Writers and Dogs

Writers need dogs. Plain and simple. Through the long hours writing, there is nothing like a dog to curl up next to you when it’s cold, or when the long sentence dwindles down to a razor-like clearness that illuminates the work.

We need dogs for the long walks for thinking – because we are always thinking, inventing, plotting, defining. They snap us out of writing’s melancholy. They teach us patience (except when it’s their mealtime) and they show us joy. They bark at us when we’re too serious, or stare us down when our attentions go astray.

There are many wonderful books about dogs: Dog Years by Mark Doty, Colter by Rick Bass, Merle’s Door… Dog poetry abounds. We are silly about dogs – spending more money on them than ever, doting on their needs – and why not? In the insular world of writing, we need the release from tension that dogs bring – and we need their comfort from  the thoughts that bounce around in our brains all rubbery, but sharp.

I’ve been fortunate to have two wonderful dogs so far… Tucker helped me through the first 2 books and part of the latest, and Buster through the final leg of it. How wonderful it is to have the feet warmed, the hand a place to rest, or their eyes to get lost in when the time is absolutely right.


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