Top Ten Tuesday – Remembering Alfie

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books Featuring Animal Best Friends

Sometimes I struggle with the idea of what information is “suitable” for this blog. How much information do you share? And is it even necessary? When I started Confessions of a Book Geek I tried to keep a clear line between bookish opinions and “real life” thoughts, but those lines eventually blur. A blog is practically an extension of you as a person and we regularly pour our thoughts and feelings into it, so I’ve decided it’s appropriate to share. Yesterday my cat, Alfie, was hit by a car and sadly didn’t make it. I was surprised by the effect this had on me. I’m not just upset, I’m devastated. I wasn’t going to participate in TTT today, in fact I would have been lucky to write a post at all this week. But I’m already finding this pretty cathartic. In honor of Alfie, I’m dedicating this week to the Top Ten Books Featuring Animal Best Friends – because anyone who has ever loved an animal knows they are so much more than a pet.

Harry and Hedwig1. Hedwig from Harry Potter: Everyone knows I can’t make a list without including Harry Potter in some capacity, so I doubt this comes as much of a surprise. I hadn’t read many books featuring owls as pets, or any birds really, but Hedwig warmed the hearts of the nation and caused many tears to spill when she made the ultimate sacrifice for her best human friend. Hedwig was given to Harry by Hagrid as a Birthday gift in his first year at Hogwarts and she stayed with him throughout all 7 books. The eerie and beautiful Harry Potter theme song is even called “Hedwig’s Theme”.

Marley and Me2. Marley from Marley and Me: Confession time – I’ve never read Marley and Me, in fact I didn’t know the movie originated from a book (even though all movies seem to these days), but I’ve seen the movie and bawled my eyes out at it multiple times. Marley is a handful, in fact he could be considered the worst trained dog in history but with buckets of charm and personality. The movie tells the story of the lifetime of a young couple, from marriage through parenthood, focusing on the bond (including the ups and downs) of family life with a mischievous but lovable dog. If you haven’t seen this, I insist that you do, with a full box of Kleenex at the ready.

Fat Louie3. Fat Louie from The Princess Diaries: In the book series Fat Louie is described as being orange and white and weighing 25lbs, and in the movie adaptation Fat Louie becomes a black and white beauty who is Mia Thermopolis’ best friend and trusty companion. In the third book, Mia leaves instructions on how to care for Louie when she is visiting her Grandmother in Genovia. According to the list, Louie is a fussy eater who gets bored easily and he has a collection of shiny things hidden in the bathroom that he thinks Mia doesn’t know about. Mia declares that she will never love anyone as much as she loves Fat Louie, and in the seventh book when she lists the people she loves? Fat Louie is number one.

Pan Northern Lights4. Pantalaimon (Pan) from Northern Lights (His Dark Materials Series): Bit of a more fantastical animal companion with this one. The story is set in a world parallel to ours and in this world, humans’ individual souls naturally exist outside of their bodies in the form of daemons – animals that constantly accompany, aid, and comfort their humans. Children’s daemons can willfully change their appearance to any animal, settling on one permanent animal form once the child becomes a teen. The bond between Lyra (the protagonist) and Pan (her daemon) is perfect, and probably one of the highlights of the book. 

Stuart Little5. Stuart Little from Stuart Little: Stuart Little is a smart and funny young mouse, who in the book, is born to a human family in NYC. In the movie, Stuart is adopted by the family, and his best friend Margalo (a bird) disappears and he sets off on his own to find her. First published in 1945, Stuart Little was adapted for the big screen in 1999, which would have made me 9 when I watched it. Stuart Little tells the tale of finding yourself in the world, of figuring out where you fit in and of the importance of family.

Black Beauty6. Black Beauty from Black Beauty: Not originally intended as a children’s book, Anna Sewell’s classic was penned to, “induce kindness, sympathy and an understanding treatment of horses” in a time when the horse transportation industry was anything but. The book tells the story of Black Beauty’s life; from a well-cared for carriage horse, to a cab horse, to an overloaded and nearly blind work horse and finally to a farm where he retires as the pet of three sisters. Black Beauty witnesses great acts of cruelty and compassion throughout his life, this is not for the faint-hearted.

Lone Wolf7. The Wolves in Lone Wolf: Lone Wolf focuses on the story of Luke Warren, a man so passionate in his love for wolves. he put his human life on hold while he went to live among the wolves in the wild. His family-unit is disrupted and his marriage crumbles as a result. Cara (Luke’s daughter) stays with her father and Edward (Luke’s son) flees. The story focuses on the family and loyalty aspect of the wolves as Luke is accepted into their pack, but the story takes a surprising, emotional and devastating twist that focuses on difficult decisions to be made regarding quality of life, morality and legal justifications. This book is based on the true story of the wolf researcher Shaun Ellis (Wolfman).

Winnie the Pooh8. Winnie the Pooh (Rabbit, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Gopher and Owl) from Winnie the Pooh: Possibly the best known and most loved animal characters in fiction-history, Winnie the Pooh was created by A. A. Milne for his son, Christopher Robin. Christopher Robin enjoyed visiting a bear in his local zoo called Winnie, and named a stuffed bear after his childhood captive friend. The original story was first published on December 25th 1925 and most of the other characters are also named after Christopher’s stuffed toys.

Free Willy9. Willy from Free Willy: Originally a movie released in 1993 which then went on to become a book, Free Willy tells the story of Jesse, a troublesome 12 year old boy and Willy, an Orca Whale that is captured and held captive in an amusement park. Jesse and Willy strike up an unlikely bond, and when the whale is treated badly by the amusement park owner, Jesse and two other characters come up with a plan to release Willy back to his family, who they can hear calling for him. This movie is one helluva tear jerker, but is definitely worth watching.

Thought I’d leave this last spot open for a pretty special guy, maybe no one has written a book about us, but he is a big part of my story…

10. Alfie

alfie

Advertisements

About Rachel

Avid reader & book blogger. Lover of Business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

65 Responses

  1. I am sorry to hear about this loss. This list is such a great tribute. I’m also quite partial to Hedwig, and I will have to check out Marley and Me. I’ve been avoiding Marley and Me for years knowing that I’ll need the tissues. Thank you for sharing this list!

    Like

  2. I’m so sorry. I lost my cat quite suddenly a few months ago too, so I understand. Whenever I think about animal best friends, I always think of Manchee in The Knife of Never Letting Go which always makes me want to hug my own dog.

    Like

      1. I’m not sure what that means. Aimed toward middle grade? I suppose the protagonist is on the younger side of the ya spectrum but even then he would be more high school age, but I don’t believe the issues explored in the series are ‘middle grade’. If you’re on the fence, I’d recommend checking the first book out from the library. That way you don’t have to make the decision to buy it before you’ve read it.

        Like

  3. I am so, so sorry! What an adorable cat. I share my home with two wonderful cats and can’t even imagine that kind of loss.
    I actually tend to steer away from books featuring animals because I get so upset when reading about animal deaths–but I have read and loved Stuart Little!

    Like

  4. I’m so sorry to read about your loss 😦 Animals are such special parts of our lives. They’re almost like another member of the family! I’m glad you found it cathartic to write this post. I absolutely loved Marley and Me. I actually preferred the movie, but it did make me cry! I think Hedwig is a great pet too. Great list!

    Like

  5. So sorry to hear about your cat, I have a cat myself and I love her to bits. I lost my eldest cat, who was only 11, when she suddenly got very sick over a few hours and it turned out she had kidney failure and had to be put down. It’s so sad because they become such a big part of your life that it’s hard to adjust to them being gone. I think it’s a lovely idea to dedicate your post to him.

    Out of all the ones you have mentioned my absolute favourites are Hedwig and Pantelaimon, I wanted to own both when I was little (totally still do!).I also loved the wolves in Lone Wolf, Marley and Free Willy. Great topic this week and sorry again.

    Like

  6. I am absolutely so sorry about your cat. I know how hard it is to lose a member of the family like an animal, and ugh… it’s so hard. Sending you big hugs & loving this tribute to Alfie. I wish more books had memorable pets! (I did like the dog in The Beginning of Everything.)

    Like

  7. Oh no, I’m so, so sorry! 😦 I love your list, but I will say I do avoid books with animals in if I know (or think) something bad happens. It’s way to heartbreaking for me, and hurts too much. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. Sending lots and lots of virtual hugs your way 🙂

    Like

  8. I’m very sorry to hear about Alfie.
    This is such a great idea for a Top Ten Tuesday because so many people don’t realize how important our pets are to our every day lives. It’s wonderful to see these friendships in literature.

    Like

      1. Jumping in on your little thread here because I saw you saying that people were telling you to just get another cat and that’s just so… not the thing to say. I’ve lost a few beloved pets in my life. And while eventually, sure, giving another pet a home can be wonderful, it has to be when you’ve mourned and grieved the loss. You can’t replace Alfie. He’s irreplaceable. I always find it so strange when people don’t understand that!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so sorry, Rachel! I know how hard it can be to lose a pet; they’re part of your family and it seems unfair when something like this happens. I’m glad your blog can help you mourn.
    Fat Louie! I think he’s my favorite on this list! Of course, I love Hedwig, too. I definitely teared up when she died. Love your list. I hope that you’re okay. ❤

    Here's my TTT! I did British books I wish more Americans would read. 🙂

    Like

      1. I understand the angry/sad stage. I had something like this happen to me with one of our dogs a few years ago. It was horrible. It’s hard to believe at first, for sure. I’m glad you were able to commemorate him this way!
        I would have found writing that about Hedwig super hard. I’m sure she struggled to do it, but she felt that had to happen.
        Of course! I’m sending you happy thoughts. 🙂

        Like

  10. Amy

    What a beautiful tribute to your dear friend. Made me cry. So sorry for your loss. My best friend is my Tilla, also a kitty, and I already know my world is going to come crashing down when she leaves me. They touch our lives for such a short time and to have that time cut short is so devastating. I hope you find peace soon. Great list too, we often forget what an important role animal friends can play in a story.

    Like

  11. So sorry for your loss. I’ve lost a pet before and it sucks so so much 😦

    I loved Pan! I wanted to have a daemon of my own so badly!
    And Hedwig is great, too, though I think I’d pick a cat 🙂 More witchy haha 😀

    Like

  12. I am so, so sorry to hear about your loss. That is never easy. I am being completely honest here when I say your post made me tear up. Our pets are like our family, and it’s just so rough losing one. I’m glad writing on your blog helps a little. I love books with animals and your list is amazing. Great choices!

    Like

  13. Brandie

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine losing my cat that way. It’s been a year since my one cat got out of the house and never came home and I know how much that completely devastated me. Our pets are huge parts of our lives. My sympathies to you right now. This was a great way to share how special he was.

    Like

  14. I agree, a pet is no less than family, I’m so sorry for your loss. This list is a wonderful way to remember your cat! Except the Lone Wolf, which I haven’t read but now will, I agree with each and every one. 🙂

    Like

  15. Rachel, your post made me cry. (And I’m not much of a cryer.) My heart goes out to you – I feel that if we do it right, the pets we adopt into our homes become as much a part of our families as the people in them. I hate it when people don’t get that and think it’s silly to care so much. It’s not silly; it’s the way it should be. I’m so sorry to hear about Alfie. He looks like such a gorgeous, mischievous, loving little guy. We lost two cats in two years about 5 years back, and were crushed each time. Days (okay, weeks) of tears. While it’s a tragedy to lose him, you gave him a wonderful life and all the love he deserved. And at the end of the day, that is something beautiful. I love this tribute post idea, and that it reminded me of some of my favourite fictional animals I haven’t thought of in far too long. Thank you for sharing with us, and I’m sending you really big virtual hugs!

    Like

      1. Oh, sweetie. I didn’t realize he was so young. That is truly heartbreaking. I’ve lost a few pets when they were less than 2, and it really is just terrible feeling like you were cheated out of those precious years. It sounds like you did the very best you could for him. You can’t beat yourself up or blame yourself. These things happen – he could just as easily have gotten trapped or fallen somewhere in the house – there’s no way to protect him from everything. One of ours partially tore something in his back leg and we still have no idea how it happened.

        There’s a lot of debate about indoor/outdoor cats. Ours are indoor, but that’s just because for the first few years we had them we were on the 11th floor of an apartment building so they couldn’t go outside. By the time we moved we both felt like they were too used to being indoors and lacked the skills to deal with the outdoors – plus we live in an area where there’s a fair amount of wildlife and lots of other dogs and cats.

        But I know one of our cats would do better if she could go outside. We have more than one so they have company when we’re not home, but they pretty much just sleep most of the day, and I worry it’s not as healthy for them as getting exercise outside. I worry that we’re doing things wrong keeping them inside. So I think that you have to trust the decision you made, and absolutely do not blame yourself.

        And as I said in my interloping comment up there somewhere, it really doesn’t work like that – every pet I have had has been completely, utterly unique. And I feel like if I’d gotten another one to try and replace one I’d lost it wouldn’t have been fair, because they’ll never be the same. You have to wait until you can build a new relationship and get to know a new pet. You’ll know when you’re ready. And it’ll still be sad, but when it’s right the happy will outweigh the grief you feel. It’ll take awhile. This totally turned into a novella comment – sorry! Guess I still have a lot of feelings left over!

        Like

  16. […] a wonderful cat called Alfie, but sadly he was hit by a car and didn’t make it earlier this year (I dedicated a TTT post to him). My boss rescued Roxie after she was hit by a car, suffering injuries to her hind legs, but he […]

    Like

Leave a comment, and start a conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s