Oct 11, 2008

The Swan in My Bathtub

and Other Adventures in the Aark
by Mary Jane Stretch

A physician's daughter who loved wildlife, even as a child Mary Jane Stretch was always trying to help and champion animals. Naturally adept at healing and caring for them, she established The Aark Foundation, a wildlife rehabilitation and rescue center in Pennsylvania. This book tells about her work- how she first got involved with wildlife, learned to run a non-profit organization, worked with educating children and the public, and constantly strove to learn more about saving wild animals. Mrs. Stretch has a very no-nonsense attitude about it all: she doesn't waste time on animals that can't be saved, tries to "uninterfere" as much as possible so they can be released back into the wild, and isn't squeamish about things like collecting roadkill to feed recupterating hawks. I learned some new things about wildlife behavior from the animal stories in this book. Some are funny and heart-warming; others are sad- not all the animals can be saved. There are so many of them- owls and hawks; raccoons, squirrels and baby birds; rabbits, sunks and possums... Several get the spotlight of an entire chapter- including two orphaned baby bats and Precious, the first fawn Mrs. Stretch hand-raised. The Swan in My Bathtub is an interesting and easy read. I just discovered she's written a second book called For the Love of Wild Things, which I'd also like to read someday.

Rating: 3/5                214 pages, 1991


  1. I have a friend (coincidentally, also in Pennsylvania) who will rescue any injured critter. Last week, she took a bullfrog to the vet. I would never have thought to pick up a bullfrog and take it to a veterinarian. Sounds like a book she and I would both enjoy, thanks!

  2. I'd never think of taking a frog to the vet, either. I hope you both enjoy the book!


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