Portraits of Writers With Pets: The Humanizing Animal Connection


Pet relationships as comfort -- cultivating creativity and, in the case of Sendak, replacing people

To us, it's always seemed as though pets attach themselves to artists (and vice versa, of course) in greater numbers than to regular folks. Maybe it's the pull of a constant, silent listener to bounce ideas against, or the boundless soul of the writer. Either way, pictures of famous authors and their pets are humanizing and adorable, so we've collected a few of them here.


Dorothy Parker and her dog Misty.

"Why, that dog is practically a Phi Beta Kappa. She can sit up and beg, and she can give her paw -- I don't say she will but she can." See also: "Verse For a Certain Dog."

wharton (1).jpgDog Art Today

Edith Wharton with double pups.

"My little dog -- a heartbeat at my feet."


John Steinbeck and Charley.

"I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts."


Mark Twain and shoulder kitty.

"Some people scorn a cat and think it not an essential; but the Clemens tribe are not of these."

woolf1 (2).jpgPhoto by Gisele Freund via Flickr

Virginia Woolf and her dog Pinka.

"This you'll call sentimental -- perhaps -- but then a dog somehow represents -- no I can't think of the word -- the private side of life -- the play side."


Flannery O'Connor with one of her many beloved peacocks.

"When the peacock has presented his back, the spectator will usually begin to walk around him to get a front view; but the peacock will continue to turn so that no front view is possible. The thing to do then is to stand still and wait until it pleases him to turn. When it suits him, the peacock will face you. Then you will see in a green-bronze arch around him a galaxy of gazing haloed suns. This is the moment when most people are silent."


William S. Burroughs and Ginger.

"Like all pure creatures, cats are practical."

doctor.jpgPhoto by Jill Krementz, via New York Social Diary

E.L. Doctorow out for a swim with Becky.

sendak1.jpgPhoto by Tom Knox, via This Greedy Pig

Maurice Sendak with Herman (after Melville).

"I hate people."

tartt.jpgPhoto by Jill Krementz, via New York Social Diary

Donna Tartt with her Pug, Pongo.

"My dog has a number of acquaintances of his own species -- as do I -- but it is abundantly clear to both of us that there is little company in all the world which we enjoy so much as each other's."


Ernest Hemingway with one of his many cats.

"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not."

vonn.jpgVIII Nothing

Kurt Vonnegut frolicking with Pumpkin.

faulkner1.jpgDraw Paint Print

William Faulkner and his equally distinguished canine friends.

colette-avec-chat.jpgAll That Glistens Could Be Old

Colette with kitty.

"There are no ordinary cats."


Tennessee Williams and his cat Sabbath.

"What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? -- I wish I knew... Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can..."

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

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Emily Temple is an editor at Flavorpill.

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