Sunday, August 2, 2009

Animals Can Be Almost Human (short stories)

Animals Can Be Almost Human
Reader's Digest, ed. Alma E. Guinness

A friend wrote me later, "They ask so little and they give so much."

In this large, colorful collection of animal stories from Reader's Digest, including several taken from longer works, dogs rule. There are stories of horses, cats, and other animals, but the dog stories are by far the most numerous. Which is as it should be.

A Dog Named Cider
Corey Ford
Ford recalls his life with an elegant English Setter named Cider, who never unbends sufficiently to stoop to actually licking his hand and who as a solemn puppy chooses Ford as a master by extending a paw through the mesh of his kennel in greeting.

Jack O'Brien, il. Harry Schaare
Spike, an Alaskan husky, proves crucial to the success of Admiral Byrd's First Antarctic Expedition in 1928.

The Dog Who Came In From The Cold
William Iversen, il. Ben Prins
A stray dog ingratiates himself into a family - and then, is reclaimed by his original owners.

Poor, Sick Irving
Herbert Tanzer, Nick Lyons, il. Joe Krush
A vet diagnoses a depressed Yorkie as physically health - and mentally devious. From the book Your Pet Isn't Sick (He Just Wants You To Think So).

Our Canine Kleptomaniac
Estelle Mendelsohn, il. il. Joe Krush
A Dalmation named Plato never showed an interest in learning until he discovered retrieving.

Skeezer, The Dog Who Healed

Elizabeth Yates
A stray mutt from an animal shelter is recruited to help children at Michigan's Children's Psychiatric Hospital. From the book Skeezer: Dog With A Mission.

The Mayor Of Bridgehampton
Willie Morris, il. Patricia Lincoln
An aloof, water-hating black Labrador who acts as the general 'dog about town' for a Long Island village moves in on an aging writer who's vowed he's not going to own any more dogs.

Mrs. Donovan's Dog
James Herriot, il. James Williamson
An elderly woman in mourning for her dog becomes interested in helping a mange-ridden Golden Retriever. From the book All Things Bright And Beautiful.

Only A Lost Dog
Jerome Brondfield
A journalist in London frets over his dog back home, who's gone missing, until a telegram puts his mind at ease - while upsetting Scotland Yard.

Look Homeward, Jeannie
James Thurber, il. Alan Reingold
A black Scottish Terrier named Jeannie reveals that along with stubbornnes and a certain blindness to the obvious, she also lacks basic canine loyalty, prefering to shop around for new owners.

Eat, Drink, And Be Merry
James Herriot, il. Marion Krupp
An indulgent owner's inability to deny Pekingnese Tricki Woo any food has turned the cheerful dog fat and sickly. His vet finally resorts to taking Tricki home, where a normal diet and plenty of exercise slim the little dog down - while care packages from his anxious owner keep the vet and his friends rolling in food and liquor. From the book All Creatures Great And Small.

Blackie, The Shark Dog
Lester C. Gunther, Jr., il. Alan Reingold
A pair of biologists trying to catch sharks for an aquarium get unexpected help from a mutt. On the mid-Pacific atoll of Canton Island, a local race of feral dogs has specialized in hunting in the ocean, herding fish and sharks to shore.

The Last Will And Testament Of An Extremely Distinguished Dog
Eugene O'Neill, il. Lorelle Raboni
A dog's-eye view of life, from the paw of a Dalmation named Blemie.

The Incredible Journey
Sheila Burnford, il. Taylor Oughton
Two dogs and a cat search for their missing family. Based on the novel.

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