Behind every great writer there is a beloved pet, providing inspiration in life and in death, and companionship in what is often a lonely working existence. They also offer practical services, such as personal protection, although they may sometimes eat first drafts, or bite visitors. This book salutes all of the cats and dogs, ravens and budgerigars, monkeys and guinea pigs, wombats, turtles, and two laughing jackasses, who enriched the lives of their masters and mistresses, sat on their keyboards, slept in their beds, and occasionally provided the creative spark for their stories and poems. Gathered here are the tales of Beatrix Potter's rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer; Lord Byron's bear; the six cats of T S Eliot; Camus' cat, Cigarette; Arthur C Clarke's dog, Sputnik; and George Orwell's goat, Muriel. Enid Blyton's fox terrier, Bobs, `wrote' her columns in Teacher's World magazine, while John Steinbeck's poodle accompanied him on his 1960 US road trip, their exploits published as Travels with Charley. Agatha Christie dedicated her 1937 novel Dumb Witness to her favourite dog, Peter - the ultimate tribute.