Among writers, there’s an old saying that you should “write what you know.” In the case of my novel Chez Stinky, that included some of the pets I’ve known over the years. Many people have asked if the pets in the story were real. To some degree, the answer is yes. Aspects of the dog’s personalities are based on dogs I have owned. If you have ever lived with a dog, you might recognize the canine personality types that appear in the novel:
In Chez Stinky there’s a hyperactive Golden Retriever named Tessa who makes life difficult for the main character, Kat. Although the human prevails in the end, it’s not without some trials and tribulations. Tessa was based on a Golden I had named Tika. Although I loved her, Tika was constantly in motion and extremely difficult to deal with in her youth. For the first year we had her, my husband couldn’t touch Tika without her leaping all over the place and sometimes piddling on the floor. I used to call Tika my “learning experience” dog. In my novel, Tessa teaches Kat some things too.
The Big Sweet Dog
Many of my readers fell in love with Linus, who Kat refers to as “The Big Guy.” In the story, I describe him as a “cross between a horse, a bear, and a wookie.” He weighs about 200 pounds, and his size tends to scare people at first, but then they discover that he’s a big softie. Linus is loosely based on my dog Leto who was a Great Pyrenees mix. He wasn’t brown and he didn’t weigh anywhere near as much as the dog in my story, but he was a goofy, gentle dog, just like Linus.
The Weird Dog
In Chez Stinky, Chelsea is a slightly odd dog who likes to hang out under a table in the basement. She is loosely based on a dog we had named Cami who was what dog owners often refer to as “a head case.” Cami had a bunch of odd little habits, but we loved her anyway. And Kat learns to love Chelsea too.
I love reading books that include dogs and cats. Pretty much every writing book says you should write the book you want to read, so I had to include pets!