Monday, June 9, 2014

I Killed A Dog...

My friend, Elyse Salpeter, has written a great novel with some extremely intense scenes.  In the first few pages of "The Hunt for Xanadu" (available at she puts a pack of guard dogs to sleep by drugging except for one which doesn't eat the tasty treat. She has to dispense the vicious dog with a strike to its throat - killing it.

Surprisingly, she's been called on it via emails and reviews.


Nobody seems upset about the fact that she kills umpteen humans during the story - all in various modes of mayhem from death by martial arts to ... well, read the book to find out the other methods.

She killed a dog!  The reader is upset by killing an animal but not a human.

Are we that jaded we think nothing about taking another human's life?

Her book is not the only one where an animal has been killed and readers were revolted by reading that fact. There are several other books that have been published over the years where animals are cruelly killed in the story and readers are up in arms about the act.

Let me put it this way...  IT'S A BOOK!  IT'S FICTION!  IT'S NOT REAL!

I read a novel about a group of men, okay, bad men, who were struggling to stay alive in the jungles of India. They killed a tiger - a simple tiger going about its business and not attacking them.  My first question was why they did that THEN I wondered why the author even added it to the story.  Perhaps for flavor to remind the reader that they were in India.  Still, it seemed useless.  When this group of men stumbled onto a small native village, they caused all sorts of mayhem and destruction, killing the old men, the women and children. The young men of the village were out on a hunt.  Again, the reason for all the deaths, to protect the bad guys from being discovered.  Not exactly sure of the mindset that says if we kill everyone, nobody will know we were here, but...

Consider several of our Western genre tales where the buffalo and Native Americans were killed.

Again, these are stories, tales of wonder to entertain the reader.  None of it is real.

In my book I killed a dog...

Not really.  My imaginary character killed an imaginary animal.  In the real world, nothing had changed.

If you're going to get upset over the killing of a dog in a book, you'd best be getting upset over the death of any humans, too.

Just to make sure everyone understands -- fiction books are tales of the imagination - NOT REAL!

Please Note: No animals OR humans were harmed or killed in the writing of this blog entry.

Until next I ramble on...


  1. Thanks for the shout-out Bob and yes, I promise everyone no animals were hurt in the creating of this book! Sigh... the dog was about to kill my main character, what should she have done? Pet it? Give it a treat?

    1. Do you really feel that having your character drop to her knees and reach out to the dog with "Nice doggie." and get all mushy with the animal would have flown? No, the dog probably would have chewed her up and spit her out. Of course, nobody would have been upset but then again, it would have been a very short story for the reader.

  2. I think we have become jaded. Man is considered evil and animals are good, even animals that are about to kill you. Fiction is powerful. I still mourn the death of a fictional character in one beloved series.

    1. Strange you should mention that. I was so involved with certain characters in Melanie Rawn's "dragon / sunrunner" series, I actually misted up a couple of times and felt the pangs of loss. Now THAT's writing! But, still, fiction is fiction and no dog was harmed.

  3. THAT'S IT! I am BUYING THAT BOOK AND PROMOTING IT just BECAUSE Elyse had the BALLS... I mean GUTS... no... I mean BALLS to do what was TRUE to the story!!!!!!! WOOT! Damn extremists and people with too much time on their hands!!! That's really unnerving.

    1. You DO that - the book is really good and is worthy of the promotion even if she did - OMG! - kill a dog.

  4. It distresses me that many people put more value on the life of an animal than that of a human. I will never understand it. On my second birthday my parents gifted me a Siberian Husky pup. I grew up with Prince and cherished him, but I loved my family and friends more.

    Congrats to Elyse for staying true to her story and doing what the story demanded. Too many authors would have become squeamish. This book is now on my reading list.

  5. Very insightful post Bob. You're so right about how we make more of animal deaths a work of fiction....than human death. How saturated have we become eh? Good post.