Weapons? Check. Magic? Check. Animal sidekicks? Check and Check!
In attempting to discover just what we love about urban fantasy and paranormal romance, we have dissected the hero and the heroine at length. Discussed alpha and beta status. Admired and sometimes laughed at weapons and super powers. We’ve cheered and bemoaned emotional entanglements and the lack thereof.
What we haven’t touched on is the pets. That’s right. Those lovable, hilarious, furry sidekicks that our hero and/or heroine end up with, regardless of whether they want them or not. Some heroes and heroines fight injustice in the world with a four-legged sidekick riding shotgun—here are some of them.
Kate Daniels, from Ilona Andrews’s rock’em sock’em urban fantasy series, finds herself the proud owner of a black standard poodle whose love of garbage and carpets is only surpassed by his love of her. Grendel, the poodle, has a unique gift. He is a magical fey being who becomes the size of a horse when he or his mistress is in danger.
Jaye Wells’s feisty heroine Sabrina Kane doesn’t go anywhere without her sarcastic, potty mouth, porn addicted, bi-species humping mischief demon Giguhl. Giguhl spends his time as a hairless cat since Sabrina’s little magical accident in Red Headed Stepchild. *cough-cough*
Rachel Morgan, from Kim Harrison’s outstanding Hollows series, has recently come into the possession of a teenage gargoyle named Bis. Bis doesn’t say or do much. But when the things get tough for Rachel, he flies across time and space- kicking arse and taking names for her.
Allison Pang went all out in her Abby Sinclair series and gave her heroine an underwear-sniffing, bacon-loving minature unicorn named Phineas. His magical abilities are distinct, but it’s his attitude that has you rolling with laughter and wanting one for your very own.
In Kevin Herne’s Iron Druid series, our hero Atticus O’Sullivan hero has an Irish wolfhound named Oberon. Whom he communicates with, telepathically.
Hellhounds, part dog, part demon, are frequently found in both urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s collaboration, Good Omens, is a comedy/parody on the end of days features a hellhound ironically named dog by his 11 year old master, the Anti-Christ.
In Nalini Singh’s Angel series, guild director Sara and her OMG smexy hubby Deacon are the proud owners of a slobbering, bad-breath, child-loving hellhound. Kelly Gay’s Charlie Madigan series also features a child loving hellound. Even Larissa Ione gets in on the action in her Lords of Deliverance series when the heroine of Eternal Rider saves and imprints with a baby hellound who becomes her champion regardless of the consequences.
We, of course, could not forget the wonderful kindred in Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series. The Kindred are powerful warlords and witches in their own right, but choose to interact and bond with certain humans. These animals are definitely not pets but comrades and are treated accordingly.
In my research, it seems that the reading world is torn between loving the little critters and wanting to see them permanently banned from literature. So tell me, do you enjoy your favorite characters when they’re paired with an animal or would you rather have them footloose and pet-free?