Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: "Taming Me: Memoir of a Clever Island Cat"

I recently finished reading a review copy of Cathy Unruh's first book, Taming Me: Memoir of a Clever Island Cat.  Unruh, an Emmy Award winning television journalist with a passion for animal advocacy, tells the story of little island kitten Lucy Miracle through Lucy's thoughts. 

The tiny kitten and her mother are hungry and in peril, her littermates have gone off on their own to scrape out whatever life they can on the island. Ultimately caught by concerned island homeowners, they are trapped, neutered and released (TNR) but it is here that Lucy and her mother are separated. Lucy is too small and malnourished to be spayed so she goes home with Darcie who has a husband and two male cats at their vacation home on the island.  

With some fiction license Unruh's Lucy is in constant search of her mother after her recovery, and Unruh's two housecats share one litter box which is, of course, unrealistic: rule of thumb is one box for each cat plus one.  Two cats would mean three boxes, but that wouldn't progress her story when Lucy must learn to use the indoor facilities.

Lucy Miracle's story will give you a new perspective on feral cats and kittens. With patience and love, some can become wonderful housecats

Unruh's Lucy is a wonderful protagonist. Because she tells the story through the kitten's thoughts, there is none of the treacly talking cat in this book.  You will be captivated by Lucy and her story which includes the requisite cat-hating villain and a very happy ending.

You'll cry, you'll laugh and you will love Lucy.

Taming Me: Memoir of a Clever Island Cat is due for release on October 16, 2012 (National Feral Cat Day), by Collage Books.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Buddy Butch - Book Review

I often use Summer as catch-up time. I read incessantly but some books fall through the cracks, even with the best of intentions. And so I found myself reading the four-year-old, "My Buddy Butch, Confessions of a New Dog Dad," by Jeff Marginean, over the past couple of weeks. It took courage to write this book, to admit to the new dog owner mistakes, things that made this reader cringe, like the fact that his father bred Butch - a pure backyard breeding that produced this Boston Terrier pup with one blue eye and one brown. He did some things right, like going to training classes. 

Throughout the book, Marginean talks about the deep and abiding love he has for this new little family member, the responsibility and unabashedly wears his heart on his sleeve, which is utterly endearing.

The toughest part of this book was reading about his using an electronic fence and not understanding what is innately wrong with it. He doesn't seem to think the jolt to the pup is that bad but what he misses completely is the fact that when most dogs break out of them, they are not likely to come back and can easily be hit by a car in that dash for freedom. Dogs in an electronic fence are also vulnerable to all other animals who are not wearing the electronic collar and can easily injure or kill the dog in the yard, this includes wildlife, birds of prey who will carry off small dogs and cats.  That aside, he makes a wonderful case for dog ownership for the right person at the right time.

Marginean talks about all of the concerns of dog ownership and all of the responsibilities involved and compares it to being a single parent because he is, in effect, parenting this pup.

Their bond and relationship are obvious.  Marginean and Butch love each other, their special bond formed from the time Butch was whelped.

I recommend this book for its love story and sense of responsibility but remember, Marginean was learning to be a good dog owner and put it out warts and all.  You can learn what to do and what not to do, remember to train positively and build a bond like theirs.