We reached out to six authors and asked them to send us a photo of their pet(s) and to tell us a little about what they love about them. And just for a little framework, we did some research on why having a pet is so very good for us.
The American Heart Association has associated pet ownership with reduced heart disease risk factors and greater longevity, whether it be a dog or cat. The stereotype that dogs are more affectionate than cats seems to be just that: a stereotype. In fact one study found that over a 10-year period cat owners were 30% less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners.
Dr. Ann Berger, a physician and researcher at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland says of pets: “Their attention is focused on the person all the time.” Berger works with people who have cancer and terminal illnesses, teaching them about mindfulness to help decrease stress and manage pain.
“The foundations of mindfulness include attention, intention, compassion, and awareness,” Berger says. “All of those things are things that animals bring to the table. People kind of have to learn it. Animals do this innately.”
Another study had children with autism spectrum disorder play with guinea pigs in the classroom, reporting that their anxiety levels dropped and suggesting that the unconditional acceptance offered by the animals was a comfort to the children.
And let’s face it, animals are adorable. They shower us with unconditional love, affection and loyalty. There are no other relationships in our lives where we are met with such adoration and acceptance. Not to mention the fun and playfulness they bring to our lives.
These terrific authors tell us what they love about their cherished pets:
Karin Slaughter, Dexter, and Maggie
“Maggie knows that this house is really hers and I’m just here visiting. And Dexter (the black cat) is a stone cold killer.”
Lisa Unger and Jak Jak
“Jak Jak is my eight-year-old Australian Labradoodle. He is a ham who tries to get into every Zoom appearance, a clown who makes me laugh every day, and my faithful writing buddy, always right by my side. Dogs, like kids, keep you grounded and centered. No matter what is going on in your life or your work, whether you’re having the best day or the worst day, you still have to throw the ball!”
“Sometimes I wonder if Tarzan (a Maltipoo) was a cat in his past life. He can be aloof, and he’s finicky, and he likes to sit in windowsills and watch the cars go by. And then he does something like this, hangs his head out the car window so his ears can flap in the breeze, and he’s 100% dog—the sweetest little thing with a king-sized personality.”
Kaira Rouda with Tucker (grey) and Frankie (white)
“Tucker and Frankie are my writing buddies, waiting patiently for me to take a break so we can play. The greatest thing about these two is that they’re best friends, have each other’s backs and always remind me that unconditional love is the best feeling.”
Heather Gudenkauf and Lolo
“Look at this sweet face! Lolo came into my family’s life just when we need her most. She is my hiking, reading, binge-watching and snuggling in front of the fireplace sidekick.”
Wendy Walker and Coco
“The best thing about Coco is that he’s very affectionate and only barks when someone is coming up to the house. He loves walking anywhere and everyone he meets says he’s the sweetest dog he’s ever met.”
And lastly the Rogue dogs…
Valerie’s King Charles Cavalier Zorba
“Is this just the most precious face ever? Zorba is a little fur ball of love, happiness, sweetness and adorability. He’s my best bud, loves our walks together, follows me wherever I go, and is a great cuddler. Those soulful eyes get me every time! Total. Unconditional. Love.”
Lynne Constantine’s Greyson and Parker
“When I walk in the front door, whether I’ve been gone five minutes or five hours, Greyson (charcoal lab) and Parker (English cream golden retriever) are ecstatic to see me. Their adorable faces greet me as their tails go a mile a minute and they make me feel like I’m the most important person in the world. Every morning when I walk up the stairs to go to my office- they are there, waiting.”
“They are also great listeners and cheer me on during my writing. And as you can see, they’re both very involved in the editing process.”
Readers, tell us a little something about your pets and what they add to your life!