Weeks ago, a friend’s dog went missing in Mattawan. Many days later, he opened the gate and entered the back yard at another friend’s home in Kalamazoo. This sweet dog had lived there five years previously; in between, he lived two other places! Samuel was much thinner, and his pads were worn, but he made it home to his grateful owner.
We all said it was just like The Incredible Journey, the long-beloved children’s book by Sheila Every Burnford, about two dogs and a cat that travel together across the wilderness to reunite with their family. That got me thinking about other books written from the animal’s point-of-view:
The family dog, Enzo, tells The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. Enzo’s ‘dad,’ Denny, loses wife, Eve, to breast cancer, and suddenly finds himself embroiled in a custody battle with Eve’s parents for their young daughter. This moving story is sprinkled throughout with insights Enzo has learned from Denny’s racing career, as metaphors for life. Enzo displays a wisdom many humans only wish we had.
The Fur Person (May Sarton) is a charming tale, written from the perspective of a stray ‘Cat about Town.’ This Gentleman Cat decides it’s time to adopt himself a suitable ‘housekeeper’ for a while and explore the comforts of an indoor home. He finds Gentle Voice and Brusque Voice – his name for the two women who inhabit the suitable home -- and to his astonishment, he transforms into a Fur Person, “a cat who has decided to stay with people as long as he lives.” I discovered this book in the Friends bookstore, not long before my ‘fur person’ adopted me.
The Art of Racing in the Rain