Sausage (and Cookie!)
I always thought of myself as a cat person. They're such low-maintenance animals and seem to be the perfect pets for authors. They're content to sleep and be adored for twenty-three hours a day, and eat for the remaining hour (accumulated time). But recently, we acquired a dog and now my entire world has changed.
Her name is Sausage and she's a miniature bull terrier. You hadn't heard of that breed? No, neither had we until we moved to Malaysia. After doing some research, however, I've discovered that they're a bona fide breed. They have all the energy, stubbornness and clown antics of a full-sized bull terrier, but in a smaller package.
I've always been partial to the cute-ugly piggy looks of bull terriers because an uncle of mine used to breed the standard-sized bullies, but they're banned now in the country. I'm in a quandry about that decision. I don't think that animals should be punished for our own shortcomings but I recognise that some people just don't have what it takes to handle particular breeds of dog. Well, I have my own private thoughts on the debate but, the upshot is, we have Sausage. (And, by the time you read this, like a bully junkie, we would have also received another mini bull terrier. We're calling her Cookie.)
And now that I've got Sausage, I've changed my mind about perfect pets for writers. I think dogs are of immense value for the sole reason that they force me to get off my butt and out of the house several times a day. If there's one thing writers can suffer from, it's the Vicious Circle, whether it be going round and round trying to solve a plot hole, moving past a sagging middle or -- ahem! -- writing promotional short essays. And the one, best, counter-intuitive thing that a writer can do in such circumstances is just leave it alone, get some fresh air and think of something different for twenty minutes. Enter the dog and their potty breaks. It's amazing how well stepping outside with your four-legged bark machine clears the mind and fills you with renewed energy and purpose. Not bad for an animal that doesn't know how to use a litter box!
So if you ever read any interviews of mine in the future, and someone asks, "What advice would you give an aspiring writer?", and I say, "A dog", you'll know what I mean.