A Girl And Her Dog

Although we often hear dogs called "man's best friend," I know plenty of women that couldn't live without their canine sidekicks. There's no bond quite like that of a girl and her dog. Personally, I would love to have a dog to share walks through the park, the occasional (okay, frequent) game of fetch, and nights curled up in front of the fireplace.

However, due to some seriously unfortunate allergies, the furriest pet I can have is...well, a goldfish. Yep. As much as I would love to have a dog of my own, I have to live vicariously through friends, neighbors, and, of course, books. Here are a few of my favorite stories about a girl and her dog.

A girl and her dog--a few stories about woman's best friend: Little House, Solomon's Oak, and Reluctant Cassandra | from the ellensmithwrites.com blog

Jack from the Little House series

One of my favorite fictional dogs is Jack, Laura's faithful bulldog in the Little House series. I loved Jack for his protectiveness of the family. In the first chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, Laura recounts how Jack kept watch by the front door of their little log cabin, listening to the howling of the wolves just outside. However, Jack is also Laura's playful companion and her first friend: 

Jack laid his nose on his paws and waggled, he jumped out on the path and looked back at [Laura], smiling with his ears, begging her to come out.
— Laura Ingalls Wilder, "On the Banks of Plum Creek"

Edsel from Solomon's Oak

I'm also a huge fan of Jo-Ann Mapson's novels, which frequently feature beloved pets as integral characters. In the novel olomon's Oak, grieving widow Glory Solomon draws comfort from the horses and dogs she and her late husband rescued over the years. Even as Glory is trying to reimagine her life without her husband, caring for the animals--and allowing them to care for her--keeps her grounded. All the dogs in this story help Glory in their own way, but one Italian greyhound, Edsel, is my favorite:

Everyone who met Edsel fell in love with the ten-pound comedian who made Glory laugh at least once a day.
— Jo-Ann Mapson, "Solomon's Oak"

Thor from Reluctant Cassandra

In addition to reading about dogs, I like to write about them, too! The main character in Reluctant Cassandra, Arden McCrae, has a canine companion--and honestly, he's one of my favorite characters! Thor, Arden's Boxer puppy, is playful, mischevious, messy, and always there to protect and comfort Arden. Between dealing with her premonitions of the future and facing her father's rapid decline due to Alzheimer's disease, Arden definitely has moments where she needs some comfort. I love that Thor is always there for her.

Thor leaps up next to me, and for once, I’m too exhausted to remind him he doesn’t go on the furniture. I’m going to start bad habits, I think, but then Thor rests his chin on my knee and I decide I don’t care.
— Ellen Smith, "Reluctant Cassandra"

So many stories just wouldn't be the same without the beloved animals that populate the pages. Who's your favorite fictional pet?

P.S. I'm giving away a signed copy of Reluctant Cassandra on Goodreads! You can enter to win here: http://ow.ly/muhe304XcJz