Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Dogs and Cats and Pets – oh my!

Our houseguest this week is a cat lover, and while he was sweet and tolerant of our goofy bulldog, he enjoyed more the attentions of our unpredictable and not-always-nice older Siamese cat. It was another thing that made me think about what different kinds of pets (and do animals like horses count as pets?) mean to different people.

I grew up in a household that liked animals. Before my time, my great-grandmother had quite the blabbermouth of a parrot – I remember my grandmother talking about how angry she would get when she would sneak into a corner to read a book, and the parrot would screech, “Lucy! You’re reading again! Reading again! Reading again!” Then her mother would yell, and she’d shut her book to bang it against the parrot’s cage as she stormed away to do chores. 🙂 My great-grandmother also, I’m told, had a large tortoise that roamed the house, sadly meeting its demise when a rocking chair rolled over it (though honestly, I’ve always had a hard time visualizing how a rocking chair could kill a large tortoise…)

Anyway!  We had a menagerie of pets, but never a dog because we went camping a lot, and my parents didn’t want to worry about finding campsites that allowed dogs. Here I am as a young teen with my huge rabbit, Buffy, who lived in a big outdoor hutch. It once was invaded by an opossum who had her babies in the wooden box inside the hutch that Buffy slept in – I wonder how she felt about that!


And our hedgehog, who was cute but prickly and sadly didn’t live long. 091

Over the years, we had turtles and hamsters and ducks and an adorable guinea pig who lived in a two story hutch we built in our family room, which I don’t think many parents would be enthused about!  But our most unusual (and most wonderful) pet was my raccoon, J.B. As an older teen, the boy I was dating lived on a farm and there were three orphaned baby raccoons, too small to have left the nest, roaming around the cow paddock. I bottle fed J.B. and raised him, and he knew I was his mother. Even when he weighed 25 pounds, if strangers came in the house he’d run up my body to my shoulders and peer around my head at them until he felt safe. 🙂  He was smart and fun and I loved him so much, but when he was a year old, it became apparent he needed to go back to the wild. So we trained him to eat more natural foods (since sweet rolls were his favorite treat, and he probably wouldn’t find them in the woods). We released him in a state park where there would be lots of picnic trash to forage through. When I go there today, I like to think his offspring are still running around in those woods and fishing in the river. 🙂


And speaking of unusual pets, a friend of mine has this hilarious goat as a pet – isn’t he awesome?


I haven’t been able to talk my husband into too many pets, though we did have rabbits in an outdoor hutch at one time.  Here’s my now-teen son when he was little holding our lop-eared rabbit Flopsy, and snoozing with our Siamese cat, who is quite cranky.

GeoWithFlopsy Geo(little):Obi

And since I’d never had a dog growing up, I forced my reluctant husband into getting a dog. Honestly, all you dog lovers may think I’m an awful person, but even though we love him, he probably wasn’t the best choice!  Bentley is stubborn and silly and everyone runs when he approaches with drool dripping from his mouth, but he’s part of the family now, for better or for worse 🙂  His favorite pastime is chasing a Frisbee, then cooling off in the pool.  Here he is in what I call his hippo pose.


Tell me about the pets who’ve featured in your lives over the years – I’d love to hear about them!

I do have a new release coming out June 1st, The Prince and The Midwife.  It’s part of the Hollywood Hills Clinic continuity, and I’m so pleased to be part of such a great series with so many awesome authors!

Prince:Midwife cover

His Cinderella midwife 

Gabriella Cain prides herself on the exemplary service she provides to her celebrity moms-to-be. So she certainly doesn’t appreciate Dr. Rafael Moreno suddenly taking over her department…even if he is royalty—and gorgeous! 

But distrust soon turns to secrets shared as irresistible Rafe proves dangerously easy to fall for. With a painful past behind her, can Gabriella dare hope for a fairy-tale ending with her prince?


22 thoughts on “Dogs and Cats and Pets – oh my!”

  1. Brilliant post, Robin, I love that you had a pet raccoon, but if I told you about all the pets through the years, there’d be no room for anyone else! So I’ll just mention the ones we’ve got at the moment.
    Daisy (Golden Retriever and daft as a brush)
    Mango (Yorkie Terrier, who we also call Mango Chutney and Bubby, for some weird reason!)
    Joey (brown Tabby cat, who swaggers around like a lion)
    Misty (Tortoiseshell cat, also called Misty-Moo)
    Cookie (ginger and white cat, son of Misty, also called Cookie-Dough and Cookie-Monster)
    Badger (black and white cat, son of Misty, NEVER stops purring)
    Harper & Finn (two Dumbo rats)

      1. Wow, Louisa, that’s quite the pet collection! Love the names 🙂 What’s the animal to human ratio in your house? I’ve never had a rat, but have heard they’re great pets.

  2. We don’t have any pets now, but I’ve had plenty through the years:
    Charlie – Our first cat (grey tabby), which I was scared to death of (I think I was 7 at the time).
    Dolly – A white cat with blue eyes (really pretty!). We got her when Charlie died. Mom named her after the musical.
    Mikey – Our first dog, a cocka-poo, which, yep, I was scared to death of at first (seems like owning these pets helped me in THAT regard! Haha!). He was a great dog.
    Penny – A grey Persian mix. We got her when Dolly died, shortly after getting Mikey. I named her after Penny from “Lost in Space.”
    Tasha – A husky/german shepard mix that Hubby and I got shortly after we were married. She was the DUMBEST dog ever, but we loved her.
    Alex – A black cat that loved to torment Tasha. He really was the best cat I ever had.
    Barney – A cocker spaniel (although I think he had some springer spaniel in him). He was our last pet (died of cancer in 2001). Such a great dog. I still miss him.
    Don’t know if we’ll ever get another pet. Our friend is allergic and I’d hate to do that to her. I want her to visit us sometimes!

    1. Hi, Stacy! I love the names of your pets. Makes me laugh that you named your cat after Penny in ‘Lost In Space’ – I loved that show! Our houseguest is like you in that he always had cats, but doesn’t any more because he has so many visitors and quite a few are allergic. I know he really misses having a cat or two in the house to cuddle with. I think there will be a time in the future when we don’t have any animals so we can easily take off and travel if we want, but a house does feel a little empty without critters meeting you at the door, doesn’t it?

      Thanks so much for stopping by! xoxo

  3. Thanks for helping me smile and laugh this morning. Loved the blog, and you are quite the pioneer pet person! We didn’t have pets when I was a kid because we couldn’t afford one. Well, we did have a dog for a while but he kept getting loose and chasing cars, and, well, that didn’t work out so great for him. I should say, we never had exotic pets like yours! Though my mother was raised on a farm and she said she loved the baby pigs and goats, but the pigs were her favorite. When I was a teenager a mangy cat followed me home from school – yes I walked nearly 3 miles to and from high school. What a mess he was, and he almost died. (Yes, I said walked home. No car for me until I was eighteen, had a job, and bought my own.) Charley was a red tabby cat and he lived with for about 15 years. I owned cats (Had 3 at once for a while there) as a single lady. Found a cat in the gutter by the library when my daughter was a baby. We saved the kitten who couldn’t have been more than 3-4 weeks old, a beautiful little calico who lived a long and happy life with us. I once found a tortoise crossing the road, pulled over and brought it home. My daughter cried buckets when my husband took it to the local pond and let him go. Once we hosted a baby crow who’d fallen out of the nest into our yard. The parents kept 24 hour vigil (noisy vigil) until baby was ready to fly away. We named him Little Jimmy Crow. I could go on and an on with the usual suspects – daughter’s hamster, son’s leopard gecko, but honestly I get sad about animals stuck in cages. I’ve been a dog person for the last twenty-plus years, and am happy to remain that way until, well, you catch my drift. Love the picture of you dog in the pool.

    1. I walked miles to and from school too, Lynne, and bought my own car when I was 18 also! Kids today don’t know how easy they have it…;-)

      I love your Little Jimmy Crow story – with a happy ending, too! I agree with you, feeling sad for animals stuck in cages and ignored – while I’ve had a number of caged animals (and I forgot our parakeet JoJo who my mother taught to say over 100 words) all of them got to leave their cages regularly and received plenty of love and attention.

      Almost time for our books to come out, June book buddy! 😀 I saw you got your UK copies in the mail – I did, too, and can’t wait to read yours! xoxo

  4. Robin,
    I, too, had a raccoon for a pet. Bandit. I dearly loved that animal and he loved me. He lived with us for about 3 years until the parents of kids playing in our yard complained about him. He went to live with a neighbor. He got out of his cage and came home. The neighbor’s dogs got him. I like the ending to your story better. We’ve had dogs but they take too much care and we are gone too much. My husband had a pet pig.

    1. Oh, Susan, your story about your raccoon breaks my heart 😦 They are really special little critters, aren’t they?

      I’ve heard pigs are very smart – how did your husband happen to have a pig? Did he live on a farm? As for dogs, they do take a lot of care. I’m glad we got ours while we still have kids home to play with him (though my husband is the primary Frisbee thrower).

  5. Hi Robin

    What a great post I too grew up with lots of pets over the years I had a Galah that talked all the time a tortoise (who we lost when a fence fell on him) we had pet sheep and dogs and cats and guinea pigs that lived in a hutch in the lounge room and that has carried on with my kids although my kids have just had cats dogs birds rabbits and mice no sheep. At the moment we only have a dog Casper he is a Maremma Italian sheepdog and he is beautiful cuddly and has such a great personality. Pets are the best to have they are such good friends 🙂

    Have Fun

    I just finished your book The Prince and The Midwife fabulous thank you 🙂

    1. I wish I could see a photo of your dog, Helen – I’ll bet he’s beautiful! And, wow, you have had quite a menagerie, haven’t you? I smiled that your guinea pigs lived in a hutch in your house, too – now I know we weren’t so strange 🙂 I do think it’s good for children to grow up with pets to love and care for, and yours certainly had that!

      Thank you for reading my book – I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series, as I am too! xoxo

  6. My best friend (also a Laurie) and i both got collie puppy siblings for our fifth birthday. Hers got sick and passed away within a few months, so mine became the puppy for her 3 siblings and my 3 siblings. With all 8 of us under 6 years old, that dog got tired out! I had mine for about 6 months until the day my baby brother learned to walk and the puppy kept knocking him over. We lived in a city neighborhood, and the winter weather up north meant he had to stay indoors. My mom and dad clearly had not thought this through before buying him. My puppy went to live with the farmer who brought us eggs, chicken and produce in season on his big farm. I saw King a couple times, but I would cry so much my mom said no more visits. When i was 8 my parents built a new house, and my grandparents came to visit. They took my sister and i shopping, and we stopped in the pet store, and of course came home with a much smaller puppy “queenie” who grew up to be a 20 lb dog that looked like a shrunken black lab. All was well till 3 years later when our neighbors black lab jumped up on Queenie (AHEM…) and a few months later there were 7 cute puppies to play with. We were allowed to keep the little runt (Sassy) Queenie passed away when i was in high school, and Sassy passed away when I was in college. The only other pets we had were snakes, lizards, white mice and a cayman that my baby brother loved and us girls hated. EWWWWW…reptiles and rodents, not nice, especially in your bed at 3 am.

    Never had pets when I was single, always wanted a cat, but had to be content with my friends cats. When my son was 17 he had a nasty breakup with his girlfriend (she 2 timed him with his best friend) He got really depressed and I got really scared. I took him to counselling and they suggested a kitten or puppy that he could learn to love and trust again. SO Baby Jude came into our lives in 2001, Abbykat joined the family in 2002 because kitten Jude was lonely when I was at work and Kyle was in school, and in Dec 2002 i was gifted a 4 week old kitten from Kyle’s new girlfriends cat’s litter. Roxie was a homely little scrap of black fuzz no bigger than a beanie baby..today she is 13 and my shadow! In 2008 a friend of mine knew a breeder of Toyger cats who was looking to rehome a retired breeding Queen, so Miss Tiger, the most beautiful cat I have known came to live with us. Abbykat passed away 3 months before that, and Jude and Miss Tiger passed away within 2 months of each other in 2013. I don’t have plans for any more pets, ut you never know. My “grandkitty” comes to visit when his parents travel, so that’s plenty for now.

    1. Oh, Laurie, what a great post! I am laughing at all the puppy missteps – your poor baby brother being knocked down all the time probably toughened him up fast! Then getting a different, smaller pup then the surprise of more puppies – I’ll bet your family loved the fun of that, and getting to choose one to keep! I also had to laugh that you said the ‘only’ other pets you had were snakes, lizards, mice and a cayman – most people would consider that quite a few kinds of unusual pets! 😀

      I hadn’t thought of a pet to love as a way to cope with depression, but I can see that could be a wonderful thing. How great that you ended up with a kitty family because of that. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful stories!

      1. let me be clear..the only one who liked the reptiles was my baby brother..he has them to this day, along with a very chatty Parrot he has had for 20 years. Always freaks me out when he calls and I can hear the parrot talking in my mom’s voice..she passed away 10 years ago, but a lot of things he says he learned when she was home alone with him when my brother worked.

  7. I grew up on a farm so pets in many shapes and sizes were part of the norm. At first what we had were dogs… Tippy, Curly belonged to my brother and obeyed him. I had Ginger and Susie (named after my favorite dolls) and Playful (guess why he was named that). Then we had the Hereford cows Fred and Barney (yes of Flintstones fame). I had pigs — two sows Snowball and Butterball, and one that my dad saved after a fence panel fell on him. We kept him in an old house and he dragged his back legs to get around… until my dad walked in on him one day running around. That is until he saw my dad, then he dropped his back legs and acted like he was still hurt. I also had a chicken I picked out as a chick that came running when I would step foot inside the chicken yard – name of Friendly. Small turtles and goldfish were inside pets. Finally got cats when we got some that were immune to cat distemper. Tiger, Mama Gray, Mama Black & White, and her kittens Sylvester and BoBo. Then my brother brought home a Siamese care from the vet he worked for. Christy was her name and she lived for almost 18 years. She loved my dad best of all and everyone else was on sufferance. I don’t have any pets at present. My apartment complex allows pets but charges so much pet deposit and monthly fees, that I can’t afford it. I get my fix by going to a couple of local bookstores who have cats!
    Just a side note on some of the pets… Playful loved the black and white cats and when they became ill or were hurt (one climbed in under the hood of the car and his leg cut off at the “knee”)… Playful would carry them to the food and water bowls, to the flower bed for bathroom duty, then back to their beds. How he knew what they needed I do not know, but it put paid to the story that dogs and cats are natural enemies…at least in our hours. When we moved off the farm, we were only able to take Christy with us…all the other animals found homes with neighbors.

    1. Oh, my gosh, Rita, what wonderful stories!! I am agape that your dog Playful took care of the ill or injured cats – that is amazing! And I laughed so hard at your pig who was hurt by the fence and dragged his back legs around – but only to get sympathy, apparently! That is hilarious! Love all your animal names, too – reading this has made my day. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing it! 🙂

  8. I have only ever had the regular kind of pets – dogs and cats. But it’s been a long time since there were any pets at my place except for a few fish in the water feature ion our courtyard that help keep the mosquito population down!

    1. Pets take a lot of time and work, that’s for sure Avril – even fish! Since I love to travel, I suspect there won’t be any new pets in our lives until I’m old and more of a homebody again.

  9. As a mother I found myself the ‘grandma’ of a series of pet rats! I never expected that but they made great pets and the up side? They only live for 2 years! Taught The Lad responsibility and we always had two. They were very entertaining and our ‘rat years’ lasted 5 years when he was 8-13. I LOVE the hedgehog photo. We don’t have them down here in Australia.

    1. Another endorsement for rats as pets – good to know, Fiona! And I hadn’t thought of the plus of them living only two years 😉 Hedgehogs are incredibly cute, but the downside is you have to wear gloves to handle them, they’re so prickly. Interesting pet, though. You may not have them in Australia, but you sure have plenty of amazing critters we don’t have here, for sure!

  10. I’m a dog lover, and over the years have had some very special four legged mates. Our last one was a retired pig dog and the most docile dog I’ve ever met unless he was after a pig. A greyhound/whippet cross with the sweetest nature. I don’t agree with sending dogs to hunt pigs but was more than happy to take in a retired one.

  11. These are my 3 cats on the left, Top Is spotted baby Jude.little black is Roxie and Miss Tiger the Toyger is at the bottom. The other 2 cats belong to my ex.


    On Fri, May 13, 2016 at 8:05 AM, Love is the Best Medicine wrote:

    > robingianna posted: “Our houseguest this week is a cat lover, and while he > was sweet and tolerant of our goofy bulldog, he enjoyed more the attentions > of our unpredictable and not-always-nice older Siamese cat. It was another > thing that made me think about what different kind” >

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