By Patricia Anne McGoldrick

Many of us grew up with a pet—a dog, kitten, gerbil, and canary. However, whether or not we had a real live pet, most of us sang, read, or viewed a story about a pet or creature facing challenges in their lives.

These stories found in so many formats of print, sound, visual media accompanied us through our growing years, were shared in families, and recounted in classrooms.

Favorites were passed on to the next generation. Whether it was Bambi trying to survive that fearsome forest fires or Peter Rabbit escaping from the gardener, we were caught up in the lives of these media creations.
As we matured, fiction titles such as Watership Down by Richard Adams and George Orwell’s Animal Farm took us to other directions with animal characters.

More recently, in a non-fictional context, the amazing real-life equine, Secretariat, has been the focus of a feature film, giving us another insight into animals’ lives.

As I thought about all the media creations and connections of pets and story characters in my life, I started to map out these thoughts. This graphic that I made is called a mind map. Shown here, it is just a start.

Mind maps, so useful as an organizing strategy, can be sketched out by hand with some markers and paper or constructed with a software program such as the one used here.

Please take a look at my mind map, shown here (click the photo to enlarge.)

Can you think of more pets and animals storied in the media?

I left a section on this mind map for your favorites. Enjoy!

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