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Writers and their Dogs

Writers and their Dogs

Writers and their Dogs

Behind every writer is a good… dog. Dogs have been humankind’s faithful best friend for as long as we can remember.
And it goes to reason that these dogs, while they might not be as famous as their counterparts, probably inspired them in one form or another. So here’s to remembering the dogs behind some of the world’s most famous and influential writers.

Gertrude Stein

While Gertrude Stein is perhaps not as well known today, she was an incredibly influential novelist, poet and playwright. She hung out with and influenced the likes of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemmingway, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Gertrude Stein had a white Standard poodle named Basket. She loved Basket so much that she bathed him in sulphur water every day. He was eventually replaced by Basket II and then Basket III. She wrote long letters to her friend, detailing her love for her dogs.

P.G. Wodehouse

This British author is one of the most widely read humorists, writing the widely acclaimed novel ‘Right Ho, Jeeves” and “Leave it To Psmith”. He loved all animals and at one point kept cats, birds and two dogs. He had a dachshund named Jed and a larger mixed breed named Bill. The heroines in Wodehouse’s novels are often accompanied by a small dachshund. “It is fatal to let any dog know that he is funny,” wrote Wodehouse once, “for he immediately loses his head and starts hamming it up.”

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck is one of America’s most famous and celebrated novelists. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. When John Steinbeck went on a road trip across the country, he brought his faithful companion Charley, a French poodle. Stenbeck wrote “Travels With Charley” where he tells the story of his journey across the country. While he writes about his faithful companion, his biggest question was “What are Americans like today?”
Anton Chekhov
In 1892, the Russian author Anton Chekhov was promised two puppies from his publisher. These dogs were the first dachshunds in Russia so naturally the author was extremely excited. But the dogs were in St. Petersburg, and Chekhov lived in Melikhovo, a small town about fifty miles south of the capital. It was almost a year before Chekhov would unite with his dogs. It was love at first sight. And while he owned dachshunds, he is, of course, best known for his short stories: one is called “The Lady with the Dog,” which actually features a Pomeranian.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf is one of the most important English novelists, and Pinka, Virginia Woolf’s spaniel, was one in a long line of the author’s cherished dogs. Woolf’s love of dogs is evident in “Flush: A Biography”, her novel about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s red cocker spaniel. (Browning and Flush are next on our list.) Although her love of dogs didn’t help her mental illness and depression which she suffered throughout her life, resulting in her drowning herself at the age of 59.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an English poet during the Victorian era. Her poetry brought her attention from the writer Robert Browning, another famous poet and playwright and they married. Elizabeth Barrett Browning named her cocker spaniel Flush. Why might you wonder? Because Browning’s Flush was a gift from Mary Russell Mitford, another Victorian writer, who also had a cocker spaniel also named Flush. No word on Mary Russell Mitford named her dog Flush.

See Also

Stephen King

Stephen King needs no introduction. Most people associate Stephen King with Cujo, the terrifying, rabid Saint Bernard from his horror book of the same name. But in King’s real life, it’s all about corgis, a much gentler dog than his fictional ones. His corgi is named Molly and King likes to refer to as the “Thing of Evil.” However, we doubt that is actually the case. King first introduced Molly to the world when he posted a picture of her chewing on a Santa hat.

E.B. White

The author of Charlotte’s Web owned a dachshund named Fred, who appeared in many of his famous essays. One of these essays named “Bedfellows” discusses the death of Fred, as well as ideas about faith and unbelief, and mortality. He also owned a female dachshund named Minnie, and a male named Augie. White was a dog enthusiast and observed his dogs closely. He liked to speculate about what made his dogs do what they did, often with humour and introspection. Although White especially loved his dachshunds, he also acquired a variety of breeds through the years, all of which found their way into his writings.

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