Over the course of their adventures, the Sleuth Sisters have collected two dogs and a cat. When I include a pet in a book, it's always a pet I've known, and they're included as a sort of tribute to their individuality.
Styx, Retta's dog, is a combination of two Newfoundlands I've known. Big (of course), friendly, and overzealous, he gets in the way a lot and does exactly what he's told not to do, but he's so lovable it's okay with his mom. Retta needs Styx. She's a widow who lives out in the country, and he provides company, security, and lots of entertainment.
Faye found her dog hurt alongside the road (in the second book, 3 SLEUTHS, 2 DOGS, 1 MURDER) and took him in. He's a bit grumpy, but he's probably got good cause to be. A one-person animal, Buddy would die for Faye. For most other people, he'd just as soon pass. Faye's heart is big enough for all the animals in the world, but she and Buddy have a special bond.
Barb gained a cat over the last two books without intending to. (MURDER IN THE BOONIES & SLEUTHING AT SWEET SPRINGS). She hasn't thought of herself as a pet person for decades, since she was busy being a Big Success, but in retirement she has a different viewpoint. When a stray cat comes to her second-floor bedroom window, she starts feeding it and eventually tames it enough to say they have a relationship, though as is often the case with cats, it isn't clear who is master and who is pet. I can't remember the last cat we had that wasn't a stray. They just
seem to appear at our back door and squirm their way into the house and
I enjoy the scenes with animals in the books, as anyone who's read them can tell. The sisters have dealt with horses, peafowl, reindeer, and cows as well. Though we didn't have all those varieties, I did grow up on a farm where animals were part of daily life, both for work and for enjoyment.
Writing about them is kind of like going back to my own childhood for a little visit.