Dog, dogs, and more dogs as the star or supporting characters in fiction

ACFWAuthors and writing, Characters, writing 2 Comments

by Cindy Ervin Huff @Cindyhuff11Huff

As a writer, I’m an avid reader and find there are lots of interesting books written either from a dog’s POV or surrounding dogs. Some are lap dogs that share their opinion with the reader about their human or working dogs that save the day repeatedly. Some are super friendly while others are aggressive and one-person dogs. Just like human characters, they are all unique.

My latest contemporary romance series focuses on dog groomers and the dogs that help bring them their happily ever after.

Each dog is unique, like those I read in my favorite mysteries and romances. Sometimes the dogs are front and center, sometimes they are in the background but are pivotal to a plot point.

In Loving the Dog Groomer, book #1 of Dog Groomer’s Love Stories, we’re introduced to Brownie, a mixed breed large shaggy dog. Brownie has two main jobs: help Tyler stay peaceful after suffering a trauma and bring Tyler’s father Marc together with Bria, the dog groomer who has no desire for a relationship. Brownie also helps a homeless vet get a job at the dog spa. He is fun, loving, and very curious, which gets him into trouble. But he is a secondary character and the center piece of a variety of dogs who come to the spa to be groomed.

In book#2, Finding the Dog Groomer’s Soulmate (releasing this summer), Fitzgerald, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is an emotional support dog named Fitz helping a female disabled veteran, Cassie, and Trapper is a border collie, who comes to work with Aaron, the owner of the dog spa. Fitz is focused on his job and Trapper is devoted to his owner. Neither of these is the star of the show. But without them, the two main characters would not grow into their best selves.

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All but one of my published historical romances have dogs. In Rescuing Her Heart, Sheba is a Border Collie who follows Jed everywhere. She draws the traumatized heroine, Deliliah from her hiding place with her gentle spirit and later helps Jed rescue her from a snake.

While Dog (yes that’s his name) suffers terribly when his leg is mauled by a bear in my debut novel Secrets & Charades, Evangeline saves him from being put down when she removes his damaged leg—thus showing our hero, Jake that Evangeline is a fine doctor.

New Embrace (formerly New Duet) features Brutus the service dog to army disabled veteran Dan. Brutus is there for Dan’s for emotional support and at a crucial plot point shows his, who is afraid of dogs, she can trust him, thereby keeping her safe from the bad guys.

Dogs can be the comedy relief in a story, or the one being told all the secrets. In military dramas, they are the key to getting the terrorist or other bad guy and often saving the life of their handler. Ronie Kendig writes wonderful military dog books.

Dogs, cats and other pets can make a story more personal and bring ahh moments that keep the reader turning pages.

Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published award-winning author. A 2018 Selah Finalist. She has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. When she isn’t writing she feeds her addiction to reading and enjoys her retirement with her husband of 50 plus years, Charles. Visit her at

Comments 2

  1. Thank you for the great article about how dogs can enrich a story’s plot line and our lives. You inspired a great twist for the fifth book in my Home Team series, which I’ll be starting very soon. Thanks for that!

  2. Thank you, Cindy for your inspiring article on dogs as the main characters. I’ve been mulling it around to start working on a series “Tails of Joy” which would feature dogs, dogs, and more dog rescues as they find their forever homes. I actually came up with the idea when we rescued our Maltese/Chihuahua mix 13 years ago. We got her at the age of two and she already had been in 21 foster homes (rejected by all). To know her, we discovered, truly is to love her! Perhaps I’ll start now with getting something on paper! Not sure if it should be a children’s series or adult!

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