A true story of resilience and recovery
In Fauna Sanctuary Gloria Grow rescues animals. There are dogs, horses, swans, a donkey, and of course the chimpanzees. Most were retired from research facilities where they were the subjects of medical research into Hepatitis, HIV, and the like. There are a few who were circus chimps. Some of them started life as pets, cute little chimps to dress up and play with, until they grew too big and strong and dangerous. Anyone who heard of Travis and his attack on Charla Nash knows that a chimp is not to be taken lightly. And yet people continue to try and keep them as domestic pets.
In this book Westoll spent a year working in the Fauna Sanctuary. He gets to know not only the people who work there but also the chimpanzees themselves, and their horrific lives spent as test subjects, being knocked out, biopsied, infected, and isolated.
What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
Like the author I am a dog person, I like cats too, don’t get me wrong. Actually I like all animals, but there is nothing quite like having a dog about the place. And any pet-owner likes to know that they are doing their best for their dog, and most love to know what is going on in their heads. So I really enjoyed reading this book. The author is a scientist; she teaches psychology and has worked with many animals, including dogs. But this is not a science-book per se. It is easy to understand, and easy to read. But it has the science behind it, as well as plenty of anecdotes. Which, I know, aren’t scientific, but it still makes for a good read.
I first came across a mention of Robert M. Saplosky on Metafilter and I was a little interested, so I did what any librarian might do, and ordered one of his books. To be honest my expectations weren’t all that high. My personal reading challenge for 2010 might be to read more non-fiction, but at the same time I know that non-fiction often requires more concentration and time than fiction, and then there was the fact that Sapolsky is a neurobiologist, and to be totally honest I really didn’t think it’d be all that interested. But I challenged myself, and was I ever glad that I did because from the opening page this really is a delight to read. …