I just finished a book that is among the best I have ever read. Ruth is now reading it before we send it off to the many animal lovers we know, like my sisters. It’s called On Animals and it was written by Susan Orleans.
Many of the 15 essays in this book that are all worth reading are about common pets like cats and dogs, but several are about little known animals like tigers and donkeys. I learned a lot about lion behavior while reading this book.
One of my favorite essays was about the bunny world and reminded me of Gloria. For several years our grandson relied on pets to keep him balanced, and Gloria the Rabbit was his favorite pet and always soothed him. She was a true member of our family for many years, and I was amazed to learn that rabbits are 3rd in popularity among animals as pets.
I never will forget the day Ruth brought baby chicks home from school. Our grandson was staying with us at the time and loved being around them. He spent many hours on a chair merely observing. We had a hard time getting him to sleep because he was so enamored by the chicks. Susan Orleans spends many pages on chickens that are undervalued as pets and smarter than you would expect. Most places allow the growing of them and their use in producing eggs. Chickens have intelligence and so do turkeys.
My favorite essay is called “Riding High”and is about donkeys. These pack animals are often misunderstood. Their reputation for stubbornness is actually, according to this writer, the result of their “inviolable commitment to self-preservation.” They became of much greater value during the Afghanistan War. Thousands of them were sent to this troubled country to assist in the war effort. Who knew?
The only creature that Susan Orleans has no use for and can’t think of a good reason for their existence is the common tick. Orleans free-ranging use of the animal subject includes Bugs Bunny, an update on the orca who became famous during the “Free Willie” years, and her varied farm experiences.
The last essay is called “Farmville”. It’s about Susan Orleans daily and seasonal experiences when she ran her own farm in the state of New York. Read this amazing book for a spiritual and human uplift!