From moose and mental illness to cat rhymes and an ode by sheep, this illustrated collection of short stories reflects human hearts through the animals that touch them. A service puppy, a medical lab, two friends and a seagull, dads, and a dude ranch are some of the pieces of life inside these animal stories for grown-ups.
My friend Savannah says that my quaint sense of responsibility is the reason that nothing enlightening has ever happened to me. At least that’s what she used to say, before last Saturday when the tourist came in to my family’s bookstore and asked if we had any Reefer, and I ended up in a garbage alley navigating pigeon poop in search of enlightenment.
He was a prehistoric creature, Danielle thought, or a mountain rising from the sea, embodying serenity and danger and destiny. He had been here for a thousand years, slow and wise and unperturbed, knowing all past and future. The moose dipped his huge snout into the pond and emerged with a mouthful of waterweed.
The Tao of Teddy #1
While our human servant is having some sort of existential crisis, Spunk and I thought we’d take this opportunity to make an observation.
“Maybe doing what gives you joy is what you’re ‘supposed’ to do, and the benefit to others will follow in ways you don’t understand.”— from “The Tao of Teddy #1”
Pieces of Life
The first thing I loved about Donnie was his eyes. They were copper. I never saw anyone with eyes like that before. Donnie was really good with my brother after the accident, when he was so angry that I didn’t know what to do. It was because Donnie knew a little something about anger. I realized that later.
An Ode by Ovis Aries
For ten thousand years we have kept you warm
Fed your hunger
Served as sacrifice for your souls
You call us weak, timid, stupid
You call us sheep.
Shades of Gray Matter
Emma transferred the brain sections into a clean tray of saline and studied them under a microscope. She enjoyed this part of the week, when she could listen to Mozart and most easily distance herself from the gruesomeness of the previous day’s work.
Shadow balanced on his hind legs with his great, black paws on the cabin windowsill as he sniffed at the darkening dusk. Gretchen had promised Shadow a child, and tonight held their opportunity.
The Tao of Teddy #2
Measured on a dog scale, cats are misunderstood. (Not that it bothers us, mind you…)
A Vampire Story
Desmodus hadn’t fed in almost two days, and he could feel death drawing near. He carefully spread his wings and glided to the floor. One tiny bite, she wouldn’t even notice. His nose tingled in earnest.
After the ordeal of mounting the horses, the wrangler said, “Has anyone seen ‘Return to Snowy River’? We’re going down a hill just like that.” I glanced at my sister, whose carefully procured tan became a shade paler, and my stomach started to churn.
Spunk thinks he’s a poet laureate on a mission to immortalize fur. Spunk’s brain is fur, as far I’m concerned…
“Must you shed on the bed?” she said, with nary a note of humor.
Fur on the quilt reveals my guilt; it can’t be dismissed as rumor.
Pet my fur, it makes me purr. Spunk begged with his big green eyes.
But the fur in the laundry created a quandary; she’s getting wise to our lies…
Spunk the cat sat on a hot, brick deck just swishing his tail around…