Thursday, February 01, 2007

Book Review

Oh, today was a long day. I just got back from pilates class and my leg muscles are still twitching. It's a funny feeling. Bailey has deserted me (and the freezing house) in favor of patrolling the fence in search of opossums. I just heard a mad dash outside so I'm assuming he discovered one. I never thought I'd see the day when our lazy dog could clear a 5 foot fence but he'll come pretty close if there is something of interest at the top. Personally, and this sounds horrible, I wish that he'd chase the cats instead of the opossums. Our neighbors are bad pet owners and they allow their cats to be outside (permanently). Not only did the cats start chasing the birds at our feeder but the fish in our pond have started to mysteriously disappear. So, from my way of looking at it, if they are going to allow their cats to eat my birds and my fish, why can't I allow my dog to eat their cat?? It sounds fair to me. You know, a dog eat uh, cat world. :) Actually, Bailey doesn't have a chance in hell of ever catching a cat so I guess it's just wishful thinking on my part.

(ok, so it probably wouldn't be so good for neighborly relations if Bailey maimed their cats. But I don't think it would be unfair if he could give the cats a good scare; maybe they'd permanently quit our yard. I wonder if you could teach a cat to only eat mice, rats, and starlings. Wouldn't that be delightful? Then they'd stay away from my lovely phoebes, song birds, and parrots.)

But I digress. Bailey is outside chasing opossums and Chris is still at work so I have the house to myself. And I'm feeling rather bored which is an unusual feeling for me. Maybe it's the only child thing: when I was little there wasn't anybody else to play with so I got really creative at keeping myself occupied. That's not to say that my parents abandoned me in a corner or anything; I just became really good at inventing ways to stay busy. I received some wonderful books for Christmas; unfortunately I've read them all already and I'm famished for some good reading material. Here are a couple ones that I've recently read:

Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder. This book is actually required reading for University of Washington students. I highly recommend it. It's the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a harvard doctor who single-handedly decided to cure the world of poverty and disease. He started out in Haiti but his organization has grown to include programs in Peru, Russia and elsewhere. Unlike many organizations, Dr. Farmer concluded that it wasn't enough to simply treat the disease, he needed to work on curing the root cause, even if the root cause was extreme poverty. In addition to say, TB drugs, he provided medical checkups (house visits), money for education, new homes and programs for women. It's a wonderful, if sobering story. His organizations, Partners in Health, has a website that can be found here. And if you're looking for a worthy organization desperately in need of some moolah, my parents are really fond of this one. Marley and Me, by John Grogan, is a fun, light read that is best read by dog-lovers. It's the story of Mr. Grogan's yellow lab Marley who playfully destroys drywall, eats gold jewelry, and causes general mayhem. Marley is the kind of dog that makes any dog owner feel instantly better about their own mischievous pooch. Bailey looks like an angel in comparison. Mr. Grogan's writing is moderately talented but not exceptionally graceful. My biggest beef with Mr. Grogan was that he purchased his dog from a backyard breeder and he did very little research prior to buying his dog. Having previously worked at an animal shelter and seen so many abused and neglected animals, I am a firm believer that you can find a lovely dog at the pound or through a rescue organization (unless you're looking for a specialty dog, such as for hunting purposes). Honestly, shame on those that still buy dogs from pet stores. That issue aside, it's a fun read. You'll probably cry a bit at the end if you've ever lost a pet, particularly a dog.

Of course, by far my most favorite dog book is The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, by Farley Mowat.
Right, so those are some of my most favorite books for now. Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm open to just about anything at this point...