Pet Spotlight: Michael Jecks

I have always been a dog owner. Well, dog fanatic, really. My family had at least four dogs and, as soon as I started writing, I bought a dog of my own. She was a lovely, bouncing, beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog. They are as good natured as they appear, but they have all the subtlety and intelligence of a bulldozer. I remember walking along a field of heavy clay. Farmers had built up a network of ditches to allow rainwater to run away, with plank bridges thrown over to allow people across. I remember being half way over it when I realised my mistake – and danger. Seeing me crossing the plank, the dog thought, “That looks fun!” and pelted...

Pet Spotlight: Atlas and Abbey

Meet Atlas and Abbey, my four-legged kids who are the reason we have a TO RELEASE HOUNDS PRESS HERE doorbell. Also, the reason we warn house guests not to wear black–it clashes with the brown fur they’ll inevitably wear home–and the reason we drive a gas-guzzling SUV. (Have you tried to fit two hundred and fifty pounds of dog in a Prius?) We rescued Abbey as a crawling-with-worms-and-fleas five-week-old pup. She’s a seventy pound, six-year-old now, extremely attached to me and the most neurotic dog in the world. (My husband uses this fact to point out how dogs end up like their owners. I pretend I don’t know what he’s...

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...