"That kindness killed me; that heart and courage laid me out. There was so much potential on this earth, so much greatness in its creatures - how could I ever feel hopeless again?" ~ Sarah, Duchess of York as quoted in novel in regards to Gal, her horse for the International Qatar Horse Marathon, 1996
Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul was given to me just before the passing of my dear cat, Hunter. After he crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I thought I would find some comfort in these stories of amazing animals and the unique bonds they share with humans.
Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul is a compilation of heart-warming stories submitted by various people. Unlike the title implies, the stories encompass tales of an array of animals both domesticated and wild. From dogs and cats, to horses, birds, and a 500-pound gorilla - these stories will speak to your heart and may even evoke a few tears of joy and sorrow.
I enjoyed the heroic tales of war dogs, therapy animals, and the ones that explored the unique bonds between unlikely animal friends. There is a story by Hillary Clinton regarding Socks, the former First Cat and a very personal story from Sarah, Duchess of York. Of course there are also numerous uplifting stories of admirable humans doing extraordinary things to save animals. There is a touching story that challenges the practice of convenience euthanasia and another that shows the love between a cow and her calf which may have you rethinking how farm animals are treated.
Click here for a touching story on the cat that wouldn't give up her fight to walk again.
However, Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul , while at times endearing, did not live up to my expectations. Most of the stories start out reaching the hearts and curiosity of the reader, only to end too abruptly void of any real emotion. The stories were too short in most cases and there wasn't enough time to develop any real connections to the people or the animals.
Overall, I enjoyed Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul , but didn't love it. Don't get me wrong, it is worth the read for animal lovers. However, perhaps it is best suited to be read at leisure like a devotional, one story a day upon waking up. The stories proved to be helpful therapy for me as I dealt with the grief of losing my own beloved pet. But, they just didn't tug at my heart strings like I envisioned they would and I think this has to do with the mediocre writing.
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Yet, we still would live no other way." ~ Irving Townsend from Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul
Whether they're guiding us in a snow storm or teaching us how to love again, one thing is clear. Animals have a unique way of touching our hearts and our lives. They say it is often unclear in the human-animal relationship who rescued who. In the end, all that matters is that we are blessed to have these creatures touch our lives so profoundly.
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