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December 10, 2013 > Ohlone Humane Society Column: The gift of reading

Ohlone Humane Society Column: The gift of reading

By Nancy Lyon

IÕm not sure what happened to October and November; they seem to have run through my reality without much notice and here it is Ð December. Since this is a time of celebration for a number of traditions that include the giving of gifts, whenever I can, I like to make my gift a book Ð although I have to admit itÕs usually one I hope to ÒborrowÓ and read when time allows.

While browsing the many selections that are available in hard/paper cover and electronically, there were some great possibilities that I feel many animal-caring friends would appreciate. They are stories that may even touch and enlighten those who have not been fortunate enough to have animals grace their lives.

Because IÕm a fan of Dr. Marc Bekhoff, Ph.D., my first choice is The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter. IÕve enjoyed not only his previous observations as a scientist but his subtle humor and obvious respect and understanding of other-than-human animals.

There is a wonderful and inspiring forward by famed primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall that is not to be missed, and a message in the introduction from His Holiness the Dalai Lama that reads in part, ÒÉas rational human beings, we have an obligation to contribute in whatever way we can to the happiness of other species and try our best to relieve their fears and sufferings, I firmly believe the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our sense of well-being becomes. Therefore, I welcome Marc BekoffÕs The Emotional Lives of Animals.Ó

My second choice would be Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom by Jennifer Holland. Holland Read more is a writer for National Geographic magazine that has documented accounts of deep bonds of friendship and loyalty between animal species that usually do not interact. These relationships clearly indicate that their emotions are akin to those of humans. Revealing tales directly challenge the scientific communityÕs assertions that this is not possible and are simply misinterpretations by the observer. The 47 stories of Òother kingdomsÓ seriously question the validity of this limited world view.

Jennifer Holland has also authored several noteworthy books for children, depicting these surprising, Òunlikely friendshipsÓ between other-than-human animals.

While checking through the many childrenÕs books about animals, it was easy to select the beloved works of veterinarian and author James Herriot. My choice was his wonderful childrenÕs book: James Herriot's Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small; a delightful collection of heartwarming true stories located in the dales of northern England in the mid-twentieth century. Wonderful stories that touch the heart, two of my favorites are The Christmas Kitten and Smudge, the Lost Lamb; the truth is, you donÕt have to be a youngster to enjoy the stories and the beautiful illustrations of a time that seems so long ago still touch us today. Highly recommended for all who are young at heart.

HereÕs wishing you time to read and ponder the remarkable lives of species other than our own, and a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


ÒWhenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.Ó ~ Vera Nazarian


The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter; New World Library; First Trade Paper Edition
Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom; Workman Publishing Company

James Herriot's Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great Ð available in hardcover/paperback and audio CD;
St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1992)

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