All things considered. It’s pretty safe to say I’m a dog person. We had quite a few animals around when I was a kid (up until my mum got ill with cancer and eventually died – which made the smallholding something that a single father couldn’t carry on running. I like cats and horses and goats and chickens and all the other things I grew up with but it’s dogs I always seemed to love and want the most.
I didn’t get my own dog until 2006, though. Moving a lot, living on my own in rented accommodation, and working (when I had work) full time made having a dog a bad idea. So I didn’t. Then, one day when I was only part time employed and I was starting to cast a longing eye in the general direction of canines, a neighbour who couldn’t cope with her new pup offered me Sid. Unfortunately, Sid did not last long as he had an unfortunate accident but he left a legacy that is especially his. Not only did he eventually inspire my piece of flash fiction, The Boy and His Dog, he made me realise that life is too short to live without dogs.
Unfortunately, with my next pick, I ended up living with a Hellhound.
I got Finn in the tail end (pun intended) of 2006, picked up when he was eight weeks old from the mother’s owners. In his early days, Finn had exciting adventures like attempting to dig his way out of a first floor flat (through the kitchen wall), growling at old men in flat caps, and barking for the England rugby team (I think he can identify “white” and that, as he is mostly white himself, he also identifies with it). He has since calmed down. He’s stopped paying attention to rugby and lost interest in Doctor Who when David Tennant ceased bouncing around our tv screen.
Before I got Finn, I’d tried writing a number of times. One of my ambitions in my younger years was to grow up to be Isaac Asimov but I never quite finished anything – especially not the doctorate. Since March 2007, I’ve been unable to stop for more than a week or two, even if I just end up writing blog posts. So his relentless enthusiasm also seems to extend to his muse duties – or, alternatively, having got to a certain level of stress and realising that writing is a good coping mechanism, I’ve got addicted.
I’ve been toying with the idea of a second dog for a few years – and even attempted a couple of unsuccessful adoptions – with the main argument being company for Finn when I’m not around. Dogs being pack animals, full time company of some description is good for them and we thought it might help with some of Finn’s more excitable tendencies. So, when my sister’s dogs had an umplanned litter, we kept our fingers crossed for a calm bitch puppy. My sister kept hold of Rosie until she was twelve weeks, in part to ensure she was that bit more robust and capable of playing with a Hellhound. Now we’re just waiting to see who gets the most influence on who. Will I end up with two Hellhounds or will Finn settle down some more with Rosie’s influence?
Some Further Notes on Dogs and Writing
As mentioned under what is currently called the Alex Jones‘ world, I tend to think of dogs as being a weird sort of social hybridisation – wolves that tried to pack up with humans and got pretty much screwed in the process. Not that I don’t enjoy dogs (or I wouldn’t have any) but they’re hardly the senior partner in the human-canine relationship. So, my interest in all things werewolf-y pretty much springs from this interest in dogs. So any stories I write that involves dogs or werewolves? Blame the Pack – whomever actually makes said pack up at the time of writing.
I’ve also written a few world building type blog posts that spring from this – mainly in connection with the main werewolf world I play in but with some generalised stuff – and I’ve now moved that into a Pack Inspired sub-category.