Tag Archives: pets

Farewell, My Dear Friend

This past month has been very difficult. My husband and I lost our sweet old baby girl cat, Holly Golightly, on July 28. She was very old and I wrote about her for this blog just last year. She went very quickly (as the vet had once predicted) and naturally but still, you’re never really ever ready to say goodbye. You want just one more cuddle, one more purr.

Seventeen years of an established and familiar routine, daily care, and infinite love are gone forever. While we are very sad, we are also grateful that she was not ill so we did not have the angst of having to make a painful decision; in her own tough and sassy way, Holly Golightly made it for us.

Above all else, I learned that we are not alone in our sorrow and have found great solace with fellow pet lovers. The library is helping us out–as always–with this wonderful little book we have found to be invaluable for comfort and peace to any pet owner.

friend

Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet

by Gary Kowalski

Though penned by a Unitarian clergyman, this beautifully written book does not have an overtly religious tone. What it does offer is comfort and calm in a reassuring and understanding voice that I desperately needed to hear upon the passing of my beloved animal companion. He encourages ways to remember and memorialize your pet, acknowledgment of the cycles of life, and the very real pain we feel when a pet, a member of our family, dies.

Be sure to also check out next week’s display in the Reference Room on the second floor of Main Library for more resources on this topic.

~Maria A., still grieving but slowly healing

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Dog Days of Summer*

Happinessisawarmpuppy

I became a dog person the moment I saw my dog at a family picnic. I loved everything about her; her happy swishy tail, her sweet personality, her beautiful amber eyes and tiny little nose. I liked her foot fringe and her bounciness and her curly ears. Then I found out that she was an abused shelter dog, rescued by my boyfriend’s cousin (thanks, Dan!) from being euthanized. So, despite the fact that I’d only been dating this guy for a few months, that I never owned a dog, that I wasn’t even allowed to have a dog in my apartment, and knew nothing about caring for a dog, I got a dog.

Suzy.Ozzy

Ozzy Girl

That was 13 years ago. The boy and the dog are still the same.

It goes without saying that librarians love cats. But we love our dogs, too!

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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Pets!

My Favorite Books About Dogs

GoDogGoGo Dog Go!, P.D. Eastman

This was my all-time favorite when I was a kid. My parents probably have horrible flashbacks just looking at the cover. To this day, my heart lifts when I see the cover.  Basically, it’s a bunch of colorful dogs doing things like racing cars and bicycles and  partying in trees. Exactly what you think it would be.

ZorroZorro Series, Carter Goodrich

This children’s series is unbearably sweet and so funny. The illustrations are gorgeous, too. Anyone who has brought another dog home will be able to relate to the disgust Mister Bud feels when Zorro, a little pug with a big attitude, shows up on the scene. Mister Bud has a schedule and he sticks to it. He doesn’t want to share anything, ever and is grumpy about this new mutt. Then one day Mister Bud realizes that Zorro has the same schedule! Suddenly nap time is more comfortable and walks are more fun and even though Mister Bud could still be grumpy, they become best friends.

DogBoyDog Boy, Eva Hornug

In 1998, the end of the Cold War and the breakdown of the Russian economy created over 2 million homeless children. Many parents simply packed up and left, leaving children as young as two years old to fend for themselves. Dog Boy was inspired by the true story of Ivan Mishukov, a four-year old who lived with a pack of wild dogs for two years until he was “rescued.” If you are interested in the real story, it is included in Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children by Michael Newton. Dog Boy is a work of fiction (and one of my favorite books), and it is so beautifully and realistically rendered that I found it so easy to imagine to sleeping in a pile of smelly wild dogs, burying my face in their warm bellies to escape the harsh Moscow cold and sharing scraps of food with them. Four-year-old Romochka and the dogs work together to survive and that includes preying on other people. Eventually they earn the notice of the “authorities” and Romochka is “rescued” from the dogs. I honestly don’t know what I expected, but I found the ending heart-breaking. This book stayed with me for a long time.

CujoCujo, Stephen King

Cujo is the reason every kid who grew up in the 80s has an unnatural fear of rabies. Do you know how many people in Pennsylvania contracted rabies last year? 450. Out of a population of 12.76 million. Dudes, you’re not getting rabies. I read the book and saw the movie. Believe it or not, the book is sympathetic to the poor dog. Cujo didn’t want to get sick; in fact, there are chapters from his point of view that are downright heartrending. He is simply a dog with a hurt nose and can’t figure out why he wants to hurt “his” boy. According to King, he wrote this novel while he was drinking heavily and barely remembers writing it it all and in fact, wishes he could remember writing the good parts.

WaltertheFartingDogWalter the Farting Dog Series,  William Kotzwinkle

I’m married to a guy named Walt, so obviously I find these books extra-hilarious (and the stuffed animal!) Walter is an apologetic-looking dog who passes gas morning, noon and night, which causes him to be banned from all kinds of places. However, he also foils burglars with his smelly farts! Yet poor Walter isn’t allowed at the beach, on a cruise ship or yard sales. Interestingly, Walter is based off of a real dog whose owner fed him beer and doughnuts.

DogStoriesDog Stories, Diana Secker Tesdell, Editor

Mark Twain, Tobias Wolff, Jonathan Lethem and Anton Chekhov are only a few of the authors featured in this Everyman’s Library Pocket Classic, Dog Stories. In “Her Dog” by Tobias Wolff, a man talks to his dead wife’s dog to assauge his grief. But Victor the dog will have none of it, saying, “…I loved her more than you. I loved her with all my heart.” There are humorous tales from a dog’s point of view, including tales from P.G. Wodehouse and O. Henry and many more touching portraits about man’s best friend and his ability to amuse us, touch our hearts, and drive us crazy.

Also, if you feel like crying your eyes out, read the prologue to Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. It’s written from the point of view of a dog who is grieving his lost owner.

Now go cuddle with your pooch-
suzy

*From the Columbia Encyclopedia:

Dog Days is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun.

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Senior (Kitty) Moments

In 1997, I adopted a tiny adult tabby cat but no one at the Humane Society knew her age.  The official paperwork said she was two years old while the scribbled hot pink sign taped to her too-small cage stated she was four. This means she is now between 18 and 20 years old.

Miss Holly Golightly

Miss Holly Golightly

She has definitely slowed down these last few years–for example, she no longer plays–but in many ways she’s holding her own very well: she licks every single meal bowl clean, uses her litter box regularly, climbs up and down two flights of stairs, jumps on chairs, and has the shiniest & softest coat of striped fur I’ve ever seen or touched. About the only odd (and annoying) thing she does now is yowl randomly throughout the day, at least when I’m home. I think she has some dementia and I feel she’s too old to be put through a battery of expensive medical tests.

Holly Golightly, al fresco

Holly Golightly, al fresco

But I am preparing for that inevitable sad day when her little claws won’t be clicking upon my wood floors anymore. I don’t think I can ever be truly prepared to say goodbye to my baby, but these books have been helpful:

caringagingat

Caring for Your Aging Cat: A Quality-of-Life-Guide for Your Cat’s Senior Years by Janice Borzendowski

seniorcats

Senior Cats by Sheila Webster Boneham

youroldercat

Your Older Cat: A Complete Guide to Nutrition, Natural Health Remedies, and Veterinary Care by Susan Easterly

~Maria, happily owned by Holly Golightly

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Happy birthday to them!

I can’t write a blog post about my child’s birthday, mainly because I don’t have any children. Instead I will celebrate the birthday of my cats! Today is (approximately) the ninth birthday of Ham and Eva, my matching cats.

Ham is on the left and Eva is on the right.

Ham and Eva were born to a beautiful longhaired calico who decided to raise her kittens in my parents’ backyard. The family spent their first summer living on the back porch, scampering about the yard, and learning important cat things like bird chasing and tree climbing (one day I stumbled upon a tree-climbing lesson and found mom and her five kittens in the same tree – true story).

Eventually, we nabbed the kittens and they all found homes. Their mother, who was too feral to come indoors, was spayed by a local cat colony management organization and spent the rest of her days living in a comfy cat-sized barn designed by my father (retired electricians will do some crazy things).

Ham and Eva are indoor only cats now, so their tree climbing days are safely behind them. Their current hobbies include napping, eating smelly tuna cat food, destroying furniture, running around madly for no apparent reason, staring into space, throwing up smelly tuna cat food, killing bugs, purring, and being adorable. Basic cat stuff, really. But still, I’m happy to share my home with them. Happy birthday, cats!

– Amy

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“If You Eat Your Bed, Where Will You Sleep?!?!” Notes on Adjusting to Life with a New Dog

The newest member of my household is a sinewy, energetic, pit/lab/mystery mutt from the Animal Rescue League.* Frida Sweet-a Face, or Frida for short, has been a handful. But the love, joy and health that a dog brings into the home  is worth far more than every toy shredded during puppyhood. She’s been with us for only about four months, and with plenty of patience and advice from various dog training books, Frida is slowly becoming a well-mannered young lady.

Skinny Frida

The day Frida came home – she was a bag of bones then.

She had been surrendered to ARL at about age one, because her previous owners believed she was “too much to handle.” Many dogs of Frida’s age are given over to shelters. I learned in Bruce Fogle’s Dog that this is the canine stage of development most closely related to human adolescence. “Dog body, puppy brain,” is what I apologetically say to strangers in the street when she jumps on them. (Jumping happens less often these days, I promise!)  These dogs learned the rules as young pups. However,  in their adolescence, they question authority, i.e. chew up their beds and steal cheese from the counter. Adolescent dogs can be gangly, awkward and clumsy. They don’t realize that their bodies are wielding more power than before. A ten pound puppy jumping in your lap is adorable.  A sixty pound adolescent doing the same is a little painful.  Many owners just give up on these dog-hooligans.

“I can do this,” I thought. I worked with teens for a long time, and the age group is very close to my heart. “I’m a very patient person,” I thought. Despite all of that, there was an extended adjustment/figure-this-whole-energetic-dog-thing-out period. She lunged at cars, people, birds, cats. She crashed into tables; she attacked shoes. One day she sneaked out of the fence and ran next door, where our two year old neighbor Charlie was playing with his mom.  Frida kissed him on the cheek, and sneaked back under the fence, quite proud of herself. Charlie giggled. (Charlie’s family has dogs of their own and so his mother was most gracious about the whole incident.)

What baby-kissing dog is all bad? We just needed to help her get good.  We read piles of dog books; we signed her up for classes at ARL. We learned the hard way that if Frida doesn’t expend enough energy, she goes a little, shall we say, nuts. All dogs are working dogs, so every dog needs a challenging job, whether the job be walking, running, playing, fetching, or another activity. Two forty-five minute walks a day weren’t quite enough for Frida’s “work ethic.” So I started running with her, building up her endurance a little bit at a time, and that seems to keep her shenanigans to a minimum.

In addition to expending energy, she must also practice her manners. New dog owners are encouraged to introduce their pet to as many new situations, people, and animals as possible. So we’ve traveled with Frida all over Western PA: hiking, walking, dog parking, and visiting family and friends.  Dogs are not born with instincts that tell them to interact with other beings; they must be taught.  Frida used to greet everyone with  a hearty jump, a bump/crash,  and a maybe a few bats of the paw.  These days, she is a more mellow greeter, and all the dogs, cats and humans on our block are rejoicing.

Some folks swear by a specific dog trainer or book to train their dog, but we use a hybrid of different techniques.  I definitely recommend reviewing more than one source of dog advice. We go over the commands we learned at ARL’s basic training class at least once a day. We use Cesar Millan’s methods in some cases, but “calm assertive energy” is tougher than it looks on TV. I’m currently examining the presidential route by reading Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz; she trained Obama’s dog. My father swears by the Monks of New Skete; they’ve been successfully raising German Shepherds at their monastery for decades.  If you are interested in pursuing a homeopathic, herbal approach to dog wellness, then I highly recommend reading all of Juliette de Bairacli Levy; she learned from the Roma. Bruce Fogle is my favorite.  He has written extensively on dog health, dog psychology and dog breeds.

Frida in a healthier place

Frida with some meat on her bones

Best of luck in all of your doggie endeavors!

Holly

*A note on shelters –  Animal Rescue League is not the only game in town, there are plenty of other good shelters and organizations dedicated to dog adoption, such as Animal Friends and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.

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By Any Other Name

My sister and her husband are expecting their third child sometime next spring, which made it doubly wonderful to spend time with the growing family over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hanging out with a tween and a pre-schooler definitely honed the aunt skills, but suggesting potential names for the new sprout proved trickier. Although I’m very good at naming pets, none of my baby name suggestions, male or female, struck a chord with the parents-to-be.

To be fair, naming is a difficult thing, and a very personal one. Whenever you name a person, pet or thing, you want something that sounds good, carries meaning, and can’t be twisted into a cruel or otherwise unfortunate nickname. On top of that, there may be religious or cultural factors to take into consideration, as well as the desire to avoid–or accommodate– the trendy or unusual.

The world wide web is awash with baby name websites, to be sure, but if you have a name to choose, and you’re tired of staring at your computer screen, why not try a different tack?  Make yourself a cup of tea, then settle into a comfy chair in a quiet place with one of the library’s many books about names and naming.  Not sure where to start?  Consider these:

Penguin ClassicThe Penguin Classic Baby Name Book, ed. Grace Hamlin. Looking for a literary namesake? Take a flip through nearly 500 pages of options from the world’s greatest works of fiction.

Mother of all Baby Name Books

The Mother of All Baby Name Books, Bruce Lansky. Because puns are fun! Also, with 94,000 names to choose from, this is a great option if you don’t have room in your bag for multiple books.

Celtic Baby NamesCeltic Baby Names, Judy Sierra. If Western mythology and folklore tend to inspire you, grab this guide to pronunciations and meanings from the British Isles and figure out if Declan, Dylan, or Dana might be a good option for you and your baby (I’d avoid Tristan and Isolde, though, just on general principle).

World NamesA World of Baby Names, Teresa Norman. Diversity abounds in this collection of names that dedicates a chapter to just about every country and culture under the sun, including Czech/Slovak, Hawaiian, Native American, and Southeast Asian names. Perfect for families seeking to honor an ancestor, celebrate an adoption, or otherwise open up their naming options.

Auntie LAV can’t wait to see what they pick, but until then, she’ll just have to wait patiently.  Did you have difficulty naming your children?  Your kittens?  Your computer?  If you were going to take a new name to reflect the person you’ve grown up to be, what would you pick?

Dana Elizabeth Veronica Leigh Anne

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Cat Care 101

When we decided to adopt our first cat, I had no idea how to take care of one.  I’d always had a dog growing up, as well as several smaller species of pet, but I had no experience with felines.  So I decided to browse the cat-care books and catch up on some basics.*

Here are a few books that I found particularly useful as a cat-novice:

This book covers the entire kitten experience, from birth to maturity. You can skip ahead to the section that’s age-appropriate to your kitten, and find out what it needs in order to grow up happy and healthy.  But if you read from the beginning, you’ll also know how to tell if the kitten you’re adopting got the best possible care.

Nobody knows more about adopting cats than the Humane Society.  This guide explains how cats came to be domesticated, and what role they play in society today.   It also explains how to pick a healthy pet that’s suited for your living situation, basic feline first aid, and how to care for an elderly cat.

Morgan does an excellent job with the expected cat-care topics like body language, behavior problems, nutrition, and general health.  She also discusses more unusual issues like raw and alternative diets, and how to travel with your cat.

Johnson-Bennett is a cat behaviorist and former veterinary technician.  She believes most feline behavior problems are caused by an owner not meeting or even understanding their cat’s needs.  For example, she explains why a cat needs to scratch, and how you can spare your furniture (not to mention his paws) by training him to use a post.

Admit it – if you have the resources, and your first cat is able (if not willing) to tolerate a roommate, you are eventually going to want a second cat.  Johnson-Bennett describes how to manage the introductions in the least stressful way for all involved.  She also describes common problems that may arise in established multi-cat households, and how to address them.

-Denise

*Please remember that cats can become critically ill in a short amount of time, and that no book is a substitute for an actual vet visit.  When in doubt, don’t risk your pet’s health; call your vet immediately.

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Non-fiction fix: Loads of lovely love

Today is my parents’ 38th wedding anniversary – how cool is that?  Staying with the same person for more than three decades is no mean feat, especially since the complexities of loving and being loved are among the thorniest mysteries of being alive.

Whether you’re happily married, single and satisfied, desperately seeking somebody, or all up in your companion animals, the library’s got loads of lovely love for you. Here’s sample of the helpful advice, warm fuzzies and snarky laughter waiting for you in our collection:

A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend, Felicity Huffman and Patricia Wolff. With their tongues wedged so firmly in their cheeks they look like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter, Huffman and Wolff offer suggestions for men who want to be good boyfriends. It’s a bit like training for The A Team, apparently. Who knew? If their advice works out for you, you can move on to The Mr. and Mrs. Happy Handbook and Why Did I Marry You Anyway?.

Career Renegade, Jonathan Fields. Life is short, and you spend most of it at work. Shouldn’t you be doing something you love? See also Living Your Heart’s Desire and A Life at Work for some thoughts about crafting a career with soul and spirit.

One Big Happy Family, Rebecca Walker. It’s a complicated world, and there are as many ways to relate to a person as there are individuals to love. Walker’s collection showcases the triumphs and challenges of non-traditional family structures by giving a voice to the people who embody them.  See also Opening Up, Together Forever and Best Date Ever.

The Powerful Bond Between People and Pets, P. Elizabeth Anderson. Ever wonder why people lavish so much money and time on critters that can’t talk back (in human language)? Anderson, a clinical psychologist, examines the compelling pull of a fuzzy face on the human heart, and shows how that bond plays out in various social contexts.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery, Jack Canfield. You may be down, but you don’t have to be out. This particular serving of Canfield’s signature soup is designed to give you the gumption to heal up, then get up and get back in the game. Those who prefer a more tough-love approach to healing might enjoy the “cover your bases” approach of The Sweet Potato Queens’ Wedding Planner and Divorce Guide.  Before you know it, you’ll be ready to take another shot at marriage (or, possibly, not).

With all due respect to my mom and dad, the thought of spending more than thirty years with the same person kind of gives me the wiggins. I’m open to the possibility that I could change my mind, especially for the right person. But for now, life seems pretty good.  I’ve got two adorable cats, one interesting gentleman caller (who, incidentally, doesn’t need the Huffman book), and a career I adore.  On top of that, the career part involves working in a 114-year-old building packed to the brim with fabulous co-workers (plus more books and materials than they’ll let me check out at any one time), and helping all of you find interesting and educational books to read.  Who could ask for anything more?

Your turn, constant reader:  who, or what, do you love?

–Leigh Anne

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Non-fiction fix: Books Where the Darned Animals (Mostly) Don’t Die

Spoiler alert:  this post will reveal the endings of several books.

Why would I do that to you? Because I don’t want you to suffer as I have!

With apologies to Dewey, whose story really is quite charming, I don’t have the stomach for any more books where the beloved animal companion dies somewhere during the narrative. It’s bad enough at the end, after you’ve invested several hours of your life in the happiness and well-being of the cute little fuzz-face. But when the demise comes in the middle, as it does in the case of Darwin, well, it’s almost too much for my tenderhearted sensibilities to handle (sometimes I have to sneak off to the stacks with a box of tissues to get over it–don’t tell my boss). Contrary to stereotype, librarians don’t get to sit around reading books all day:  we squeeze it into our breaks and lunch like everybody else, and I really don’t want to spend that time getting attached to a cute little kittycat only to have my heart broken in the end!

I suppose you could make the argument that such books teach us about the intrinsic worth of life, and the gentling effect a companion animal can have on one’s personal growth. By acknowledging the presence of death, you might protest, we more deeply appreciate how precious life is for all creatures on earth, the great and the small.

To which I would probably respond, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Bring on the happy endings! And try to find a story with a llama in it.”

If, like me, you’re tired of books where the dog, cat, or marmoset meets his/her maker, you might enjoy these true-life tales of people and their pets.

An increase of geese

An increase of geese

When scientist and nature writer Bern Heinrich finds and fosters a gosling near his rural Vermont home, he paves the way for this chronicle of the life and times of a handful of Canada geese.  After discovering the bird he called Peep in the bog, Henrich endured all sorts of weather to gain her trust and access to her goosey world.   The result is a meticulous record of the adventures of Peep, her mate Pap, and their compatriots in The Geese of Beaver Bog.  The entries are written in journal format, so it’s easy to pick up and put down this volume at will.  Conversely, you can completely immerse yourself in the soap opera-ish antics of the birds who engage in behaviors that seem, at times, uncannily human.  Given that Henrich’s prose is both witty and clear, and that his respect for nature shines through every line, this is remarkably easy to do.

Full disclosure:  A number of gosling eggs do not, regrettably, make it to maturity.

A not-so-secret squirrel

A not-so-secret squirrel

If tough-love inspirational hilarity is more your style, you might enjoy Bill Goss’s memoir, There’s A Flying Squirrel In My Coffee.  A Naval pilot, Lt. Commander Goss was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer at the height of his professional success.  Into this grim landscape came Rocky the flying squirrel, who turned the Goss household upside down with his antics, and gave the fighter pilot a reason to keep on battling.  Filled with action-packed sentences, amusing anecdotes, family values and medical minutiae, this book will appeal to readers who like their animal tales with a bit of a rough-and-tumble edge.

Full disclosure: Although the book is cruelty-free, I’m forced to admit that Goss’s webpage contains additional information on Rocky and his mate, Bitsy.  Don’t read the entry for July 4, 2007.  Trust me.

Those of you who thought I was kidding a few paragraphs ago will want to pick up Rosana Hart’s Living With Llamas, the story of the author’s experiences raising, breeding, and selling llamas during the 70s and 80s.  Loaded with pictures and complete with a resource guide at the end, this book is a great start for anyone curious about llamas (more up-to-date info and contacts can be found here).  However, the real selling point of this tome is its up-close-and-personal peek at all aspects of llama life, including birth, communication, feeding habits, and personality quirks.  Like Goss, Hart relies on amusing anecdotes to tell her tale; her style, however, is gentler, simpler, and more matter-of-fact, letting the llamas’ individual personalities take center stage.

Full disclosure:  Okay, one adult llama dies in this book, and there is a close call with another llama that had me on the edge of my chair.  However, in this case, it was decidedly worth it.

Llama love

Llama love

 Last, but certainly not least, Walking Ollie is a recent entry in the abundant crop of animal memoirs.  Author Stephen Foster thought caring for a dog would be relatively simple.  Then he adopted Ollie, a shelter dog with a will of his own.  A tone of gentle befuddlement, with occasional bouts of consternation, permeates Foster’s tale, and the book is as much about the author’s gradual realization that animals have distinct personality traits as it is about Ollie’s training and assimilation into the Foster family.  The final chapter, in particular, is a gentle testament to the matter-of-fact, everyday love, tinged with reminders of mortality, that can crop up between a person and her/his pet. 

No bad dogs!

No bad dogs!

As I was looking for books to write about in this post, Bonnie clued me in to a work of fiction I will probably pick up next:  Gordon Korman’s No More Dead Dogs, which is about a mischievous pre-teen who feels much the same way I do about pooch mortality.  I’m hoping it will distract me from the vague dismay I felt upon picking up pick after non-fiction pick only to cast it aside, with watering eyes (quit laughing – I can hear you out there).  I suppose this means I’m in the readerly minority on that score, or maybe it’s just impossible to write of love without writing about the inevitable end that comes to us all, be we fleshy. feathered, or four-footed.

Be that as it may, I’m going to hold off on Alex and Me until I can get an advance confirmation of Alex’s survival.  And I stand firm in my resolution to do advance recon on all the animal memoirs for you…just in case.  Happy animal book readers of the world, unite!

–Leigh Anne

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woof woof, meow meow, tweet

With a sick kitty at home, I have animals on my mind a lot these days. There is nothing quite like the connection between a pet and its person, whether it’s a dog, a cat, or something more exotic

Speaking to that connection are so many books that come out on the subject every year.  There’s the runaway hit from a couple of years ago, Marley & Me:  Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan, or any of Jon Katz’ books, if you’re a dog lover.  Aelurophiles may want to try A Cat Named Darwin: How a Stray Cat Changed a Man into a Human Being, by biologist William Jordan, who takes in, and gets taken in by, a flea-bitten, mangy stray.  My Cat, Spit McGee, by Willie Morris (who also had a dog named Skip), is another one that speaks to that irresistible feline allure.  If all that dander gets to you, though, you can try The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship, by Joanna Burger.  One of my all-time favorites on the human-animal relationship is Allen Schoen’s Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live. Veterinarian Schoen’s beautiful descriptions of how he learned about healing on all levels from his golden retriever and other animals are incredibly heart-opening. 

https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/marley.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/katz.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/darwin.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/spit.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/parrot.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/kindred.gif

When it comes to fiction, beastly puns tend to rule the roost.  Several of those titles are featured on our Animal Mysteries booklist.  Beyond that, though, another favorite of mine is the author, Jennifer CrusieAnyone But You features a pathetic, yet insistent, basset hound, and she knows exactly how to depict the way those furry friends can insinuate themselves into our lives.  Lastly, I couldn’t possibly feel complete with this post without mentioning Mutts, the comic strip that looks cute, but can bite when you least expect it.

https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/anyone.gif https://eleventhstack.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/mutts.gif

Of course there are many more. Let us know some of your favorite books with animals in them!

-Kaarin

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