New Mexico's Pet Resource WINTER 2008

Animal Books - Pick of the Litter

by Nancy Marano

Book reviews appear in the “Scoop on Animal Books” section of the website. But so many good reads have come across my desk recently I thought I’d give you a quick preview. Lengthier reviews will appear on the website at a later date.

Rover, Get off Her Leg! Pet Etiquette for the Dog Who Pees on Your Rug, Steals the Roast and Poops in Improper Places by Darlene Arden, Heath Communications, 2007. $14.95.
Are you dealing with embarrassing issues concerning your dog? Does your dog hump everyone’s leg, mark his territory at the least provocation or want to watch you have sex? Never fear. Darlene Arden, a certified animal behaviorist, will get you through those rough spots. There are a lot of dog training books available but this is humorous, easy to use and just plain fun to read.

The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow and Empathy – and Why They Matter by Marc Beckoff, New World Library, 2007. $23.95
Bekoff has studied the social communication patterns of animals for 35 years. This wonderful book is filled with his scientific conclusions and anecdotal information showing us that animals have complicated emotional lives. Told with light humor and touching stories, this book asks each of us to reassess how we view animals and how we treat them.

Planet Cat: a cat-alog by Sandra Choron, Harry Choron and Arden Moore, Houghton Mifflin, 2007. $14.95
A fun book that’s useful at the same time. Now there’s a winning combination. Packed with over 400 lists exploring all aspects of the human/feline bond, Planet Cat combines advice on cat care with fun facts and loads of trivia. One list leads to another and you won’t want to put it down. Treat your cat-loving friends to this one.

The Lazy Dog’s Guide to Enlightenment by Andrea Hurst and Beth Wilson, New World Library, 2007.$12.95
The combination of black-and-white photographs and the zen-like phrases of dog wisdom provide a delightful book for any dog lover. The authors work on the theory that dogs have already mastered the art of living and will share it with us if we just take time to watch and listen.

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote, Harcourt, 2007. $25.00.
Kerasote and Merle found each other in the wilderness. This love story of a man and the dog who adopted him tells of the relationship they developed over thirteen years. Merle and Kerasote learn from each other. Kerasote taught Merle about living with humans and in the wild and Merle helped Kerasote understand the intelligence of dogs and their need to experience the world. Kerasote is an advocate for a relationship with a dog built on shared leadership rather than dominance by the human. He intersperses the latest research on animal consciousness and behavior into the story.

One at a Time: A Week in an American Animal Shelter by Diane Leigh and Marilee Geyer, No Voice Unheard, 2003. $16.95.
This award–winning book is a must read if you care about the many homeless animals in shelters across the United States. It tells the story of 75 animals who passed through a typical Northern California animal shelter in seven days. The authors use photos and vignettes to tell the animals’ stories. These are not just the happy stories but the truth of life in a shelter. Through the words of shelter workers, volunteers, visitors and excerpts from actual shelter records, the reader sees the animals behind the numbers. Tissues required.

My Cat Loves Me Naked by Stephanie Piro. Sourcebooks, 2006
If you enjoy Stephanie Piro’s cartoons, which run in PETroglyphs, you’ll love this book. Piro has given us a whole book of witty, creative cartoons depicting why women love their cats. People may come and go in a person’s life, but a woman’s cat will always be her truest friend and confidant.

Let Buster Lead: Discovering Love, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Self-Acceptance by Deborah Dozier Potter, Sunstone Press, 2007. $28.95.
This is the remarkable memoir of a woman suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a horrible horse accident and her dog, a Border Collie named Buster, who became her unofficial therapy dog long before he was certified as such. Buster had always been a calming influence in Potter’s busy, high-powered life. Eventually his love and therapy helped her resume her life and be in groups again. This book will help others suffering from PTSD and other disabilities. Buster’s story will touch every animal lover’s heart.

Ghost Cats: human encounters with feline spirits by Dusty Rainbolt, The Lyons Press, 2007. $14.95
Whether you are a cat lover or a ghost hunter, this is a book you need to read. Cat lovers have always ascribed supernatural and even psychic powers to their cats. But can cats come back from beyond the grave? Rainbolt has answered this question by giving the reader a book filled with wonderful stories of cats who needed to come back for at least one more visit with a human they loved. This book will comfort people who have lost a special cat and will be a thoroughly enjoyable read for anyone who wants to read a good story and learn a lot about cat lore in the bargain.

Goodbye, Jake by Bam Schildkraut. Operation Outreach-USA Press, 2007. $7.95.
How do you deal with the death of a pet? And how can you explain that death to a child? These end-of-life issues are difficult for all of us to understand and even more so when a child is involved. Goodbye, Jake tackles them head on. Written for young children, it is a book that will touch adults as well. Goodbye, Jake is an outstanding children’s book on death and how to discuss it. Bam (aka Deborah Schildkraut) works with PETroglyphs and is the author of the “Casa Canine” column.

The Pick of Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook, Ten Speed Press, 2006. $12.95
Furry Logic Wild Wisdom by Jane Seabrook, Ten Speed Press, 2007. $9.95
When I received these books, I stopped everything to look at them because of the beautiful illustrations. Then I burst out laughing as I went from page to page. Each page features a watercolor of a furry – or not so furry – creature combined with a humorous saying. One picture is of a tree frog clutching a branch saying “Please don’t tell me to relax it’s only my tension that’s holding me together.” Then there are the parrots who say confidentially, “I hate spreading gossip – but really, what else can you do with it?” These are great gift books for anyone who needs a laugh. I know I’ll revisit them often.

Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon, Poisoned Pen Press, 2007. $24.95
This is the third book in a mystery series featuring Theda Krakow a freelance journalist, investigator and animal lover. She is investigating a new designer drug that is threatening musicians and fans in the Boston club scene. This investigation takes second place when an animal rights activist is killed in a hit-and-run accident while rescuing feral cats from a cold winter storm. Theda steps in to rescue the cats and learns there might be more to this death than she first thought. When her own cat disappears, Theda risks everything to find the answer. Her other books are Mew is for Murder and Cattery Row.

Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America by Nathan Winograd, Almaden, 2007. $16.95.
This is bound to be a controversial book with many readers. Winograd is a passionate advocate for the No-Kill movement and philosophy. He points to San Francisco’s success when it became the first city in the United States to end the killing of healthy dogs and cats in shelters. This well written book describes one of the main divisions in animal sheltering today. Must healthy animals be killed or can communities come up with better ways to handle shelter animals? This is a must read book for anyone interested in the humane treatment of animals and in forming a more compassionate society.

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