Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

April is the birthday month of two beings that have meant the world to me (Stephanie). My family cat, Snuggle, who came into my life when I was five. And my first totally-all-mine cat, Sid, who came into my life when I was sixteen. Both of these sweet meows are in kitty heaven now. Sid passed away only a couple of years ago and I wrote a whole essay about him. It is still one of the most meaningful pieces I have ever written, and Chloe’s illustration of Sid is my favorite thing ever.

The two sweet fur-sons that I have now, Kaspar and Lars, are the stars of my Instagram, and I probably give the most Instagram love to photos of other people’s cats and dogs. I also adore reading about pets in books. This probably comes from my childhood obsession with The Cat Who… book series, which in case you have not discovered this gem, is a mystery series starring two Siamese cats. I have writer friends, like Jeri Smith-Ready, who have inserted their real pets into their fiction. I think that is the ultimate ode to a pet and I fully plan to do it someday.

Today I am asking YOU, dear Rooks, to create an ode to your favorite furry, or fishy, or lizardy, or horsey bud. This could be a pet from your past, one you live with now, one you love to play or snuggle with when you visit a friend or family member’s house, or if you have a pet-free existence right now, the pet of your dreams. Maybe you will write a poem or essay about your favorite moments with them. Maybe you’ll want to fictionalize them and make them detectives; or vampire hunters; or scheming, skateboarding troublemakers. (I imagine that if my cat Kaspar were human, he’d be quite Bart Simpson-like.) Maybe you will want to draw them, create a collage of your favorite pictures of them, or maybe today is the day that you do Krista’s elaborate pet photo shoot!

Whatever you come up with, send it to us along with your first name, last initial, age, and city/state/country to [email protected] with the subject line “Creative Prompt” by Monday, April 11 at 6 PM EST. I CANNOT WAIT to have a whole bunch of favorite new animal stories and images to squee over.

Last week we asked you to keep a haiku diary. Here’s a look into your poetic week…