Are you an animal lover? Do you have a pet dog, cat, bird, fish, duck, rabbit, or other lovable creature? Have you ever considered finding a correspondent for your furry, feathery or scaly friend? My pooch, Alexander has had some very nice correspondents.
What? You think that’s strange? Nonsense! Lots of people, some famous, carry on with their animal friends just as they do with humans. Beatrix Potter was known to talk to Peter Rabbit all the time, and he wasn’t even real! Imaginary animal friends are one thing, but we’re talking about real, living, breathing pets. That’s quite different.
A cat we know by the name of Alice not only has written to Alexander, but she has her own Facebook page. I’ve been writing to Alice’s human friend Kathy for years; she and Alice are not only very nice, very normal females, but they also write very good letters. They’re both very articulate.
Maybe you know someone who is crazy about their pet. Don’t you think they would be thrilled for that pet to be graced with a letter? Sure they would.
Alexander’s first pen friend was a miniature poodle by the name of Mister Bundles. Alex and Bundles exchanged letters regularly. These letters shared stories about their favorite things, about places they liked to go, and the funny, quirky things they liked to do — and yes, they loved to write about their playful wonderful masters.
Of course, as you may have guessed, your pet will need a little help from you to compose a good letter — after all, he never went to school as you did (well, maybe obedience school, or if he’s a fish he might’ve traveled in schools, but letter writing is not taught in those places.) Helping out is not much to ask of you and you’ll be surprised how much fun it can be. Really!
It’s very good for us to step out of our own shoes now and then and view the world from a different perspective, from the eyes of someone else. Why not view life through the eyes of your beloved pet?
You know what your pet is thinking much of the time, don’t you? I bet you do, so why not share their thoughts and stories with other pets and pet owners who can probably relate? Sharing doubles the joy you know, and this sort of sharing will exercise your creativity.
Of course, your pet will need his own personal stationery, but that needn’t be a problem. Anything will do in a pinch, but for Fido to make the biggest impression on others it’s nice to select papers that relate to him in some special way. Stationery shops might have animal motifs in their inventory, but if they don’t you and your pet can have lots of fun creating one-of-a-kind stationery. Take some photographs of your pet doing what she loves to do. These pictures will personalize her writing paper nicely. (This works for you and your personal stationery too.) You know what they say — one picture is worth a thousand words, saving you both a lot of time describing how she looks and what she’s doing.
If you have artistic talent (or even if you don’t) you could draw your pet. Have you ever tried? Now might be the perfect time.
Try using water color pencils (especially appropriate for fish stationery). The drawings don’t have to be 100% realistic. Have you ever seen portraits painted by Picasso? I remember reading something Picasso’s wife said about her husband’s portraits — how if you ran into a person who looked like one of those portraits you’d fall over dead!
Tasha Tudor, the famous author and artist of children’s books, would paint mice from real life … well, not “exactly” real life: She would find mice drowned in her rain barrel, retrieve them, freeze them, and when she was ready to paint, she’d thaw them out. Now that is a little strange. You trying to draw your pet from real life is not strange at all. It’s actually quite wholesome and sweet.
Why not stroll through a craft store collecting animal stickers to use for your pet’s letter or cut pictures from magazines, pictures of anything your pet loves. Some dogs like to chew shoes so making a picture collage of various shoe styles could be the perfect lead-in to a yummy, though naughty story.
Such stationery would be just thing for my friend Susan’s dog Sweetie. On a recent visit to Sweetie’s house, this adorable, friendly (though naughty) white pooch stole one of my shoes and had a great time chewing its heal before anyone noticed the mischief she was doing. Not too good for my shoe, but the makings of a good story for one of Sweetie’s letters. Alexander will have to write Sweetie soon telling her that her incident made it into this material. He’ll also have to ask her what mischief she’s gotten into lately. You know your pet has lots of adventures. These adventurous stories will inspire his letters and his stationery.
When it comes time for a signature, make that special and personal too. Your pet can sign his or her letters with a simple mark — a paw pressed onto an ink pad and then onto writing paper. It’s trickier for frogs, snakes and birds, but I’m sure you can come up with something wonderful and original.
It’s good to exercise your creativity. As you do, your creativity will flourish. Letter writing with your pet is just another way the two of you can enjoy each other. There’s more to life than playing fetch after all. (I really don’t know how you play with fish or turtles or other animals, but I’m sure their owners do.)
In sending pet letters you’ll also be doing a good deed for your postman. He must get pretty tired of delivering boring mail. Think of the smile you’ll be putting on his face when he glances at a letter addressed to Alexander, the dog. Your postman will be as entertained as you are with these pet letters coming and going from your house.
Our weary world needs to lighten up a bit and maybe you do too. If helping your pet write his or her letters won’t enlighten your heart I really can’t say what will. Have a chat with your favorite animal pal. See what she thinks of this and then give these letters a try. Letter writing will take on a whole new dimension for you. Your pet just might become quite popular, if not famous, in the process. I guess it depends how good his letters are.
Have fun and good luck!