Short facts about writers and their pet dogs – and the canine figures in the works of famous authors
Fearing attacks from rivals, poet Alexander Pope rarely left his house without a brace of pistols and his dog, a Great Dane named Bounce.
One of Virginia Woolf’s first published pieces of writing was an obituary for the family dog, Shag.
The first draft of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men was eaten by his dog, Max.
Emily Brontë’s dog, Keeper, followed her coffin to the grave when she died and, for weeks after, howled outside her bedroom door waiting for its owner to return.
Seventeenth-century writer Sir Thomas Browne disproved the myth that powdered glass was poisonous by feeding some to dogs. Thankfully, they remained unharmed.
Gertrude Stein claimed the water-drinking patterns of her dog, named Basket, taught her the difference between sentences and paragraphs in writing.
American writer Christopher Morley coined the word ‘infracaninophile’ for someone who habitually champions the underdog.
Elizabeth Gaskell wrote an 1859 story called ‘The Half-Brothers’ which features a collie dog named Lassie.
James Joyce had a fear of dogs; this is known as cynophobia.
George Eliot‘s publisher, John Blackwood, sent her a pug dog as a sort of ‘extra payment’ for her novel, Adam Bede.
If you enjoyed these literary dog facts, check out our similar post about writers and their feline friends.
Image: A nine-year-old Jack London and his dog Rollo, 1885 (author unknown), Wikimedia Commons.