New Mexico's Pet Resource


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THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL BOOKS


BOOKS BY SUBJECT (More subjects will be added as we get them)

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals
Four Paws Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs
The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat
Natural Pet Care: How to Improve Your Animal's Quality of Life
The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence - and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
Cats/Canine Can Communicate
Dog Talk: Lessons Learned from a Life with Dogs
The Covenant of the Wild: Why Animals Chose Domestication
Wild Minds: What Do Animals Really Think?
The Language of Miracles: A Celebrated Psychic Teaches You to Talk to Animals

ANIMAL RESCUE
Mall Dogs: Love and Adoption at a Retail Animal Shelter   NEW!
Our Most Treasured Tails: Sixty Years of Pet Rescue
Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals: A Guide for Volunteers and Organizers

ANIMAL RIGHTS
Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States
Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living
Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart and Soul of America’s Animal Shelters
Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America
Saving Molly: A Research Veterinarian's Choices
Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals
The Scalpel and the Butterfly:The War Between Animal Research and Animal Protection
Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating
The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

ANIMALS: CARE AND HANDLING
The Healthy Pet Manual: A Guide to the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
Natural Pet Care: How to Improve Your Animal's Quality of Life
Protect Your Pet: More Shocking Facts to Consider
The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats
Allergic to Pets? The Breakthrough Guide to Living with the Animals You Love

ANIMALS: DEATH AND DYING
Goodbye, Jake  
Just This Side of Heaven
There Is Eternal Life for Animals: A Book Based on Bible Scripture

CARTOON
Happy Cat Day
Flawed Dogs: The Year-End Leftovers at the Piddleton “Last Chance” Dog Pound

CATS: GENERAL
Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter
The Cat Master
Cat Playing Cupid (Joe Grey Mysteries)
Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery
Lessons in Stalking…Adjusting to Life With Cats
Purr More, Hiss Less: Heavenly Lessons I Learned from My Cat
Purry Logic
Treasure Cat Tails: From Trash Can to Parlor
What's the Matter with Henry? The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat

CATS: CARE AND HEALTH
Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook
The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know about Caring for Your Cat
Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat
Flower Essences for Animals
The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

CATS: FERAL
Implementing a Community Trap-Neuter-Return Program
TNR Past, Present and Future: A History of the Trap-Neuter-Return Movement

CATS: TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR
Good Cat! A Proven Guide to Successful Litter Box Use and Problem Solving
Naughty No More! Change Unwanted Behaviors through Positive Reinforcement

CHILDREN
Belle's Star
The Bump on Lucy’s Nose
¿Cuantos Perros? How Many Dogs?
Goodbye, Jake
Hey Bossie, You're a Spokescow!
Forever Friends
Keri Tarr Cat Detective
Misty the Freeway Foxhound: The Dog Who Became a Legend
That Cat Can't Stay
What's the Matter with Henry? The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat

CHILDREN AND ANIMALS: PARENTING
Parenting with Pets: The Magic of Raising Children with Animals

DOGS: BREEDS
Dog Eat Dog : A Very Human Book About Dogs and Dog Shows
Just This Side of Heaven
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Designer Dogs

DOGS: CARE AND HEALTH
The Bump on Lucy’s Nose  
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dog Health & Nutrition
The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs
Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Flower Essences for Animals

DOGS: GENERAL
Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale
Careers with Dogs: The Comprehensive Guide to Finding Your Dream Job
Dog Blessings: Poems, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating Our Relationship with Dogs
For Every Dog an Angel
Ginger’s Gift: Hope and Healing through Dog Companionship
Just This Side of Heaven
The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
Mall Dogs: Love and Adoption at a Retail Animal Shelter   NEW!
Our Most Treasured Tails: Sixty Years of Pet Rescue
Visiting the Dog Park: Having Fun Staying Safe

DOGS: REFERENCE
The Social Lives of Dogs: The Grace of Canine Company

DOGS: TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR
Rover, Get Off Her Leg!: Pet Etiquette for the Dog Who Pees on Your Rug, Steals the Roast, and Poops in Improper Places
Dog Eat Dog : A Very Human Book About Dogs and Dog Shows
Dog Tags of Courage: Combat Infantrymen and War Dog Heroes in Vietnam
Dog Talk: Lessons Learned from a Life with Dogs
The Social Lives of Dogs: The Grace of Canine Company
The Adventures of Bro and Tracy
Visiting the Dog Park: Having Fun Staying Safe

DOGS: WORKING
Dog Tags of Courage: Combat Infantrymen and War Dog Heroes in Vietnam
The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective
Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog

ENVIRONMENTALISM
Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West
Kinship with the Wolf: The Amazing Story of the Woman Who Lives with Wolves

FICTION
Autobiography of a Georgia Cat
The Cat Master
Cat Coming Home (Joe Grey Mysteries)
Cat Playing Cupid (Joe Grey Mysteries)
Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery
Nobody’s Pets
Robin: The Lovable Morgan Horse
Targets of Affection
The White Elephant Kneels   NEW!

FUNDRAISING
Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups

GIFT BOOKS
Cat Confessions: A “Kitty Come Clean” Tell All Book
The Cat Lover’s Book of Days
Gotta Love Cats!
Who Moved My Mouse? A Self-Help Book for Cats (Who Don’t Need Any Help)

HORSES
Robin: The Lovable Morgan Horse

HUMOR
Careers for Your Cat
Lessons in Stalking…Adjusting to Life With Cats

HUMAN / ANIMAL BOND
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence - and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
Animals and the Kids Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Hope, Healing, and Compassion
Belle's Star
Ginger’s Gift: Hope and Healing through Dog Companionship
Nurturing Paws
Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog

NUTRITION
Protect Your Pet: More Shocking Facts to Consider
Natural Pet Care: How to Improve Your Animal's Quality of Life

OPINION/ESSAY
Pieces of My Heart: Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature
Curious Creatures, Wondrous Waifs: My Life With Animals
The Dog Who Met the Queen and Other Stories
A Scattering of Cats
Tears and Tales: Stories of Human and Animal Rescue
Remember the Alamo: A Sentry Dog Handler's View of Vietnam from the Perimeter of Phan Rang Air Base
Barkley: A Dog's Journey
Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster

PARROTS
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence - and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process

PET DETECTION
The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective

PET LOSS
Goodbye, Jake  
Just This Side of Heaven
There Is Eternal Life for Animals: A Book Based on Bible Scripture

PETS: TRAVEL
Have Dog Will Travel, California: Comprehensive Guide to over 2,200 Dog-friendly Accommodations (Have Dog Will Travel Series)
Have Dog Will Travel, Northwest Edition: Hassle-Free Guide to Traveling with Your Dog over 2,100 Dog-Friendly Accommodations throughout the Pacific Northwest (Have Dog Will Travel Series)

PHOTOGRAPHY
People I Sleep With
Calico Tales . . . And Others
The Adventures of Bro and Tracy
What's the Matter with Henry? The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat

POETRY
Calico Tales . . . And Others
Cat House Sonnets: 100 Poems Celebrating Cats
Through Katrina's Eyes

RESCUE GROUPS
Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups

VEGETARIANISM AND VEGANISM
Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating
Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living


BOOKS BY TITLE

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z  


BOOKS BY AUTHOR

ADAMS, CARL S.  
ADLON, JEANNE  
ALBRECHT, KAT  
ANDERSON, ALLEN & LINDA  
ANDERSON, ALLEN & LINDA  
ARDEN, DARLENE  
ARDEN, DARLENE  
ASKANI, TANJA  
BADAMI, JESSI  
BEERS, DIANE  
BERKELEY, ELLEN PERRY  
BERNER, R. THOMAS  
BONEHAM, SHEILA WEBSTER  
BONHAM, MARGARET  
BONHAM, MARGARET  
BOZARTH, SANDRA  
BREATHED, BERKELEY  
BROWN, ANDI  
BUDIANSKY, STEPHEN  
BURNAM, JOHN C.  
CAMPBELL THORNTON, KIM  
CARLSON, DELBERT  
CHARLESON, SUSANNAH  
COHEN, BARBARA S.  
COTNER, JUNE  
CONHEIM, CATHY & GALLAGHER, BJ  
DAFFRON, SUSAN C.  
DAVIS, CHRISTINE  
DE RHAM, MICKEY  
DECKER, DEBBIE  
DEVI, LILA  
DYE, DAN & BECKLOFF, MARK  
DZIEMIANOWICZ, ANN  
FAY, JOYCE  
FELD, ELLEN  
FINEBERG, JILL  
FORBES, HARRISON & ADELMAN, BETH  
GILLETT, ROXANE  
GLASS, TIMOTHY  
GORANT, JIM  
GORDON, MICHAEL COWL  
GOTSCH, CONNIE  
GRANDIN, TEMPLE  
GREEK, C. RAY & JEAN SWINGLE  
HAMER, CHRISTINE & HEVEL, MARGARET  
HAMILTON, DONALD  
HAMPLE, TIGER  
HARRIS, DENA  
HARRIS, DENA  
HAUSER, MARC D.  
JOHNSTON, LYNN C.  
KALSTONE, SHIRLEE  
KALSTONE, SHIRLEE  
KAY, DR. NANCY  
KINKADE, AMELIA  
KORTIS, BRYAN  
KOSTRO, ED  
KOSTRO, ED  
KRASNESKY, THAD
KRIEGER, MARILYN
KULIGOWSKI, KATE
LEMENT, WENDY  
LEVY, JULIETTE DE BAIRACLI  
LINN-GUST, MICHELLE  
MAHONEY, JAMES  
MARCUS, ERIK  
MARTIN, ANN N.  
MARTINEZ, AL  
MESSONNIER,SHAWN  
MESSONNIER,SHAWN  
MESSONNIER,SHAWN  
MURPHY, PATRICIA  
NEWKIRK, INGRID  
NOLAN, ALLIA ZOBEL  
NULL, GARY  
OHRING, MARGY  
PEMBERTON, BONNIE  
PEPPERBERG, IRENE M.  
RAMSEY, M.K.  
ROBINS, SANDY  
ROBINSON, MICHAEL J.  
ROUSSEAU MURPHY, SHIRLEY  
ROUSSEAU MURPHY, SHIRLEY  
RUDACILLE, DEBORAH  
SCHILDKRAUT, BAM  
SCHILDKRAUT, BAM  
SCHWARTZ,CHERYL  
SCULLY, MATTHEW  
SEABROOK, JANE  
SHANAHAN, NIKI BEHRIKIS  
SHAW, FRAN PENNOCK  
SILLOWAY, PEG  
SINGER, PETER & MASON, JIM  
SMITH, CHERYL S.  
STERN, JANE AND MICHAEL  
STOWE, BETSY  
STRAW, DEBORAH  
THOMAS, ELIZABETH MARSHALL  
VASSALLO, RUSSELL A.  
WASSERMAN, BERNARD  
WHITAKER, BARBARA  
WHITE, DEBRA  
WILLEMS, RG  
WILLIS, JIM  
WINOGRAD, NATHAN J.  
WINOGRAD, NATHAN J.  
ZOBEL NOLAN, ALLIA  


The Adventures of Bro & Tracy
by Joyce Fay
Joyce Fay, 48pp. 2005. $20.00

If you love dogs and you love the Southwest, this is a must have book. Joyce Fay,a professional photographer, has a love affair with dogs and the stark beauty of the Southwest, which she demonstrates in every picture. It would be difficult for me to pick my favorite picture in this lovely book, but the ones of Bro and Tracy in a tree in Monument Valley and in the Painted Desert would be high on my list. Beyond the gorgeous photographs of her dogs playing, climbing trees, sitting on stools at a restaurant, and enjoying the farolitos on Christmas Eve in Old Town, Fay gives sound advice on traveling with your dogs and just having fun. As she says, “Climbing trees wasn’t the goal. It was the accidental result of the relationship, a relationship that involves having fun, communicating, traveling and enjoying dogs.” Her love of dogs led her to found the Bro and Tracy Animal Welfare, which fosters and gives hope to homeless dogs. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book go to Bro and Tracy Animal Welfare to support their work. If you can’t get enough of the pictures, some of the photographs are available on greeting cards through the web site at www.broandtracy.org. This would be a wonderful gift book for all your dog-loving friends. - N. Marano

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Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
By Irene M. Pepperberg
Collins/HarperCollins Publishers, 2008, 232 pp., $23.95

For 30 years Alex, an African grey parrot, and scientist, Irene Pepperberg, worked together on a daily basis. She researched animal intelligence and Alex was the perfect collaborator for her. He mastered a vocabulary of more than 100 words, could sound out words, and add. He knew colors and understood concepts like bigger-smaller, more-fewer, same-different and absence. He was capable of thought and intention even though his brain was the size of a shelled walnut. Alex changed the way the scientific community looked at animal intelligence and cognitive ability.

During this thirty-year association, Alex became famous for his accomplishments. He was written about in many publications – scientific and popular. He even appeared on television. Pepperberg wrote about her training techniques and Alex’s achievements in “The Alex Studies.” Then Alex died suddenly. He should have lived another 20 years.

This book is about the personal relationship between Pepperberg and Alex. The reader is allowed to see the depth of the bond between researcher and subject. Alex was jealous of the attention Pepperberg gave to the other parrots or people. He liked to dance. He enjoyed showing her who was boss. Occasionally the repetition of the experiments bored him and he would play tricks on her. But every day, including Alex’s last one, ended with the same conversation,

“You be good. I love you," Alex said.
"I love you too."
"You'll be in tomorrow?"
"Yes, I'll be in tomorrow."

There is the question of how Pepperberg knowing Alex’s abilities and how much he understood could leave him cooped up in a lab cage. She doesn’t deal with this issue or animal rights at any length.

This is a good book for Alex’s many fans and a fascinating book for people new to the idea of animal intelligence and cognitive ability. It will amaze them and make them look at all animals in a new light.

Irene Pepperberg is an associate research professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and teaches animal cognition at Harvard University. Her work has been featured in major newspapers and magazines in the United States, Europe, and Asia, as well as on tele¬vision, including the now-famous interview of Alex by Alan Alda on Scientific American Frontiers. She is the author of one previous book, The Alex Studies (Harvard, 2000). - N. Marano

Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process [Paperback]

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Allergic to Pets? The Breakthrough Guide to Living with the Animals You Love
by Shirlee Kalstone
Bantam Books, 2006, 147pp., $7.99

Allergic reactions to animals are one of the main reasons that animals are relinquished to shelters. But now there Is hope for all of you who love animals but sneeze at the thought of being in the same room with a cat for more than two seconds. This small book is a “must read” for anyone who suffers from pet allergies.

Kalstone is thorough in discussing what allergies are and what causes them. By the end of that section I was sneezing. Then she deals with various popular pets and explains what causes a person to be allergic to them. The main animals she covers are cats, dogs, birds and horses. But she also devotes space to rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, mice, rats and ferrets. She provides tips for minimizing the allergens in your home and office as well as giving the latest information on what doctors have in their arsenals to help allergy sufferers. Kalstone suffers from allergies herself, but it hasn’t kept her from having many animals in her life.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves animals but is afraid to adopt a pet because of allergies. Kalstone give advice, explanations and easily followed tips for dealing with your allergy symptoms. A wealth of information in a small package. Everyone needs this book either for himself or for a friend. - N. Marano

On Dogwise: Allergic to Pets? The Breakthrough Guide to Living with the Animals You Love

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Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale
by Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff
Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2003, 256pp, $10.95

Amazing Gracie is a beautiful tribute to the lonely, deaf, and partially blind puppy who was the inspiration behind the famous Three Dog Bakery. Written by co - owners Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff, Amazing Gracie allows us to drop in and hop along on their incredible journey— one that led to great success in many ways.

In 1989, Dan Dye was stuck in a dead end job when he adopted the dog he called “the loneliest pup in the litter,” a deaf and partially blind albino Great Dane.

Writing with humor and great emotion, Dye and Beckloff highlight the important, often hysterical events of their lives. Through this deeply personal book we live life with Dan, Mark, and their three dogs, Sarah, Dottie, and Gracie. We learn how this wonderful empire began, and most important, why.

This inspiration packed book invites even die hard dog aficionados to marvel over Gracie's antics and the author's delivery of her actions. Amazing Gracie tugs at our heartstrings with crystal clear authenticity. It is a story about love; a tale of two guys and their canine family.

As Dan Dye so eloquently states, “This isn’t a book about ‘making it’, this is the story of a dog, born with all the cards stacked against her, whose passionate, joyful nature turned what could have been a dog’s life into a victory of the canine spirit— and in the process, saved two guys who thought they were saving her.”

Dedicated “For Gracie and for every other best dog in the world,” the book is a personal testament to the important role our dogs’ play in our lives.

Sending the clear message, “Life is being in the life lived, and not in the loss,” the book celebrates the human - canine connection.

Amazing Gracie will leave its stamp—a wonderful Great Dane sized paw-print right on your heart.

All royalties from Amazing Gracie benefit the Gracie Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose funds help abused and neglected animals. - R. Bildner

Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale

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Animals and the Kids Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Hope, Healing, and Compassion
by Allen & Linda Anderson
New World Library, 2011, 272pp, $14.95 (pap.)

This heartwarming anthology tells the stories of the bond between animals and kids. These animals all helped the children in the book conquer a problem whether it is the rabbit who helps a foster boy sleep through the night or the golden retriever who surfs in charity events to raise money for children with disabilities or Snazzy, a black pony, who helps a boy learn to talk. Allen and Linda Anderson cofounded Angel Animal Network. A portion of the proceeds from their books is donated to animal shelters and animal welfare organizations.

 

 

Animals and the Kids Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Hope, Healing, and Compassion

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Animals in Translation : Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
Scribner, 368 pp. 2004. $25

I have a real problems with this book and with Temple Grandin, a designer of humane handling facilities for livestock and Colorado State Professor who sees herself as an animal advocate. For decades she has been trying to straddle the vast divide between agribusiness and animal advocacy, and as a result, in my opinion, she’s made life easier for factory farmers and worse for farmed animals. She’s improved living and dying conditions for the victims of factory farming (the animals) at the expense of allowing the industry to feel less guilty and increase its profits, thus perpetuating a system that has wreaked havoc on the environment, on human health, on slaughterhouse workers, as well as on the animals who are imprisoned and murdered by the millions every year to keep it all going. It is irresponsible of Grandin, if she really considers herself an animal advocate, to enable a system that is so harmful on so many levels.

On the last page of her book, she reflects on her career choice:

“After I developed my center-track restraining system, I remember looking out over the cattle yard at the hundreds and hundreds of animals milling around in their corrals. I was upset that I had just designed a really efficient slaughter plant. . . . Cows are the animals I love best. Looking at those animals I realized that none of them would even exist if human beings hadn’t bred them into being.” (!)

So in other words, bioengineered animals should be grateful to humans for their existence, even if it’s a miserable and short one ending in slaughter? I find that a strange rationale.

In the area of pets, although I agree with Grandin that mixed breed dogs are the best bets for people to adopt, she also insists, several times, that pit bulls and Rottweilers are more aggressive dogs than other breeds-although she stops short of calling for a ban on them-even though it should be clear to anyone familiar with dogs that ANY dog is capable of being dangerous, depending on its environment and how it’s treated.

Bizarrely, Grandin also implies that insects and humans aren’t animals. Maybe she feels that insects are too lowly to be called animals and humans are superior to other animals.

I get the feeling, after reading this book, that Grandin is schizoid about our fellow animals. She obviously is attracted to them, has great admiration for their extraordinary abilities, and believes that she as an autistic person has a lot in common with them, yet she can talk about the ghastly experiments of Harry Harlow with baby monkeys without bothering to point out how sadistic they were. And she only mentions in passing her brief experiment with ethical vegetarianism that ended in failure because she felt ill, apparently causing her to conclude that she needed meat to survive. As a vegan for seven years, I know that no human needs meat to survive. It takes some getting used to, but anyone can do it. Although she does present some original and thoughtful ideas about animal behavior, as an animal advocate I can't recommend this book. - A. Baxter

On Amazon: Animals in Translation : Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

On Dogwise: Animals in Translation : Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

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Autobiography of a Georgia Cat
by Michael Cowl Gordon
Author House, 2004, 160pp. $12.95

Black Jack, a unique indoor/outdoor cat, narrates the story of his African-American family in rural Georgia and his cat life in the world outside his house. Archie, Jack’s guardian, sinks ever deeper into alcoholism causing disruption in the family. Archie’s wife, Cora, with ailments of her own, cares for her centenarian mother, Mama. Jack also talks about the relationship with their daughter, Lexie and her Jewish husband, Lenny, who battles an addiction problem of his own. Lexie battles cancer which affects the whole family but especially Lenny and their daughter, Emily.

A lengthy section of the book deals with “feline” mythology. Black Jack goes to the cats’ Summer Gathering to listen to Talks with Wolves, the most spiritually advanced cat among them, tell the ancient stories. Following catnip purification rites, they hear the tale of First Cat. Through his heroic quest the world is saved and the cat becomes God’s favorite. I loved the explanation of how cats gained the power to see in the dark. Jack also spends considerable time meditating. Some of his best meditation is done during the day on Mama’s bed while gospel songs pour from the radio.

Jack discusses every aspect of daily life from Archie’s addiction to Cora and Mama’s physical ailments. He also has opinions on dogs, hairballs and life in general. How Jack goes through life and his observations of it give the reader a glimpse into a cat’s mind and rural life in the Georgia. This book brings hope and understanding to readers coping with grief and loss as well as those who are going through addiction, codependency and recovery.

Due to the subject matter of the book and the possibility of using it in classes and groups dealing with loss or addiction, the author will provide a detailed study guide called “What Life Teaches a Cat” to be used in conjunction with the book. This would also be helpful for book groups.

I enjoyed this book and loved Jack. It will make every animal lover look more thoughtfully at their own animal and wonder just what is going on behind those eyes. I highly recommend this book. - N. Marano

Autobiography of a Georgia Cat

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Barkley: A Dog’s Journey
by Al Martinez
Angel City Press, 157 pp. 2006. $14.95

For those of us who’ve had the privilege of sharing our lives with pets, there are usually one or two with whom we bonded more tightly and who will always shine brighter in our memories. LA Times columnist Al Martinez and his wife had that in Barkley, an ebullient Springer Spaniel who was a beloved member of their family for nine years. “Barkley: A Dog’s Journey” documents a 3,000-mile road trip tailor made for Barkley up California and Oregon and back down to LA during a period of remission from the leukemia that killed him prematurely, with philosophical musings, local color, and recollections from the author’s long life thrown in for good measure. Thoughtful and lyrical, it encourages readers to contemplate their own lives and loves, but without being maudlin or indulging in over-sentimentality.

In the final chapter, Mr. Martinez explains that since Barkley’s death, they have not seen fit to replace Barkley with another dog because that would be too difficult. Instead, a feisty cat named Ernie is now attempting to fill some of the vacuum Barkley left behind. So life goes on, and the journey continues. Small book, big message.
- A. Baxter

Barkley: A Dog's Journey

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Belle's Star
by Connie Gotsch
Artemesia Publishing, 2009, 125 pp., $7.99 (paperback)

We first meet Belle when she is smashed between Bonehead Johnson and his son Toby on the front seat of Bonehead’s truck. The Heeler mix puppy has suffered much abuse on the farm where she was born. Toby continues the abuse by dumping her at a convenience store where she is rescued by Darcy and her Aunt Ellen.

Belle’s abusive background makes it very difficult for her to trust anyone. At Ellen’s house she meets Painter and Misty, the dog and cat, who live there. They try to convince Belle that people can be all right but their wisdom doesn’t fit with Belle’s experience. After Ellen’s husband says he doesn’t want another dog, Belle is taken to Darcy’s house.

The story is told from Belle’s viewpoint but the situations she faces hold many lessons for children, too. Belle fears new situations, she doesn’t trust new people and she doesn’t really believe that life can be good for her. Darcy patiently teaches Belle what she needs to know to be a good dog but Belle can’t trust Darcy yet. Belle always figures out how she can escape if she needs to.

When Darcy is threatened, Belle realizes how much she loves Darcy and learns what loyalty means as she comes to Darcy’s rescue. Belle learns she belongs in Darcy’s family and that the world can be a fine place for a dog.

The book can be used with children who have been in abusive situations. It will help them regain their confidence and learn to trust others again. It is written for children 8-12 years old. There is a free activity guide on the publisher’s website to be used by teachers, parents or counselors in connection with small group discussions of the book. It has questions and activities tied to each book chapter.

Connie Gotsch has published two award-winning adult novels but this is her first novel for young people. Belle’s Star won a Silver Mom’s Choice Award, and a First Place for Juvenile Fiction in the New Mexico Press Women Communication Contest in 2010. In 2009, Belle’s Star was a Finalist for a New Mexico Book Award for Juvenile Fiction. Connie Gotsch is a resident of Farmington, NM and works for KSJE, Public Radio for the Four Corners. She serves as Program Director and hosts the award-winning morning classical music show, “Roving with the Arts.” She also produces a segment entitled “Writers of the Four Corners.” She works with the Farmington Public Library on a story time program for children.

I highly recommend this book for all children who love animals and especially for children who have suffered abuse, bullying or other difficult situations in their homes and who need to learn to trust. - N. Marano

Belle's Star

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The Bump on Lucy’s Nose
by R. Thomas Berner
www.marquettebooks.com, 2008, 34pp. $8.95

Lucy was two-years-old when Sarah’s parents adopted her. She and Sarah celebrated their two-year birthdays together. They were inseparable. Then, on Sarah and Lucy’s 10th birthday, Sarah discovered a bump on Lucy’s nose. Sarah and her parents took Lucy to the veterinarian. Dr. Garcia said Lucy must stay at the veterinary hospital for surgery because she had a fibrous carcinoma – cancer – on her nose. The tumor needed to be removed. Even when Lucy came home, with stitches in her nose, no one knew whether the cancer was completely gone. It would take a year before they were sure. Sarah gave Lucy lots of love and treats. Life went back to normal for Lucy and Sarah. Finally, the year is over and Dr. Garcia calls to say the cancer is gone. Lucy is fine again. She compliments Sarah for taking such good care of Lucy, for noticing the lump so quickly and for bringing Lucy to the veterinary hospital. She told her that helped save Lucy’s life. Sarah and Lucy write the book together to tell their story to others.

The message of this book is an excellent one for children, and adults, too. Because Sarah and her parents consider Lucy a member of the family and pay such close attention to her, they handled a potentially deadly health problem immediately. This allowed Lucy to be cured. It isn’t a bad lesson to heed with humans, either. I also enjoyed the fact that the book is dedicated to Ed, Lucy’s boyfriend.

R. Thomas Berner is Professor Emeritus of Journalism and American Studies at Pennsylvania State University. The story is based on what happened with Lucy, a Golden Retriever they rescued. - N. Marano

The Bump on Lucy's Nose

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Calico Tales…and Others
by Betsy Stowe
Infinity Press, 109 pp. 2004. $14.95

When poetry is good it touches your mind and intellect. But, for me, great poetry grabs my heartstrings and emotions. It won’t let me go even when I close the book. That is how I felt after reading Calico Tales…and Others. No cat lover could read this book of poetry without a tear, a laugh and a smile of recognition. The incidents and emotions portrayed in the poems perfectly reflect the personality of cats. The author has captured the playfulness, aloofness, warmth and love cats share with their chosen people. But you get more than graceful, effortless poetry, although that would have been enough. Each poem is balanced by a beautiful black and white photograph showing cats in the mood of the poem. The two together make it an outstanding book. My personal favorite poems were “Jump the Moon,” “Sleeping Cat,” “The Street” and “Flat Out.”

Whether you like poetry or photography or you just love cats, this is a must have book. I know I will look at these photographs and re-read these poems whenever I need to touch the essence of what a cat is all about. This would make a wonderful gift for any cat lover on your list. - N. Marano

Calico Tales...And Others

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Careers for Your Cat
by Ann Dziemianowicz (author) and Ann Boyajian (illustrator)
Ten Speed Press, 2010, 96pp, $9.99

Are you ready for some role reversal? Help find the proper career for your cat so Fluffy can get a high-end job and you can catnap all day. Careers for Your Cat provides you with a convenient in-home Meowers-Briggs Career/Personality Test that gives your cat the tools to identify skill-sets that will help him make the correct career choice. This book matches the cat’s personality to the proper career just as the Myers-Briggs test does for people. Perhaps your pampered Persian is really an interior decorator at heart. Or maybe your adventurous Abyssinian should be a pilot. Your tuxedo cat might have the soul of an opera star. Find out the answers by establishing your cat’s “type” – outgoing or reserved, self-effacing or self-confident, witty or witless. After the personality type is determined, Dziemianowicz provides thirty-four career matches for those types. This book is fun in every way and highly recommended.

Careers for Your Cat

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Careers with Dogs: The Comprehensive Guide to Finding Your Dream Job
By Kim Campbell Thornton
BowTie, Inc., 2011, 488pp, $24.95 (pap.)


Are you thinking of what career you might like to pursue or perhaps reinventing your career path in the current economy? If you are crazy about dogs and think you might like to work with them, this is the book for you. Thornton profiles 120 jobs that involve working with dogs. There is everything from veterinarian, veterinary specialties and vet techs to dog groomer and behaviorist. Maybe you’d like to be a pet massage therapist or a search-and-rescue handler? Dog trainers, animal communicators, humane educators – all are described along with interviews of people doing that job, “barkworthy bites of advice” and “barkworthy tips” to give you a thorough idea of what each of these professions is like. Thornton has authored or co-authored more than 30 books on cats and dogs. This is the ultimate guide to animal professions. While it is written for people who want to work with dogs, much of the advice could apply to those who wish to work with cats, too.

 

Careers with Dogs: The Comprehensive Guide to Finding Your Dream Job

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Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter
by Jeanne Adlon and Susan Logan
Square One Publishers, 2011, 144pp, $14.95 (pap.)

Thirty-five years ago Jeanne Adlon became the first cat sitter in New York City. Since then, she has seen it all and recounts many of her experiences with the wonderful cats she has cared for over the years. Tips for making cats lives better and for helping people do the best for their furry friends are written with love and fun. Her co-author, Susan Logan, is the editor of Cat Fancy magazine. You will find out about keeping kitties kosher, feeding pampered cats from Waterford goblets or the time John Lennon bought a cat tree from her shop window – cat hair and all. This is an excellent book with good advice written in an interesting way. A portion of the book sales will be donated to animal rescue, rehabilitation and preservation organizations. Excellent gift for cat lovers.

Cat Calls

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Cat Coming Home (Joe Grey Mysteries)
By Shirley Rousseau Murphy
William Morrow, 2010, 368pp, $19.99


Put this 17th Joe Grey mystery on your Christmas list for all your cat loving friends. The holidays in Molena Point may not arrive with joy this year because the town is dealing with a series of brutal assaults. A team of criminals is breaking into homes to hide their stalking and brutal attacks of single women. So far the police haven’t been able to come up with anything and the cat sleuths, Joe Grey, Dulcie and Kit, haven’t called in any tips either. Several new characters arrive in town to make everything more interesting. Maudie Toola and her orphaned grandson, Benny, come back to her childhood home of Molena Point when her son and daughter-in-law are murdered in Los Angeles. She is unaware that the killers have followed them back. Misto, a wise prison cat in town from Soledad Prison, provides the connection between the mysteries. Joe and the gang help solve the crimes by Christmas Eve and find Misto a new home. When you read Murphy’s Joe Grey series, you’ll understand why she has won so many awards for her books.

 

Cat Coming Home (Joe Grey Mysteries)

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Cat Confessions: A “Kitty Come Clean” Tell All Book
by Allia Zobel Nolan
Harvest House Publishers., 2010, 64p., $9.99

It’s not easy to confess our sins and shortcomings whether we’re human or feline. However, these brave felines are coming clean in Nolan’s new tell-all book. Nolan’s own cats have enlisted their feline friends to feel the cathartic effects of getting their misdeeds off their chests and starting fresh.

We meet cats who lick the salt off Mom’s potato chips, hack into Dad’s computer to start a social networking fan site, land a super hairball smack in Dad’s shoe, use his razor or tell their Mom’s date how old she really is.

Each confession is accompanied by a photo of the cat who is baring his soul. The pictures are excellent and will make the reader go “Ahhh” even while being horrorstruck at the confession.

Nolan is the author of seven other cat books and more than 150 children’s and adult books. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three cats.

Cat Confessions: A Kitty Come Clean Tell-All Book

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Cat House Sonnets: 100 Poems Celebrating Cats
by Margy Ohring
Jorlan Publishing 116pp. 2006 $14.95

Margy Ohring has captured the true essence of cat in this wonderfully touching book of sonnets. Her poems celebrate ordinary events - feeding time, using the litter box, sleeping sitting on a windowsill, or playing with a toy. Yet the reader sees every nuance of the scene in great detail. It would be difficult to pick favorite poems here because each of them works. It is nice to see a classic poetic form used with a modern subject to such good effect. Ohring manages to get inside the minds of the felines she so lovingly describes. I felt I knew the personality of each cat in the book. This is a wonderful achievement that any cat lover would enjoy dipping into frequently when a smile, a laugh or even a tear is needed. Bravo for such a delightful read. - N. Marano

Cat-House Sonnets

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The Cat Lover’s Book of Days
by Peg Silloway
Ursa Books, 2010, 384p., $24.95

What a charming book for any cat lover. When I first saw the book, I flipped to February 7, January 6, September 3 and other dates that marked friends’ birthdays. I wanted to know what cat wisdom could be found for that day and I wasn’t disappointed. There is a page for every day of the year including Leap Year.

Every day has information that may include photos, history, folklore, humor, quotes and commentary about cats. There is much about the naming of cats and the stories behind the names. In the very center of the book is a special section. It includes a copy of the original 1876 New York Times article on postal cats. Very interesting, if hard on the eyes. Then there is an article called “The CAT User’s Manual” which is fun and useful.

This would make a wonderful gift for any cat lover on your list or for yourself. Put it on your bedside table and dip into it at will. You will always come up with a tidbit about cats that you didn’t know before. And you’ll have the joy of looking at cats every day of the year. Congratulations to Peg Siloway for collecting all this feline trivia and for putting it together in such a fun, readable way. - N. Marano

The Cat Lover's Book of Days: A Year of Cat History, Lore, and Laughter

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The Cat Master
by Bonnie Pemberton
Marshall Cavendish, 2007, 260 pp. $16.99

Buddy, the pampered, rescue cat who lives indoors, and Jett, the feral who has survived life in the alley, may just look like cats to the average person but in reality their intertwined fate will play out the age-old clash of good vs. evil. They are locked in battle to be the next Cat Master, spiritual leader of all felines. Which one wins is at the heart of this book.

The old Cat Master is dying. He sends out a message, “Rise from the alley, my son. Of all my blood, you are the Chosen.” But his message is telepathically interrupted so Buddy hears only, “Rise from the alley…” The feline world plunges into darkness waiting for the next leader.

Buddy was badly hurt, when The Boy found him and nursed him back to health. Now Buddy lives the life of an Indoor with two other cats, Pris and Zekki. They are young and look up to Buddy for training and guidance. Buddy is haunted by the message that keeps playing over in his mind, “Rise from the alley…” and the arrival of Jett in his yard. Even though he doesn’t want to leave The Boy, he knows he must return to the alley to meet his fate. He warns Zekki and Pris to stay indoors where they are safe. But, like most cats, who are burdened with endless curiosity, they don’t listen and wander out the front door instead. Jett lures them into the dangerous world of the Outs where they become bait in his trap to lure Buddy into his web.

It takes the help of five cats, two dogs, a lizard, a possum and a mockingbird for Buddy to fulfill his mission. Of all the minor characters, Orie, the lizard, is the most satisfying. His actions turn him from a timid lizard into a lizard who is special indeed. The heroic German Sheperd, Tenba, continuously demonstrates the courageous loyalty of her breed.

Pemberton uses exciting, vivid descriptions to describe the animals, their surroundings and the perils they face on their adventures. Some of the fight scenes are filled with gore leading to death, which might be a bit strong for younger readers. But Pemberton depicts the bonding of animal to animal and animal to human beautifully. When I finished, I felt I these characters were part of my family.

I would recommend this book for older children and adults. Pemberton gets into the animal mind and gives her readers access to the mysterious feline world. -N. Marano

The Cat Master

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Cat Playing Cupid (Joe Grey Mysteries)
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Avon, 2009, 368 pp., $7.99 (paperback)

Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery
By Shirley Rousseau Murphy
William Morrow, 2009, 336 pp., $19.99


Shirley Rousseau Murphy has been writing the delightful Joe Grey mysteries for many years. These are the 14th and 15th books in the series. When an author has a continuing series, the books can become a little stale and predictable. That is not the case with Joe Grey and his band of talking cat detectives. They remain as clever as ever. Molena Point, CA would not be nearly as safe without their help.

Yes, I said talking cats. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be interested in a series where the animals can talk but here I believe Joe Grey, Dulcie and the others definitely do talk. If you can’t surrender to the fantasy and mystery of talking cats, these books aren’t for you. But, if you give them a chance, Joe and his talking friends will win you over.

Cat Playing Cupid begins on Valentine’s Day with the wedding of Joe’s human, Clyde Damen, to Ryan Flannery. There is hardly time to concentrate on the wedding when a body turns up that needs to be identified and a long cold case re-emerges that begs to be solved. Not only must Joe solve the cases, but there is the discovery of a book of folk tales that reveals the secret of the talking cats – Joe Grey, Dulcie, Kit and a clowder of ferals living in the hills.

Cat Striking Back, the latest in the Joe Grey series, finds Joe discovering a crime scene as he is doing a good deed by providing food for a nursing mother cat. He smells the trail of human blood at the site of the muddy swimming pool and follows it to where the body disappears. Then there is the matter of four burglarized homes where the owners are all on vacation. Joe, Dulcie, Kit and two local ferals figure out how to thwart the killer.

Molena Point is modeled on Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula. It is a charming town with interesting people. Some people know the cats can talk and others don’t so there is always the tension of keeping the secret unless the cats decide to reveal it for their own reasons.

Shirley Rousseau Murphy is a multiple award-winning author who has written children’s books and fantasy books as well as the Joe Grey series. She and her husband live in Carmel, CA where they serve as full-time household help for their two demanding felines.

I highly recommend this series for its setting, characters, humor, and storytelling. You will come away from the books believing these people are your friends. And, even better, you will have met a remarkable group of cats who actually keep the order in Molena Point. It might help to start with Cat on the Edge, the first book in the series, to get an idea of how the characters change and grow throughout the books. But anywhere you start will be a good beginning. - N. Marano

Cat Playing Cupid

Cat Striking Back: A Joe Grey Mystery

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Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook
by Delbert G. Carlson, DVM and James M. Giffin, MD
Howell Book House, 448 pp. 1995. $24.95

This is one of those books every cat guardian should keep, for informational purposes, alongside their books on complementary veterinary medicine. It's an allopathic encyclopedia of what can go wrong with cats written in layman's language, and furnished with photos and other graphics as well as other interesting tidbits about cat physiology and anatomy.

The authors also wrote “Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook”, which is equally informative. - A. Baxter

Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook

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Cats/Canines Can Communicate
by Patricia Murphy, Ph.D.
JPM Publishers, 107 pp. 1998. $9.00

The possibility of mental telepathy between animals, plants and humans is fascinating, and there are animal intuitives and psychics who have made a career out of it. This book, with its somewhat misleading and awkward title (she talks about more than just cats and dogs), would have been much more effective had it been better organized and written more carefully. As it is, it's a far too short introduction to the world of animal/human communication, with a number of anecdotes included to illustrate how people can "talk" to their pets, wildlife and even plants to find out how they feel and what they need.

It's part how-to book and partly a story of Murphy's and other's experiences with animals. Some of the incidents she describes and the advice she gives strain the edges of credibility, but if you suspend your disbelief and open your mind to the magical, you'll get a kick out of this book. You may even find yourself giving and getting telepathic messages back from your pets and plants. As for me, I'm still working on it. - A. Baxter

Cats/Canines Can Communicate

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The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know about Caring for Your Cat
By Darlene Arden
Wiley, 2011, 224p., $19.99 pap.

This is the book every first-time or twentieth –time cat owner needs to have. It is concise and lets you know everything about bringing a cat into your home. Arden gives the information in a chatty, personal manner that lets the reader know she has been there and knows what she’s talking about. I’ve had many cats and still learned things I didn’t know from this book. She uses boxes to provide quick points that are interesting such as, “Cats purr when they’re content, but they also purr as a way to release stress and comfort themselves. There has been some research done… that shows the frequency of the purr is healing.”

The book begins before the kitten is born and explains how a professional breeder prepares for each litter. Arden uses respectable breeders as examples of how much thought goes into making everything ready for new kittens. One of the things I particularly like about this book is the respect Arden has for shelter cats and the rescue groups who help strays and abandoned cats. To Arden each cat is valuable and important whether purebred or mixed breed. Each needs the same type of care and attention. Arden puts a spotlight on volunteering by saying, “Volunteers are invaluable to any shelter or rescue group. If you’re not quite ready to bring home a cat, you might think about volunteering at a local shelter or humane society.”

There is an excellent survey section on feline health concerns. This provides the reader with behavior and symptoms to watch for and helps you know when the cat must go to the veterinarian and possible treatments.

The author is a certified animal behavior consultant and gives the reader the benefit of that knowledge in several chapters. She explains cat behavior in great detail and has another chapter on the importance of training your cat, using clicker training as a fast, effective means of training and the importance of interacting with your cat on a regular basis.

Her appendices are useful and fun. There are so many products available for cats from toys to cat trees to scratching posts that Arden gives the reader a quick shopping guide to the some of the best available. She also lists a variety of web sites that cat lovers might not be aware of such as The American Association of Feline Practitioners, Cornell Feline Health Center and Winn Feline Foundation. All of these organizations have helpful information on cats. She also has a list of how to find a behavior consultant and some books that will get you started on a more complete understanding of your cat.

I highly recommend this book for cat people and libraries. If you buy one cat care book this year, this should be the one.

The Complete Cat's Meow: Everything You Need to Know about Caring for Your Cat

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The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat
by Juliette De Bairacli Levy
Faber & Faber, 323 pp. 1991. $16

European natural rearing advocate De Bairacli Levy is clearly a highly respected and very knowledgeable herbal and natural pet care expert, and I have no problem with her advice in these areas. However, her negative comments about spaying and neutering (i.e., that it's a bad idea, and that humans do it for their own convenience, not for the benefit of their pets) are off base. She has a great respect for ancient lore, but in this case, I think that she's gotten old wive's tales and true wisdom confused. I don't know where Ms. Levy resides, or what the pet population statistics are for her area, but in the U.S., some six million dogs and cats are killed every year because there are not enough homes for them all. Is there any benefit to the animals in having to destroy entire litters? Has Ms. Levy ever seen a pile of just-euthanized shelter dogs and cats, killed merely because there were too many of them? In New Mexico, dogs and cats, kittens and puppies are routinely dumped like garbage because those responsible for their existence are not willing to care for them. We took these animals out of the wild and domesticated them thousands of years ago, and they can no longer live as if they were still wild. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of having pets, but I believe that since we've created them and made them dependent on us, we have to take responsibility for their care. And that includes spaying and neutering to prevent their numbers from getting out of control and preventing the suffering of so many of them who are forced to live on the streets, or who are abused or neglected, or euthanized because of lack of space. That's the real suffering, to me.

In an ideal world, dogs and cats could live as nature intended--with gonads intact--if their guardians would only be willing to control their roaming behavior. But this is far from an ideal world. Because of the gross irresponsibility of pet guardians who allow their unaltered animals to run around and freely breed because they've decided it's inconvenient and too expensive to have them spayed and neutered--and because of professional breeders who add to the problem by perpetuating their favored breeds, as well as puppy mills and backyard breeders who produce millions more animals, the U.S. has ended up with a tragic overpopulation problem. I wonder what measures Ms. Levy would suggest to deal with that, if not spaying and neutering.

Otherwise, I found the book fairly useful and educational. - A. Baxter

The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Designer Dogs
by Margaret H. Bonham
Alpha Books, 2005, 238pp. $14.95

This is the only book I’ve seen on the new concept of “designer dogs.” It is a subject that needs some discussion. Bonham provides a lengthy section devoted to listing the various designer dog combinations, telling breed characteristics, history and personalities. This section is quite helpful for people who are deciding which designer dog is right for them. The rest of the book is standard information for dog ownership. She covers the field from choosing a puppy to nutrition, training, health, grooming and safety concerns.

While the book would be helpful to anyone thinking about adding a designer dog to their lives, it poses a dilemma for this reviewer.

People usually want these dogs because they are advertised as being hypoallergenic, non-shedding and trendy. But what you get for a large price tag, sometimes as high as $3,500, is a glorified mutt who may not live up to all the advance hype. His parents are purebred dogs, but he isn’t considered a purebred because the AKC doesn’t recognize his breed. He still may cause allergies for people with allergen sensitivities, and the trend may fade away as trends usually do.

With so many desirable mixed-breed dogs languishing in animal shelters, I have a hard time rationalizing the need for “designer dogs.” But if you are considering such a purchase, this book will be helpful to you.

- N. Marano

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Designer Dogs

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dog Health & Nutrition
by Margaret Bonham and James J. Wingert, DVM
Alpha Books, 298 pp. 2003 $14.95

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to really study these areas of dogology, this book is not bad to have around. However, I do have a number of issues with it. Number one is that one of the co-authors, Margaret Bonham, is an aficionado of dogsled racing and even puts in a plug for the Iditarod, the most brutal and canine-cruel race on earth, in my opinion.

Another is that the co-authors seem to be prejudiced against the “holistic crowd”, as it’s termed at one point, and harbor a grudge against them for successfully crusading against the use of the chemical ethoxyquin as a dog food preservative. They also feel that “meat by-products” and “meat meal” are perfectly good sources of nutrition for dogs. Nutritionist Gary Null, whose book, Natural Pet Care, I’ve reviewed below, writes that most commercial dog food is made of dangerous and toxic stuff, including rendered shelter dogs, road kill, and flea collars, and that no dog should eat it. In contrast, the authors seem to believe that if a dog food is certified by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials), a self-policing group run by pet food manufacturers, it’s perfectly healthy to eat. It’s interesting that the only blurb on the book is from a pet food manufacturer.

Other prejudices that I uncovered are an anti-soy milk bias (the book states parenthetically that children who drink soy milk often develop rickets!). As a vegan, I know that soymilk contains sufficient calcium for any human. They also seem to be against what they term “fad” diets: the vegetarian as well as the BARF (bones and raw food) diet, both of which have been fed to dogs with no apparent ill effects for a number of years.

The authors also claim that today’s dogs live longer and healthier lives than they did before commercial dog foods were available, and that home-cooked diets are usually inferior to commercial diets. Although admittedly this is hard to prove one way or the other, authors like Gary Null and Ann N. Martin (see Protect Your Pet book review below) believe that most dogs are actually sicklier than they once were, largely because of the commercial diets they’re put on and the frequent vaccinations they get. They contend that cancers and autoimmune disorders are showing up in increasingly younger dogs, and that average life spans are actually shorter than they used to be.

To their credit, the authors are pro-spay/neuter and anti-obesity, and the medical chapters are written in layman’s terms.

Having said all that, I certainly can’t recommend this book with any degree of personal enthusiasm, but it does contain the bare bone basics for busy dog guardians. - A. Baxter

Complete Idiot's Guide to Dog Health & Nutrition (The Complete Idiot's Guide)

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The Covenant of the Wild: Why Animals Chose Domestication
by Stephen Budiansky
Yale University Press, 216 pp. 1999. $18

Science writer Stephen Budiansky attempts to prove against all evidence to the contrary that man and domesticated animals (farm animals, horses, dogs, cats) are willing partners in a mutually beneficial pact, and that agribusiness/factory farming is just part of the evolutionary process. He cites the fact that the (free) wild counterparts of cows, horses, etc., are languishing while their (enslaved) domesticated cousins are flourishing as a justification for domestication! (Reminds me of cattle chute designer Temple Grandin's response, when asked if cows should even exist, that at least they have a life, even if it's a miserable one). He presents anecdotal "evidence" that chickens and sheep enjoy confinement. He believes there are so many surplus pets that shipping them to labs isn't a bad idea, and that adopting a shelter cat may not be wise because it kills birds. He also attributes the current human-engendered, accelerated rate of species extinction to (what else?) evolution. (Darwin must be turning over in his grave.)

The author, a small-time farmer, waxes romantic about hunters, farmers, and ranchers- that they're closer to nature than pampered, ignorant city slickers, and connect spiritually with those whom they kill. He includes many cheap shots at animal rights activists (simplistic, sentimental, squeamish, seeking a return to a nonexistent Eden). He ridicules progressive towns such as Berkeley, CA, which "encapsulates America's loss of knowledge about the real world"; and Takoma Park, MD, a nuclear-free zone with a socialist mayor and a vocal animal rights community- apparently three strikes against it.

Mr. Budiansky apparently believes it extremist to liberate lobsters from a supermarket, but not to boil them alive for a taste treat; extremist to rescue hens for a farm sanctuary, but not to debeak them, force moult them, and then kill them at 1-2 years of age, despite their 15-year life expectancy; extremist to free minks from a commercial farm to fend for themselves, but not to electrocute, gas, poison, or strangle them so their fur isn't damaged for fashion mavens; and extremist to remove toxoplasmosis-infected cats from a "research" lab, but not to continue to exploit them with Machiavellian experiments and then kill them as a reward for their service. And he apparently doesn't think it extremist to create more and more drugs and vaccines to help humans survive and live longer (at last count we number SIX BILLION), while destroying millions of "lower" animals in the process.

Agribusiness pollutes the environment terribly, and it pollutes human beings who feed off meat products. In evolutionary terms, I say Budiansky is wrong; Homo sapiens are gradually moving away from the exploitation of domesticated animals and toward compassionate veganism. I see mandatory spay/neuter laws and the elimination of breeding programs in our future. After all, if we're part of the evolutionary problem, we should be part of the solution. Richard Dawkins states in The Blind Watchmaker, "Our legal and moral systems are deeply species-bound.” A book such as this only contributes to that speciesism and anthropocentrism. But it's worth reading just to know what we're up against. - A. Baxter

The Covenant of the Wild : Why Animals Chose Domestication

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¿Cuantos Perros? How Many Dogs?   NEW!
by Bam Schlidkraut, Illustrated by: Steven Katz
Operation Outreach-USA Press, 2011, unpaged, $7.95

Just how many dogs does it take to have fun? How many dogs does it take to dig a hole or role in the dirt? You’ll learn the answer when you read ¿Cuantos Perros? How Many Dogs. This read-out-loud bilingual book helps children learn to count in both Spanish and English.

The fun begins with uno/one, perro/dog who loves to run and continues to diez/ten napping dogs tired out from their adventures. There are big dogs, little dogs, shaggy dogs and fluffy dogs. In between the dogs paddle and dive in a pond, march in a line and roll on the floor. Children will have fun finding the cat in each picture. All the interactions between dogs and children are happy and positive. Everyone is having fun and the colorful drawings by Steven Katz add humor and joy to this book. By the time children finish ¿Cuantos Perros? How Many Dogs, they will be counting in Spanish and English and woofing along with the dogs.

The author, Bam Schlidkraut, PhD, is an animal behaviorist, writer and educator. She writes the Casa Canine column on dogs as well as feature articles for PETroglyphs Animal Resource Magazine. She also writes short stories. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

¿Cuantos Perros? How Many Dogs? is published by Operation Outreach-USA (OO-USA) which provides free literacy and character education programs to elementary and middle schools across the country. Schildkraut’s first book, Goodbye, Jake, was also published by OO-USA. Goodbye, Jake deals with the death of a beloved dog and how to explain this tremendous loss to a child. [See our Goodbye, Jake review.]

I would recommend this as a good counting book for beginning readers and as a fun book to read aloud with your child. - N. Marano

¿Cuantos Perros? How Many Dogs? (English and Spanish Edition)

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Curious Creatures, Wondrous Waifs: My Life with Animals
by Ed Kostro
Publish America, 216 pp. 2003. $9.00

Many animal lovers have probably thought about writing a book similar to this, an affectionate family memoir starring the animals we have known and loved. Ed Kostro, a middle-aged, self-confessed animal person and the owner of a truly prodigious memory (most people wouldn't vividly remember an incident from when they were three years old), reminisces about pets and wildlife he has encountered and lived with.

I was prepared to really enjoy the read, and for the most part I did. Some of his stories brought tears to my eyes, and a few made me laugh. However, I had some problems with it, including Kostro's enthusiastic description of buying parakeets to fly around the house just so he could drive his bird-phobic sister crazy, or the hypocrisy of his fishing activities set against the assertion that he loves and respects all animals (but not fish, apparently). To Kostro's credit, in the last pages he does say that eventually he gave up fishing because he found himself releasing more of the fish than he caught.

As a writer, Kostro leaves a bit to be desired. The book could have been improved with a good editor in tow to control his addiction to certain adverbs (e.g., merrily, hysterically) and, too often, his indulgence in soupy oversentimentality. - A. Baxter

Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs

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Dog Blessings: Poems, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating Our Relationship with Dogs
By June Cotner
New World Library, 2008, 192 pp., $16.00

“Dogs invite us into their world and through that our lives are deeply enriched,” writes June Cotner in the introduction to this book. “The poems and prayers in Dog Blessings celebrate our love and devotion for dogs which in turn is reciprocated many times over by their love and devotion for us.”

This statement sums up this book. It is an anthology by famous and lesser known voices devoted to various aspects of a dog’s life and the canine/human bond. It honors the way dogs touch our lives. Divided into sections called “A Dog’s World,” “Puppies,” “Our Bond,” “Devotion,” “Aging Gracefully,” “Partings,” “Reflections” and “Prayers, Blessings and Inspiration” it takes us through the life of a dog and gives us words of wisdom for each stage in the passage. This book will make you laugh and cry but you definitely will recognize your dog in many of the passages.

Cotner celebrates the love every dog person feels for his/her canine companion. How can you not recognize your dog in:

THE GREETING by Joan Noëldechen

I open the door./ You are already/ bounding to the door/ with a wagging tail,/ flashing teeth,/ and four prancing paws./ Your healing power dissolves/ the most difficult day/ from memory./ A cold nose/ and warm kisses/ trigger a child’s laughter/ from my heart./ I am a better human/for having you/ in my life.

Or agree with Roger Caras when he says, “If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.”

Dog Blessings is the right book to give to all your dog-loving friends. Whether you dip into the book a little at a time or read it from cover to cover, it will make you appreciate the dog who shares your life. But most of all you’ll want to hug your dog and plant a big kiss on his forehead to thank him for sharing his love with you. -N. Marano

Dog Blessings: Poems, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating Our Relationship with Dogs

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Dog Eat Dog: A Very Human Book About Dogs and Dog Shows
by Jane Stern and Michael Stern
Fireside, 192 pp. 1998. $13.95

A more apt title might be "Human Eat Human" because the dogs in this book are civilized. It's the people who are vicious. This book is meant to be a light-hearted romp through the wacky world of dog shows, but I found it downright depressing.

Dog show human participants are a strange breed themselves. They seem to look upon dogs as decorative objects born to win them ribbons (and to suffer whatever consequences go along with that). The people involved in dog shows are closely akin to those who drag their kids around the country in order to compete in beauty pageants: cold-blooded, calculating, and often back-stabbingly competitive. Show dogs lead an unnatural, lonely life stuck in a kennel when they're not on the road in a trailer headed towards the next competition. There might be some merit to it if the contests were honest, but there's back room politics involved and it seems to have more to do with seducing the judge, putting the right makeup on your dog, or getting a judge that happens to like your dog's body type or breed than honest competition.

Mimi, the main human character in the book, works at her local animal shelter and visits retirement homes with retired show dogs. So you would think she should know better because of her exposure to the plight of homeless animals. But apparently not. She supposedly loves her dogs, but I suspect she loves them for what they can do for her ego in the show ring. And if they fail, as Rusty did at first, she has no qualms about giving him away to another trainer at very short notice.

The obsessive mating (or artificial inseminating) of so-called "purebreds" (the bullmastiff, the main focus of this book, has been so genetically manipulated that its lifespan is only about nine years) in order to sell puppies to equally obsessed clients who have a "thing" about the look of a certain breed reminds me of the Master Race theories of the Nazis. And considering the huge number of healthy, available dogs in shelters and with rescue groups in this country, it's insane that breeders continue to produce often physically and psychologically impaired purebreds for the market (as well as to appear on the dog show circuit), especially when you consider the fact that at least 15% of surrendered shelter animals are purebreds.

At one point, frustrated in her attempts to produce a healthy litter, Mimi has a moment of enlightenment: "I am thinking of getting out of this business altogether. Purebred dogs are nothing but heartache. I just want nice mutts from the pound who live forever." Unfortunately, at the end of the book she doesn't follow up on this wish. - A. Baxter

Dog Eat Dog : A Very Human Book About Dogs and Dog Shows

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Dog Tags of Courage: Combat Infantrymen and War Dog Heroes in Vietnam
by John C. Burnam, MSG (USA ret)
Lost Coast Press, 2006, 338 pp, $29.95

John Burnam does an excellent job of recounting his personal story as an Army soldier and dog handler in Vietnam and Okinawa in the late 60s, as well as giving an overall historical view of the war-dog team situation in that war and others. As a 19 year old Burnam joined the Army and soon found himself in Vietnam. At first he performed regular infantry duty, until he was injured in battle and sent for an extensive recuperation period to a hospital in Japan. There, he became interested in learning to be a dog handler and trained in Okinawa with a sentry dog named Hans. But he grew bored guarding classified military installations, and against all advice, applied to return to Vietnam as a foot soldier, even agreeing to extend his service so he would be accepted.

On his second tour of duty in Vietnam Burnam again came in contact with dog handlers and ended up training with war dog Clipper, a German shepherd and his beloved companion for the remainder of his service. In his book, he also talks about war dogs from past conflicts and how they were often honored and adopted after the war, but not so in Vietnam, where they were classified as military spare parts and discarded (that is, either euthanized or left behind for the South Vietnamese, whose culture regarded dogs as a potential meat source). He also provides lists of all the war dogs and war dog handlers in Vietnam who were killed in action.

Burnam speaks sensitively of how deeply war dog handlers became attached to their highly trained dogs, and how vital the dogs were to the survival of troops. The founder of the National War Dog Team Memorial and past president of the Vietnam Dog Handler Association, he is still haunted by the fact that he had to leave Clipper behind. These days he’s involved with helping soldiers bring war dogs home from Iraq. “Dog Tags of Courage” is a well-written, informative and touching book. - A. Baxter

Dog Tags of Courage: Combat Infantrymen And War Dog Heroes in Vietnam

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Dog Talk: Lessons Learned from a Life with Dogs
by Harrison Forbes with Beth Adelman
St. Martin’s Press, 280 pp., 2008, $24.95

Animal behavior has intrigued Harrison Forbes from the moment his grandfather taught him how to lure timid squirrels into his kitchen in Tennessee. As a dog trainer and behaviorist, he has spent two decades trying to learn why dogs do what they do. His book is meant to help people understand that they are a lot more in control of their dog’s behavior than they think. First of all, he stresses, “It’s really important to understand that dog behavior is about 75 percent genetic and 25 percent environmental,” with some variation from breed to breed.

The dog owner also needs to understand that each dog wants to be part of a pack with its owner as leader, who sets the tone for the dog’s behavior. Any good dog trainer will tell you that your energy travels down the leash just like an electric cord, and your dog’s energy travels up the leash. A calm, mellow dog owner gives the dog calm energy and confidence.

“It works both ways. That’s the biggest curse or gift owners give their dogs.”

Forbes has built his reputation on finding ways to deal with difficult-to-handle dogs in his work with six hundred of the world’s toughest police and protection dogs. Each chapter tells the story of a memorable dog that has passed through his life with lessons learned. Even his four-year-old daughter’s shih tzu taught him a couple of tricks. The toughest dog he ever trained, Akbar, was minutes away from euthanasia when Forbes rescued him. His stories are warm and interesting, emphasizing problems and solutions that most of us wouldn’t even think of.

One chapter describing his adoption of Diablo, a pure blooded wolf, proves the important point that wolves, and wolf hybrids, cannot be pets. They are so different from dogs with different needs and temperaments. He realized he couldn’t keep Diablo as a pet and, after much research, he sent him to live at a large wolf reserve in North Carolina.

Forbes says that all the dogs that have passed through his life seem to be saying, “You respect me, and I’ll respect you.” - J. Litz

Dog Talk: Lessons Learned from a Life with Dogs

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The Dog Who Met the Queen & Other Stories
by Bernard Wasserman, DVM
Bennington Press, 153 pp. 1999. $12.95

After a short spell during which he was an assistant professor of animal pathology, the co-director of a diagnostic laboratory for animal diseases, and a researcher on viral diseases, Bernard Wasserman, AB, DVM, turned to the practice of small animal medicine. In 1957 he opened his own small animal hospital in Brooklyn Heights, NYC, and stayed with it for 30 years. The Dog Who Met the Queen & Other Stories tells the tales of those animals and their people who came and went at the Hicks Street clinic.

Not one of the 25 stories that make up this small book failed to hold my attention. From cleaning up birds after an oil spill to treating Truman Capote’s dog, the subjects of the stories are wonderfully diverse. If I had to say something un-glowing, I would say that I would have felt better, as a reader, if Wasserman had arranged the tales in chronological order and if the very first one had not been about animal hoarders. That tragic and important subject was a bit off-putting as an introduction to what was to come. I was tempted not to go on but am glad I did.

For those readers who have vicariously traveled the Yorkshire dales delivering calves in mid-winter or have stooped next to the vet looking for patients under the bed, these tales of running a veterinary practice in the middle of Brooklyn will be a treat. The scenery is different, but the delight in helping people care for their animals and the compassion Wasserman shows for the animals in his care remain the same. - S. DeWitt

The Dog Who Met The Queen and Other Stories

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Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
by Matthew Scully
St. Martin’s Press, 464 pp. 2002. $27.95

Let me say at the outset that it's about time a born-again, conservative Christian wrote a pro-animal rights book. Matthew Scully is a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and an ethical vegan of many years’ standing. I recommend this book highly; the riveting chapters on Scully’s close encounters with Safari Club International and the North Carolina pig factories are alone worth the price. But I do have a few problems with it.

One of Scully's 'bêtes noires' is the utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer, who wrote the groundbreaking “Animal Liberation” that defined the animal rights movement. As a Christian, Scully seems to mistakenly believe that, first of all, atheists like Singer have no moral grounding and think life is basically meaningless. The fact that Singer believes we should be kind to animals just because they are sentient and they suffer doesn't seem to be as important to Scully as their 'souls', and the 'souls' of the humans dealing with them. And he gratuitously discusses Singer's controversial ideas about euthanasia of humans, infanticide and the treatment of retarded humans as if to imply that Singer can't be trusted on animal issues if he holds such views about the treatment of humans. That's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater (so to speak). I could just as unfairly point out that Scully has worked for and admires George W. Bush, who is anti-environment, anti-animal rights, and pro-corporate ranching, and thus Scully should not be trusted to write on animal rights issues.

I also have a problem with Scully's insinuation that one cannot be pro-choice/abortion as well as an animal advocate without being a hypocrite. I disagree. In my opinion, birth control or abortion for humans and domesticated animals (cats, dogs, etc.), who are overpopulating the planet and severely straining its resources is absolutely vital for the sustainable future of the planet and its residents--all of them, both plant and animal. It's far more humane to control the number of births and abort unwanted embryos and fetuses than to allow too many humans and domesticated animals to be born, only to suffer or starve because of competition for food (in the case of humans), or (in the case of dogs and cats) to be rounded up and “humanely” euthanized because there are too many of them and not enough homes. Scully apparently does not agree.

Despite my quibbles, I urge everyone interested in animal and environmental issues to read this book. It's beautifully written, well-researched, thoughtful, and clearly comes from Scully's heart. - A. Baxter

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

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Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat
by Sandy Robins
TFH Publications, 2008, 191 pp., $18.95 (paperback)

Fabulous Felines is devoted to current trends in feline well-being and lifestyle. It includes tips on health, grooming, and beauty treatments that are currently available.

Robins’ delightful guide helps owners create more comfortable lifestyles for cats of all ages. There are tips on stress-free bathing, choosing the right shampoos and conditioners, getting the right haircut and treating skin conditions with specially formulated kitty facial masks. When she says “pampered cat,” she isn’t kidding. You will find daily care routines for nails, eyes, hair and teeth. She also tackles special care topics such as anti-aging regimens, sun damage protection, cosmetic surgery and dentistry.

This book is packed with practical information written in a fun way. Robins has a talent for presenting topics in a way that makes them fun. Let’s face it brushing your cat’s teeth isn’t easy but this book will help you achieve that daunting task. There is a section on special services that highlights what to expect when your cat goes to the spa for the day. It includes information on massage, pedicures, aromatherapy, chiropractic and acupuncture.

Robins is an award-winning pet lifestyle writer whose work appears in national and international publications, as well as MSNBC.com and MSN.com. She hosts a pet travel segment called “Pets on the Go” for a syndicated radio show and writes a cat lifestyle column in Cat Fancy. She lives in California with her family and furkids.

I highly recommend this delightful book for first-time cat owners as well as experienced cat people. I guarantee you’ll learn something you didn’t know before. Your cats will thank you for reading this book. - N. Marano

Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat

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For Every Dog an Angel
by Christine Davis
Lighthearted Press, 2004, 32pp., $9.95

For those of us who have multi-pet households or who have had several pets throughout our lives, there is no doubt that we love them all. Often though, we’ll find that there is one who captures our heart and soul just a little bit more than the rest. For me, that animal was my dog, Remi, who I called my “soul dog”. After Remi died, the book, “For Every Dog an Angel” by Christine Davis, found its way into my hands. The back cover calls it “A magical little book for those who have found their forever dog, or hope to.” I couldn’t agree more and I’ve found myself reading it over and over. The words are comforting and the illustrations delightful. Davis talks about your “forever” dog in a way that makes you know that your beloved companion will always be with you. I’ve shared this book with many people and they’ve all said they got the same warm feeling that I got. This book makes a great gift for someone who’s just lost a furry family member. If the love of your life is a feline, her book “For Every Cat an Angel” is just as enchanting for those of us who also love cats. - K. Winters

For Every Dog an Angel

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Flawed Dogs: The Year-End Leftovers at the Piddleton “Last Chance” Dog Pound
by Berkeley Breathed
Little, Brown, 2003. 37pp. $18.95

Berkeley Breathed brings his own unique twist to the overwhelming problem of animal overpopulation. The creator of the Bloom County and Opus comic strips has created a book of cartoons and poems describing some of the inhabitants of the Piddleton Last Chance Dog Pound. While these dogs may not be beautiful in the conventional sense, they are waiting to find their soulmate in you. Multiply the Last Chance Dog Pound by thousands across the country and you see why your search for an animal to share your life should start at your local animal shelter.

Last Chance was founded by Heidy Strüdelberg, a one-time judge of the Westminster Best-in-Show Award. She caused a riot when she chose a three-legged dog as the winner and left the dog-show world for the quiet of Piddleton, VT, where she took to finding homes for the unloved.

As Breathed sums up: So in this world / Of the simple and odd, / The bent and plain, / The unbalanced bod, / The imperfect people / And differently pawed, / Some live without love…/ That’s how they’re flawed.

That says it all for me. As a fan of Breathed’s quirky sense of humor, this book has a center spot on my bookshelf. - N. Marano

Flawed Dogs: The Year End Leftovers at the Piddleton "Last Chance" Dog Pound

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Flower Essences for Animals: Remedies for Helping the Pets You Love
by Lila Devi
Beyond Word Publishing., 2000. 237 pp. $14.95

Flower Essences for Animals talks about the use of flower essences, which are herbal tinctures “for strength and balance”, for pets as well as their persons. The book is well written and organized, and it certainly got me interested in trying some of the remedies for various problems my pets have. But not having done so yet, it requires a leap of faith to believe that tinctures made from ordinary nuts, fruits and vegetables (almond, apple, avocado, banana, blackberry, cherry, coconut, corn, date, fig, grape, lettuce, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, raspberry, spinach, strawberry, and tomato) can actually improve the behavior of both animals and humans, often quite rapidly.

For example, lettuce is supposed to calm an animal down. Cherry makes him more cheerful, banana more humble, peach more selfless, pear more peaceful, and tomato more courageous.

Ms. Devi talks about the theme essence, a particular positive behavior which each animal and person possesses. In other words, an animal or human might have the theme essence of raspberry or coconut. Plot essences, on the other hand, are particular needs, lessons, or challenges that require a particular essence or essences to treat.

She also includes a chapter about how flower essences can help you and your pet deal with impending death, as well as after death issues.

For those who want more specific guidance, there are extensive lists in the back of the book of plot qualities and theme qualities of animals as well as their guardians and the appropriate essences to apply.

I don’t know if any of the claims or case histories in this book are valid or not, since I have not tried any of the essences. But since I have used other herbal tinctures before successfully, I would be willing to give these essences a fair shake, so to speak. - A. Baxter

Flower Essences for Animals: Remedies for Helping the Pets You Love

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Forever Friends
by Barbara S. Cohen, illustrated by Dorothy Louise Hall
Smallfellow Press, unpaged. 2002. $16.95

Forever Friends is the story of Petey and Skip, a dog and his boy. Petey has a big job showing Skip how make new friends, get enough exercise, get to school on time or enjoy nature. But the biggest lesson they teach each other is the importance of having a forever friend who will be there whenever you need a little help and who will love you no matter what. Turns out this doesn’t have to be a human friend. It might just as easily be the dog who shares your life. Love definitely can come from both ends of the leash.

Forever Friends is a picture book for children 2-8 years old. Dorothy Louise Hall’s whimsical, naïve illustrations add humor to the story.

This book will make you want to give the Petey in your life an extra hug. - N. Marano

Forever Friends

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For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States
by Diane L. Beers
Swallow Press, 2006. 312 pp. $19.95

Diane L. Beers is a historian who decided to take on the challenge of writing about the history of animal rights in the United States. I thought I knew a lot about this subject, but after reading her book, I realized that there were serious gaps in my knowledge. Not an animal rights advocate herself, but clearly sympathetic to the cause, Ms. Beers writes in an even-handed manner about the impact of animal rights on society, and vice versa, from its beginnings in the 19th century to 1975.

She discusses the courage of the early pioneers, including Henry Bergh, George Angell, and Caroline Earle White, and how animal advocacy originated in the white middle and upper classes. She explains the enthusiasm of women who joined animal groups and did a lot of the dirty volunteer work, not ascending into positions of importance until after World War II. She talks about the early and continuing tension between the moderate animal advocates who were willing to compromise with factory farmers, research labs, hunters, and other animal exploiters, and the more radical, all-or-nothing advocates, and how that has weakened the movement.

Among the many things I learned is that Mark Twain, an avid animal advocate, wrote two short stories, one condemning vivisection ("A Dog’s Tale") and the other criticizing bullfighting ("A Horse’s Tale"). And that Jack London was passionately against using animals in entertainment and wrote two novels illustrating his feelings. He also started an anti-circus movement that continued after his premature death, until the beleaguered Ringling Brothers actually suspended its animal acts for five years.

These and other little-known facts make this book a fascinating read for anyone who wants to understand animal rights in its historical context, in particular how early animal advocates pioneered methods to get the attention and sympathy of the public that modern advocates have since adopted. I look forward to a second book by Ms. Beers covering the period from 1975 until the present. -A. Baxter

For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States

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Four Paws Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs
by Cheryl Schwartz
Celestial Arts, 412 pp. 1996. $27.95

I first checked this book out at the library, then checked it out again, then realized that I really needed to buy it because there was an awful lot of useful information packed into it. As the guardian of nine dogs and cats, I predict this book will be nearby for a long time to come.

For those of you who look askance at so-called "alternative" or "holistic" veterinary medicine, you will get a new slant on Chinese medicine as applied to dogs and cats through this book. Written by a DVM, it's the kind of medical book that is interesting enough to be read from cover to cover (and then returned to again and again for specific help on various conditions). It's not just a how-to book; it also explains the philosophy behind Chinese medicine so that you understand why specific herbs, or diets, or acupressure points are used to treat particular conditions. This book serves as a great introduction to the complex world of Chinese medicine.

I recommend it for anyone with dogs and cats who has an open mind. - A. Baxter

Four Paws Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs

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Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups
by Susan C. Daffron
Logical Expressions, Inc., 2009, 177 pp., $19.95 (paperback)

This is a must have book for every animal rescue group. Raising money is a necessary activity for every nonprofit organization. Without funds there is no way to continue helping animals. Coming up with ideas and new ways to do that isn’t easy and fundraisers take a lot of work from your team of volunteers. What can you do to maximize your return for the amount of work done on a fundraiser? How can you best use your volunteers so they don’t get burnout but feel proud of what they’ve done for the animals?

Susan Daffron has done the legwork for you. The first section of the book is a detailed explanation of the hows and whys of fundraising. She walks you through how to structure a fundraiser, the basics of marketing, how to select your team, and how to plan a fundraiser from idea to the final deposit of donations in the bank.

The major section of the book is comprised of 101 ways to raise money through various projects. One of the things I particularly liked about the projects she suggests is that she gives you an idea of the level of difficulty, planning time, upfront costs, and personnel needed to make the idea a success. This way you don’t go blindly into a fundraiser only to find out that it’s going to cost you more than you thought and you’ll need many more helpers than you have.

Some of the fundraisers she mentions are standard such as dog washes, pet costume shows, and raffles. Others are more unusual like running a cooking contest with local chefs or one called “Walking Naked” and variations of it. Daffron lists simple fundraisers such as “Paw Prints for Sale” to more complicated events like “A Fur Ball” or “Artists for Animals.” These last two raise more money but are more difficult to accomplish because of the amount of time you must spend, the upfront money and the number of people who must be involved.

Susan Daffron is the founder of the National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals (www.naprp.com). She is the author of 10 other books and is the president of Logical Expressions, Inc. She has worked as an animal shelter volunteer, board member and employee.

This book is a terrific reference book for every rescue group. It is written in an easy-to-read style and gives you invaluable information. Many books talk about fundraising, this book is actually a practical guide on how to do it. After reading Daffron’s excellent book, you’ll never struggle to think of fundraising ideas again. - N. Marano

Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups

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Ginger’s Gift: Hope and Healing through Dog Companionship
By Michelle Linn-Gust
Chellehead Works, 2007, 127 pp., $20.00

Hope and healing through dog companionship is an idea every dog lover can understand. If you have ever had a physical or emotional problem, you know that your dog will be there for you until you are well again. Dogs focus on and tune in to every feeling you have. Their unconditional love is a strong positive force to help a person heal. The Linn-Gust’s were to learn how true this was in their lives.

When Chaco, a charmingly neurotic mutt, came to live with them he was the first of many dogs who gravitated to the warmth of their home. Shortly after Chaco’s arrival, Joe suffered a traumatic brain injury when a drunk driver smashed into his truck. They continued to find dogs whether Michelle was running a road race or Joe was doing relief work after Hurricane Katrina. Soon their family grew to four dogs, the maximum number allowed in Albuquerque where they live. This didn’t stop the dogs from finding them, though.

Michelle decided her mother needed a dog and set out to get her one as a surprise Christmas present. She found the perfect yellow Labrador retriever at Albuquerque’s West Side shelter. Michelle’s father died before Ginger, the dog of the book’s title, could make the trip to her forever home in Naperville, IL. Ginger’s role quickly changed from dog companion to friend, listener and confidant. She helped heal through her love, silliness and doggy kisses. Her generous love helped Michelle’s mother make the transition after her husband died.

Michelle Linn-Gust is an international author and speaker on suicide prevention and postvention issues. She received her doctorate in Family Studies from the University of New Mexico and currently serves as President of the American Association of Suicidology. Her first book was Do Bad Days Happen in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling. She is working on a new book based on her dissertation topic of how people use a dog to help them cope with the death of a human loved one.

This book is a good read for anyone who loves dogs or who knows a dog’s unconditional love helps a person heal. If you purchase a copy, $1.00 from each sale will be donated to the Alliance for Albuquerque Animals (
www.abqanimalalliance.org) and the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (www.aspca.org). You may visit the author at www.gingersgift.com or www.siblingsurvivors.com. - N. Marano

Ginger's Gift: Hope and Healing Through Dog Companionship

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Good Cat! A Proven Guide to Successful Litter Box Use and Problem Solving
by Shirlee Kalstone (illustrations by John Martin)
Wiley Publishing, Inc., 120 pp. 2004. $7.99

I've been trying to figure out for years why my spayed female cat Karma and, to a lesser extent, my neutered male cat Tao, have taken it upon themselves to urine mark our house in a number of places. I had always heard that spaying and neutering eliminated that problem. But after reading this informative book, I think I may have the answer. My tentative conclusion is that it's the social pressure of having five cats. Karma and Tao, who are siblings, were the first to inhabit our house as kittens. So they both believe they're better than the three johnny-come-latelies, who were all adopted as adults, and they're out to prove it. The added stress of four dogs probably doesn't help.

The number one reason for cat guardians to abandon their cats at a shelter is litter box problems. But since doing that is of course not an option, what do I do? Shirlee Kalstone explains the choices, including cleaning with an enzymatic cleaner, spraying with the pheromone product Feliway, changing the type of litter, having enough litter boxes and keeping them clean, or even putting Karma and Tao on anti-anxiety medications. She includes tips on specific products and where you can buy them.

But there's much more to this book than just litter box talk. Ms. Kalstone discusses the social dynamics and complex psychology of cats, keeping cats healthy, how to introduce a new cat or a new baby into the household, how to move without freaking out your cat, and how not to react when she marks or house soils. She also offers practical suggestions on how to clean up and protect your floors and furniture. It's a good book to have around when you're frustrated at that enigmatic and independent creature you call your cat.

I also like that one of the pet supply houses she lists in her appendix is my favorite: Drs. Foster and Smith - A. Baxter

Good Cat!: A Proven Guide to Successful Litter Box Use and Problem Solving

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Goodbye, Jake
by Bam Schildkraut
Operation-Outreach-USA Press, 2007, 45pp, $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.

Jake, his grandparents’ beloved greyhound, is dying, and Cole is trying to understand what it will be like to say goodbye to him and to have him die. On Saturdays he visits Grammy and Pop but this Saturday is marred because he knows Jake is very sick. Following his usual Saturday activities, Grammy takes him in to visit with Jake, who is lying on his fuzzy, blue bed. She helps him say goodbye to a dog he knows he won’t see again. On the following Saturday, Cole is sad that Jake isn’t there, but Grammy takes him to visit the Memory Garden, where all her dogs are buried. She explains that every time she has a good memory of a dog she puts a stone on the dog’s grave. She invites Cole to think of a good memory he has of Jake and then put a stone on the grave. The next week Cole brings a special stone to put on Jake’s grave to honor a special memory. Then Cole can run off with a lighter heart to breakfast on his favorite chocolate-chip waffles.

Schildkraut approaches the issue of a pet’s death with sensitivity and warmth. She gets the child involved with the animal, honors the boy’s feelings and fears, and then shows him a way to turn his sadness into something positive. The idea of using ritual to help heal after a pet’s death is beautifully handled and provides parents with a coping mechanism they can use when they talk with their children about this difficult subject. The soft, watercolor illustrations by Whitney Martin set the perfect tone for the story and add texture to the words. Written for young children, it is a book that will touch adults as well. Goodbye, Jake is an outstanding addition to children’s books on death and how to discuss it. I highly recommend it to parents, libraries and anyone facing the trauma of a pet’s death.   - N. Marano

www.bamschildkraut.com

On Dogwise: Goodbye, Jake

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Gotta Love Cats!
by Fran Pennock Shaw, Photos by Silvia Lualdi
Barron’s Educational Series., 2010, 144p., $9.99

This charming book is a great gift for any cat lover. It is chock full of cute pictures of cats and kittens set off by clever poems, sayings, quotations, and cat attitudes. It will make you smile, laugh and pause to think about the cats in your life and how accurate these sayings are.

The vivid colors in the photos set off the gorgeous cats they feature. One photo has three cats sitting in buckets that are hanging by ribbons. The quote is, “We’re just hangin’ out…” Or you have two sweet kittens you just want to hug saying, “Cats speak from the heart…if you know how to listen.” One fluffy white kitten is coupled with “A dog may idolize you but a cat understands you!”

Throughout this book you’ll find yourself giggling and smiling. Now go hug your cat or give this to the catlover’s you know. Better still do both. - N. Marano

Gotta Love Cats

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Happy Cat Day
by Tiger Hample
Willow Creek Press, 80pp. 2004. $14.95

Tiger Hample is a cat with vision. His bigger-than-life idea is CAT DAY, a special holiday just for cats. Tiger, a “Go-For-All-The-Marbles kind of cat,” thinks a three-day holiday for everyone - except dogs - would be ideal. Assisted by his human co-conspirator, Stu Hample, an illustrator and author of over 20 books, Happy Cat Day gives you all the particulars on why Cat Day is a must and what you can do to celebrate the day in style. In Tiger’s mind a parade akin to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade would be just about right. The cartoons are appealing and take the reader on a romp through Tiger’s fantasy life. The book made me laugh and look at my own felines a little differently. How would they feel about a Cat Day parade? If I see them marching through the house with signs saying, Celebrate August 15, I’ll know they take the idea seriously. - N. Marano

Happy Cat Day: A Manifesto for an Official Cat Holiday

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Have Dog Will Travel, California: Comprehensive Guide to over 2,200 Dog-Friendly Accommodations [Have Dog Will Travel Series]
by Barbara Whitaker
Ginger & Spike Publications 432 pp. 2005 $19.95

Have Dog Will Travel, Northwest Edition: Hassle-Free Guide to Traveling With Your Dog Over 2,100 Dog-Friendly Accommodations Throughout the Pacific Northwest [Have Dog Will Travel Series]
By Barbara Whitaker
Ginger & Spike Publications 399 pp. 2003 $19.95


This series of guide books to dog-friendly lodgings will be welcomed by those traveling in California or the Pacific Northwest. At the beginning of each volume is a series of chapters covering the necessities of traveling with your dog. Whitaker gives you tips on what you need to pack for your dog, what you need to do before you start to make sure your dog is well-trained and well-behaved and first aid information so you can treat your dog’s minor problems. There is a helpful section on what to do if your dog gets lost. Another useful section lists animal emergency clinics in the areas covered by the book.

The main body of the book is a listing by city. Under each city are entries for all the hotels or motels that allow dogs. Within each listing is the name, address, and contact information for the hotel or motel. Whitaker also gives the fee-per-dog and the rate-per-room as well as the amenities offered. You are advised to check with the lodging before going there to be sure the rates are still the same. One of the indexes lists lodgings by name so you can fine a place even if you don’t know the city where the hotel is located.

There will be an updated version of the Pacific-Northwest edition by the end of 2006.

If you’re traveling with your dog, take advantage of Barbara Whitaker’s 20 years of experience traveling with her dogs. Make your travel planning easier and have good trip. - N. Marano

Have Dog Will Travel, California Edition: Comprehensive Guide to Over 2,200 Dog-friendly Accommodations

Have Dog Will Travel-Northwest Edition, Oregon-Washington-Idaho, Hassle-Free Guide to Traveling With Your Dog

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The Healthy Pet Manual: A Guide to the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
by Deborah Straw
Healing Arts Press, 288 pp. 2005. $14.95

The most frightening thing a veterinarian can say is that your beloved companion animal has cancer. The word hangs in the air, and you don’t even hear the rest of the conversation. As our animals live longer, more of us will face that diagnosis. Deborah Straw’s book, The Healthy Pet Manual, will help you understand what you can do to help your friend live with cancer.

Straw, l an established animal, health and lifestyle writer, lost four pets to cancer. Frustrated at the lack of information she found on what caused the disease and how to make crucial decisions affecting her animals, she wrote her own boo on the subject.

The reader will find a tremendous amount of information in this revised and expanded version of that first book. It helps fill the gap that is left if your veterinarian does not communicate well enough with you about what is happening to your companion animal and what you can do to help. Straw has done extensive research on the causes of the disease, and how it manifests in dogs, cats and other small animals. This includes environmental, dietary, and vaccine-related agents that may cause cancer as well as the preventive measures that can be taken to help ward off this disease in the first place.

If your companion animal has been diagnosed with cancer, this book gives a well-balanced approach to various forms of treatment both conventional and alternative. She covers everything from chemotherapy and laser surgery to herbal treatments, flower essences, touch therapy and the latest in pain relief. Straw doesn’t limit herself to a dry explanation of treatments, though. She explains how to care for a sick companion animal and delves into the grieving process that needs to take place if all the treatments fail and the animal dies. In addition to the excellent material presented in the book Straw gives an in-depth section at the end of the book containing notes and references so the reader can pursue particular points more fully.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has received the diagnosis of cancer for a companion animal or to anyone who is interested in the latest research on animal health issues. The reader will come away feeling that a cancer diagnosis may not be the end of the road for a beloved companion animal. Packed with wisdom and options this book is an excellent basic resource for any animal lover. - N. Marano

The Healthy Pet Manual : A Guide to the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer

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Hey Bossie, You’re a Spokescow!
by Mickey de Rham, illustrated by Leigh Gusterson
Plaidswede Publishing, 24pp. 2004. $9.95

In this children’s picture book, Bossie takes her job as spokescow quite seriously. Bossie lives at the White Mountain Animal Shelter in New Hampshire. A former dairy cow, Bossie’s new job is to travel throughout New Hampshire telling children, and their families, to spay and neuter their pets so there won’t be so many homeless animals. Bossie has a mark on her shoulder that looks like the Old Man of the Mountain, a famous rock formation that is still seen on the New Hampshire state quarter. When she marches in parades and goes to schools, Bossie wears a necklace made of 100 New Hampshire state quarters. Leigh Gusterson, a Taos resident, has provided catchy, colorful illustrations to accompany the text. They show Bossie at a school, playing cow flop bingo, and marching in a parade. The book’s spay and neuter message is admirable and one that people need to hear in as many ways as possible. - N. Marano

Hey Bossie, You're a Spokescow!

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Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals
by Donald Hamilton, DVM
North Atlantic Books, 482 pp. 1999. $25

Before I read "Small Doses," written by a New Mexico holistic veterinarian, as far as I was concerned the jury was still out on homeopathy. It seemed a little too "out there" to accept. But Dr. Hamilton's book, with his explanation of why and how he thinks it works, along with case histories, a materia medica, and a review of body systems, convinced me that there's something very powerful going on in a homeopathic cure. And his argument against routine vaccinations is cogent and convincing.

Dr. Hamilton uses a combination of allopathic (modern) and homeopathic as well as other modalities like herbs in his treatment. I admire his willingness to go the extra mile with his clients. He is someone I would trust with my animals. - A. Baxter

On Amazon: Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals

On Dogwise: Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals

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Implementing a Community Trap-Neuter-Return Program
by Bryan Kortis
The Humane Society of the United States, 2008, 87pp. $9.99 + $3.00 (shipping and handling)

This book put out by HSUS includes all the background, forms and information needed to set up a community TNR program to control feral cat populations. To cover the needs of a community program means establishing effective collaboration, creating and maintaining community relationships, allocating limited resources, fund-raising, data collection, training, equipment, liability concerns and more. This book provides the basis for this type of operation and would be very useful to any feral cat caregiver who wants to expand the community TNR program.

Purchase the book by ordering from:
The Humane Society of the United States
Feral Cat Materials
2100 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20037

Ask for the book by title and include the purchase price and shipping and handling with your order. They accept cash or credit cards. - N. Marano

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Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart and Soul of America’s Animal Shelters
by Nathan J. Winograd
CreateSpace, 2009, 210pp, $13.95 (pap.)

This is a follow-up to Winograd’s controversial book, Redemption, and covers the same themes of the no-kill movement versus those shelters that kill animals as a way of ending animal overpopulation. These essays are thought out and give the basic tenets of the no-kill movement. There is more reasoned argument here and less anger then in Redemption. It is a good overview of this movement for those who are not familiar with it.

 


 

Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart & Soul of America's Animal Shelters

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Just This Side of Heaven
by Timothy Glass
Platinum Paw Press, 2008, 156pp, $21.95

If you like Snoopy, you’ll adore Penny. This book is first and foremost the love story of a family and their dogs. It is mainly Penny’s story. Glass shows how this beagle influenced many lives, inspired a series of children’s books, shared her life with Panda, Gunner and Tyler and, when she died, left a space in everyone’s heart much larger than her beagle size.

Glass was hooked on beagles from the time he rescued his first beagle in high school. The love affair has continued through several beagles and even led him to meet his wife through an online beagle group.

We are taken into their family and watch as they move from the East, where his future wife lived, to New Mexico. Penny flourished in New Mexico. She thought prairie dogs were made for her amusement and the daily sunshine meant for her pleasure. Through this time life is goes along on a normal course of ups and downs for the Glass family.

Then Penny became ill. Through many trips to the vet and the oncologist in Santa Fe, Penny tried valiantly to overcome her disease but that wasn’t possible. The loss of this precious beagle was devastating to the whole family – dogs included. Each dealt with the loss in their own way. Glass does not shy away from the pain of losing Penny or the difficulty of finding the right place for her remains. He deals honestly with the terrible loss a person feels when a precious companion animal is gone. But, in the end, the facts of Penny’s life, the joy she showed in living it and the happiness she put into the dash – the time between her birth and death – meant everything.

Penny lives on in this book and in the Sleepytown Beagle series of children’s books. I highly recommend Just This Side of Heaven to anyone who has ever faced loss or grief. Pet loss is dealt with respectfully, lovingly and seriously in this heart-warming story of a life well-lived.

Timothy Glass is a resident of the Albuquerque area. He has written many articles, several books and a screenplay. He also writes for a newsletter put out by OurDogHouse.com. The Glasses commitment to their beagles has made them want to help homeless beagles as well as other breeds. A percentage of the profits from his books go to animal rescue groups. - N. Marano

Just This Side Of Heaven

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Keri Tarr Cat Detective
by Wendy Lement
Breakaway Books, 2004, 96pp. $9.95

Keri is a bright, daring girl who discovers that she has the ability to talk with cats. One morning her cat, Sally speaks to her and Keri understands every word. As the news spreads about her talent, people began asking for her help in finding lost cats. Keri becomes a cat detective, with Sally’s help of course.

Her detection abilities take Keri and Sally to Paris to rescue her aunt’s cat. She and Sally stow away in a plane’s baggage compartment where they meet the “baggage cats” who regularly fly around the world. Since cats are very gossipy, Keri learns all she needs to know to rescue the wayward cat from great peril in the Paris catacombs. Keri becomes an international celebrity for her exploits and the way is left open for a possible sequel.

This is a fun book for children who love cats or who just like a good story. -N. Marano

Keri Tarr: Cat Detective

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Kinship with the Wolf: The Amazing Story of the Woman Who Lives with Wolves
by Tanja Askani, Sabine Lutzmann (photographer), Douglas Hayes (translator)
Park Street Press, 2006, 144 pp. $19.95.

Translated from the German, this lovely, wise book is replete with wonderful photographs of wolves and the author’s interactions with them. Associated with a wild game park in Germany and with an academic background in animal science, Tanja Askani looks upon wolves differently from other so-called wolf experts. You might call her the wolf whisperer, except she’s not trying to train them-she respects their wildness. Askani treats wolves with great respect, and as animals that are absolutely vital in the food chain, not as fairy tale monsters that humans need to fear and eradicate. And the many wolves she has raised have responded in kind, considering her one of their pack.

Askani deals with the specific (her own personal experiences with wolves), expanding it into the general (wolf myths; world-wide wolf protection projects; how wolves respond to death, other species, living in captivity; pack life as she has observed it, and more). She also discusses wolf hybrids and half-breeds-a topic of interest to me, because my neighbor raises wolf dogs and wolfhounds-warning that wolf hybrids are a sin committed against the dog as well as the wolf and highly unpredictable in their behavior.

I finished the book with even more admiration and compassion for wolves than I began with. -A. Baxter

Kinship with the Wolf: The Amazing Story of the Woman Who Lives with Wolves

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The Language of Miracles: A Celebrated Psychic Teaches You to Talk to Animals
by Amelia Kinkade
New World Library, 332 pp. 2006. $15.95

Amelia Kinkade is passionate about what she believes. That’s for sure. An actress, dancer, artist and animal psychic (and niece of Rue McClanahan, the actress/animal advocate), this young woman (she’s in her early 30s) has written her second book on a controversial field: communicating telepathically with animals. Her first, which I have not yet read, was a how-to for people who want to learn to do it themselves (“Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: How to Talk to Animals and Get Answers”). This book takes it further and presents a multitude of case histories supporting her thesis. And what a thesis that is!

Kinkade manages to meld quantum theory, wave/particle physics, religion, spirituality, reincarnation, and life after death into a not-quite-seamless whole (she’s still working out the details) to explain why it is possible for animals, even insects, to “talk” to us, and vice versa. Her mother is a medical professor, and she clearly has great respect for the role of science in her work. One of her heroes is Edgar Mitchell, a former astronaut and egghead, as well as scientists like Albert Einstein and Nils Bohr. But at the same time, the importance of God, love and positive thinking in successful psychic communication is repeated over and over throughout the book.

Anyone can learn to be psychic, Kinkade claims, but it requires lots of practice and dedication. She includes a number of practices in the book on how to develop the ability to locate lost animals, analyze an animal’s health and behavioral problems, “talk” to both live and dead pets, figure out if a deceased pet has returned to you in the form of a new animal, etc. This book requires a suspension of disbelief and a willingness to go along on her mental rollercoaster ride, but it’s an intriguing read and the author clearly has an agile and original mind.

Kinkade comes out strongly against animal experimentation and wearing fur and includes a chapter describing her animal rights heroes, but I have a problem with her obvious pride in being hired by Buckingham Palace to “talk” with King Charles’s hunting horses to try to discover the source of their discontent. Any animal advocate worth her salt should not be encouraging horses or humans to participate in such a repulsive blood sport, no matter how illustrious they are.

Despite some misgivings, including the fact that so far, I can’t seem to get my dogs and cats to respond to my telepathic chats with them, I enjoyed this book. It occasionally teeters on the brink of mania, cutesiness and breathless idealism and definitely strains credibility, but all in all, it was well worth my investment of time.
- A. Baxter

The Language of Miracles: A Celebrated Psychic Teaches You to Talk to Animals

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Lessons in Stalking… Adjusting to Life With Cats
by Dena Harris
Spotlight Publishing, 2005, 128 pp., $9.95

If you’ve ever been owned by a cat and if you’re looking for laughs, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore (or amazon.com) and get a copy of “Lessons in Stalking…Adjusting to Life With Cats” by Dena Harris (Illustrations by Linda Santell.) This hilarious book will keep you in stitches from beginning to end. Harris starts with “It’s happened I’ve finally become that woman. The one obsessed with cats…How cool is that?“ She paints her husband as a patient, long suffering man who frequently rolls his eyes at her antics with her kitties. One chapter starts: “I am engaged in a battle of will against the cat. The upsetting part is that I’m losing.” Another chapter is named, “The Great Cat Butt Wiping Adventure”. (Need I say more?) Other chapters include, “Kitty Jihad” and “Bath Time”.

Harris’ writing style is so conversational that you’ll feel like she’s a comfortable old friend who can regale you with her stories. If you don’t find yourself laughing through this whole book, you need to have your funny bone examined! - K. Winters

Lessons in Stalking... Adjusting to Life with Cats

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The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
by Jim Gorant
Gotham Books, 2010, 287pp, $26.00

This is a true crime story and its aftermath. The story alternates between Vick’s Bad Newz Kennel dog fighting ring, which cruelly used pit bulls to fight for money, and the rehabilitation of some of the dogs rescued from the premises. Gorant doesn’t shrink from the horrible abuse suffered by these dogs but the dogs who were successfully rehabilitated went on to better lives. Some dogs became service dogs, Jonny Justice participates in Paws for Tales, a reading program using dogs to encourage kids and Leo works with cancer patients and troubled teens. While some of this story is difficult to read, it is worth seeing what it takes to rehabilitate a damaged dog and hearing the pleas against the horrors of dog fighting. Well worth your time.

 

 

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption

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The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective
by Kat Albrecht with Jana Murphy
Bloomsbury Publishing, 243 pp. 2004. $13.95

If you combine CSI and Animal Planet, you’ll have an idea of Kat Albrecht’s life and work. This is the fascinating story of how a K-9 handler with several California police departments gradually found the path to her true calling - pet detective extraordinaire and founder of Missing Pet Partnership.

Follow the adventures of Sadie, a Wiemaraner, and bloodhounds A.J. and Chase as they track missing persons and pets. If you love animals and are fascinated by sleuthing, this is the book for you. Albrecht was the first to apply the methods she’d learned in police work to the task of finding lost pets. She utilizes behavior profiling and probability theory, among others techniques, as she helps people find lost cats, dogs, turtles, snakes, ferrets and horses. But there are obstacles, too. Try convincing a lab to do DNA tests on a cat whisker or keep people from thinking of you as a comic Ace Ventura type.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book was how tracking dogs do their work. I learned a lot about following scent trails and how long a scent remains viable for a good tracking dog. Her book is also a good resource for what you should do if your pet is lost. She discusses steps you should take to find a lost dog or lost cat. It amazed me to know how close to home most cats stay when they are lost. They might be listening to you call them from under a porch or bush in your own back yard.

Albrecht’s compassion for the people who have lost their beloved companion animal and her sleuthing expertise give hope to her clients and to anyone who reads this book. If you’ve lost a pet, her message to you would be, “Never give up the search.”

I recommend this as an informative, fast-paced read. - N. Marano

On Amazon: The Lost Pet Chronicles : Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective

On Dogwise: The Lost Pet Chronicles : Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective

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Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living
by Ingrid Newkirk
St. Martin's Griffin, 472 pp. 2005. $13.95

Did you know that common commercial cleaning products can be quite dangerous to the environment and pets, and that safe substances like baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean and deodorize kitchens and bathrooms? Or that buying fair trade, shade-grown coffee can help local coffee growers sustain themselves economically as well as saving tropical forests in Latin America? Or that cutting down on animal fats in meat and dairy, or better still, becoming a vegan, can cut down on a woman’s chances of breast cancer and bothersome menopausal symptoms?

These are just some of the hundreds of facts presented in this well-organized book, which is divided into sections for speedy researching: Home and Garden, Fashion and Beauty, Food and Entertaining, Recreation and Vacations, Animals in the Home, Children and Family, Business and Education, Health, Volunteering and Getting Active, and Religious Celebrations. There are lots of vegan recipes, a listing of hidden animal ingredients in foods, links to websites if you want further information on a subject, contact information for animal and ecologically friendly companies, a user-friendly index, and much more. And it’s all presented in easily digestible bites, with the average chapter only about five pages long.

Making Kind Choices is an encyclopedia of helpful hints for animal advocates and environmentalists who aspire to tailor their lives to their beliefs, but sometimes don’t know exactly what the compassionate options are out there and where to find them. It comes highly recommended, with a Foreword by Sir Paul McCartney and jacket comments by the Dalai Lama, among others. Making Kind Choices contains a trove of useful information about how to be an animal cruelty-free and ecologically aware consumer. Despite its serious subject matter, it’s not a difficult read. PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk illustrates her topics with insightful vignettes from her own life as well as the lives of others.

This is my kind of book: practical advice presented in a palatable way. It also successfully defends the premise that you can make kind choices and feel good about them without depriving yourself of any enjoyment in your life. You’ll be referring to it over and over again. Even if you only follow some of her tips, you'll be helping the planet and its creatures immeasurably. - A. Baxter

Making Kind Choices : Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living

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Mall Dogs: Love and Adoption at a Retail Animal Shelter
by Jessi Badami
Bogwood, 2013, 118pp., $15.34 (paperback)

Move animals out of the municipal animal shelter and into an animal shelter in the mall. It just might create a miracle for animals lucky enough to be housed there. In 2007, this is what happened in Albuquerque when Lucky Paws opened in the Coronado Mall. The animals placed there have been lucky indeed. Adoptions at Lucky Paws went from 1,677 in 2007 to 3,158 in 2012.

Jessi Badami tells the story of how Lucky Paws was started, the difficulties in staying afloat financially and the coming together of the right people to make this retail shelter concept work. She does a nice job showing how Lucky Paws’ employees run the shelter from cleaning the floors at 4:00 a.m. and guiding doggie play time in the early hours of the morning to preparing food, counseling prospective adopters and perpetually raising funds to keep everything going. She provides a well thought out blueprint showing the steps a community needs to take to start their own retail shelter.

A large portion of the book is devoted to successful adoptions. She has a beautiful portrait of the animal and its adoptive family on one page and the story of the animal’s adoption on the facing page. If this doesn't make the reader want to go meet the animals at Lucky Paws, I don't know what will.

The graphics, photos and layout in Mall Dogs are outstanding. There is something to catch the reader’s eye on each page. It definitely makes you want to keep turning pages. This is due to the author’s talents as a graphic designer, artist and photographer. She is co-owner of The Trixie Agency, a marketing firm. Badami has spent many years volunteering with animal shelters around the country. This experience adds a depth of understanding to her handling of shelter issues.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in animal rescue or animal shelters. It is well written and beautifully designed. - N.Marano

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Misty the Freeway Foxhound: The Dog Who Became a Legend
by M. K. Ramsey
Authorhouse, 2006, 32pp.

This is a touching, true story of Misty, who exemplifies the essence of the devoted dog.

Misty, a foxhound, lived happily with an elderly man in West Virginia. She followed the man’s car to the highway on ramp when he left and waited for him near the highway until he came home. When the man died, Misty continued her vigil by the side of the road. She patiently waited under a pine tree in all types of weather. People tried to catch her without success so they left food and water for her under the tree.

This is a lovely short story that will touch the heart of any animal lover. Written especially for young readers, it demonstrates the bond of love and devotion a companion animal feels for their person, which can continue even beyond death. -N. Marano

Misty the Freeway Foxhound: The Dog Who Became a Legend

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Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats : Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements
by Shawn Messonnier, DVM
Three Rivers Press, 480 pp. 2001. $24.95

I loved this book. Even though it's written as an encyclopedia, I read it from cover to cover. It deals with a technical subject but it's written in an un-technical if dry manner. It helps de-mythologize all of those sometimes ominous-sounding supplements out there that are touted as cures or treatments for various ailments. It's also an informative reference book for humans, because many of the supplements he talks about are available for human use also. Dr. Messonier presents conventional as well as "alternative" treatments and their pros and cons to give the reader a balanced view of available treatment protocols.

This book is an excellent resource. I highly recommend it. - A. Baxter

Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats : Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements

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Natural Pet Care: How to Improve Your Animal's Quality of Life
by Gary Null
Seven Stories Press, 320 pp. 2001. $24.95

I'm the guardian of nine animals, and I've read a lot of pet care books--both alternative and traditional--so I wasn't sure nutritionist Gary Null's book would add anything to my store of knowledge. But he has a way of presenting ideas in a fresh, no-nonsense manner, and there are even new things here that I haven't read anywhere else. For example, he presents juicing as a treatment for various ailments, and useful information on caring for alternative pets like snakes, birds, ferrets, rodents, and horses. He's savvy enough to suggest that if you want to give your animal supplements, check with your veterinarian first to determine his specific health needs and the appropriate dosages.

Unlike some animal nutritionists, Null does not advocate a raw foods diet, stating that there are too many toxins and bacteria in raw meat that may cause disease and a degeneration of an animal's health. He doesn't believe that the modern domestic dog and cat are capable of handling raw foods, as were their wild ancestors. Raw versus cooked is a controversial issue that hasn't been resolved, and it's up to the pet guardian to determine if her animals will fare better with one or the other. However, Null is in favor of feeding dogs and cats high quality "people food", preferably organic, or at least a mix of a high-grade commercial pet food with cooked meats, grains, raw veggies, etc., as well as digestive enzymes (absent from commercial pet food and cooked food) for good digestion and assimilation. He includes simple recipes and an easy-to-follow plan to convert your dog or cat to a healthy diet.

Nutrition isn't the only area Null covers. He includes a touching section with stories from people about their pets, and he talks about euthanasia and spay/neuter, the pros and cons of vaccines, and much more. The last section of the book lists resources the reader can investigate for further information or supplies. All in all, a great addition to my animal care library. - A. Baxter

Natural Pet Care: How to Improve Your Animal's Quality of Life

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The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
By Shawn Messonnier, DVM
New World Library, 2011, 256pp, $14.95 (pap.)

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases for older dogs and cats. Dr. Messonnier is one of the world’s leading proponents of holistic veterinary medicine. He gives objective advice on how to blend conventional and alternative therapies to significantly enhance your pet’s quality of lie. You will find information on acupuncture’s role in pain relief, detailed information on nutritional supplements, diet and nutrition tips, exercise and physical therapy ideas as well as the pros and cons of conventional therapies and much more. Dr. Messonnier is the regular holistic pet columnist for the Dallas Morning News and hosts a weekly satellite radio show, Dr. Shawn, The Natural Vet, on Martha Stewart Radio Sirius 112/SM157.

 

The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

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The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs
By Shawn Messonnier, DVM
New World Library, 294 pp. 2006. $15.95

I have not yet had to deal with any of my dogs contracting cancer, but if and when I do, this book will be useful to have around. Its title is a bit misleading, as it discusses a myriad of both conventional and complementary therapies. It’s chock full of information on both allopathic and alternative methods of dealing with cancer in dogs and written in a manner easily understood by the layman. There are also excellent chapters on diet, vaccinosis, warning signs of cancer, pain control, and euthanasia. On that level, I recommend it highly.

But as an animal rights advocate, I have a problem with the book’s frequent references to animal experimentation as a means of obtaining medical information on both dogs and humans. In fact, the introduction by Russell L. Blaylock, MD enthusiastically discusses an experiment in which animals were implanted with highly metastatic tumors and then treated with radiation, with the majority of those not treated with beta carotene dying. Unfortunately, discarded shelter dogs and even stolen dogs are often used in these types of experiments. I would encourage veterinarians and doctors to push for more use of non-animal experimentation as a means of obtaining medical information.

Having said that, Dr. Messonnier knows whereof he speaks, he speaks it lucidly, and you should have this book in your house as a reference book. - A. Baxter

On Amazon: The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs

On Dogwise: The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs

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Naughty No More! Change Unwanted Behaviors through Positive Reinforcement
By Marilyn Krieger
BowTie Press, 2011, 160pp, $12.95 (pap.)

If you believe cats can’t be trained, you need to read this book. Clicker training, along with other positive reinforcement training techniques, can solve feline behavior problems. Train your cat to stop scratching furniture or dashing out the door. Help make cat introductions without aggression using positive reinforcement. There are good explanations of clicker training and positive reinforcement. The book is beautiful to look at with lavish, color pictures that show you the recommended steps in each training procedure. The author is a nationally recognized cat behaviorist. If your cat is doing something that drives you crazy, try the techniques in this book to correct the problem.

 

Naughty No More: Change Unwanted Behaviors Through Positive Reinforcement

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Nobody’s Pets
By Debra White
Four Footed Friends,126 pp. 2001. $8.95

Thieves break into a Denver animal shelter late at night to steal animals. They plan to sell the stolen animals to an unscrupulous research lab in Wyoming. Rosie, an aging, roly-poly, mixed-breed dog, and Guffy, a pampered cat, become the intrepid leaders for the group of eight purloined pets.

Adventures abound when the animals manage to break free of their captors. Through countless, breathtaking perils, the group struggles to get back to the Denver shelter and their friends. Guffy’s instincts provide food and keep the group safe. Rosie, through all her complaints, displays a nurturing soul. She protects the helpless and keeps the morale of the group bolstered during the worst of times.

The book is told through the eyes of the animals with compassion and a keen sense of how animals communicate with each other. Biscuit, a caring dog who has been dumped on the street, and Thor, a Great Dane with too much enthusiasm for his own good, remain at the shelter. Everyone at the shelter, human and animal, are worried about what has happened to their friends and wonder whether they will ever see them again.

Nobody’s Pets, combines elements of mystery, fear, joy, happiness and sadness, into a delightful story that should dispel the idea that animals are stupid or don’t communicate. These animals work together to save each other. The book also raises important questions about why animals are in shelters, how difficult it is for shelter workers who need to make life and death decisions, and the cruelty some animals are forced to endure.

I would recommend this book for any reader from middle school level to adult. It will reinforce what you know about animal resourcefulness, ingenuity and intelligence and give you a good story, too. The author is donating a portion of the proceeds from the book to an animal shelter. - N. Marano

Nobody's Pets

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Nurturing Paws
By Lynn C. Johnston, Editor
Whispering Angel Books, 2011, 175pp, $16.95 (pap.)

This collection of 80+ short stories and poems stresses the human/animal bond and the importance of animals in our lives. The story, “Do Not Delete,” by Deborah Schildkraut, author of the “Casa Canine” column in each PETroglyphs, shows the beauty of adopting an older dog into your family even when you think you can’t and the joy an older dog can bring. Most of the stories deal with an event where having a particular animal has brought joy into the person’s life or helped them through an illness or disability. The poems may be humorous, rapturous or sad but all tug at your heart and make the reader see the animal described. Whether the animal is a dog, a cat, a falcon or a calf, all touch the reader. These offerings celebrate the ability animals have to sense our needs and respond in kind. A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sale will benefit animal charities.

 

Nurturing Paws

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Our Most Treasured Tails: Sixty Years of Pet Rescue
by Kate J. Kuligowski
The Guys Publishing Company 2013, 242 pp. $20.00 + $1.40 NM tax and, if applicable, $3.60 S&H. Purchase from author at: The Guys Publishing Company, 905 Maverick Trail SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123

How do you get almost one hundred dogs between the covers of a book? Kate Kuligowski manages to do just that in Our Most Treasured Tails, her biography told through the dogs she and her family rescued throughout her life. When she married Dr. Wallace Kuligowski, she found a kindred spirit in the rescuing department. Together they have sheltered “…almost a hundred ‘thrown-away’ pets, dogs and cats, discarded in the streets or surrendered at shelters.”

Her direct and caring discussion of their family life is intertwined with memorable stories of her beloved animals. It is obvious animals reign supreme in the Kuligowski household. Many of the dogs have inspiring stories of their own. After rocky starts as victims of animal abuse or negligence, several of these dogs went on to become therapy dogs or Kuligowski’s canine assistants as she taught about the proper care of pets.

Kuligowski, a former teacher in the Albuquerque schools, was education director for Animal Humane New Mexico (AHANM) from 1997-2002. The program she created, “You and Your Pet Are Forever,” was used in area schools. Sammy, her first canine assistant, was, a deaf Cocker Spaniel she rescued from the shelter. He became a huge hit with the students. In 2002 she left AHANM and became education director for Watermelon Mountain Ranch. When Sammy’s health failed, he was replaced in class visits by Brady, another deaf Cocker Spaniel, who was abandoned in the Sandia Mountains.

Turner was the inspiration for this book. He was a horribly injured Bull Mastiff cross who’d been abandoned after being used as a bait dog in a dogfighting ring. He was nursed back to health with the help of many people and his tale inspired people to take a stance on the cruelty of dogfighting. His massive injuries and early death caused Kuligowski to become even more deeply involved in the fight to end dogfighting and other animal abuse. She talks at length about Turner and the anti-dogfighting campaigns in New Mexico and nationally. The book ends with a challenge to every reader to become involved in animal issues in their own local area. Help change the animal laws in your state and get stricter regulations of animal abuse and cruelty in your own city. Using examples such as the HEART ordinance passed in Albuquerque to better the lives of animals and the laws against dogfighting or even attending a dogfight, readers get ideas for working on what needs to be fixed in their own communities. This book is a call to action for everyone who wants to help give animals the good lives they deserve.

I highly recommend this book for its interesting and inspiring animal stories, its call to action for every animal lover and the demonstration of one family’s love of animals and how it changed the world for so many “thrown-away” animals. Proceeds from the book’s sale will be distributed to four New Mexico animal groups. These groups are Bro & Tracy Animal Welfare, Inc., Dixon Animal Protection Society, Fur & Feather Animal Assistance Inc. and Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary. - N. Marano

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Parenting with Pets: The Magic of Raising Children with Animals
by Christine Hamer & Margaret Hevel
Book Publishers Network, 180 pp., 2007, $16.95

Parenting with Pets is an excellent sourcebook for parents who think pets would be a good addition to their family but aren’t sure how to integrate them into an already busy family. If parents are undecided about getting a pet, this book is the answer. The authors give guidelines on using the many opportunities pets provide to promote interactive dialog with your children. They also include new material on how pets enrich the parent/child relationship. Children from pet-owning homes develop better verbal and non-verbal communication skills than children from homes without pets.

One of the things I liked best about the book was the life lesson examples they used throughout. These real-life stories illustrate the point being made in the chapter. They might speak to how pets teach tolerance, the unconditional love a pet provides to a child, how to deal with the grief of losing a pet or the development of trust. The stories provide a glimpse into how pets interact with families and how they help everyone.

They have an excellent chapter on the pros and cons of various types of pets, which need more care, which less, and when a child will be ready for various pets. Their advice is realistic, to the point and humane. They value the role animals play in their lives and have seen, as parents, how they affect children.

Margaret Hevel worked as a Nurse Health Educator, community/family liaison and family counselor in the in the Montana school system. She is now an author. Christine Hamer graduated with a degree in Animal Behavior and worked as a dog trainer for many years. She belongs to American Pet Dog Trainer Association, International Association of Dog Behavior Counselors and is the creator of the DogSense seminars.

Their book has been named as a finalist in the Parenting/Family category of the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

I highly recommend Parenting with Pets to parents with young children. What a good foundation for building your children’s love of animals. - N. Marano

On Barnes and Noble: Parenting with Pets: The Magic of Raising Children with Animals

On Dogwise: Parenting with Pets: The Magic of Raising Children with Animals

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People I Sleep With
by Jill Fineberg
Ten Speed Press, 144pp. 2004. $19.95

Most animal lovers know the joy of having companion animals share their bed and other intimate areas of their lives. What can beat those purrs of delight from your favorite feline when she’s curled up on top of your head or the gentle snores of a very relaxed canine when he has his head on your pillow?

Jill Fineberg, a photographer, healer and grief counselor in Santa Fe, has captured those joys in 200 extraordinary black-and-white photographs that feature 50 animal-and-human families. She goes beyond dogs and cats, though. Her photographs include incredible pictures of people with their snakes, horses, pigs, llamas, rabbits, wolves, monkeys and many other unusual animal companions.

This lovely book is living testament to the incredible bond that exists between animals and their humans. Sometimes poignant, sometimes whimsical, these photos will bring a smile, a laugh or perhaps a tear to the reader. Each human-animal family has a two-page spread. One page features a series of small snapshots of the animals. The facing page shows the person in the vulnerable state of napping with his or her companion animals. You won’t forget the tattooed man and his poodles, the lady with a gecko on her face, or the child sleeping with a pet scorpion. Unusual, maybe, but touching.

Looking at the pictures makes the reader want to know more about the people and animals depicted on these pages. Fineberg has handled that by putting a section at the end revealing more details of each animal-human family. She has also added information on the how to care for animals and the benefits - for the human and the animal - of the human-animal bond. She even gives a list of organizations people can contact to find out about various animal issues.

This is a wonderful coffee-table book or a terrific gift book to share with all your animal-loving friends. Highly recommended. - N. Marano

People I Sleep With

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Pieces of My Heart: Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature
by Jim Willis
Infinity Publishing, 312 pp. 2002 $21.95

Jim Willis, an animal rescuer, writer and artist based on the East Coast, is a compassionate, sensitive man, and this beautifully written book reflects what his life is all about.

I can't help but admire anyone who goes against the tide and lives his beliefs despite the odds. It's very easy for an animal advocate to become embittered, angry and alienated from general society because of the lack of compassion for other species among far too many humans. Jim has managed to retain his faith and his sense of humor through what must have been some very challenging times. He never gives up. He's not confrontational, but he's effective, in his quiet, gentler way. His essay "How Could You?" proved it. We need many more people like him on the planet.

This is a book written by a true animal lover--someone who walks the walk. Read it. You'll be the better for it. - A. Baxter

Pieces of My Heart: Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature

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Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West
by Michael J. Robinson
University Press of Colorado, 473 pp. 2005 $24.95

Native Americans weren’t the only ones who were practically exterminated through the national credo of “Manifest Destiny”. Our country, particularly the west, used to be richly populated with all manner of wildlife, both predator and prey: bison, wolves, coyotes, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets, wolverines, badgers, bobcats, mountain lions, bears, bald eagles, golden eagles, magpies, etc., etc.

This book, written by the carnivore conservation coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity, documents in an unemotional manner the mass killing, over hundreds of years and through many changes of state and federal government, of all those animals, once abundant, many of them now endangered or threatened.

It happened through bounty hunting, through trapping, but most horribly through poisoning. It was a methodical, planned political campaign to rid the country and especially the west of its magnificent fauna and some of its flora, mostly so that ranchers could protect their livestock and citizens would feel safe. And it was accomplished largely with the blessing of scientists, who should have known better but didn’t, until it was too late. The story is presented in a non-sensationalist manner, rich in historical detail and photos, which makes it all the more chilling and sad.

Some of the most famous conservationists are dissected in this book, like Aldo Leopold, who became a god of the environmental movement but actually spent most of his career eradicating animals. Robinson also talks about John Audubon, an ornithologist who killed countless birds just so he could draw them. Other eye openers are the big role FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps played in the poisoning campaign, and Nixon's motivations in signing the Endangered Species Act.

But mostly, he talks about the magnificent wolves that once roamed our country in large numbers, using them as a symbol of all we have lost. The author has been involved in recent wolf reintroduction programs and writes in detail about them, mentioning various New Mexico animal rights advocates/environmentalists like Lisa Jennings of Animal Protection of New Mexico and the courageous Pat Wolff.

The book closes on a cautiously hopeful note. And I agree that there is hope, but it’s clear from this book that we can never recover the magnificence of what nature once was.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you want to understand how the government’s present attitudes and policies towards wildlife evolved. - A. Baxter

Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves And the Transformation of the West

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Protect Your Pet: More Shocking Facts to Consider
by Ann N. Martin
New Sage Press, 200 pp. 2001 $13.95

Canadian writer and muckraker Ann N. Martin (“Food Pets Die For”) does her usual excellent job of careful, patient, thorough investigation and reportage in her second book. I learned even more about the evils of commercial pet foods, as well as her take on vaccinations, raw food diets, various medical conditions and commonly given drugs, and increased cancer in pets, along with recipes to treat various conditions.

However, I do have a bone to pick. Ms. Martin paints all commercial pet foods with the same brush, stating unequivocally that they should be avoided at all costs. Curiously, she quotes Wendell Belfield, DVM, an alternative veterinarian, throughout the book, who is a nutrition consultant for one of the most wholesome kibble brands on the market today: Natura. While I agree with her that well-balanced, home-cooked food is the better choice for dogs and cats, the reader should be made aware that there are a number of so-called "designer" brands of kibble and canned food available now at most pet and animal supply stores that contain "human" grade meat and vegetal ingredients and no poisons and chemicals. They cannot be purchased in a supermarket or a veterinary clinic and they are costlier, but my personal view is that they are a great alternative for guardians who simply don't have the time to offer their animals two or three home-cooked meals every day.

I also think the jury is still out on whether or not raw food diets and raw bones are dangerous, although Ms. Martin is convinced they are.

Despite those quibbles, I think this book should be on the shelf of every responsible animal guardian. - A. Baxter

Protect Your Pet: More Shocking Facts

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Purr More, Hiss Less: Heavenly Lessons I Learned from My Cat
by Allia Zobel Nolan, illustrated by Erika Oller
Heath Communications, Inc., 224 pp., 2008, $16.95

This lovely book arrived on a day when I was more than ready to hear the advice provided by the cats pictured inside. The wise cats Nolan consults provide life lessons with wisdom and humor. If we took these feline lessons to heart, our lives would be easier, kinder and much less stressful. Erika Oller’s whimsical, watercolor illustrations are the perfect compliment to these aphorisms. They bring the cats’ thoughts and comments to life. Taken together the words and pictures will make you smile, laugh, think and need to share with your friends. This definitely is a book you'll want for yourself and as a gift for all your feline-loving friends.

Some of the thoughts that struck a chord with me were

- If you must give in to anger, hiss, spit and then get over it.
- Do the right thing…even when there’s no one watching.
- Differences are what make us interesting
- You can't hold a grudge and play with a catnip toy.
- Retain a kitten-like sense of wonder.

Allia Zobel Nolan is an internationally published author of over 140 titles. She blogs as KittyLiterate on NBC’s Petside.com and Purrsonals.com Erika Oller is an internationally known watercolorist whose art can be seen on calendars, greeting cards and in both adult and children’s books. - N. Marano

Purr More, Hiss Less: Heavenly Lessons I Learned from My Cat

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Purry Logic
by Jane Seabrook
Ten Speed Press, 2008, unpaged $9.95

This new book from the author of the “Furry Logic” series is all-feline, all the time. It is a whimsical collection of illustrations combined with humorous sayings. The illustrations are watercolor paintings done in loving detail of special kitties who have a lot of wisdom to impart for our daily lives. The author has four cats of her own who served as models for this book.

Some of the cat wisdom and cat-titude I enjoyed was

    - “Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself.”
    - “Note to self: When scratching the furniture, it is easier to get forgiveness than permission.”
    - “What part of MEOW don’t you understand?”
    - “When fat, arrange yourself in slim poses.”

I defy you not to smile when reading this slim volume. The pictures and thoughts touch a spot of recognition in any cat lover’s soul. Enjoy. - N. Marano

Purry Logic

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Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America
By Nathan J. Winograd
Almaden, 2007, 229 pp., pap. $16.95

Nathan Winograd, a former San Francisco SPCA director of operations and ex-director of the no-kill Tompkins County, New York animal shelter, and an attorney, has become a controversial and even a despised figure in the animal advocacy movement because of this book. I recommended it to a fellow animal advocate who used to work in a shelter, and her response was a blistering review of the book she had found on line, as if that settled things.

Besides serving as a history of animal sheltering in the United States, “Redemption” also questions the painful and divisive “myth”, as he calls it, of pet overpopulation. Winograd writes things that are just not easy to swallow for those who have been involved heart and soul in animal sheltering and rescue and have come to believe that the only way to compassionately deal with too many pets, besides urging people to spay/neuter, is to euthanize “unadoptable” animals. He takes exception to that attitude and is a firm adherent of the “No Kill” movement created by Richard Avanzino, past president of the San Francisco SPCA.

Winograd claims that no, there is not a pet overpopulation problem, and yes, we can save almost all of them, if we as pet guardians, rescuers and shelter workers assiduously follow a number of simple but important steps and never doubt the fact that very few animals are truly unadoptable. Like Avanzino, whom he calls his mentor, he is not a believer in euthanasia as an acceptable way to deal with homeless pets, although he also talks about Avanzino later losing his focus and compromising the no-kill principles that he started out with. He turns around the idea long promoted by shelters that the public is ultimately to blame for the killing, suggesting that the public is not the enemy and is actually a big part of the solution, and that shelters are not doing nearly enough to save animals. Winograd is also a proponent of feral cat TNR (trap/neuter/release) as a humane and practical method of handling the large stray cat population in the U.S.

It took me quite a while to sit down with “Redemption” and read it after buying it because I was afraid that my “pet” ideas about the overpopulation issue would be seriously challenged, and I was right. It is not easy to read, and it can be downright guilt inducing. But I strongly urge any animal lover who has ever felt sick at heart about the millions of perfectly healthy dogs and cats routinely killed in shelters every year because it’s supposedly the most humane solution to read this book. The animal rescue movement needs many more dedicated and progressive mavericks like Nathan Winograd to go the extra mile to save animals that don’t deserve to die. - A. Baxter

On Amazon:
Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America

On Dogwise: Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America

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Remember the Alamo: A Sentry Dog Handler’s View of Vietnam from the Perimeter of Phan Rang Air Base
by Carl S. Adams
Lost Coast Press, 261 pp. 2003. $24.95

Military dogs saved an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 human lives in Vietnam. “Remember the Alamo” talks about the role of the Air Force K9 Corps in that ill-conceived war as related by a former soldier. The book is at its best when Mr. Adams gives personal vignettes of his experiences with his dog Andy, a connoisseur of canned peaches, as well as those of other members of the Corps. But be forewarned. He’s a “my country right or wrong” kinda guy, and unfortunately, when he indulges in political diatribe, suggesting that antiwar protestors and draft dodgers were anti-American, it’s very off-putting. But to his credit, he keeps that to a minimum. He also focuses more on human-to-human interactions and what a soldier’s life is like in war, which is more interesting for history buffs than animal lovers.

The saddest part of this story is that all the canine soldiers, except for a few who were considered exceptionally heroic, were routinely euthanized at the end of the war if they hadn’t already been killed in the line of duty, or they were turned over to the new Vietnamese government, because they were regarded as “excess equipment.” Mr. Adams offers no protest of this unconscionably brutal policy, even though he was clearly very fond of Andy. It’s quite ironic that while on active duty, military dogs, mostly German Shepherd Dogs who were donated by their former owners to the war effort, were treated as well as any human soldier. The author describes an instance of Andy developing a tooth infection and being flown to the nearest vet in an empty plane for immediate root canal surgery.

But as Mr. Adams admits, war is hell, and in the end there is no room in war for sentiment. The military dogs of Vietnam and other wars deserved much better than euthanasia for their valiant service to humans, but that’s exactly what they got. Happily, times have changed. While it's too late to save dogs who died serving the USA in the past, the good news is that in 2000, President Clinton signed a law that allowed suitable retired military dogs to be adopted: Retired Military Dogs Protected. - A. Baxter

Remember the Alamo: A Sentry Dog Handler's View of Vietnam from the Perimeter of Phan Rang Air Base

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Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals: A Guide for Volunteers and Organizers
by Sheila Webster Boneham, PhD
Alpine Publications, 2009, 148p., $14.95

This is a must have book for anyone who wants to start an animal rescue group or to volunteer with an animal rescue organization. It is one of the clearest explanations I’ve seen of what it takes to work in animal rescue. Boneham lays out the details of rescue work from how to organize the group, to finding and training volunteers to dealing with the animals.

Part I deals with organizational matters. She covers the legal, organizational, and paperwork needs of rescue groups. She also has an appendix with questions to be asked of prospective adopters and potential fosters. Boneham spends time discussing the importance of human relationships in helping animals. She explains why it is necessary to recruit the right volunteer for the right job, how a person should show understanding for people who must relinquish their pet, and why it is important to maintain good relations with shelter staff and other rescue groups. Boneham talks honestly about volunteer burnout and how to handle it as well as the need to consider how a person’s family will be affected when the person goes into rescue work. She is clear about the downsides of rescue but also about the many rewards. Basically, she explains all you need to know to get a rescue group up and running successfully.

Part II concentrates on the animals. How do you assess problems (health and behavior issues), foster homes and veterinary care? How you evaluate potential adopters? How do you pick up an animal and transport it? How do you rehabilitate and train a rescued animal and what is needed to rehome the animals at your rescue?

The author has spent most of her life with animals. In the 1990’s she founded Labrador Retriever and Australian Shepherd rescue programs. Much of her knowledge comes from hands on experience and it shows. Boneham has a clear, easy to read style. She is the author of numerous books on animals and has won awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers’ Association.

Rescue Matters: How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals: A Guide for Volunteers and Organizers

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Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster
by Allen & Linda Anderson
New World Library, 346 pp. 2006. $16.95

”Rescued” is a very well researched book about the Katrina rescue efforts that also includes general information about disaster rescue work. It’s a great resource to have on your library shelf if you’re interested in learning how to participate in rescue efforts in the future or just want to know how to protect your own pets after disasters. The authors interviewed a wide range of people from volunteers to executives in the animal welfare movement to animal-loving celebrities and concluded that because of Katrina and its aftermath, the animal rescue movement has come to the forefront of public consciousness. Finally the government has gotten the message that people’s pets are often a vital part of their family and being forced to leave them behind in disasters just won’t fly anymore.

I do have an issue, however, with a comment regarding the alleged cruelty of shelters who euthanized some Katrina dogs: “Some shelters, in what was an unbelievably cruel move after all that the volunteers and animals had been through in the recent efforts, euthanized Katrina animals when no one claimed or adopted them.”

I think the authors should do more research in this area and expand on what they wrote in the next edition of the book. Having volunteered to care for Katrina dogs at my local shelter, I’m familiar with the tireless efforts of the shelter’s adoption coordinator at the time, who spent many long nights on the Internet and phone on her own time trying to locate the guardians of the Katrina dogs in the shelter’s care. Some lucky dogs were returned to their people because of information she uncovered, but unfortunately the origins of most of the dogs remained a mystery. Another issue was that a few of the dogs were very sick and others, who had probably been strays or fighting dogs, had behavior problems. The shelter could not adopt out dogs who might bite for liability reasons. And as the months wore on, the shelter was forced to choose between saving more New Mexico homeless dogs or trying to adopt out more Katrina dogs. Eventually there was an emotional meeting that involved us volunteers, who had gotten to know the Katrina dogs and were upset that the shelter had euthanized some of them, and the shelter director and staff. Not long after, a local rescue group came forward to take responsibility for the remaining dogs and farm them out to sanctuaries, foster homes, and no-kill shelters across the U.S. I don’t know what has happened to these dogs in the interim, but I can say from personal experience that everyone involved with the Katrina dogs spent time crying over them. It was an impossible situation with no clear solution, and nobody took it lightly.

Be that as it may, “Rescued” has inspired me to download the free online FEMA course regarding animals and disasters in case I decide in the future to sign up for a disaster rescue effort. The presence of both color and black and white photos increases the impact of the book, which includes a forward by animal advocate Senator John Ensign. There are also many Katrina personal stories included.

If you care about the welfare and safety of your pets and of other animals who rely on humans to protect them, you should read this book and learn how you can educate yourself. Knowledge is power. -A. Baxter

Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster

Robin: The Lovable Morgan Horse
by Ellen Feld
Willow Bend Publishing, 2006, 204 pp. $9.95

When I was young, I wanted a horse more than anything. I thought that would make my life perfect. Instead of getting my horse, though, I ended up haunting the library where I read every horse book I could find. “Robin: The Lovable Morgan Horse” would have been on my list of “must read.”

This is the story of Karen Greene, who has a horrible accident when she lets peer pressure push her into riding a horse she knows she can’t handle. She learns to ride and trust again through the bond she forms with her horse, Robin, and the friendship she finds with Heather, another rider at the new barn where her father has moved Robin.

While there are adventures here, they are gentle and plausible. Karen doesn’t suddenly become a champion rider or rescue a horse form an impossible situation and ride it to glory in the big race. But she learns and grows in her understanding of herself and her horse.

The author is good at slipping a lot of useful equine information into the story without bogging down the action. She also keeps adult intervention to a minimum. The girls and their horses are the stars of the show. The story is also packed with humane advice on caring for horses.

This book is the fourth in a series of Morgan horse books by Feld. “Robin: The Lovable Morgan Horse” makes the reader want to find and read the other books in the series.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves horses. - N. Marano

Robin: The Lovable Morgan Horse (Morgan Horse Series)

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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
Health Communications, Incorporated, 224 pp., 2007, $14.95

Do you have a pooch with problems? Come on…be honest. If you’ve got a pooch you probably have some problems. There are lots of books out there that can lend a helping hand (paw?), but few are as readable as Darlene Arden’s Rover, Get Off Her Leg. Darlene Arden is a certified animal behavior consultant and is considered one of America’s leading authorities on dog training. Despite this, her book is written in a way that makes you feel like you’re getting some comfortable advice from a good friend. She’ll even make you laugh about problems that may have caused you to start pulling out your hair. From barking to humping to peeing in inappropriate places this book covers it all. There’s even a section on what to do if your dog doesn’t like your significant other. I’d say to just dump the significant other, but luckily, I didn’t write this book. Arden gives you some very successful (though nothing can ever be guaranteed) suggestions to try, such as setting up a specific bonding time when your dog and your s.o. can have fun together and letting your s.o. feed your dog. This book is an easy read and what makes it particularly cool is that you don’t have to read this whole book. If you only have one or two problems, you can read those sections. It’s so well written, though, that you’ll probably find you’ll want to read it all! - K. Winters

On Amazon: Rover, Get off Her Leg!: Pet Etiquette for the Dog Who Pees on Your Rug, Steals the Roast and Poops in Improper Places

On Dogwise: Rover, Get off Her Leg!: Pet Etiquette for the Dog Who Pees on Your Rug, Steals the Roast and Poops in Improper Places

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Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals

By C. Ray Greek, MD and Jean Swingle Greek, DVM
Continuum, 256 pp. 2000 $24.95

The sacred cow is the belief system that using animals in biomedical research actually benefits humankind and advances science. The golden geese are the gazillions of dollars raked in by vested interest groups such as animal breeders, research labs, universities, Big Pharma, etc., through their insistence on using the animal model to extrapolate to human beings. The animal research industry is huge and powerful, and it continues because its lobbyists have convinced an uninformed public and the federal government that it’s absolutely necessary.

The Greeks put the lie to that belief system in a carefully researched book that points out that the only real advances in medical science have come about through human autopsies, in vitro research, clinical observation, epidemiology, mathematical modeling, and other human-based research methods. They demonstrate over and over by using examples throughout the history of biomedical research that animals models are “inaccurate, superfluous, and create risk to humans.” They don’t employ the classic animal rights argument that animal experimentation is cruel because they don’t have to. They simply present overwhelming evidence that animal experimentation has also been cruel to humans, many of whom have died unnecessarily because their treatments were based on erroneous animal models.

Animals, even our closest relatives the great apes, have different physiologies than humans and react differently to toxins, drugs, bacteria, viruses, etc. That’s the bottom line, according to the Greeks, and biomedical science has let down humankind and greatly slowed the advance of research through its great reluctance to employ animal-free methods to find treatments for diseases like heart disease, cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, and many others.

This is a book that everyone should read who harbors the false belief that animal experimentation may be unpleasant, but it’s justified because it leads to great cures and wonderful drugs. Pass it on to your friends and family and please write to your Congressional representatives to stop the medical madness. - A. Baxter

Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals

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Saving Molly: A Research Veterinarian's Choices
by James Mahoney, DVM
Algonquin Books, 234 pp. 1998. $21.95.

This is an unusual, thought-provoking book written by a biomedical research veterinarian who spent much of his career at LEMSIP (Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates) at New York University. Unusual among his peers, Jim Mahoney has always been vocal about his doubts about animal experimentation but considers himself an animal lover nonetheless. “Molly” is actually a Jamaican bush dog that he saves as a very sick puppy and brings back with him to New York. Through her difficult rescue, he feels redeemed from much of what has agonized him in his professional life.

In addition to Molly, Mahoney reminisces about the many animals he’s known over the years, which include mice, horses, dogs, cats, monkeys and chimpanzees. Although he tells himself that he believes in the necessity of animal research to find cures for human diseases, he is burdened by many unanswered questions about his work and the ethics of locking such intelligent animal as chimps in cages, especially animals that he claims to love. He also writes about fellow employees, such as animal technicians, who are torn about using animals in research but remain at the lab because they want them to be treated humanely. It’s a mystery to me how this veterinarian- who clearly has such great affection and appreciation for animals and even brings orphaned baby chimps home to raise until they’re ready to be research animals- was able to cope for so long in his chosen field.

After this book was published and LEMSIP closed its doors, Mahoney helped find retirement homes for a number of LEMSIP chimps. About a hundred were transferred by LEMSIP to the now-defunct, infamous Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, which eventually was taken over by Save the Chimps. Mahoney is apparently no longer involved in biomedical research. -A. Baxter

Saving Molly: A Research Veterinarian's Choices

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The Scalpel and the Butterfly:The War Between Animal Research and Animal Protection
by Deborah Rudacille
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 320 pp. 2000. $17.95

Here's a book that at first glance showed great promise in delivering an objective, unbiased history of animal research versus the animal protection movement. The complimentary blurbs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and an HSUS spokesman on the back cover convinced me to buy it. But the more I read, the more I realized that this author has an agenda, and that is to convince readers that animal experimentation is necessary for the advancement of knowledge and the benefit of humans; that science is making great strides in treating lab animals more humanely and using less of them through the "Three R's” (replacement, reduction, and refinement), which she wrongly attributes not to the considerable efforts of animal rights groups but to researchers, who claim they're changing to non-animal models for practical, not ethical reasons; and that groups such as PETA and the ALF are making the situation worse, not better (as she puts it, ". . . the antics of PETA and its imitators seem to be eroding the once formidable support of Americans for animal advocacy."). The truth is that if it were not for PETA, ALF and other groups, the mainstream would not even be aware of institutionalized animal abuse. To add insult to injury, she also talks admiringly about a scientist who almost did not become a scientist because of her ethical qualms about killing animals for research. In the interests of her career, she forced herself to harden her emotions and ignore her personal scruples, and now she apparently has no problem with it. This story is actually presented as a personal victory for the scientist.

There's also an entire chapter called "Nazi Healing" that deals with the racism, devotion to natural health and a clean environment, eugenics, human experimentation, and antivivisection movement of 30s Germany, an apparent attempt by the author to relate that era to what's going on now, in our “postmodern” world, as she terms it. And she talks at length about the rumor that Hitler was a vegetarian, as if that fact alone should discredit vegetarianism and the animal advocacy movement. The truth is that Coretta Scott King, Mahatma Gandhi, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and many others were also vegetarians. All sorts of people, good, bad, and in between, don't eat meat, for all kinds of reasons.

Despite my serious reservations about this book, it does provide a good overview of the history of animal advocacy versus animal experimentation, and despite its heavy subject and obvious slant, it’s written in a compelling style that makes you want to read on. It is truly unfortunate that Ms. Rudacille could not keep her personal prejudices out of it, or it would have been a more valuable resource. - A. Baxter

The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The Conflict between Animal Research and Animal Protection

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A Scattering of Cats
by Sandra Bozarth
Lost Coast Press, 270 pp. 2001 $16.95

"A Scattering of Cats" is a heart-warming memoir intertwined with the story of the author’s many pet cats over six decades. Sandra Bozarth begins the book describing herself as a five-year-old child during the Depression watching her mother cat give birth to eight kittens. It’s a good story full of drama and suspense, joys and sorrows. The cats, all with unique personalities, are always the center of the action, supported by an interesting cast of humans.

The author’s elegant prose and Alice Horst’s drawings make this an outstanding read.

"To look at Tai always washed me through with a feeling of rightness, of peace. His pliant young body moves as a willow branch dips in a breeze. His fur was the color of wheat, short but thick and softly springy; it looked cool if I was too warm and sunny if I was chilled."

Although this is definitely a book for cat lovers, any reader who enjoys good writing will like it, too. - J. Litz

A Scattering of Cats

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Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
by Susannah Charleson
Mariner Books, 2011, 320pp, $14.95 (pap.)

Following the Oklahoma City bombing, Charleson saw a picture of a canine handler with his face buried in a search-and-rescue dog’s fur. She decided she wanted to be part of that. As a pilot with search experience, she joined a canine team and learned to be a handler. This is the story of the golden retriever puppy named Puzzle who she adopted and trained. It shows the bond that grows between handler and dog as the training deepens from air-scent lessons to a mastery of whole body dialog. As they learn to trust each other in life and death situations, their bond deepens. Charleson’s writing is lyrical in her descriptions of terrain and Puzzle’s responses to what she is learning. She gives real anecdotes from some of their searches and the emotional roller coaster a dog handler is on searching for lost and possibly dead people. It takes a particular dog and person to be able to do this work but we are all lucky they are out there looking for us. A beautifully written, heart tugging tribute to the work these teams do and ultimately to the depth of the human/canine bond.

Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog

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The Social Lives of Dogs: The Grace of Canine Company
by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Pocket, 256 pp. 2001 $14.95

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is never a bad read. She has an original mind combined with a background in anthropology that gives all her books an added depth and piquancy. Although I didn't agree with all the conclusions she draws or all the opinions she expresses (for example, my household of two humans, four dogs, and five cats does not break down into distinct interspecies groups, as she claims hers does), as always, I marvel at her powers of observation. Thanks to her, I'll be watching my four dogs more closely from now on. (And I plan to give them the treat-under-towel so-called intelligence test)...

I enjoyed the last part of her book, where she unleashed her views on issues like leashing, neutering, breeding, and ESP in animals (and her introduction, where she neatly pricked the bubble of science writer Stephen Budiansky without mentioning his name). I share her belief that breeders are a strange breed; I see them as breed (as in "object") lovers rather than true dog (as in "creature") lovers. But, then, there really is no such thing as a purebred. All dogs are mixed breeds, because as descendants of wolves and jackals, they owe their distinct appearances to thousands of years of mongrelization. I also think she's right when she says that Americans are overly obsessed by safety issues and leashing. She talks about inter-species ESP, which is not such a big mystical deal, but rather a pretty banal occurrence; my dogs and I read each other's minds all the time. There is also a gratuitous but important chapter on why you should think several times about adopting an exotic bird. (And personally, I think that keeping a winged creature as a caged pet whose raison d'etre is to fly is inhumane).

However, I would like to qualify her statement that dogs are our slaves by saying that I see it as a case of mutual enslavement. They may be in our "power", but in return we have to feed them, house them, clean up after them, train them, nurse them, take them for walks and to the vet, and sometimes stay home and not travel because of them. If that's not slavery, albeit willing slavery, what is?

As a spay/neuter advocate, I'm intrigued by her suggestion of vasectomy rather than castration for male dogs (although it's not clear whether she chose vasectomy for any of her dogs). It would be more costly than castration because the surgery is more precise and not many veterinarians perform it. It would also be a harder sell to those dog guardians who have limited funds to begin with. A lot of the reasons we castrate male dogs are for human convenience--so they don't do as much marking, fighting, roaming, and attempting to mate (with both canines and humans)--all of which generally makes life harder for people, not dogs. The only valid reason for taking away a dog's masculinity is to control the overpopulation problem and prevent the tragedies of homelessness and euthanasia. But there is no question that the option of vasectomy would be more humane.

Read this book. - A. Baxter

The Social Lives of Dogs

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Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
By Dr. Nancy Kay
Trafalger Square, 2008, 388 pp., $19.95

If you live with a dog, you need this book. It’s as simple as that. If possible, read this before you even get a dog. Dr. Kay uses her 20+ years of experience as a veterinarian to help you be the perfect advocate for your dog when you speak to a veterinarian and her staff. This how-to book leads you through the confusing world of veterinary medicine with expertise, humor and warmth. She writes in a conversational style that draws you in and makes you wish you lived near her clinic.

The relationship you establish with your veterinarian is as important to your dog as your own relationship with your doctor is to you. This book gives you the questions to ask of a veterinarian and her staff, tells you what to look for in a veterinary clinic and what you need to tell the vet about your life and your dog’s. Dr. Kay explains which tests and vaccinations your dog needs at different stages of his life. She gives you a guided tour through a modern veterinary clinic illustrating various high-tech diagnostic equipment, scanners, advanced surgical techniques and rehabilitation options available to help your dog. She discusses costs for various procedures and treatments and whether there are more economical options.

She answers the questions a dog owner has about when to see the veterinarian. Should you see the veterinarian immediately or can you wait a day to see whether your dog improves? When should you get a second opinion and where can you get one? How do you know when your dog is ready to say good-bye? You will feel much more comfortable dealing with these questions after you hear her common sense advice.

Dr. Kay has a whole chapter on cancer, the treatments, the options and when you should let your dog go. A diagnosis of cancer will be given to one in three of our dogs as they live longer and veterinarians have better diagnostic methods. It is important to understand the options you and your dog have and what is involved in various forms of treatment. She explains this in great detail by discussing canine cancers, the medical terminology that goes with any cancer treatment, symptoms and what outcomes to expect.

Her appendix, sidebar charts, tips and “secrets for success” alone are good reasons to have this book. She presents common symptoms and questions you should ask your vet when your dog shows symptoms. She gives lists of common diseases and the questions that you should ask about them. Her quick reference information is excellent.

Dr. Kay is a board certified specialist in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She is an owner and staff internist at the Animal Care Center, a 24-hour emergency/specialty care center in Rohnert Park, CA. Recently she was awarded the American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Hill’s Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It should be on the shelf of every dog lover to help you be the best advocate your dog could ever want or need. Four paws up for Dr. Nancy Kay. I hope we see many more books from her. -N. Marano

On Dogwise: Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

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Targets of Affection
by RG Willems
Cormorant Books, 201 pp. 2006 $21.95

Targets of Affection presents an unlikely heroine in an unusual environment. The first in a series of Shelby James mysteries, it’s an excellent start. Shelby James is a veterinary assistant at the Poplar Bluff Animal Clinic in a suburb of Saskatoon, Saskatewan. I don’t remember ever seeing a veterinary assistant as the heroine of a book, but it is a good choice of character offering the possibility of many more stories to come.

From the moment Miranda Wall and her daughter Jessie rush into the clinic carrying a dog who’s been hit by a car, the action continues at a brisk pace. Miranda offers to care for the dog and adopt him if an owner doesn’t come forward. Miranda, recently divorced and newly resigned from the nursing profession, has a way of drawing people into her circle through her near-tragedies. Jessie is a silent child who shies away from everyone except her mother and only interacts when she is with an animal. Shelby feels sorry for Miranda, who is coping with the dog’s fractured leg, Jessie’s life-threatening allergies and starting her life as a single mother. As their friendship grows, Shelby begins to wonder about all the crises in Miranda’s life. She has suspicions that there may be more happening than is evident on the surface.

Adding to Shelby’s suspicion is her accidental acquaintance with Miranda’s ex-husband, who is brings his cat to the clinic. When she realizes that Ken is Jessie’s father, she is startled because Ken doesn’t fit the picture Miranda has painted of him.

Willems gives the reader an interesting side plot concerning Shelby, her husband, Jake, a psychology professor, and their dog Spin. Shelby is very real in her concern for Spin and a medical condition she feels she should have diagnosed earlier.

Animal and child abuse are heavy themes for a mystery to carry. But Willems handles them well in a riveting climax that puts Shelby and Jessie in danger. Jake’s knowledge of psychology and Shelby’s ability to read people work together beautifully to save Jessie and provide a very disturbed woman with the help she needs.

I look forward to seeing more Shelby James mysteries in the future. It’s about time that vet techs were recognized in the literary world as well as in the veterinary clinic. This is a good, page-turner of a mystery that any animal lover will enjoy. -N. Marano

Targets of Affection: A Shelby James Mystery

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Tears and Tales: Stories of Animal and Human Rescue
by Russell A. Vassallo
Krazy Duck Productions, $16.95, 165 pp. 2006

"Tears and Tales" is one of the best-written books of personal animal stories I have read. Russell A. Vassallo, a retired attorney dealing with colon cancer and haunted by a painful, lonely childhood, has clearly taken solace from animals throughout his life, as they have from him, and learned from them the value of love and loyalty.

He writes about Spunky, the formerly chained, homely Shar Pei/pitbull mix; Lonesome Dart, the erstwhile racing horse who forged a close friendship with his black Rottweiler named Tribute, a dog who died far too young of a mysterious illness; Nikki, Tribute’s mother, an abused dog who found peace and friendship with Mr. Vassallo and, he believes, returned after death to comfort him during his recovery from cancer as a friendly cardinal; Frenzy, a breeder mare with horribly malformed legs but a beautiful spirit; and others.

There are touching tales of his childhood friendship with a pony named Lucky, who, like the author, had serious respiratory problems; and his unexpected bonding with an impulse purchase, a duckling he named Crazy Duck.

Mr. Vassallo freely admits that he took some creative license with his stories, but the lesson is clear: animals, no matter what their appearance or physical condition, can help us cope with life if only we listen to what they can teach us: "The comfort and love an animal can bring is worth all the heartache and pain of parting with them; the loyalty of an animal is endless and from our little friends, we can learn the simplicity of caring." - A. Baxter

Tears and Tales: Stories of Human and Animal Rescue

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That Cat Can't Stay
by Thad Krasnesky, Illustrated by: David Parkins
Flash Light Press., 2010, 32p., $16.95

That Cat Can’t Stay is the perfect blend of story, illustration and message. It is one of the best children’s books I’ve read in a long time and I know I’ll read it again many times. It made me laugh while incidentally making me think about the benefits of rescue. There is a sense of fun throughout the book which grabs the reader and doesn’t let go.

The story is told in wonderful rhyming couplets that beg to be read aloud. The father in the story is an easy-going guy who doesn’t like cats, which he tells his family at every opportunity. But his wife and children keep finding stray cats who need a home. Every time a new cat appears Dad goes through his reasons for not liking cats. And with each cat the reasons become more elaborate.

“I don’t like cats. They scratch my knees. / They make me sneeze. / They carry fleas. / They’re always getting stuck in trees. They eat my cheese, they hairball wheeze, Their licking makes my stomach quease.”

His wife totally agrees with him but by the end of her agreeing the cat has a new home. “She’s beautiful, but you’re quite right. / Our house is full. / I’ll put her back out on the street. / She’ll have to scrounge for things to eat. / But she’ll survive. / Yes, I can tell. / I’ll put her out.”/ But Dad said, “Well…”

Five cats later we get a surprise. “That week, Dad said, “Look what I found all sad and lonely at the pound.” And we were happy to discover…” You’ll have to read the book to learn what the family discovered.

What makes this a perfect book is not the vibrant writing alone but the superb ink and watercolor cartoons by David Parkins. He catches exactly the right note to go with the action of Krasnesky’s rhymes. His illustrations of Dad mimicking feline expressions as he tells anyone who will listen why the cat can’t stay are priceless. His facial expressions quickly go from stern to bemused to defeated to happy. He also catches the changes of emotion in the mother and children as one cat after another teeters between being thrown out in the cold and staying in their home. Parkins and Krasnesky should continue to collaborate because they obviously on the same wave length.

That Cat Can’t Stay should be in every library and used frequently at story hours. The words roll off the tongue when it is read aloud and the pictures will make everyone laugh. It also should be in every cat lover’s library whether child or adult. It’s a book to be read often or whenever you need a lift.

Thad Krasnesky is an Army major who served three tours of duty in Iraq, and is now an instructor at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. He enjoys volunteering with children and running marathons. He lives in West Point, NY with his wife and two daughters.

David Parkins does political cartoons and editorial illustrations for The Guardian and The Globe and Mail. He has illustrated numerous books. He lives with his wife and daughter in Ontario, Canada. - N. Marano

That Cat Can't Stay

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There Is Eternal Life for Animals: A Book Based on Bible Scripture
by Niki Behrikis Shanahan
Pete Publishing, 115 pp., 2002, $12.98

A lot of my furry family members have died through the years and I have absolutely no doubt that we’ll all be together again someday. I had no facts for this belief. It’s just always been a strong knowing, like the way I know the sun will rise tomorrow. If you have these feelings, too, or if you have questions about whether or not your pet will be in heaven with you, then get the book There is Eternal Life for Animals by Niki Behrikis Shanahan. This book is very well researched and based on Bible scriptures. I was amazed at the amount of scripture there is which absolutely guarantees us that our furry and feathered loved ones will share eternity with us. Just one example comes from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3: “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beastes: even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place…”. Despite the use of some Greek and Hebrew words, which Behrikis Shanahan translates to English, this book is not at all dry to read, so if you’re heartbroken and you’re wondering if your pet is home with God, this book is exactly what the doctor ordered. You can also sign up for a newsletter at her website www.eternalanimals.com.

There is Eternal Life for Animals: A Book Based on Bible Scripture

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Through Katrina’s Eyes
by Ed Kostro
Booklocker.com 72pp. 2005. $11.95

The subject matter in these poems is important and touches the heart again with scenes of the devastation Katrina wrecked on people and animals alike. You feel for the victim’s and the rescuers. However, there are problems with these poems. Some problems are basic copy editing errors but some are with the poems as poems. Occasionally there are forced rhymes that are distracting and many of the poems should have been done in prose. One poem that did work for me was “It’s a Bug’s Life.” I thought it captured the feeling of living in a swarm of flies. My main complaint about the book is that I think the ideas, emotions and events depicted in the poems would have been more effective in another form - perhaps essay or memoir. - N. Marano

Through Katrina’s Eyes

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TNR Past, Present and Future: A History of the Trap-Neuter-Return Movement
by Ellen Perry Berkeley
Alley Cat Allies, 116 pp. 2004. $16.00*
*Note: A group may choose to buy the book from Alley Cat Allies in bulk, at a discount of 40%, for only $9.60 per copy

TNR is widely accepted as the most humane and efficient way of caring for and managing feral cat colonies. This concise history of the TNR movement from its beginnings in England to its opposition and current acceptance in the world is valuable for gathering all the relevant material on this subject in one place.

Ellen Perry Berkeley was the first author to publish articles in the American press on “neuter-release” and wrote a classic on feral cats called, Maverick Cats: Encounters with Feral Cats. She is a respected journalist in this field and her information can be trusted.

One of the most helpful features of this book is the section of “Notes.” The citations give readers ample information to pursue any point in the book, but they go beyond that. Many of the notes provide additional information that did not fit within the text but which helps the reader understand the points made in the text.

The “Index” is also lengthy and comprehensive.

While Berkeley spends considerable time on various research studies and their importance in advancing the acceptance of TNR, she doesn’t allow the book to become so technical that the lay reader would find it difficult to access the information. Her explanations of the studies lead the reader through the progression of knowledge within this field.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about TNR, the management of feral cat colonies or the people instrumental in advancing this movement. A very informative read. - N. Marano

TNR: Past, Present and Future: A History of the Trap-Neuter-Return Movement

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Treasure Cat Tails: From Trash Can to Parlor
by Debbie Decker, Illustrated by Linn Trochim
Little Blue Barn/Mother’s House Publishing., 2009, 114p., $34.95

According to Debbie Decker, every cat is a treasure cat just waiting to be discovered. The stories in this book tell the experiences of people who took a “treasure cat from the trash and brought it into their home.” In each case the cat brought new perspective and joy into their owner’s life.

The book contains real life stories contributed by people from all around the country about rescued cats. Each shows how a cat who was thought of as disposable turned into a treasure with love and attention. The stories are uplifting, warm and bring a positive message of hope. Decker’s stories are accompanied by the wonderful drawings of Linn Trochim. The drawings are perfect for bringing the characters to life and impressing the story on the reader’s heart.

They have included quips, cat quotes and humor as well as information on caring for cats along with the stories. “We are amazed at the number of people who don’t know cat care basics,” Decker said. “Cats die every year because their owners are unaware of the dangers of dryers, poisonous substances and loose cords to name a few. We also included information on some of the top behavioral issues because many times people give a cat away or take it to a shelter over a resolvable problem.”

This is a beautiful book to look at and the stories are excellent. I recommend it to people who love cats or who have rescued their own cat from the trash. On their website at www.TreasureCatTails.com you can contribute a story about your own cat.

Decker and Trochim donate 20% from the sale of each book to rescue organizations that help cats. The book may be purchased at their website: www.TreasureCatTails.com.

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Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating
by Erik Marcus
McBooks Press, 228 pp. 2000. $16.95

Erik Marcus's "Vegan" is a great starter book on the subject. Anyone who's already an ethical vegan would probably not learn anything new, but it presents the compelling case for veganism to neophytes in an organized, rational manner.

It starts off with the nutritional benefits of cutting out meat, dairy and eggs along with case histories of people who were restored to health through veganism. It goes on to talk about the horrible lives and deaths of factory farmed animals as well as the devastating impact of carnivorism on the environment.

Veganism is a win-win proposition: for healthy, longer lives, for the animals who are otherwise forced to be our "food slaves," and for the future well being of our planet. He also dispels the myths about veganism being unnatural or unhealthful. Of course, it's possible to be a "junk food" or "chemical" vegan; Marcus tells you how to be a nutritionally balanced vegan. If you're thinking about becoming a vegan but you're not quite convinced it’s a good idea, be sure to read this book. - A. Baxter

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, Revised Edition

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Visiting the Dog Park: Having Fun Staying Safe
by Cheryl S. Smith
Dog Wise Publishing, 2007, 128 pp. $11.95

Cheryl Smith has written a comprehensive common-sense manual telling dog owners how to make the best of the dog park experience. Until the last few years, dog owners have had to fight for space in public parks, but now fenced areas for off-leash dogs are becoming more common in every city. Her first advice is to determine whether one’s dog is right for a dog park. Does your dog like being with other dogs and people? Has the dog had some basic training such as “come” and “sit”? It goes without saying, an aggressive dog should never be taken to a park.

The author warns the dog owner to be observant. Stand at the gate before entering and look at the geography of the park and its fence. Watch the other dogs, and learn to “read” their behavior as illustrated by several very real scenarios. She also warns the dog owner to obey the park’s rules. Throughout the book she stresses, never bring food to the park, and “Pick up the Poop!” If a fight breaks out, call your dog to you and leave as soon as possible.

She also includes a chapter on “Health Issues.” Puppies should have all their shots before being brought to the dog park. There is the concern about communal water dishes and tennis balls that could spread diseases and parasites. The book ends with seven pages of internet resources for checking out dog parks and dog training in the U.S.

Not only is this an interesting, well written book, but it is also an invaluable guide to dog park use. - J. Litz

On Amazon: Visiting the Dog Park: Having Fun Staying Safe

On Dogwise: Visiting the Dog Park: Having Fun Staying Safe

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The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter
by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
Rodale Press, 328 pp. 2006. $25.95

Peter Singer, bioethics professor and author of the seminal book “Animal Liberation” teams up again with attorney and environmentalist/animal advocate Jim Mason (co-author with Singer of “Animal Factories”) to write about three American families, their eating habits, and how their culinary choices directly impact the environment, animals, their health, their ethics, and the economy. The first family eats the typical high-meat, high-fat American diet, shopping at Walmart Supercenter and spending as little money and time as possible on food. The second family eats only organic foods, including meat, and shops at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. The third is pure vegan and spends its dollars at a local co-op or Wild Oats. Through these families, the authors discuss the many choices out there for today’s consumers and the truths behind them.

The authors visit organic farms and factory farms; learn how to artificially inseminate factory-farmed turkeys; explain the meaning of labels such as “Organic”, “Certified Humane”, “Animal Care Certified”, “Cage Free”, and other often misleading categories. They talk about the seafood industry, both wild and farmed; about Fair Trade products; the pros and cons of shopping at local farmers’ markets; the harsh realities of the milk business; if it’s OK to raise kids vegan; how to be a “freegan”; the increasing corporate takeover of organic foods and what that means for our health; and so much more.

This is the kind of book you as a 21st century food consumer will want to have at hand to cut through the confusion, no matter what you eat. First and foremost, it’s designed to teach the reader how to practice the highest food ethics possible in an increasingly complicated and and shrinking world. -A Baxter

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

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What’s the Matter with Henry?: The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat
by Cathy Conheim & BJ Gallagher
Breakthrough Press, unpaged 2006 $19.95

Henry, the kitten, wandered into the home of two dog-lovers. They certainly didn’t want a cat when they already had a wonderful dog named Dolly, so they put him outside with his sisters and brothers. But Henry had made an impression. When they didn’t see him outdoors, they searched for him. They found the kitten curled up in Dolly’s doghouse, with his front leg dangling at a weird angle.

What would have been the end for many cats turns into a new beginning for Henry. After his front leg is amputated, Henry learns he can do all the things any cat can do. He’s mischievous, courageous, loving and funny. Henry’s perseverance triumphs over his adversities and, in the process, wins him the hearts of two dog lovers.

This is a children’s book but that depends on how you define children. The photography and design appeals to adults, and the book’s message that you can only hate the things you don’t understand is a good one for any age. Henry is a shining example that while you can’t pick the things that happen to you, you can choose how you respond to events.

This book is more than just the story of Henry, although that would be enough. Henry has turned his story into something bigger than himself that will help other cats. He has his own website, www.henrysworld.org, where he answers emails in his “ Dear Tabby” column, blogs his thoughts and shares the interviews done with his people. There is a store on Henry’s website where you can buy Henry’s books and other items. All the proceeds from store sales are donated to animal shelters and rescue groups to help other animals in need. “What’s the Matter with Henry?” has won the ASPCA Humane Issues award and the Best Gift Book of the Year award from the Cat Writers’ Association.

Do yourself a favor and read this book. Buy copies for your animal loving friends and donate it to your local library. This is a winner. Henry’s optimism and can-do spirit will make you smile and provide a lesson for all of us. -N. Marano

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The White Elephant Kneels
by Roxana Gillett
GPS, Write Direction Publishing, 2014, 287 pp., $9.79 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle)

This outstanding first novel is action packed and laden with mystery. Lillian Drake was born in Africa to an African mother and an Irish father who is the local pastor. Even as a child Lill has magical powers. She sees souls. Later she finds she can diagnose an animal’s ailment by seeing it with an x-ray type vision.

On her tenth birthday, in an attempt to find her mother’s grave, Lill has a frightening encounter with voodoo. Following this near death experience, her father takes her to San Francisco and makes her promise she will never return to Africa. On her twentieth birthday, her father dies and she watches as his soul leaves his body.

Lill becomes a respected veterinarian at a San Francisco wild animal park who is approaching her thirtieth birthday with dread. She is afraid of what terrible thing might happen on this birthday. Lill has a special relationship with elephants, especially a baby white elephant named Penda, who is on loan to the sanctuary from her home in Africa. Following a whirlwind romance, Lill marries the veterinarian who brought Penda from Africa. Tragically he dies on her birthday under suspicious circumstances. Soon afterwards, Penda is shipped back to Africa without Lill’s knowledge. Breaking her promise to her father, she goes to Africa to find Penda.

Once back in Africa Lill learns the importance of voodoo in her life and her mother’s true identity. This story grabs the reader’s interest from the beginning and never lets it go. There are surprises throughout, especially for Lill, as she returns to her roots and finds her power. Lill’s final test is a dramatic page turner. The clash between voodoo and Christianity throughout the book makes an interesting story line in this fantasy novel. In the end the real war is one between good and evil. Which will win is always in question.

The author beautifully conveys the magic embodied in wild animals and powerfully demonstrates the deep, understanding bond between humans and animals. Her respect for the dignity and knowledge animals possess is obvious on every page.

This is a compelling story from beginning to end. The exotic, African locale adds a mysterious quality to the story. The author leaves plenty of questions open to fuel a sequel. I, for one, hope to hear more of Lill Drake’s adventures as she deepens her roots in the African soil.

Roxana Gillett spent 15 years as a wild animal trainer. She has also hand raised lions and tigers and trained baby African elephants and adult Indian elephants. All of this first-hand knowledge of wild animal behavior is evident in every line of the book.

Check out The White Elephant Kneels and you will be in for a wonderful read. -Nancy Marano

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Who Moved My Mouse? A Self-Help Book for Cats (Who Don’t Need Any Help)
by Dena Harris
Ten Speed Press, 2010, 144pp, $12.99 (pap.)

Based on classic self-help books, Who Moved My Mouse? answers all the questions a self-respecting cat might have on life’s most pressing questions – if he didn’t already know all the answers. The first section, “A Cat’s Conversations with God,” covers such puzzles as “Why does ‘dog’ spelled backward equal ‘God’?” “Why do I like catnip so much?” and other necessary information. Quizzes, personality tests and rules for living abound. Check out the rules under “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…But Feel Free to Freak Out Over Anything that Moves Suddenly or without Warning.” A great gift for cats and their people providing the cats allow the people to read it.

 

Who Moved My Mouse?: A Self-Help Book for Cats (Who Don't Need Any Help)

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The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats
by Andi Brown
Celestial Arts, 240 pp. 2006. $16.95

I’m a sucker for books on animal nutrition. In fact, even before finishing “The Whole Pet Diet”, I’d already gone out and invested in two of the products Andi Brown recommends to bring pets to optimal health: Vita-Mineral Mix and Dream Coat. Ms. Brown is a colleague and fan of Anitra Frazier, the author of “The Natural Cat”, and her various products (Halo, Products for Pets) based on Ms. Frazier’s and her own nutritional research are available in many health food stores and better pet supply stores. And, the foreword is by the holistic vet Dr. Richard Pitcairn, one of my all-time favorite authors on animal health.

Andi Brown’s premise is that commercial pet foods are no good for pets and should be eliminated from their diet. She explains that the average pet food contains unhealthy fillers, chemicals, byproducts, etc., and has no business in the stomach of a dog or cat. There continues to be much controversy about the quality of commercial pet foods, and whether or not it’s better to feed your pets homemade human grade food. There’s also controversy about raw food (the so-called BARF diet) versus cooked. Andi Brown believes that giving pets high-quality, preferably organic foods-sometimes cooked, sometimes not-can improve many chronic and even acute conditions for which pet guardians spend millions of dollars a year at the vet, and even extend pets’ lives significantly. She also recommends supplementation of their diet with various vitamins, minerals, and EFAs (essential fatty acids), and offers an eight-week program during which you can carefully monitor the progress of your pet(s).

I agree with the idea of giving dogs and cats “real” food entrees with eggs, human-grade meat and fish, fruits, grains and veggies, but I believe that many of us just don’t have the time and money to do it every single day-especially if we have multiple animals. Once or twice a week, or mixing it in with their regular fare, is more realistic for my category of pet guardian. The other problem I have is that cats in particular are creatures of habit and don’t necessarily share your enthusiasm about improving their diet. Ms. Brown recommends that you do it anyway, and if your cat doesn’t eat the new offering right away, that’s OK. Eventually he will. I don’t have the heart to try the cold turkey approach, even though she claims it works eventually if you tempt them with wholesome treats. Everyone needs to decide for herself what is best for her family of pets. For me, with my nine pets, offering home-cooked food or raw bones one day a week, and adding supplementation and “human” foods to the canned food and kibble I feed them, is more doable.

Andi Brown offers a number of recipes along with recommendations for treating common conditions such as ear and eye problems and flea infestations with natural products. She includes sections on how to massage your pets, examine their teeth, and bathe and groom them, and offers inventive ways to play with them, as well as a number of real-life case histories of dogs and cats who improved through her program. I recommend this book. It’s organized, inspiring and informative. - A. Baxter

On Amazon: Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs And Cats

On Dogwise: Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs And Cats

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Wild Minds: What Do Animals Really Think?
by Marc D. Hauser
Owl Books, 336 pp. 2001. $9.95

Science writer Marc Hauser's subtitle ("What Do Animals Really Think?") is misleading. He readily admits that scientific studies on the nonhuman animal mind are very incomplete, but based on the limited evidence up to this point, rather rashly concludes that they are not on a par with human animal minds (according to him, nonhuman animals are not self-aware and do not feel embarrassment or shame, but like humans three years old or younger, deserve decent treatment from us.) In other words, he comes across as a welfarist--treat 'em right, but keep 'em in their place (so we can keep experimenting on them).

Hauser is, however, careful not to be condescending to those who may suspect that their dogs or cats or any other animals have more between their ears than we currently understand. In the first chapter he states his case against popular animal writers like Jeffrey Masson and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, whom he claims commit the "sin" of anthropomorphism--but it's not a diatribe. If you can get past that clearly stated bias, Hauser's book is an informative if unsatisfying read, because the findings he presents ultimately leave you up in the air about what he thinks animals really think. - A. Baxter

Wild Minds

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