Animals in Cozies by Gloria Alden
It seems like most cozy books include animals. I know mine do, probably because I'm an animal lover with a dog, cat, and ponies, too. Although pets aren't just in cozies by any means, they are more likely to appear there. Readers of this genre are looking for something a little less threatening than a police procedural or thriller.
One of my fictional female police officers has a large malamute that can take on any criminal. Since the officer is tough, she can handle most criminals, too. My protagonist, Catherine Jewell has a cat and acquired a dog at the end of the second book. She ends up giving the dog to a little girl who is grieving, but acquires another dog in the fifth or sixth book. Her romantic interest, the police chief of Portage Falls, her small home town, also has a cat and then ends up with a dog of a murder victim at the end of the first book.
In my opinion there are several reasons why authors include animals in their books.
One: Writing is a solitary life. The writers need to isolate themselves as much as possible to
write, and unless the writer has another job with social interactions or an active family living
with them it could be a lonely life.
Two: Pets humanize the protagonist, showing a tender side to them. Because both cats and dogs are popular pets, many readers can relate to them. Of course, children can soften a
protagonist, too, but children create problems. It's hard for a sleuth, especially an amateur
sleuth to take off sleuthing on a whim when they have children to consider. Not that it's
impossible, but it's much easier to leave a cat or dog at home than a child.
As I mentioned above, my protagonist has a cat, and after giving away the first dog she acquired, she ends up with another dog (a collie who looks like my Maggie). Because I've had cats and dogs for years, I find them easy and natural to write about.
Do you enjoy reading books with animals? Does your main character own a pet?