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On Having Animal Friends

I have almost always lived with animals: furred, feathered, and otherwise.  When I was a child, my family always had at least one pet, whether it be a cat or a dog.  There were also times when we had bunnies, chickens, and ducks as pets.  Between you and me, there may have also been the occasional injured bird, frog, or salamander recuperating under my or my sister’s bed.

When I went to college, I lived in a building with a resident cat who oftentimes chose to sleep on my pillow.  When I moved to Pittsburgh, it was not long before a stray cat found his way into my life.  I now work in a library where dogs visit daily: they snore through meetings, attend book clubs, and safely guide their humans through unseen spaces.  I work with animal-lovers, too, as eighty-two percent of the people in my department spend time with a pet outside the branch.  There are even studies that show the benefits of having animals.

If you own a pet, you know how having an animal can affect your life.  Here are some books about the human-animal bond that you might enjoy.  Curl up with your furry friend and give them a try.

Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Emily Brontë


by Maureen B. Adams

A psychologist researches five women writers who relied on their dogs for emotional support during crises. Discusses the relationships authors Elizabeth Barrett, Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf had with their favorite pets. Commercial audiobook. 2007.

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul: Stories about Pets as Teachers, Healers, Heroes, and Friends


by Jack Canfield

Collection of almost one hundred stories portraying the belief that a “loving interdependent relationship” with a pet can be life-enhancing. Writers including Barbara Bush, Betty White, Art Linkletter, and Jimmy Stewart describe how pets entertain us, teach us, and sometimes bring out the goodness in us. Bestseller. 1998.

Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat


by Gwen Cooper

Author describes adopting Homer, a small abandoned kitten whose infected eyes were surgically removed. Details the adventures of spunky, active Homer over the next dozen years–living with two other cats in New York apartments, surviving 9/11, and endearing himself to everyone he met including (eventually) the author’s future husband. 2009.

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