People who know me are well aware that I consider our two dogs, Guinness and Cleo, to be family members, not just pets.
They're kind of an odd couple. Guinness ("Dorkus Maximus") is a big, lumbering pit bull mix, whose thick coat and curly tail comes from some husky and chow ancestry turned up by DNA analysis; Cleo ("Dorkus Minimus") is a tiny, one-eyed pure-bred Shiba Inu rescue, whose personality supports the contention that Shibas are dogs for people who really wanted a cat instead. Despite the fact that they seem to have nothing in common, they are best friends. When they play tug-of-war, even though Guinness outweighs Cleo by a factor of four, he lets her win sometimes, as a good big brother should.
So dogs have worked their way not only into our hearts and homes, but into our stories, lore, and mythology. I guess it only makes sense that these creatures who have become so close to us would show up in the tales we tell. Dogs have made appearances in my own books, most notably the characters of Ahab (in Signal to Noise) and Baxter (in Kill Switch), the latter of which was the cause of one of the funniest interactions I've ever had with a reader. I was walking down the street in my home village, and a guy I barely know came up to me and said he was reading Kill Switch, and so far, enjoying it.
"I just wanted to let you know one thing, though," he said. "I know it's a thriller. I know people are gonna die. But..." -- and here, he grabbed me by the arm and looked me straight in the eye with a grim expression -- "... if you kill Baxter, I will never speak to you again."
We care deeply about our pets, even fictional ones, I guess.
But now I need to wind this up, and go see why Guinness and Cleo are barking. My guess is it's the Evil UPS Guy again. He just never gives up, that Guy.