I really enjoy creating different pets for my main characters. Being a dog lover and owner, I find developing dogs as realistic characters to to be easy.
Bruiser from Taking Chances was inspired by a stop at a gas station. We were filling up our car and a man stepped out of a pickup truck. A huge dog hung his head out of the window with slobber running off his jowls. The man reached in the back end, pulled out a towel and began wiping slobber from the dogs face. It was really funny!
Bruiser and his slobber problem was born. You can find all kinds of inspiration from real life.