25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.
Not many pets, no. Historical attitudes to pets differed in (most) of the times I write about, dogs, generally had jobs, such as gundogs, or guards, or they were fashion accessories such as the Dalmatian, which was developed to run behind and under the coach, and “looked smart” – or they were entertainment (bull baiting, bear baiting, dog fighting, badger baiting, rat catching). When I went to live in Ireland, ten years ago, I found that in the midlands there, they still had this attitude towards pets in general. “A large dog outside and a toy dog inside” and never the twain would meet.
Look at Rochester – Pilot is described as a massive hound (often portrayed as a Great Dane in films) and he is allowed into the house, but he’s also a sign of Rochester’s status. Big House, Big Horse, Big Dog, small…. mind?
I have dogs dotted about, there are Dalmatians in Standish, but they live in the stables. Rafe has a great love of horses, and gets closer to them than was probably normal (stop sniggering at the back, I can see you, Chris and Chris) but even he (as he doesn’t have the hands on experience that the grooms have) doesn’t consider the horse’s welfare and doesn’t check the horse out for injury before riding him.
I believe one of the “witches” in Transgressions has a rabbit and a cat who are considered to be her familars. Michael has a knife he’s very fond of…
In the Muffled Drum, several of my characters are from the 5th Regiment – “The Pomeranians” – and so as an affectation, I thought it would be amusing to have one of the (minor) characters to have a lapdog, which he carries everywhere with him, even on horseback, the way Rupert of the Rhine did – he had a poodle, I believe. See “Famous People and their Poodles” (I love the idea that Cromwell had one, *snort*)
I suppose that a pet can distract from the plot, I found Mrs Copperfield’s dog irritating in the extreme…And I generally equate “historical small dog” with female characters – and I have very few of those, that matter enough to introduce a pet anyway.© Copyright 2010 Erastes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Erastes