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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: I'm Not a Pet Person, But...

Are you an animal lover?  My kids accuse me of being an animal hater, which isn't true at all (witness: I've let them have pet goldfish, a hyperactive puppy, even a feral cat).  I like all kinds of creatures (at least of the four-legged variety); I just prefer that they belong to someone else.  Petting sweet, snuggly animals is fun.  Cleaning up poop, listening to endless barking/whining, paying vet bills, trying to tame aggressiveness, dealing with chewed-up everything?  Not fun.  

A couple weeks ago, my husband got randomly bitten in the stomach by a homeless woman's unleashed pit bull while walking through the parking lot of a suburban strip mall.  Back in the Fall, his aunt was attacked by a friend's canine.  Both of them have PTSD from the experience (although their physical wounds have, thankfully, healed just fine).  So, no animal companions for us.  We do enjoy the wild menagerie that parades about in our backyard—bunnies, quail, lizards, squirrels, and the occasional bobcat—but we're definitely not pet people (although it took us a few pets to figure that out).

Considering what I've just told you, it's probably not a surprise that books about animals are not something I seek out.  So, I had to think a bit before I could come up with a list of ten to fit today's TTT prompt:  Top Ten Favorite Animals in Books.  I do have some, even though anthropomorphic narrators are actually a big pet peeve of mine.  As a child, I loved reading about animal characters.  These days?  Not so much, although I can definitely appreciate a loyal, funny, inventive, smart, or just adorable animal character.  The list below proves it! 

Before we get to that, though, I want to encourage you to join in the TTT fun.  Hop on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.  If you can't think of books to fit the topic, no worries.  Spin it your own way or do a themed list that you make up yourself.  Any way you shake it, TTT is a good ole time.  

Top Ten Favorite Animals in Books 

1.  Wilbur and Charlotte from Charlotte's Web by E.B. White—This is the first title that came to mind when I saw the prompt.  Who doesn't love cheerful Wilbur and his wise spider friend, Charlotte?  I adored this book as a kid.

2.  Black Beauty from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell—I was obsessed with horses (reading about them, at least) as a child.  This classic, narrated by the titular colt, totally captivated young me.

3.  Manchee from The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness—In this YA series, all living things can read each other's thoughts, so Manchee the dog can "speak" to his master, Todd Hewitt.  Although his thoughts are simpler than those of the human characters, his personality and unfailing loyalty come through loud and clear.

4.  Marley from Marley & Me by John Grogan—I was surprised by how much I loved this animal book when I read it.  I laughed, I cried...I adored it.  The film is just as heartwarming and touching.

5.  Nyah from The Elephant's Girl by Celesta Rimington—Elephants are always depicted as wise, gentle creatures.  Nyah is such a pachyderm in this middle-grade novel about a girl who lives in a zoo.

6.  Ivan from The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate—As with Marley & Me, I really didn't expect to love this middle-grade novel as much as I did.  Ivan, a caring gorilla, won me over.  Big time.

7.  Mrs. Frisby from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien—I remember this story more from the movie than the book, but still...I felt for the titular mouse, a brave widow trying to save her young children.  Mice are not animals I like.  Mrs. Frisby, though?  She's the exception.

8.  Jethro from the Amish Candy Shop mystery series by Amanda Flower—Jethro's a mischievous pot-bellied pig whose besotted owner believes he's going to be the next big Hollywood star.  He's a pretty fun character, I have to say.

9.  Too many to chose a favorite from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling—Fawkes, Scabbers, Hedwig, Fang, Buckbeak, Fluffy...the list goes on and on.  There are tons of great animal characters in this series.

10.  Toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell—Okay, this is kind of a cheat since I haven't actually read these books and I hear they're different from the movies.  Still, I love Toothless.

There you go, ten favorite fictional animals.  Which are your faves?  Are you an animal person?  Do you have pets?  Or are you like me, someone who enjoys critters more in books than in real life?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!     


  1. I'm so sorry that your husband and aunt-in-law were both attacked by dogs. May their emotional wounds from that heal soon. If you're comfortable with this, feel free to let them know that this Internet stranger sympathizes and is thinking of them. :)

    I was bitten by a big dog many years ago. It took me a long time to stop feeling nervous around dogs, especially once that same size and breed.

    And I really need to read that Mrs. Frisby book sometime.

    My post:

    1. I showed your comment to my husband and he was very touched, so thank you! We go walking in our neighborhood every morning and every time he hears a dog bark (even dogs we know are friendly little ankle biters), he stiffens and we chuckle a little bit. It's going to be awhile before he trusts dogs again :( I'm sorry you were bitten. It must be a terrifying experience.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

  2. I'm glad your husband is okay. That's scary! My friend's dog was bit by a pitbull one time. She told me the only way to get them to release is to break their tales. :(

    1. Yikes! I get that dogs feel bound to protect their owners and will use whatever resources they have, but it's scary how aggressive some of them are. Definitely not what my poor husband expected when he left a restaurant and walked through a parking lot to his car!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  3. Wow, I'm sorry your husband was randomly bitten! That would be traumatizing. My husband and I are pet people but we realize that our lifestyle, even pre-traveling, is not fair to a pet. We're rarely home and never have been. We satisfy ourselves loving on other people's pets.

    I do love animal books so I'm surprised that I've only read Charlotte's Web, Black Beauty, and Harry Potter from your list! I did watch and enjoy Mrs. Frisby as a kid but I don't recall ever reading it.

    Great list!

    1. I'm with you. I can pet and play with other people's animals without needing my own. And I do love sweet dogs and cats, of which there are many, many. The aggressive ones are definitely the exception.

      I remember reading MRS FRISBY because I can see the comics-like pictures in my mind. At least I think I can. I know the movie scared me half to death! Ha ha.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jen!

  4. I can certainly understand your aversion to pets, especially after your husband's terrifying experience! I've always been a dog person, but my boyfriend isn't really. I came into the relationship with a puppy already, so he didn't really have a choice haha. Somehow during the pandemic, I convinced him that it was the perfect time for us to get a new puppy. Our 4 month old standard poodle is a handful now, but he's growing into what will hopefully be a great addition to our family!

    1. We had a beautiful purebred Australian Shepherd puppy for about a year. Since we hadn't had a dog before as a family, we were really clueless about how much work it takes to deal with a puppy, especially a large, VERY energetic one. When he nipped our niece in the face (he was only playing and she wasn't hurt), we decided we couldn't handle anymore and re-homed him. I've always felt bad about it because I'm sure he would have turned into a great family dog if only we'd had the patience and know-how to get him trained correctly. I actually quite like dogs, but like I said, I like them better if they belong to someone else who DOES have the patience and know-how. Sounds like you are one of them :) I hope your boyfriend is handling it okay, ha ha.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Ethan!

  5. Some lovely choices on your list 😍

    1. Thank you! It turned out to be a fun list to put together.

      Thanks for stopping in, Claire!

  6. Wow! That's a lot of unfortunate animal encounters. I love that you have selections with anthropomorphic narrators. I read I, Cosmo not too long ago, and it was narrated by the dog. I enjoyed his point of view.

    1. Anthropomorphic narrators really are a pet peeve of mine, but I guess there are always exception to the rule, huh? I've never heard of I, COSMO. Glad to hear it was enjoyable.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  7. Yes to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh! That's one of my favorite childhood books. :D

    1. The story fascinated and terrified me in equal measure! I need to revisit it and see what I think now that I'm an adult. I still don't like mice and rats (shudder), so it would probably still scare me, LOL.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

  8. Charlotte's Web was such a impactful book on me when I was little.

    1. Same! It made me want to live on a farm and save all the endangered animals :)

      Thanks for stopping in, Louise!

  9. I prefer cats to dogs but am allergic to both so we have neither. Not that I've ever been particularly bothered, I wish animals no harm at all but am not a great animal lover. My poor grandson was attacked by a Jack Russell terrier when he was about 5 and has hated dogs ever since. He's now, at 14, just about ok with gentle dogs.

    1. Dog attacks are so scary and traumatizing, even to adults. I actually like dogs, but I'm happier enjoying other people's pets than having my own.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cath!

  10. I'm so sorry that your husband went through that experience. Lots of great animals on this list!

    Here’s my TTT!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

    1. It was such a random, weird attack! Totally unexpected. Poor guy.

      Thanks for stopping in, Ronyell!

  11. Toothless is definitely different in the books than the movies, and while I like the movie version better the books are fun too. :)

    I haven't read the Rats of Nimh in ages! I should probably revisit that one sometime soon.

    1. That's exactly what I've heard about the books vs. the movies. I need to give the books a go. They do sound fun.

      I need to revisit NIMH as well. I wonder how my view of it would change now that I'm an adult. I'd probably still be freaked out by the rats!

      Thanks for coming by, Nicole!

  12. Great choices! And I'm on the same page as you with animals. We had a cat who I loved, but the nagging to get the kids to clean the litter box, feed him, brush him, etc. Ugh! The kids are now grown and I don't see getting another pet for a long time if ever. I'll enjoy my son's kitties instead. (His wife has to nag him to clean the litter box just as much as I used to!)

    1. Right? My kids begged for pets, promised they would help take care of them and guess what? I (the one who didn't really want the animals in the first place) ended up doing most of the work! No thanks. Ha ha - I love that your son STILL doesn't want to do the pet care work :)

      Thanks for stopping in, Cheri!

  13. I love your list Susan. I have read almost all of these books and Charlotte's Web and Assaulted Caramel both made my list.

    1. Yes! Jethro has made a few lists this week. He's definitely a memorable character.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carla!

  14. Oh, Susan, you speak from my heart ... "I just prefer that they belong to someone else." LOL.

    I was attacked by a dog when I was little. He didn't get far, so no physical wounds but I was afraid of any dog for half of my life. And that's a long time if you know how old I am.

    Anyway, I love your selection. "The Elephant's Girl" looks good. I love elephants the most, they are so calm, at least the ones I saw. 😉

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    1. Oh, I'm sorry to hear that! Even if you weren't seriously hurt, you were still traumatized by the experience. I feel bad that the dog that attacked my husband was probably put down by animal control, BUT I don't want anyone else to have to go through what he did. He was just glad that he was by himself and didn't have me or our kids with him. It would have been worse, he said, for one of us to have been hurt.

      THE ELEPHANT'S GIRL is a great read. It's got a little bit of mystery, a little bit of magic, and a lot of heart. I enjoyed it a lot.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Marianne!

    2. Definitely a great trauma, I was almost forty until I let a dog get near me.

      It must have been horrible for your husband. Especially since he wasn't doing anything to trigger the dog, he must be so scared now.

      It's always a pleasure talking to you. Thanks also for visiting me regularly.

  15. I will always love Charlotte's Web. I've heard there is a (fairly) new audiobook read by Meryl Streep. I want to hear it now!

    1. Really? Meryl Streep would be a FABULOUS audiobook narrator. I'll have to look and see what I can find as I'm always looking for fun, new listens.

      Thanks for stopping by, Deb!


  16. I loved The One and Only Ivan!

    WOW, bad dog experiences for sure - sorry but, glad there were no serious after effects.

    I've been a lifelong animal lover, cats more than dogs as they are so easy compared to dogs. I've been known to says, I prefer animals to many people I've met over the years as well.

    1. Luckily, the physical wounds really weren't that bad. My aunt-in-law had to get stitches and her arm was painful for a long time. My husband didn't get stitches, but he has a couple puncture wounds and lots of colorful bruising. His stomach has been quite tender ever since he was bitten.

      I know lots of people who say they prefer animals to humans and I get that. Some animals are so sweetly loyal and adoring, it's no wonder their owners love them so!

      Thanks for coming by, Diane!

  17. Wow, that's terrifying about your husband and family members being attacked and bitten. We had pets as kids, but I too am reluctant to keep a cat or dog in the house. But animals in a book? Sure, that's the safer option!!

    1. My family always had dogs and cats growing up. I'm not scared of either, but that doesn't mean I want them in my house. Been there, done that.

      Thanks for stopping in, Alexandra!

  18. It is amazing the lasting impact a dog bit can have on someone. I got bit by a dog when my daughter was 18 months old (she only escaped because I picked her up) and it totally scarred her. We got her a dog when she was 8 and she's loved animals ever since :-)

    1. Really? Most people I know who've been bitten/attacked by dogs grow up terrified of them. I'm glad your daughter (and you) were able to overcome the trauma.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  19. Wow...really sorry to hear about the animal attacks on you guys. I know how that can mentally scar a person because my wife was attacked by a vicious dog when she was just three years old, and to this day she's still uneasy about dogs she doesn't already know. But hey, you came up with a great list despite the recent trauma...

    1. Yeah, it's strange that my husband and his aunt got bitten so close together. Same city, but different dogs in different neighborhoods. Both of them have been really shaken up by the experience. Sorry to hear that your wife went through something similar.

      I'm still fine with dogs, but I also still prefer them in a book rather than in my house :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  20. Replies
    1. It's a great book, isn't it? Glad you enjoyed it too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Oh my gosh, I hope your hubby is okay. That's terrifyng. I can't believe I forgot to put Black Beauty on my list. That was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.

    1. He's doing fine now, thank goodness. The puncture wounds might leave scars. We'll see.

      BLACK BEAUTY was definitely one of my childhood favorites!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Suzanne!

  22. "occasional bobcat" oh wow. And Wilbur and Charlotte- that story affected me as a kid lol!

    Mrs. Frisby I knw more from the animated show too, I only read the book when I started blogging, although I liked it. Nice choice. :)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Yeah, I live in a huge suburb, but out on the edge in the high desert. We get all kinds of wildlife out here. Bobcats and coyotes are pretty common, although they're usually skittish around people. We did have a bobcat one time that hung out under our trampoline for a couple hours, cool as a cucumber. Our presence bothered him not at all!

      I need to re-read NIMH. I wonder what I would think of it now.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Greg!

  23. Oh I'm so sorry to hear about your husband and your aunt. How scary for both! Unleashed dogs drive me crazy - especially because the owners that usually have a conspicuously unleashed dogs have little control over the dog and don't seem to realize that not everyone wants to interact with the dog at that particular moment. We had an experience when we were living in Memphis where a dog started to jump up on my son who was pretty weak from treatment AND had IV fluids attached to him in a backpack. I almost lost it. I love dogs and really miss having one but have come to realize that now is not the time. And I'm going to stop rambling... Great choices!

    1. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the dog who bit my husband was actually up on his shot. His owner was living in her car, so we figured the dog wouldn't be up-to-date. That was a relief, at least.

      Sounds like you guys had your own terrifying dog experience. I know most dogs are just playing or protecting their owners/homes when they jump/nip/bite, but it can be such a distressing experience for people!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

  24. I'm glad that your husband and his aunt are doing well physically, and I hope they're both able to heal emotionally! I much prefer cats, but we had dogs growing up. Our first one (a golden retriever mutt) actually attacked a neighbor when we were both really young. I didn't go around him much, but we later got a lab and she was really sweet - never barked, jumped, or bit.

    I haven't read any of these books aside from Charlette's Web, but so many of them have been on my TBR for a long time. That cozy mystery is also being added to the list because who can say no to a pot-bellied pig!

    1. We always had a dog growing up and I don't remember any of them biting other people. They were all older, gentle labs and retrievers, though.

      Jethro the pig is a really fun character! I actually have a friend who has a pig for a pet - he lives in the house and is actually very clean. Who knew?

      Thanks for stopping by, Holliehocks!

  25. Great to see so many of the great animals/creatures from the Harry Potter series on your list, Susan. And yes, I am definitely an animal person and I have a beautiful black cat called Bonnie. 🐱‍👤😊

    1. There are SO many to choose from in the HP series that I just couldn't pick a favorite!

      Thanks for coming by, Jessica!

  26. So sorry to hear about your animal troubles :( We have a 18mo golden retriever and she is terribly hyper but we love her. Marley and Me made me bawl like a baby!! Great list and thanks for stopping by my TTT.

    1. Same! MARLEY AND ME is such an affecting read, even for those of us who aren't really pet people.

      Thanks for stopping in, Megan!


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