posted on February 10, 2014 by Lily Everett

Are Animals the Best Judge of Character?

ShorelineDriveThey say animals are smarter than people, sometimes, when it comes to knowing the bad guys from the good guys. I’m sure that’s not always true—but when my dogs (two terriers who basically love all people, all the time) are wary of someone we meet, I tend to keep my distance. And I’ve never been sorry!

In my latest release, Shoreline Drive, the hero is not the most popular guy on Sanctuary Island. Dr. Ben Fairfax is the local veterinarian, a known misanthrope and acknowledged grump who keeps most of the world at arms’ length—at least, the human world. As the heroine, Merry, discovers when she finally sees his secluded farm, Ben spends most of his time with a collection of broken, abandoned, rescued animals. And every one of them, from a three-legged goat to the pack of near-feral cats and scruffy dogs, loves Ben.

We think of animal love as unconditional, but I believe there’s a special bond between a rescued animal and its new owner. New studies show that dogs are capable of more complex emotions than we previously imagined. For instance, jealousy—no surprise to me, since my younger dog instantly muscles his way into any cuddling my older dog manages to score. I think animals also feel gratitude. They know when their lot in life has improved, and domesticated animals understand on a deep level that their welfare is dependent on us. It makes sense that they’d be good judges of character!


Hunter and Oscar, the author’s Border Terriers

As Merry discovers, Ben’s menagerie knows him better than the human townspeople. Under his gruff exterior is a deeply caring, nurturing heart that turns out to be exactly what she needs in her life.

Tell me about your animal friends! Any pets? What kind and what are their names? One randomly chosen commenter will get a signed copy of Shoreline Drive along with a custom Sanctuary Island beach tote!

Lily Everett

Lily Everett

Lily Everett grew up in a small town in central Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although she’s lived many other places since, from college in Philadelphia to her first publishing job in New York City and her current home in Austin, Texas, she never forgot the beauty and warmth of her little hometown. She is thrilled to be writing the Sanctuary Island series full time because it allows her to combine her longstanding love of romance with the memories of her childhood home.

Lily’s alter ego is Louisa Edwards. Under that name, she is the author of the Recipe for Love series, sexy contemporary romances with hot chef heroes set in the high-stakes, fast-paced world of professional restaurants.

15 thoughts on “Are Animals the Best Judge of Character?”

  1. Avatar Kimberly Perry says:

    Good morning! Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories with us as well as this *awesome* giveaway opportunity! Can’t wait to read SHORELINE DRIVE!

    We have two small dogs that complete our family. Trixie (Yorkie/Bichon) and Duke (Shih Tzu). Their personalities couldn’t be much different ~ much like their names imply! Trixie has HIGH energy, incredibly motivated by food and tries to ‘control’ us. Duke is more the palace-pooch (and very cat-like!). He loves laying/cuddling on anything soft, prefers the dog beds stacked on top of each other (softer!), loves laying in sunbeams or on the back of furniture and is NOT motivated by food or treats. (He is a humane society rescue from abuse/beating/neglect and has been in our family about 5 years.)

    Both furbabies are affectionate, loving and prefer cuddling in laps to anything else. 🙂

    Hope you are staying warm! -24F below this morning (-44F wind chill). Brrrrr!!!

    1. Your furry friends sound like wonderful company! Thanks for commenting and good luck in the drawing.

  2. Avatar Jeanette Blanco says:

    Hello and thank you for sharing your story! Your Terriers are absolutely adorable!!! My family & I were given a baby Pit Bull last September (his owner no longer wanted him & as a puppy, we were his third owners and have since had him the longest) who is mixed with another breed that we don’t know of yet. We plan to get his DNA done for medical reasons and to just get an idea of what to expect as he gets older. We named him Rocky. He definitely does not live up to the cliche of his breed. Rocky is so good with all 4 of my children, I have no problems allowing them to play with him without me. He is the most loyal dog I have ever came across. He loves chewing on my carpet and sunbathing in the dirt in our backyard. At about 7 months, he is a hefty 40+ pounds. Rocky loves being scratched especially by my husband whom his loyalty is directed to once he’s home. Rocky can be out back but as soon as he hear my husbands car pull into the driveway, in the front of the house, he starts scratching at our back door to get in to see him! Traitor. I’m the one that stays home and cares for him all day. LOL. We love him and spoil him rotten. He is a part of our family pictures 🙂

    Thank you for the giveaway also, although, I wouldn’t have minded just talking about Rocky anyways. Having 4 children to talk about isn’t enough for me. LOL

    1. That’s so sweet! I think there are breeds people are afraid of, and it’s too bad–aggressive behavior is so much about training and handling. My sister has a Doberman and he is basically a giant teddy bear. : )

  3. Avatar Kim Cornwell says:

    Well I have a lot of animals! My dogs Dixie(lab/pitbull) Annabelle( English bulldog/
    German shep.) Lady( yellow lab) and peanut( chuihaha). All are rescues except peanut.
    Dixie and Annabelle were left on the steps of
    The vet my son works for and haven’t even opened their eyes yet. He bottle fed them both. Lady came from the pound.
    Two cats Stuey and Boots, I got from the vet that people left and didn’t pay for their vet bills.
    3 horses Zip( my stallion) Lillie and Red my mares. Pedro my donkey. I also have 1 mean a** Rooster named demon and his 3 lady friends.
    My Dixie dog is very protective, but friendly. She only hates my farrier and the garbage man.

    1. You’ve got a whole zoo! Good for you for taking in those animals from the vet. My sister works for a vet and comes home with some very sad stories.

  4. Avatar Christine L. says:

    My fam­ily and I are between pets at the present time, but I will share a memory. As a lit­tle kid, one of my first words was “pup­py­dog.” When I was 4, my dad called my mom on the way home from work one evening to say he was bring home some­thing cute and blond. He meant, of course, the cocker spaniel mix who would become my first pet and first best friend. Rusty and I did every­thing together. He suf­fered tremen­dous motion sick­ness but endured the long trip from Texas to Cal­i­for­nia in the back­seat of a non-A/C Buick with me. Dur­ing my school years, he would wait for the bus to deliver me in the after­noons and race up our long dri­ve­way, ears fly­ing, to meet me. Though an out­door pet, as he got older, my mom relented and would occa­sion­ally let him in the house, but only in the kitchen. Time took its toll on him and even­tu­ally he fell ill at the age of 14. Eighteen-year-old me made the deci­sion to end his suf­fer­ing and held him as the vet admin­is­tered the euthana­sia. I hope to reunite with my best pal at the Rain­bow Bridge, where I believe Rusty is wait­ing for me just as he did when lis­ten­ing for the school­bus lo these many years ago. (And, yes, tears are stream­ing down my 40-year-old vis­age as I type this.)

    1. Your dad sounds like a crack-up, Christine! And I’m so sorry for your loss of Rusty–a truly loyal and loving companion is rare and precious.

  5. Avatar Joy Allen says:

    I just lost my beloved cat (Russian Blue) Rascal who loved everyone here. I live in a building for seniors and he was popular with everyone who wasn’t afraid of cats. I have had many animals in my lifetime, never without two or more, but now I am getting old and if I got another animal it would probably outlive me and I have no one who I could count on to take it on.

    1. My husband and I used to have a couple of Blue Abbyssinian cats! They were nuts, but loveable. You’re sweet to think of what might happen to the pet after you go–have you ever considered adopting an older pet?

  6. Avatar Lori barnes says:

    My furry baby’s name is Chloie she is a pug she’s also my bestest friend. I would say she is a excellent judge of character she inventories everyone that comes to our home. There’s been a couple of people she has been relentless with and would not stop barking so I had to put her up while they were there. She hates the ups guy not sure why, but she attacks n bites the packages when I bring them in lol.

  7. Avatar Susan Gorman says:

    I have five Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
    Irish, Molly, Beanie, Rose and Celeste.
    Irish is the mother or grandmother to all of my dogs.

    Thirteen year old Irish came to live with us over ten years ago. She was a retired show dog and wanted a child to love. My ten year old daughter wanted a dog of her own. It was a match made in heaven. Irish waited by our front door each day for Jenny to come home from grammar to high school, attended all of Jenny’s sleepovers and was always there when Jenny needed a friend. Irish saw Jenny off to the Prom and two years later Jenny cried and held Irish when she left for college.

    Irish is getting older. Jenny is coming home from college on a regular basis to spend time with her friend.
    It’s so much fun to see Irish when she realizes that Jenny is home. Irish gets very excited and Jenny smiles when she get a big corgi kiss from her best friend!

  8. I completely trust my animals’ instincts! I think they’re a great at determining a person’s character. We have quite the menagerie at our house. I’ll start from the smallest & work my way up:
    Son has a hermit crab. Daughter has a button quail and a 30 gallon fish tank. I have 2 mini rex rabbits-sisters named Faith and Buffy. They’re indoor bunnies and so cute!. Now on to our dogs.We have 2 Jack Russell/Yorkie mixes-a brother/sister duo named Zeus and Nyxie, that we adopted in Virginia. We also have a 1yr old lab/great dane mix named Apollo. He’s a crazy dog that’s convinced he’s more human than dog. Finally, my 9 year old baby-Lucy, my great dane. She was my first rescue & I love her beyond words! All of our pets are indoor animals, so there’s always pet hair floating around! lol Wouldn’t trade it for the world, though. Our pets bring us so much joy.

  9. Avatar Rhonda says:

    I have 2 German Shepherds with completely individual personalities. One my son begged to get and he’d take care of it…ha! The other I rescued and she’s the sweetest! I lost my Himalayan cat at the end of October then the less than a month later, my 20yr old son comes home with a pit/lab puppy. I’m still coming to terms with a third dog.
    Dogs are great companions.
    I’d love to someday work with horses. I also love elephants…I collect them.
    Thanks for a chance to win. Goodluck all!

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