Michele Regenold, Writing for Kids from the Boondocks

A blog about writing for children and the quest for publication.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cat person/dog person

I've loved cats for as long as I can remember. It's been an easy, smooth sailing kind of relationship. Not so with dogs.

When I was four, I rode with my dad to pick up the babysitter. She had a dog that towered over me. It knocked me down, probably inadvertently, but the experience made me a little nervous around dogs.

But not nervous enough.

My grandpa had a black lab called Sarge that he kept tied in the yard on a 12- or 15-foot chain. It was a hunting dog. I decided to walk outside one day and pet Sarge. I was four or five. Sarge was delighted to have a visitor. So delighted that he bounded around and around until his chain was twisted around my neck.

I screamed the fear-soaked scream of a little girl in mortal peril.

My mother says I was turning blue by the time she and my grandma came running.

So I've never been a great dog lover. I like dogs okay. My husband has owned several hunting dogs since we've been married, including one sweet old thing who became a house dog in her retirement.

A couple of years ago I made the commitment and got a dog of my very own. He is my faithful running buddy. He's also afraid of lightning, which is a problem at 12:30 a.m. when he escapes from his kennel and wants in the house.

Over the years, I've written a few pieces about dogs. The very first article I ever sold (to an adult magazine) was about two dogs. Dogs have figured in my fiction too. But not cats.

I had a talking cat in my middle grade fantasy for a while, but then I changed the cat into a little sister instead.

Maybe I don't have anything to say about cats because the relationship has been so easy. No conflict. Huh.


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