I am a pet person. I have two dogs. We’ve had goldfish (which we won at wedding of all things). If my kids had any say, we’d have cats, horses, hamsters, anything with four legs (no birds though–I have a kid afraid of birds–go figure). Anyhoo, as a per person, I often include them in books. I think having a pet adds depth to a character. It can give them a caring dimension that might note be evident through other actions.
Pets can also be a foil in stories. It can cause any number of mishaps and excitement. I just like adding them in. I will say though I do think it out, because if you’re going to have your character be on the run, or just on the move for any length of time, the pet ha to be considered. You can’t just mention so-and-so has a dog, then so-and-so is gone off doing this adventure and never goes more to take of said pooch, the reader is going to catch onto that and dislike so-and-so.
Cats, you can leave for longer periods of time, but if you don’t want your house to be icky, then you need to at least get home to clean out that litter box.
So anyway, back to my question, do you add pets to a book? What makes you decide to include one? Or not? And do you have a preference for a specific pet or do you go with the vibe of the book (you know, like how some people are cat people and some are dog people, etc)? And… what’s the oddest pet that you have or would use? Anything exotic, strange or otherwise not your run-of-the-mill animal?