(This short piece by Blaize first appeared on Fresh Fiction in January of 2008)
The first time somebody asked why my Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series includes pets, I was a little taken aback. I mean, Dixie Hemingway is a pet sitter, for gosh sake, so there had to be pets. But when I thought about it, I realized it had been my choice to make the pets equal in importance to the human characters. Not with human characteristics or psychic abilities or super strength, but just regular pets like regular people have. So I gave it some thought, and finally came up with an answer.
Every culture has mythic tales of a golden age when humans and animals lived as friends. In The Illiad, when a warrior was killed, his horse hung his head and wept. In The Ramayana, an army of brave monkeys rescued Princess Sita from an evil kidnapper. When the Buddha left his father’s palace to seek enlightenment, his horse wept too, when he had to return to the palace alone. And then there’s that serpent in the Garden of Eden who told Eve the truth about eating of the tree of knowledge.
In all those old stories, animals represented wisdom and courage and loyalty, and the friendship between humans and animals was one of unconditional love and sacrifice. As humans distanced from that connection with animals, I think we lost a connection to the best part of ourselves. So that’s the real reason for putting pets in my stories. It’s my way of trying to reconnect with the best part of humanity’s story.