If we didn’t have a pet as a child or an adult, we can likely think of animals that left an impression, often a major one. The childhood dog I remember the best was Skipper, a collie-German shepherd mix who was one of the most loving dogs I’ve known. He arrived at Christmas when I was six, and he became a playmate, a friend, a companion, and many times a big tease.
The Animals in Our Lives: Stories of Companionship and Awe is a collection of pet stories, written by various authors and assembled and edited by Catherine Lawton. It includes 43 stories of dogs, cats, farm animals, unusual pets, and wild animal encounters.
You’ll meet Shelly, the dog who helped Lawton work through empty-nest syndrome; Bogar, the dog who lived through the Holocaust; Grace the therapy dog; Bob the angel cat; the sheep who behaved like a pony; a peacock who served as a sign; the cows who served as the audience for a prayer meeting; singing crickets, Dostoevsky the iguana, and Bo Bo the Hedgehog (who brought cheer and hope to a boy during the Chinese Cultural Revolution), among many others.
Most of the accounts are stories, but poems are also included. “Heartwarming” is an overused word; these stories and poems are that, but they also serve to encourage, to cheer (and cheer up), and to strike a note of wonder at the ways animals of all kinds find their ways into our lives and our hearts.
The founder of Cladach Publishing, Lawton is the author of several books – two poetry collections (Remembering Softly: A Life in Poems and Glimpsing Glory); the non-fiction book Journeys to Mother Love; Face to Face, a novel; and the children’s story Something is Coming to Our World. She received a B.A. degree in English from Pasadena College / Point Loma Nazarene University and has worked as a teacher, church musician, editor, publisher, and speaker. She lives in Colorado.
The Animals in Our Lives is a small gem of a book. It reminds us of the animals in our own lives. It certainly reminded me of the animals on my own life, like the spaniel who slept at my feet while I wrote two novels and the bald eagle who flew alongside me while I was biking along the Missouri River. The collection of stories and poems is a delightful reminder of how pets and wild animals can both bring joy into our lives.