Pets — Then and Now


Welcome to the New Year!  May this new year bring all good things.  Did you make any new New Year’s Resolutions?

Must admit that I have not done so, yet — mostly because my schedule is rather long each day and rather intense.  Somewhere along the line this year, I hope to garner out a little bit of free time in which to think about the last year and what I’d like to do differently.

But, be that the case, if you have made resolutions and would like to share them, I would love to hear about them.  Might give me some ideas. 

Well, today I thought we might talk a little bit about our pets — today and yesterday.

Did you know that many of my pets help me to write books?  It really is true.  Over to the left here is my little boy, Georgie.  Georgie is a rescue that I found when I was away from home, in Florida.  He was so tiny when I found him, I realized that something must have happened to his mother.  He was living by eating the plant life in the area, and he was completely wild.

So I sat with him outside (he, always at a distance) and fed him and talked to him each night.  Then one night he followed me into my rented room, and that was it.  He’s been with me ever since.

Georgie helped me to write the book, BLACK EAGLE.  He helped by lying next to me as I was writing, and by listening to me as I explained the plot to him.  Sometimes he’d give me weird looks if he didn’t understand something, and I’d go in an “fix” that section. 


Then we have Midnight Thunder.  Midnight was another rescue that my brother-in-law found at a gas station.  Midnight was begging for food, and he gained not only food, but a home.  My brother-in-law gave him to me.  Midnight sat with me through the writing of the book, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, and in fact that title was picked because my brother-in-law found Midnight Thunder at night, thus the title of the book is inspired by Midnight, or maybe it was the other way around — not sure.  Although he is no longer with us, he was lost to us twice, and each time we found him.  But the last time we found him, he had been found and taken to a shelter.  We discovered him there.  But in order to take him back from the shelter, he had to receive a round of shots, which disagreed with him very much.  He was already rather old, and he got very sick after receiving those shots, I’m afraid, and…well the rest doesn’t need to be stated.  He was quite a wonderful cat.  He got on well with all of our neighbors, including dogs and cats.  In fact, many of our neighbors didn’t know us well, but they certainly knew Midnight.  We miss him to this day.

Next we come to Sierra.  Sierra was originally my daughter’s pet, but she was unable to keep her while she was in college, and so she gave her to me.  Sierra acted like a princess and we even called her princess.  Do you see in this picture that there is a crown above her head?  We didn’t put that there.  Interesting that the photograph captured that.  Sierra helped me write the book, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF.  The personality of Princess Sierra in the book was, indeed, drawn from the personality of Sierra.


Then there is Kali.  The picture to the left is of me as a child, with a cat on my lap.  Many of my early photos include me holding dogs or cats.  Well, this picture isn’t of Kali, but the only online picture I have of Kali is on my website under tours — and all that info is protected and so I can’t lift it — but here is the url:  If you scroll down, Kali is the calico in a basket.

The heroine in the book, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE is drawn from Kali.  The heroine’s name is Kali and the character’s personality was caught not only from my cat, but from a movie actress from the 30’s that I admired very much.  Kali was another rescue — again from Florida.  She had been abandoned by her family when they moved.  I was out for a walk and she followed me 8-9 blocks to my motel.  She became mine, and was with us many, many years.

Over to the left here is Robere.  Robere was another rescue by my husband from the pound.  Unfortunately, he was with us only a little while and he died fairly young.  We believe that he might have been poisoned by our neighbors, but we aren’t certain.  All we know is that one night he got sick, and the next day he was gone.

He was a sweet, sweet, sweet, beautiful boy.  His legacy is caught in my new book, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY.  That main character is a combination of Robere’s personality and an artist that I admire very much, who was known to be a very sweet and kind gentlemen.

Then we have our dogs, both of them were rescues from the Blackfeet reservation.  These dogs discovered us while we were on the reservation with a project called, SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT.  They adopted us, and when it came time for us to go home, we couldn’t leave them behind.

Yoda, the one in front, had almost died on the reservation when he bit into an electric cable.  My husband brought him back around, and he was never far from my husband’s side after that.  Wolf, as we call the rather large collie — who also has some other breed of dog that’s very big — is a sweetie pie.  So sweet, in fact, that he loves everybody.  To this day, there are two female dogs in the neighborhood that claim Wolf as their own sweetheart.

In the world of the North American Indian, there are many accounts of pets.  I’ve read of pet deer, pet wolves, pet coyotes, pet birds, and of course some of smartest horses ever known.  I’ve even read of Crows who have been known to have saved several different war parties from harm by warning them of the enemy.

One of the most interesting accounts of those long-ago pets is that of a pet wolf who went out with his master on war raids.  This was the inspiration for the wolf’s personality in the book, WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed our little get-together today.  I’d love to hear your stories of your pets and how they have influenced you.  Oh, and did I mention that I’ve be giving away an e-book of the winner’s choice to some lucky blogger.  So come on in and leave a message.









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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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26 thoughts on “Pets — Then and Now”

  1. I love having pets, but not everyone looks on them the same. My daughter was in the Peace Corps. The dogs outside of cities did not even have names. My daughter called them door bell dogs.

    • Hi Debra,

      I can’t remember a time in my youth when I didn’t have a pet. There was one dog we had who was mean to everyone — except me. He would let me pet him when he would bark and growl at others. When I grew older and lived in apartments, sometimes I couldn’t have pets. And after I married, my ex (who hadn’t grown up with pets) had firm rules about having them. We did eventually get a parakeet, whom we all loved so much. He also talked up a storm. And once, when I was about 5 years old, and in kindergarten, a boy in my class was so scared of a dog, that he couldn’t walk home. I walked him home because I wasn’t afraid. Boy, did I get a spanking for that one.

  2. I loved seeing and learning about your furry family. Georgie looks just like my Miss Kiki. I have not made any new years resolutions. I haven’t done so in the last few years. I used to do ti and I would get upset when I couldn’t keep them. So, I just stopped.

    • Hi Janine,

      Your post made me smile. I’m afraid I share your reluctance to make new resolutions. It’s why I haven’t really made any yet. You know, pets fill one’s life with love — they love you back so much. Even the wild birds and squirrels in our area love you back when you feed them. These other forms of life (non-human) make life so full and beautiful, I think.

  3. Karen, I love the stories of your pets and how they influenced your writing! From when I was very young, I had a calico cat named Muffin. She was with me through elementary school and most of high school. She would walk down the driveway to meet me when the bus would come. I have a 20 year old cat now, Sassy. I’ve had her since she was 4 weeks old. We got her when my kids were little and she helped me through the babysitting years. Now, I have Milo, a chihuahua. He never leaves my side. Whether I’m reading, writing, or crocheting, he’s right there. Animals are just peaceful.

    • Hi Sally,

      And I loved your stories. Sierra used to wait outside for all of us in our family, waiting in our driveway until we came home. Golly, she used to love to be picked up and hugged by all three of us: me, my hubby and my brother-in-law. Yes, they do bring you peace. I hadn’t thought of it that way. But it’s true.

  4. What wonderful stories of each one! We have always had cats and each one had a unique personality. Our current rescue is a queen. Literally holds her head up and parades around and then plops down in front of you so you can pet her. They are always so much fun!

  5. Hi Susan,

    Gosh, your story brought on a smile. I can just imagine your cat doing that. Georgie also is a mouser. Mice don’t stand a chance in our house. Every night, he meows until we go to bed — he escorts us to bed and then as soon as the lights are off, he’s on duty. Watches and listens for those mice. Then he sleeps all day. But goodness, we certainly don’t have mice problems.

  6. Fur babies bring so much love and joy! I believe they are God’s gifts to us to show us an example of His unconditional love.

  7. Thank you Karen for joining us today. It is always fascinating how animals effect people. I have had a lot of animals effect my life also. On the farm there were too many to name here, but two was Goldie our Palomino mare that I rode in 4-H and barrel racing. She taught me to trust my instincts. Then there was a runt pig that became mine (I was kind of like Charlotte) Squeak lived in the house with us until he became too big. When he wanted in or out he would rub his nose on the sliding glass door. Once that door starting moving my mom said that was enough and he became an outside pig. He thought he was human. But he taught me to love life. Then I had a heifer, Shorthorn, who I also had in 4-H. I would sit against her side and do my homework or read. She wouldn’t move until I did. I took her to the fair and we won a trophy for AZ, NV and CA. While there at the fair I fell asleep on her side and she was resting. Some newspaper men saw it and started taking pictures. My 3 brothers told them all about me and Burgandy. I was in the paper. LOL But she taught me patience.

    • Hi Lori,

      I love your story. Such unusual pets. Being on a farm, I can imagine getting close to horses and pigs and heifers. I grew up in farm country, but I lived in the city that serviced the farmers. What beautiful stories you have to tell. I love that some newspaper men took pictures of you and heifer.

    • Yes, indeed, Colleen, they all have their personalities — they also talk to us. I mentioned this once to my grandson and he said it was impossible. Then I told him that it is true that they don’t speak in words, but they still speak by getting your attention and making their needs known.

      Thanks for your post.

  8. When my girls were little, we had two dogs, brother and sister: Gandolf and Galadriel. They were yellow lab, German shepherd and husky mix. They were big but gentle, and were very protective of us. As teenagers, they each brought home a kitten, and a few years later so dif I. She didn’t even k ow how to drink from a bowl she was so young, but my daughter got on the floor with her and taught her how! They are long gone now, as more than twenty years have passed. My current cat is a love who is not keen on being held, but lays on the arm of my recliner with one to four paws touching me. All have been a source of joy and love, and have been family.

    • Hi Karen!

      I love those names, by the way. Yes, many of my pets got older and are no longer with us. But they are still loved and still remembered.

  9. I’ve had kittens and cats all my life too. My current one is like nothing I’ve ever had. She is a calico and is 8 months old. She is the first kitten I ever got from a shelter. I had always heard about rescuing animals, but I’m very sorry I did. I got her when she was two months old to be a comfort in things I was going through in life, but she bites and slaps and will not let you touch her. The vet finally put her on medicine two weeks ago and there has been some improvement, but she still will not let me play with her or sit with me. They are hoping she will come around, but are not sure. I’m hoping so because I’ve already gotten so attached to her.

    • Oh, Linda, my heart goes out to you. Bear with her — I bet she’ll come around. Georgie was extremely wild when I first got him, but he calmed down after a while. I hope she comes around. Must have had some bad experiences somewhere along the line. Hope it all gets better.

  10. We used to have cats when I was a kid. Sadly, right now I don’t have any pets, but I sometimes look after my brother’s dog. The dogs he’s had (they’ve all been German Shorthaired Pointers) have never been among the most obedient ones -except when I’ve been bribing them with treats.

  11. Instead of my brother’s dog, recently I’ve been bribing the little birds that come to eat nuts and seeds from the bird feeder mom has put for them. I’ve just been sitting in the snow (I have an old pillow inside a couple plastic bags, so my butt won’t be cold) and holding some nuts in my hands. The birds did come to eat from the bird feeder even though I was sitting right next to it, but today one brave willow tit finally flew on my hand to get a peanut.

  12. Hi Minna,

    What a great story. We put out seed and nuts for the birds, too, and the squirrels. One of the squirrels is fat and I told him or her so today. Told him/her I was going to call him/her fat squirrel. My response was a stare. LOL Love that you got the bird to come to you. Nice.

  13. A gray cat showed up after a snow storm and keep coming back until she eventually came indoors. The vet told us she was pregnant and we kept her first born that she had the day we moved into our new house. And because of a dream I had that my husband remembered: we were in a wagon going west and I found a cat on the trail and exclaimed, “My log lost cat, Tina Tuna!” Later on in the dream we found another cat and I said, “Our other long lost cat, J. Patrick Tuna!” So of course they were Tina and Patrick of the Tuna family. Both lived til there high teens, and when it was time, each began sleeping in my arms at night—I always thought they were warning me and saying goodbye.

    One final thought about my loyal Tina Tuna: Whenever we had a outdoor picnic, she always brought a dish too—every single time: the biggest field mouse she could find which she delivered to the very middle of the party. She was no free loader or shirker,I tell you.

  14. Oh, Eliza, what a perfect and beautiful story. One I will keep in my heart.

    Here where we live there is an entire social circle of squirrels and birds. It is very much a social circle that I didn’t even realize existed until I started to leave them seed. The winters here can be harsh, and so I thought I’d give them a little helping hand to make it through the winter.

    Imagine. Really, it is a little social circle.

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