We have posts here on writers' portraits and their houses, but a letter in the paper this morning prompted me to start a new category for a bit of fun: writers' dogs (though if you're very good to me I might stretch it to include the odd cat).
Here's the text of this morning's letter which is from Mr. Graham Chainey of Brighton:
"Only two people could tame Wessex, Thomas Hardy's snappy terrier [see this article]. One was Hardy, the other was T.E. Lawrence, or Private Shaw as he was in 1923 when he first visited Max Gate, Hardy's home. According to Nellie Titterington, the parlour maid: "Wessex was very fond of Lawrence, who could pat him and speak to him and had a wonderful power over him." While everyone else trying to retrieve something dropped on the floor would be bitten, Lawrence would not.
When the dog died, Lawrence told Mrs. Hardy: 'Few dogs appeal to me, but Wessex gained my very definite respect.'"
There's a great deal more about Wessex in this post and this one (on famous Fox Terriers) from which you'll see that he was quite a character, though no dog of mine would be allowed to get away with some of the behaviour which Hardy evidently tolerated, but as Claire Tomalin says in her biography Thomas Hardy: The Time-torn Man, Wessex was one source of the tranquillity the writer found in later life, so perhaps we'll allow a little indulgence.
Edited to add:
Mr. C. has just emailed me to say that Emily Bronte's mastiff, Keeper (that's her own drawing of him), joined her funeral cortege then slept outside her empty bedroom for the rest of his life. That's so sad!
Thanks to this post I discover there is a book on the subject: Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton, and Emily Bronte.