to them. I know I was and am blessed to have such amazing people in my life. 🙂
And my dog, though it sounds kind of silly to say, was also helpful in getting me through those hard times. I remember the first nights after I left my husband – away from the home I shared with my ex for over seven years, without the sounds of someone sleeping next to me. There are so many hard parts of going through any kind of divorce (whether someone pulls the rug out from under you or whether it was something that builds up over time)…and one of the worst things (there are a lot of them) is not being able to sleep because of the emptiness of a room at night. But I was lucky. When I couldn’t go to sleep some nights, I could listen to the sounds of Bella snoring softly from her pet bed or the sounds of her walking around the room. Those noises were strangely comforting, especially when I moved into my own apartment, in reminding me that I wasn’t alone.
My dog even helped stave off depression – I never had to come home to an empty house (and had an enthusiastic greeter at the door), she took me for long walks several times a day (making me get fresh air + exercise), would drop her toys at my feet to play when I got too pensive, and was glad to cuddle on the couch when nothing seemed to be going right.
And that’s why I suppose pet and other animal characters are always so endearing – for the connection we have with them and how we can take care of them almost as well as they can take care of us (yep, I know super cheesy, but there it is).
Notable animal characters:
- Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino in Bolt
- Doug in UP!