Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bebe & Friends by Jean Rodenbough

Bebe & FriendsBebe & Friends by Jean Rodenbough

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bebe & Friends is a book for animal lovers. It is a collection of writings from people who have rescued animals. Most of the stories are about dogs, but there are also plenty of pages dedicated to cats and even one story about guinea pigs. Jean Rodenbough found the contributors, collected their stories, then put the work together along with descriptions of her own animals, a number of her poems and fascinating histories of animal rescue organizations. It is a very powerful approach that works in a unique fashion. The only other book I've read that uses this approach is Rachel's Children also by Rodenbough and also a wonderful read.

One of the contributors, Patsy Beeker, writes about a cat that was “found on the side of the highway on a ninety-five degree day by a Department of Transportation worker who was picking up the body of the kitten's dead mother. The tiny kitten was injured, but alive.” Beeker writes that the cat had to have an eye removed, along with the treatment of other injuries, but Beeker is convinced there is a spirit looking down on that small animal. She writes: “If you read the Bible, you know the verse about 'His eye is on the sparrow'. Surely, someone had an eye out for a plain little black kitten who needs that extra eye, any way he can get it.”

Marina Julia Neary is another contributor who writes about her guinea pigs. I loved her description of the idea behind one of the names she chose. “Having published novels on the Irish Rebellion, a period of history that fascinates me, I named the new guinea pig Hugh, after Hugh O'Neil, Ulster's legendary chieftain, the Earl of Tyrone, who defied Queen Elizabeth.” At the end of her piece Neary writes about another beloved guinea pig saying, “She died peacefully of old age on Easter in 2006. There is only one place she can be, and that's on the lap of St. Francis in heaven.”

My wife and I have had a few rescue dogs ourselves and my daughter volunteers at one of the shelters described in the book, Animal Rescue and Foster Program, so I thought I knew most of what goes on behind the scenes. But I learned a great deal from this book. The book is about animals, of course, but it is also about the special people who love and care for them. There are dark moments, as would be expected with this subject, but the pages are also filled with uplifting and beautiful stories.

Steve Lindahl author of Motherless Soul

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