Terrence McCauley: A Lesson from Hopeless

My first cat was named Hopeless. My father gave her that name because of the long, lamenting meow she had when we brought her home from the pet store. Even as a three month old kitten, she had a hell of a pair of lungs on her. Hopeless was a small gray and white tigress who really didn’t like to do much. She didn’t play or run around or get into mischief like most cats do. She didn’t even like to eat a whole lot. She was a timid, nervous cat who preferred my mother’s company and could care less about my father or me. When we brought her to the vet for her first check-up, they told us she probably wouldn’t live very long. She was small and...

Pet Spotlight: Alex Marwood and Baloo

My name is Baloo. I’m just like a cat, only smaller. My slave called me after the bear in the Jungle Book, because I come from a family of giants and I’m blue, but I became perilously ill at ten weeks old, and never got my growth spurt. Two years on, I’m covered in muscles, have the sense of entitlement that comes with devoted nursing, and would fit in the average handbag. But I have no concept of how small I am. I swagger about my patch of London bellowing in my foghorn voice and demanding treats. Cats and people bow before my greatness. My slave got quite despondent the other night, when she arrived at a neighbour’s birthday party to find...

Pet Spotlight: Tracy Weber and Tasha

Security Chiefs and Soul Mates I never believed in love at first sight until the night I met my three-week-old puppy. I had high expectations of dog ownership. After all, I had dreamt about owning a German shepherd for well over a decade, which was how long it took me to convince my animal-fur-allergic husband that our home—which already housed four cats—had enough space for a one-hundred-pound behemoth. At three weeks old, Tasha wasn’t yet able to show me her personality. She and her littermates barely had their eyes open and they couldn’t control their back ends, so they dragged their legs and tails behind them like miniature seals....

Pet Spotlight: Jessie Chandler, Ollie and Fozzy Be...

  Yo! Ollie here. Our Keeper, Jessie, is gone. Me and my big bro Fozzy Bear are very hungry half-King Charles Spaniel/half-Shih Tzu masters of the realm. I just turned two-years-old last month. Our Keepers threw me a big birthday party with hats that I thought were pretty stupid, and Frosty Paws, which I did not think were stupid. However, a frozen tongue feels funny. Where do you think our Keeper is, Fozzy Bear?   Who cares, Ollie? I’m in the zone. Maxing and relaxing upside down on this soft, comfy blanket the Keepers accidentally left on the floor. I’m waiting for one of the Keepers to come along and give me tummies. That’s...

Pet Spotlight: Spencer Quinn

Here’s my crack research team, Audrey the golden retriever/Bernese mix, and Pearl, purebred golden of the very light-complected variety. Audrey’s almost nine, a wonderful watchdog and a very outdoorsy type. Pearl’s three, getting by on looks alone, and is the indoorsy type – think Zsa Zsa Gabor on a particularly lazy day. They’re both totally lovable, and the Chet and Bernie books would not have been possible without them. They show up every day, work for treats, and have no comprehension of royalties – probably ideal for the post-Bezos world of publishing. Audrey and Pearl remind me that there’s a...

Pet Spotlight: Sara Paretsky

My girl Callie came to us when she was 10 weeks old. She was active, playful, lived to swim. Like all Goldens, she needed a lot of time with her people. If I was working too long and she was feeling lonely, she would hide something of mine, like a shoe, and then come stand in front of me, grinning, to let me know I had five minutes to find the object or she would chew it to bits. She was a total mama’s girl, stuck with me day and night, had a special nose-wrinkling look when she greeted the handful of people who mattered most to her. I took her swimming almost every morning (Lake Michigan is a 10-minute walk from my house.) My...