Nov 7, 2011

The Blessing of the Animals

True Stories of Ginny, the Dog Who Rescues Cats
 by Philip Gonzalez

This was a light read. Very good for these last few days of stress my family is going through, when I just catch a few minutes of quiet time with the baby now and then. Read a few pages, not much heavy thinking, pick it up again later. That's why it took me so long, a book I'd normally get through in less than a day.

The Blessing of the Animals tells more about Ginny, a dog in New York City that engages in cat rescue. When I saw the picture on the cover I recognized her immediately from the first book about her, The Dog Who Rescues Cats  (which I've read but don't think I reviewed it on the blog yet). To make the story short, she's a dog that the author Gonzalez adopted from a shelter after he suffered a disabling work injury. Gonzalez didn't care much for cats at the time, but soon discovered that his dog did, and she was constantly finding them hiding away in tight places. Most of the cats Ginny found were in need of help- injured, sick, abandoned, starving. Gonzalez took them into his home, took them to the vet, found some new homes and kept others. Eventually he ran out of space- he had nineteen cats in his apartment, so those that weren't found homes in several weeks' time were let back out onto the streets (all spayed and neutered) and then provided with food via one of his many cat feeding stations. Some people vilify the guy for feeding hundreds of stray cats but he points out that he's helping the population, because he always traps and fixes the homeless cats so they can't reproduce, and finds homes for those he can. As of the writing of the second book, he and Ginny had rescued nine hundred cats!

Ginny is a schnauzer/husky mix, with a winsome face and an odd ruff of long, wiry fur around her neck. Some people think she's sent from God, that her way of finding cats is a miracle. Personally, I don't think there's anything miraculous in how she can locate cats in trouble, hearing or sniffing them out. Her affection for them, and theirs for her, is wondrous. My own thoughts, from reading how she approaches cats, grooms them with nibbling teeth, and is reluctant to socialize with dogs, is that maybe she thinks she is a cat. Her past is unknown; maybe she was fostered by a cat mother? Who knows. But her dedication to digging cats out of trouble- from dumpsters, vehicles, pipes, once a pile of cut sod in the back of a landscaping truck, another time a box of broken glass- has earned her the admiration of many.

I was a bit disappointed that most of this book narrated how the author handled his dog's newfound fame after the publication of the first; a lot of it is about events they attended, meeting with publishers, visiting schools, going on talk shows, etc. I was really more interested in the stories of the cats, there wasn't quite enough of that.

Anyway, if you like animals and are in for a light, easy read, this is a nice heartwarming little book. You can find articles (and video) of Ginny the dog online by just googling her name connected with "rescues cats."

rating: 2/5 ........ 177 pages, 1996


bermudaonion said...

I do like dogs, so I bet I'd enjoy this one. I hope things are going better for you.

Jeane said...

Thanks. We are all okay- my husband was running for a public office and the last few days before the election very stressful, is all.