Check out anyone’s social media feed, and chances are good it’s as full of pets as it is of kids. In the last few decades, we have developed an unprecedented intimacy with our domesticated animals; we give them human names as opposed to the Smoky and Spot of yesteryear, and their diets are often as organic and carb-conscious as our own. As an unabashed cat lady – though I prefer the sultrier title of “cat woman” – I see no problem with this trend. Animals provide unconditional love; animals remind us to stay present; animals never ignore our text messages. Judging from these wonderful books about the relationships between humans and animals, I’m not alone in my animal passions.
My Dog Tulip–J.R. Ackerley, Introduction by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
British writer and editor J. R. Ackerley didn’t even like dogs much until he found himself the kept man of Tulip, a German shepherd with tastes as particular as his own. Droll, dry, and tenderhearted (aka eminently British), this memoir will hurt the heart of anyone who’s lived alone with a dear pet.
A well-known animal lover (her friends called her Goat), Virginia Woolf was so charmed by poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel Flush that she wrote an autobiography about him. Yep, you read that right. The author of Orlando and A Room of One’s Own wrote a whole book from a pup’s perspective. Whimsical and warmhearted, this is easily Woolf’s most loose-limbed literary effort. Continue Reading →