Thursday, February 05, 2009

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Surfer Guy and I saw Gran Torino last week (we really enjoyed it, but the review is for some other day). One of the many things that caught our interest was Clint's (Walt's) dog, Daisy. Daisy's a yellow lab, just like our beloved Harlow who left us after almost fourteen faithful years. We found ourselves watching Daisy's every move and noting how she was cued in to Walt's moods and emotions.

Oh, I miss my dog!

And dogs are showing up everywhere these days! Another yellow lab was all over the movie theaters at Christmas. I didn't want my heart to break, so I didn't go, but I loved the trailers for Marley & Me.

And then this book caught my eye at the bookstore this week:
Another yellow lab! Does this mean we'll not be the only people with a soft butterball on four legs sometime this summer (we hope)?

Dogs are even showing up on the books of my friends. Again, a yellow lab, even though the wonderful pup in Barbara's book is a chow mix. I guess labs must be the supermodels of the canine world.






While dogs seem the prevalent stars, wasn't it Cindy who alerted us to a heartwarming book about a cat?


So, dogs and cats. But hey, there are other critters in the world as well. I have goldfish. Parakeets. A red-eared slider turtle. My first book starred a talking parrot, modeled after the one the people I used to babysit for owned (was he a character). However, I'm thinking of writing a book that could start a new trend...one based on one of the Ridgway's pets...


Yes, this is Tortoise Tortoise, a refugee from the desert in Northern Africa. He's going to outlive eveyone in the family and I think he might make a fine character in a romance novel. He's not cuddly, but he (slowly) grows on you!
So, does a book with an animal on the cover snag your attention? Are you more or less likely to pick up a romance if there's a dog front and center?

25 comments:

Kylie said...

Christie, I can't say the presence of an animal on the cover affects my chances of picking up a book. I'm drawn more by the overall treatment of the cover, or the author.

But I do share your love for dogs! My pooch is a ridiculously expensive Polish Lowland Sheepdog. She's my baby and I don't want to think of the day she will no longer be with me.

My husband says absolutely no more dogs because we're on the go so much. But he's also gone for weeks in the spring and fall, and I'm home all day in the summer. I *like* a dog around. So chances are, even once she's gone I'm going to be looking around for another puppy!

Hope you find the dog of your dreams this summer!

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm a sucker for anything with animals. We are surrounded by them at our house too. two cats, one dog (in the past we've always had 2) several horses and all the birds we feed. I once featured a cat in book and it was really fun. As far as picking up a book with an animal on the cover, I guess it depends on the title. I have Marley and Me on my TBR pile but I've already seen the movie so it might sit there a while :o) Of course that might have more to do with a looming deadline than anything else :o)

Debra Dixon said...

I'll pick up almost anything with animals on it. I won't necessarily buy the book but I want to know what it's about!

I've got Dewey but haven't read it yet.

And the LOST RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS is on my list at Amazon.

I like books with animals in them but not books in which the animal dies at the end. HATE THOSE. I don't care how wonderful the book is, I just don't need to leave through the loss of someone else's pet/horse, etc. I have done enough of that on my on thank-you-very-much!

Keri Ford said...

Having grown up on a farm, animals are just something that attracts my attention. We got the kid a puppy for Christmas this year, an Australian Terrier. Nothing makes Hubs and me smile more than watching our toddler run laughing while the puppy is chasing him.

pets on covers though? I might notice them, but they're not more likely to make me pick them up. Probably because I've read a number of books with pets that seem to disappear off the page for chapters at a time and is apparently never fed or watered.

Christie Ridgway said...

Kylie: I'm with you about enjoying a dog's company. I really miss mine. Our cat, Goblin, likes to "work" in my office with me (sleeps on the loveseat) but it's not like our dog who would accompany me if the doorbell rang or whatever.

Christie Ridgway said...

Keri: You have a puppy and a toddler! That's a lot of fun work. I think I've put from my head the puppy stage. But you're right, sometimes the animals in a story disappear. That's why featuring my tortoise could work. He actually does disappear in the coldest part of winter.

He also rearranges the garbage cans and the patio furniture to suit himself (he's built like a tank, obviously) but that's another story.

Playground Monitor said...

I'm not sure a pet on the cover would make me buy a book, but in a romance novel the way a pet factors into the hero or heroine's life helps define the character. I remember reading once that heroes don't have cats because it's not heroic. But I remember one book with a big alpha guy who'd taken in a one-eyed, one-eared cat with no tail He'd lost the eye, ear and tail in a fight. That spoke volumes about that hero.

We're petless now and likely to stay that way. I'm really not patient enough now to deal with puppy or kitten antics, and I'm afraid if I adopt an older pet, I'll just end up with one that has behavioral problems. Our last cat didn't take our move well and stopped using a litter box. She used my dining room rug instead. She'd been an inside/outside cat at our old house but refused to go outside after we moved. We did everything we were told when we moved her (same food, kept her in a small room to start before we exposed her to the whole house, etc) but she was still traumatized. And I definitely don't want to go through that again. So I'll just feed the DH's fish from time to time and let that be my pet.

lois greiman said...

Christie, tell me about your tortoise. That's so fascinating. Where did he come from? How did you get him? What does he eat? How long have you had him? I've never known anyone with a tortoise before.

Betina Krahn said...

Christie, my heart goes out to you. . . knowing what it is like to lose a beloved pet. Marley and Me was a good movie, but I didn't find it overly tearful-- except at the very end. And I loved the crazed-dog antics, even though I'd shoot myself rather than put up with that out of my dog.

Animals on book covers? I'm a real sucker for them-- I loved the "corgi" covers some years back. And I really love all of the labs on the covers. . . they're such sweeties. Meanwhile, I LOVE the knit stockings on your upcoming cover!

Christie Ridgway said...

Marilyn: I'm toying with the hero in my mip having a cat. He's a very soft touch so it might help define him. However, he's not at his home, so that means he's relocating his cat. As you note, they don't relocate so easily!

Hmm...Betina, maybe if I did see Marley and Me I'd rethink my excitement over a new puppy!

Helen Brenna said...

A tortoise!! You crack me up, Christie!

Animals on the cover are neither here nor there for me. And I think, like Keri, that most of the time they do end up disappearing.

Kristan Higgans writes dogs in her books and the one I read had me crying more than I think I've ever cried over a book. The dog was an important player in the story for the heroine, so he had to be there. If they're written well, the animal becomes a character just like the people.

I'm writing a dog in a book for the first ever time, and it's interesting. I find myself having to go back into scenes and add him!!

His name is Snickers!

Christie Ridgway said...

Lois: About our tortoise. Years ago we looked into adopting a California desert tortoise but they wouldn't let us have one (there are adoption groups) because we had a dog and a pool and a lawn. They are very particular.

Our No. African tortoise came to us through one of my husband's students. His mom was tired of the tortoise living in their bathtub. So it came to us about 4 years ago and he lives outside. In the winter he finds a hiding place (it changes, has been in our shed, behind a shade structure) but when it's warm, out he comes. He eats mostly grass from our lawn. We supplement with lettuce and he loooves fruit. Strawberries are a fave. He runs after me when I'm barefoot because he thinks my painted toenails are berries.

He's fun to watch as he moves around our yard. He has gotten out a couple of times and neighbors have brought him back (we wrote our phone number and address on his shell). He just starts walking down the street (probably looking for a friend, if you know what I mean).

We've already told Son 2 that he'll end up with him. I think he's supposed to live to around 100-150 and I think he might be 7-ish. He'll end up the property of our grandchildren, maybe!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I can't wait to show my granddaughter the picture of Tortoise Tortoise. Just last night she was telling me she misses her "turtle friend." She said he was imaginary, but it turns out he was a big playground climb-on critter near her mother's home in Indiana. She said he was her only friend there (she wasn't there very long) and she told him everything.

Frankly, the only animal on the cover of a romance that makes a difference to me is a horse. I might take a second look for another animal, but a horse will make me pick up the book. I do love to use animals in my stories. Dogs especially.

Michele Hauf said...

Sorry, but dogs don't appeal to me, so I'd leave that book alone. Now cats, on the other hand, will make me pick up a book, but doesn't affect my buying decision. Why is it there are more dogs in books than cats? Just seems that way.

:-)

Sarah Grimm said...

Although I usually notice books with animals on the cover, the animal will not make me more likely to pick up the book. Perhaps it's because I'm usually drawn to suspenses and thrillers and there's not that many with dogs on the covers.

I do love dogs, though. My son is allergic to cats, so we have mini schnauzers. In fact, the new puppy is currently wrestling with the four year old right now, while the ten year old looks on.

catslady said...

Dewey is on my tbb list. Marley and me had about a dozen of us sobbing (well the men didn't admit to sobbing but they were crying!) and I would look at a book with an animal on the cover before a baby lol.

Christie Ridgway said...

Kathleen: Yes! A horse! I don't know why horses on the cover didn't immediately come to me when I was talking about this. I always like a book with a horse on the cover.

Tortoise Tortoise is actually very cool. He's gotten so big (which means his legs are taller) since he came to us that it looks like he may be able to walk up the back porch steps and into the house! He tried a couple of times last summer and it was close. I'm really not looking forward to him knocking on the back door.

I'm trying to hink how to describe his size. He used to be about as big as a dinner plate. Now I think it would be a squeeze to get him into a box that holds a ream of paper.

Christie Ridgway said...

Catslady: Why doesn't it surprise me that the Dewey book is on your list?

Sarah: Sounds like your kids enjoy dogs just as much as mine. They really can be such great companions.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, and Kathleen, you could think about getting your granddaughter a turtle. I think there are some restrictions to selling them (maybe only in California) but my husband brought one home from the swap meet that was about the size of a quarter. He lived in a fish tank with a little water and some rocks. Fun pet to watch too.

Now we have a pond and he lives outside. He's about as big as a lunch plate and spends the summers in the pool, winters in the pond. Yes, he can survive (happily) the chlorinated pool. The kids take him out when they want to swim, or sometimes just leave him there. He'll go to the bottom when they jump in.

Estella said...

An animal will not make me pick up a book nor will it stop me from buying a book.

Kathleen said...

I am very particial to dogs, especially golden labs. I often kid about being an "aunt" to my brothers golden lab, Tanner and my nieces golden lab "Abby. When I get cards for birthday's and Christmas, the cards are always signed with the their names plus my furry niece and nephew names. I think more people do that now, sign their pets names on cards and such.
Now I really love horses too. I like to watch them move. I think they are very regal animals. I love to read, watch movies and see the real thing up close and personal.

I did read Marley and Me, and it was a very funny, emotinal book. I will see the movie, but I think I will wait until it comes out on DVD, so no one hears me blubbering when I watch it....
I love to read books where animals are included in the story. I think it gives them a much more human feel.

Christie Ridgway said...

Kathleen: All animals in our extended family are given Christmas presents from our pets. But we do weird stuff like give each other gifts in our immediate family signed like this "From the hummingbird who fights everyone else off the feeder."

Estella: I think I'm like you. I'm neutral when it comes to picking up a book, I could love a book with or without an animal in it.

PJ said...

I'm a dog mama with a 12 yr old chocolate lab and a 2 yr old lab/german shepherd mix. Any book with a dog on the cover will grab my attention. I may not buy it but I'll always pick it up and check it out. That's how I discovered Kristan Higgins.

PJ said...

Christie, I dare not show the picture of Tortoise Tortoise to my granddaughters of the heart. Those two girls would love to have a tortoise! Well, the 10 yr old would love a tortoise after she gets a pig (which is so not happening). She developed a love affair with pigs about 15 months ago, so much so that she hasn't touched a pork product in over a year.

Betina Krahn said...

Christie, I somehow missed the significance of Tortoise Tortoise my first time around. Wow. 150 years? Zoikes!

Meanwhile, I had a great flash of imagination when I read your comment about the Tortoise Tortoise and your polished toenails! Imagine that happening to a heroine! Being chased by a giant tortoise intent on consuming her toes for strawberries! Talk about a nightmare! Of course the stalking would probably have to be in slow motion. . .