Thursday, July 17, 2008

Get the tissues

Anyone who followed the tragic events of Hurricane Katrina will never forget what they saw... Being subscribed to many newsletters and blogs – I read with mounting hysteria – of the unfolding animal welfare crises. I wondered how I would have coped, had I been stuck on the roof of my house with my three dogs. I wouldn't have gotten into any rescue craft without them, thats for sure! But that is what happened to so many people, already traumatised by the loss and devastation which surrounded them, when help arrived, they had to make the heart-breaking decision to leave without their animals. I couldn't bear the thought of that.

I choose not to read heroic animal tales, I can't bear the tragedy, even if there is a happy ending. In light of that, though, there are two books I can't wait to get hold of... Pawprints of Katrina includes nearly 200 heroic rescues, heartwarming reunions, and stories of selfless efforts of strangers brought together by a disaster to save animals at the Best Friends Animal Society triage center because their owners were unable to. You can watch the video clip here.

The other interesting book I discovered, was in the August issue of Animaltalk. Leaving Jack is a novel by South African author Gareth Crocker. It tells the story of a dog handler in Vietnam, who, at the end of the war, is faced with the realisation that he must leave Vietnam - without his dog!

"... a controversial new novel, entitled Leaving Jack, published in hardcover (Robert Hale Publishers: May, 2008) offers a fictional account of what a soldier endures after learning that the dog which served his platoon with such distinction in Vietnam, has been classified as 'surplus military equipment' by the US Government at the end of the conflict, and is ordered to be left behind.

Although Leaving Jack is a work of fiction, it is based on actual events at the end of the Vietnam War and was written to highlight the little-known plight of the Vietnam War Dogs."

Tear-jerker-stuff, but interesting how the impact of the human-animal bond has become a popular topic. These stories allow us to show our vulnerability and provide opportunities to explore compassion in ways that society has previously pooh-poohed.

Even better then, that Leaving Jack is penned by a man, who wrote this story in the company of his three dogs.

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