“In each little life we can see great truth and beauty, and in each little life we glimpse the way of all things in the universe.” Dean Koontz
In A Big Little Life,
Koontz describes his golden retriever, Trixie: “she was something more than a dog…this spirit was a wonder and a revelation.” “Trixie defied conventional wisdom from animal behaviorists who believe that dogs cannot express emotions, judge character, or remember things as humans can. Friends, family, and strangers corroborated that Trixie was ‘special’ in an otherworldly sense. Unprompted, an Indian neighbor informed Koontz, ‘your dog is a person who has almost arrived at complete enlightenment and will in the next life be perfect and blameless, a very great person.’ Heady stuff for a pup, but Koontz’s talent lies in making the preposterous believable. Was Trixie some sort of angel? Regardless, her enchanting story will have fans panting for more.” Kirkus Reviews
What would drive a woman to miss her mother’s funeral, alienate three out of her four children, play roulette with her health by postponing two surgeries, miss her eldest daughter’s wedding, neglect her husband to the point that he asks for a divorce, continue even after being gang raped, take a trek dangerously beyond her abilities, survive a boatwreck that could easily have been fatal,and travel in countries where there is no rule of law? ….. The answer is birding.
is the biography/ adventure story of a Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore, mother of four, who needed something else to inspire her in life. Phoebe spends eighteen years, circling the globe to record sight of nearly 8400 birds that made her life list a winner in the Guinness Book of World Records. Phoebe Snetsinger’s story is told by Olivia Goldsmith in such an interesting, non-judgemental way that by the end I could have sympathy for a person totally obsessed with self-fulfillment of her own personal quest at the expense of family and friends.
> Dr. Brendan McCarthy had to rebuild his life following an accident that blinded him. In Alive Day , McCarthy is asked to work with a Marine who has been disabled in Iraq and is depressed, angry and suicidal. McCarthy and his service dog Nelson work to reach the Marine and try to help him realize that his life is not over. The story is a quick read and can be a bit saccharine at times, but the overall message of trust, hope and love made this a book that I enjoyed. The author, Tom Sullivan, is a writer and actor who has been blind since infancy and his descriptions of blindness and the relationship between the character and his service dog offer insights into how much dogs can be of assistance to the blind or disabled and how much of a team a person and a dog can become. He demonstrates through his characters how much we all need to rely on others for support and strength.
> In the seaside Irish village of Glennkill, a man lies murdered, pinned to the ground by his own garden spade. His neighbors, a suspicious lot with plenty of secrets to hide, respond to the homicide in their midst with idle talk and bitter recriminations, and the local police show little interest in the case. It falls to the victim’s truest friends to solve the mystery of his murder – provided they can stop grazing long enough to do so!
You see, in Leonie Swann’s Three Bags Full the murder victim is a shepherd – and the amateur sleuths are sheep. Led by Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in the village (and possibly the world), this band of rag-tag, woolly detectives dedicate themselves to solving the crime that took the life of their beloved shepherd. But to track down the necessary clues, the sheep must first overcome their own secrets, fears, and potentially dangerous weaknesses. What became of lead ram Sir Ritchfield’s brother Melmoth when he left the flock? What occurred in Othello’s mysterious past to make him so brave? And will Mopple the Whale be able to conquer his voracious appetite long enough to do some investigating?
You’re sure to be charmed by these wonderful ovine characters with their unique personalities and perspectives – often wrong but always entertaining – into human behavior. (If the long-nosed man lives in the building called the House of God, then surely his name is God?) From the finding of a Thing in their meadow (“Human beings are attached to Things”) to their philosophical musings on the nature of Cloud Sheep (just clouds to us), the detectives of Three Bags Full will stay in your heart long after the last page is turned.
Chet the Jet is Bernie’s partner in crime detection. He has sat through a million stakeouts. “Okay, possibly not a million. Truth is, I’m not too sure about a million, what it means, exactly–or any other number for that matter–but I get the drift from Bernie. A million means a lot , like “out the yingyang,” another favorite number of Bernie’s, maybe even bigger.”
When Bernie is distracted or not paying attention a growl from Chet will save the moment. His canine nose also provides the next step in many sticky situations. This time 15-year-old Madison is missing. Chet notes her pillowcase smells of young human female, with hints of honey, cherry, and a kind of sun-colored flower he sometimes sees along roadsides. He also smells a smell familiar from his days in K-9 school and sees under her table a small bag of marijuana. Madison soon shows up but within a few days Cynthia, her distraught mother calls again with news that Madison has been missing for a day.
Chet narrates this entertaining story from his doggie perspective which causes me to look twice at every dog I see and consider just what is going on behind those cute faces. Enjoy Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery.
In Alex and Me
, a caged bird speaks! How much impact could a one-pound ball of feathers have on the world?
Alex and Irene have discovered a hidden world of animal intelligence and formed a deep bond in the process. Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s memoir of her 30 year collaboration with an African Gray parrot was written for the legions of Alex’s fans whose lives he and she touched with their ground-breaking work on animal communication.
Alex is a one-pound, three-dimensional force of nature. Mischievous and cocky, he gets also gets bored and frustrated. (And who wouldn’t, when asked to repeat tasks 60 times to ensure statistical significance?) He shouts out correct answers when his colleagues (other parrots) fail to produce them. If Irene greets another bird first in the morning, Alex sulks all day and refuses to cooperate. He demands food, toys, showers, a trip to his gym and a tickle!