How Conversations with Your Dog (or cat, or stuffy) Can Inspire Journaling

By Peter Allan

I was a reluctant dog owner at first. Since my childhood I have taken very little interest in domestic pets. In the past, observers would likely say of me that I was not an animal lover. I think this is ultimately traceable to feeling responsible as a child for having our one and only puppy run over by a car- the puppy got away as puppies do.

When I met Lynda, I knew that she was a dog lover and that during our marriage a dog would become part of our household. When we learned that our youngest son had outgrown his pet allergy, the time was ripe for welcoming a Golden Retriever puppy into our world. Like two thirds of North American households, our lives are blessed, enhanced, more joyous, and healthier from having Sadie girl in our family.

In the course of the five years in which we have known her and walked her, my once regular visits to the chiropractor have virtually disappeared. Sadie brings me out into nature almost every day in all weather. This meditative walking ritual will, I am certain increase my longevity. It brings balance and a time to breathe.

Pets are of course natural comedians, they can make you laugh until you cry and when you are crying they can bring you back to a smile. Scientists tell us they can recognize words they know and filter out words they do not know. They hear much higher frequency sounds and they communicate with their bark, growl, purring, whimpering. And they can communicate with that look, you know the one, that mixture of innocence and grace and guile.

We talk to our pets, we humans. We share the intimacies of daily life and in return they are great listeners and love us unconditionally. They are animals imbued with animal spirit and carry the DNA of the natural world. This is what I wanted to speak about: our pet’s capacity to be a Wise Guide.

We have all been charmed by the humour that comes from speculating on what our pet would say to us if they could talk. What are they saying when they look at us that way? Cartoonists have made careers out of putting words into the minds and mouths of our pets. Think Snoopy.

Our lives are made better by journaling and there is nothing as sweet as journaling with our beloved pet curled up beside us. Lynda with her journal, the pen scratching across the page and Sadie snoring beside her, tells me all is right with the world.

For the third of you dear readers who are not pet owners, for this exercise you can substitute your teddy bear or other favourite stuffy. For that matter, you can listen to that plant that you have had since university and that has survived five moves in a frozen car trunk, the one that blossoms like clockwork at this time of year.

Pet Inspired Journaling Prompts

  • If your pet (plant, teddy bear…) could talk what would it say to you now, at this time, in this place, in this state of the world?
  • What words would you like to hear?
  • What is one of your favourite pet or animal memories?
  • How has your life been enriched by the presence of pets or animals?

Jackson, Peter, Jesse & Sadie Allan :)

Pet inspired journaling from the pages of Peter’s journal…

Sadie, before you blessed our family I read “Go Dog Go“ to the boys which ends in a mysterious dog party. What are they going to do?
Where are those dogs going?
I loved reading to your brothers and still do.
But now, faster than you can say “hey Siri” we read Lord of the Rings.
Sadie, today you tear across the wheat coloured expanse beneath the glaciated bust of Mount Maxwell at full gallop, a retriever who doesn’t fully retrieve.
Life is going fast-yours is going faster sadly.
I try not to think of our last goodbye.
Maybe that is the “mysterious dog party”.


Guest Author: Peter Allan is a husband, father, and artist. You can see his work at He is also a member of our IAJW team.  He is a much loved contributing writer to our Journaling Museletter.