Updated: Jan 23, 2020
If you didn’t already guess from my books, I am a great lover of pets. I had so much fun writing about Baron Vawdrey’s pack of six dogs, which Roland inherited in An Ill-Made Match. I always knew, from the first time we met him, in Her Baseborn Bridegroom that the old Baron’s place would be swarming with large, unruly hounds!
In His Forsaken Bride, my heroine Fenella had her beloved Bors to rely on, who was her constant companion through adolescence and both her marriages. He was far more constant in her life than youthful Oswald or the frankly awful Ambrose Thane!
I just love looking at old medieval depictions of domesticated pets. I find these little snippets of day-to-day life fascinating. Noble ladies sat with their little lap-dogs on their knees, nuns cuddling their pooches, and dogs curled up at their owner’s feet, be they peasant or scholar. All of them are great fun, because you can see how these people of a completely different age still valued their animals and had a special relationship with them :)
Men usually seem pictured with their dogs in masculine pursuits such as hunting, and it seems a lot of dogs would have been working dogs rather than cossetted pets. I like how the picture below shows these dogs being cared for, washed, their wounds tended, their teeth checked etc. A good hound was invaluable!
I think it says a lot, that on stone effigies on tombs, noblemen and women liked to be depicted at eternal rest in the company of attendant dogs. The early church made strides to stop nuns from keeping pets in convents, and ban congregations from bringing their dogs along to church! I think that shows how important and integrated a role these animals played in the lives of their owners, just as they do today. I very much look forward to learning more about medieval cats before writing Lenora’s story!