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The Book Virago's Corner
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month!
Read more about it at the ASPCA's website. In recognition of this, I offer:
For the Love of Pets...
Here at the Library, many of us are pet owners. Strike that, many of us are pet LOVERS. I decided to do an informal survey and find out exactly how many pets we have in our households, how many were adopted or taken in from a feral life; how many were purchased from breeders; and how many were bought from pet shops The results are as follows:
36 cats; 33 rescued from shelters or brought in from a feral life; 3 from yard sale or farmer’s market.
17 dogs; 11 rescues, 5 purchased from breeders, 1 from a pet shop.
2 guinea pigs, purchased from a pet shop.
1 rabbit, rescued.
1 beta fish, purchased from a pet shop.
6 chinchillas; 1 rescued and 5 purchased from a pet shop (they are the Virago’s foster chins. The rescued one is Magellen the Intrepid, who is an elderly 13 years old, and is my own.)
7 chickens; rescued or farmer’s market.
That is a whopping 70 creatures, owned by a staff of 36 people (if I missed surveying anyone, my apologies!)
For me and many others, pets fill a spot in our hearts that nothing else can. Spouses, children, family, and friends are important to us all, but a pet lover really requires the unconditional love of a dog, the purr of a satisfied cat, or the antics of small animals to make us complete. Animals don’t care if one is tall or short, fat or thin; if one’s finances are sparse or we are living in an apartment or a mansion. They don’t care if they are fed on prime rib, cream and tuna, or commercial food from a bag. If you, their beloved owner, is there, their hearts sing and all is well in their world. Ah, to be the recipient of that unbridled love! And I swear, a rescued pet has an added gratitude in its nature, as if it knows YOU are the reason it can now live a full life.
DO YOU HAVE SOME RESCUED PETS? TAKE OUR SURVEY!
A Snowflake in My Hand by Samantha Mooney.
This book takes place in a location that one would not think to be very cheerful: The Cancer Clinic at the New York Animal Hospital. But, as the stories of the irrepressible kitties being treated there are revealed, the cat-ness of simply “being” that they invoke; the sadness of loss and the joy of survival draw one into their lives. Even non-cat lovers will find this a great little book.
Shelter Dogs by Traer Scott.
Photos and short stories of a variety of pound pooches, shot right here in Providence. Some stories are happy, some bittersweet and a few are tragic; but I defy anyone to look into the dogs’ soulful eyes and be unmoved.
Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards.
This memoir finds divorcee and recovering alcoholic Susan agreeing to adopt a rescued horse from the local ASPCA. Before Susan can claim the horse whose name had been provided to her, a mud-coated mare named Lay-Me-Down helps herself to the horse trailer, her foal trotting behind. The story of the year that follows in memorable, as both Susan and Lay-Me-Down heal and learn to trust again.
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.
This is the first book in a wonderful series, about a young veterinarian struggling to find his way in a harsh farmland community in Yorkshire. Along with his partners, brothers Siefreid and Tristan, James meets and records the humerous, taciturn, grumpy and sweet people of the village along with all their animals, from pampered pugs to stoic oxen. An absolutely charming set of books, one that I have read repeatedly over the years.
Making rounds with Oscar by David Dosa.
In a nursing home here in Providence, RI, there is a cat named Oscar who lives peaceably with some feline friends. They are company, friends, and companions to the patients and their families, but Oscar has a special talent: he knows when someone is going to die. He used his special sense to stay with the patient, whether or not he knows Oscar is there, until death has taken the patient’s spirit and left only the body behind. A truly inspiring story about the devotion and compassion of a 4-legged friend.