So, I've noticed something. Well, I've noticed a lot of somethings this week, but this something has inspired a blog entry. Yay for important somethings!
I've noticed that a lot of fiction doesn't include domestic animals. At least, nothing I've read lately. If they are included, they're generally in the background somewhere. A black cat might run past on a rainy night or the MC might hear a dog barking in the distance. It's not often that the MC has a pet, and if they do, they aren't a main focus.
I can sort of understand this. I mean, if you're writing a story with a lot of action scenes, you don't necessarily want your MC to break away from some life-or-death situation and run home to feed Fido. But I believe that there is potential for more characters here. False Memory by Dean Koontz features Valet, a grown golden retriever. He is a big part of the story. He has his own expressions, his own personality, and his own routine. His relationship to the MC is important. He's part of the family.
For the fantasy lovers, Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede features Morwen, a very unusual witch, and her gang of feline friends. Her cats are mentioned in the first two books of the series, but in this book, Wrede takes it a step further and gives the cats speaking roles. Through magic, felines are able to communicate (though only their witches can understand them) and since the book takes place from Morwen's POV, there are countless conversations between her and her cats, some of which help save the day.
I'm not saying that no one out there uses pets to their advantage. I'm sure there are many wonderful books that feature animal lovers. I just haven't seen any recently.
Maybe I should write one :)