Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Man’s Best Friend

by | October 13, 2013 | 9 comments

BanditJump Man’s best friend

Once our son’s grew up and left home, my husband and I got puppies.  So now we do agility with our dogs, a Scottish terrier named Smokey and a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Bandit. 

So now I’m thinking about how to incorporate dogs into my stories.  Since I write (mostly) in the American west, there are plenty of opportunity to have a dog as a character.  In one story the cowboy hero brings his new wife a puppy.  Ranches often had dogs, as they were useful in helping drive cattle.  My husband’s family had a dog, Buster, that would help his father round up the cattle.  Our Welsh corgi would be over the moon if we had some cows so we could tell him to go get and drive them in for milking.

Dogs were also served to hunt vermin, especially terrier type dogs.  Cats get mice, but terriers can get rats.  And farmers always have grain to protect.Smokey at DogTV

And, of course, all dogs are watch dogs, who bark when something out of the ordinary happens.  I was always impressed by Buster, as if you drove up to my in-laws’ house in the Oklahoma county side, Buster would bark a warning as you drove up the long driveway.  If, however, my in-laws were not at home, Buster would just lay on the porch and give you look like ‘nobody home, silly.’  And he was big enough, that if you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t have gotten out the car while he watched.

I would assume that most dogs in the American west were not the purebreds we would see today at a dog show.  If a hunting dog had a reputation of being a good hunter, people would want puppies from them.  Same with herding dogs, or terriers based on their ability.

Finally, one of the most common reasons for keeping a dog was for companionship the dog provided.  And while our dogs have the run of our house, I’m pretty sure my heroine who runs a boarding house will only allow the dog in the back porch or kitchen.  Our dogs don’t know how good they have it.

Blain’s Smokey of Santee, CGC, NA, NAJ

 & Blain’s Sundance Bandit, CGC, NA, NAJ, CTL2-F, CTL2-H





  1. Lisa Belcastro

    I love Corgis. My best dog was a Corgi named Bandit. I had him from the time he was six weeks old until he passed away at 14. He did everything from herding to agility to obedience or AKC shows. But the best he did was love me. He went everywhere with me. When kids came along, he watched over them and played with them like that was his sole purpose on earth. I have Corgis in my books. What would life be without pets?

  2. Shirley Rodgers

    Hi Terry, If your looking for a great all around farm/working dog for a character check out English Shephards. They have been American breed ranch/farm dogs for centurys started on east coast worked there way west of time. National English shepherd rescue would be a great source and If you need let me know and I’ll give you contact info for breed rescue/trainer people. good luck

  3. Ally Broadfield

    Fun post, Terry. All of my books feature dogs. In my WIP, my heroine has a pet foxhound she rescued as a puppy.

  4. Terry Irene Blain

    Barb, what sora breed. I see German shorthaired pointer types, or some sort of hound. Or spaniel types to flush game.

  5. Barb Bettis

    I grew up in an area that abounded in bird- and small-game hunting dogs. I would love to see some of the breeds used for hunting in earlier eras–deer hounds, especially. Entertaining post.


    Hi Terry we had a purebred miniature red poodle. I swear Skooter was barely a miniature. He was larger than both of his parents. When we’d come home he’d be at the gate in the carport raising a fuss because we were finally home. I felt bad for the neighbors when we got in at 2 or 3 in the morning from a medical trip to Fort Hood or on down to San Antonio. Skooter died in 2009 and the following year was when we moved to my sister’s house. Funny her husband told us no dogs, but his son came to visit last summer with his two boxer puppies, and now his daughter and her family are living there with a dog. I turned my husband into a a bit of a cat person after we were married and he turned me into more of a dog person. Most people don’t realize poodles came from Russia not France. Also, poodles were hunting dogs there curly thick fur protecting them in the cold water. I remember Skooter going into point mode when he was stalking the squirrels in our back yard. An yes the west would’ve needed dogs I’m sure.

  7. Angelina (Barbin) Jameson

    I’m not a big dog person but your doggies are so gorgeous they won me over.:) I do try to put a cat in my books.:)

  8. Terry Irene Blain

    yes, dogs are good company. When I was a kid, my dad worked odd hours, but the dog knew when he was coming home. She’d get up and go to the back door, and in a minute, my dad would drive up. She always knew.

  9. Kim in Baltimore

    Aloha, Terry!

    I believe woman’s best friend is a cat! Otherwise, fun post!



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