Abandoned Pet

            We’ve all seen starving dogs and cats wandering through our neighborhoods. We look, wondering if they might live in a nearby house but accidentally got away. And will soon be reunited with their loving owner.

            But what happens when that same pet is still wandering the next day? And the one after that? Maybe even a week later?

            What do you do?

            The temptation might be to keep driving by, pretending that the animal isn’t really lost. Or perhaps if you’ve taken a liking to the pet, you might try to lure it into your car or follow you home if you’re walking.

            Your task is to write a story in which you see what appears to be a lost or abandoned animal. Your character can be a softie who rescues the pet, or a grouch who chases it away from her house.

            Don’t begin with a detailed description of the pet, but rather work in the details slowly, one at a time. Bring in tension by making the animal less-than-perfect. It might poop in the house, claw the sofa or chew the expensive shoes.

            You can also through in a bit of comedy, for we all enjoy those videos of cats squeezing into tiny boxes and dogs trying to swallow all the water from a hose.

            Have fun with this one.

Pet Ownership

How many people do you know that currently own a pet or have had a pet in the past? I bet it’s a huge number!

People are funny about their pets. They talk to them as if they understand every word they use. They feed them premium food, often times, in the case of a poor senior citizen, better food than they eat themselves. Some dress their pets in fancy clothes and take them to fashion shows.

Some train their pets for protection, while others are looking for companionship. Many pets are like children, pampered and petted and loved.

But there are also cruel, inhuman owners who abuse and neglect their pets. They confine them to shabby, filthy, disgusting cages. Breed them and keep every last cat or dog until the house/apartment is so congested with animals that it’s impossible to keep clean. Some beat their animals, starve them, burn them  and then abandon them along highways, not caring if they get run over and killed.

Does your character currently own a pet? What kind and how is it treated?

One way to give hints as to a character’s personality is through pet ownership. For example, there is a woman in my neighborhood who walks her cat every day, wearing a halter and leash. Sometimes the cat is draped over the woman’s shoulders. It’s obvious from the way they interact with each other that there is love.

Your task is to write a pet into your story. First, decide what type of pet. Is it a tarantula or snake? That would repulse me. What about a hamster or guinea pig that escapes on a regular basis? That happened in our house.

If you select a dog, what breed and what is the purpose of the dog? How does the owner interact with the dog? Does he pet it often? Take it for walks? Brush and comb it? Let it share the bed or sleep on his lap?

Or is the dog kept outside no matter the weather? Given food in an indifferent manner? Allowed to roam the grounds with the expectation that it will bark, growl and attack an intruder?

You’ve got a lot to think about.

Have fun with this one.