Sometimes writers forget just how much animals can become major players in their story. Robin McKinely’s Hero and the Crown, without the horse there wouldn’t have been a story. I highly recomend both The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinely. She writes fantasy that appeal to both younger and older readers alike.
Hedwig in Harry Potter was as much a character as any of the rest. It is why her death hit readers so hard. Another is Old Yeller, this is perhaps one of the first tragedies, children of an older generation encountered.
Animals can bridge the gap and break the barrier between reader and writer. So could your story benefit from an animal character? Let me know what you think in the comments.
FYI, I believe Elizabeth Taylor was an interesting woman who lived life on her terms. This image and quote were just to perfect to pass up.