If In Doubt, Add A Dog – Emily Gale

In my intro post, I mentioned how important my dog Charlie is to my writing.

Here are some of the ways he’s useful:

  1. When I get stuck on a story, the best way to fix it is to simply stand up. That’s right. Because whenever I stand up from my desk, Charlie immediately thinks it’s time to go for a walk. And when I take Charlie out for a walk, I always meet the idea for how to fix my story along the way.
  2. Since having Charlie, I’ve put dogs in some of my stories. Dogs are wonderful in stories. Dogs give you unconditional love, and sometimes that’s exactly what a character needs, especially if they are going through a hard time. Dogs can also get themselves into trouble, especially daft dogs like Charlie, and that makes for some really tense or funny storylines.
  3. It’s mostly brilliant being a writer, but there are hard days, too. And there is nothing better after a tough day than a loyal dog who wags his tail, so happy just to see you and wanting nothing more than a pat.

    Charlie with my book The Other Side of Summer (which has a dog in it, of course)

However, did you notice that I said “dogs can also get themselves into trouble”? Here are some of the ways Charlie has been very unhelpful to me:

  1. Once, when I was presenting a writing workshop online to about thirty school students, Charlie walked behind me and suddenly squatted to do a poo! Right there on the living room floor! In full view of the students! Thanks, Charlie. (I forgave him about five minutes later.)
  2. Another time, I was in the middle of writing a chapter and it was all going very well but Charlie was begging me for a walk. So I said “Alright, a quick one!” But as soon as we got to the river, Charlie bolted – I couldn’t find him for ages, and when he finally emerged he was COVERED in some disgusting black oily stuff from head to toe. It took me hours to wash him. And when I finally sat down to finish my chapter, I couldn’t remember what I had been about to write.

Overall, I think a dog is a brilliant companion for a writer. But if you don’t have a dog, you can always write one into a story. In my new book, The Goodbye Year, which is coming out in August, I gave my main character THREE dogs and TWO cats to keep her really busy.

Who is your favourite fictional dog?

Until next time,



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