New World Library, $14.95, 224 pages
Humans form bonds with all variety of animals, and in many cases, that love and/or affection is returned. Big-time. Animals require little of their humans: food, water, and shelter. In return they lavish adoration on the two-legged creature with whom they’ve bonded. Unfortunately, every now and then, the relationship skews because the human goofs up. The animal seldom does.
There are twenty examples of requited love in Cherished – 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost, plus one of the ‘wished-for’ variety. More than a few of these will bring tears to the eyes of readers, no matter how hard-hearted they might be. There are horses, cats, dogs, a pig, a coyote—all valued highly by their humans. On occasion, the beloved pet saved the life of the human, but asked no reward. Some of these stories border on the extreme side of humorous, others are sad from the outset. All of them will stay with you for a while.
Edited by Barbara Abercrombie, with a preface by Robert Goldman, DVM, the veterinarian who was perhaps the inspiration for the book, you’ll find essays by Anne Lamott, Jacqueline Winspear and Jane Smiley, among others. All royalties will be donated to the Best Friends Animal Society.
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz