Ok, this is probably my first review since June or July but I feel like doing one for this book. I quite like reading the books about vets, something which James Herriot is to thank for sparking off, as well as my love for animals in general. This one is about the stories from an RSPCA manager. What I have enjoyed about the book is that it is a fast read, and in spite of its subject matter, quite up lifting, especially when awful owners get their just deserts for being violently cruel to their animals, and even more so when the animal survives and ends up getting their very much deserved home. The author stays free of those cliches which I find can be annoying coming from animal rescue people (Forever Home and Rainbow Bridge…) and she does acknowledge that sometimes animals are in a bad situation through no fault of their owners, like the angora rabbit that belonged to a man with mental health problems or the St Bernard and GSD that belonged to the couple where the wife had fallen ill and the husband couldn’t look after them anymore because he had to give up his job to look after his wife. Those types of people need just as much help as the animal, and one of my bugbears with animal rescue is the taking of animals away from people when if given a bit of support they could keep the animals – having lost my mum as a teenager, I know that animal welfare problems aren’t always the fault of a cruel or willfully neglectful owner, so cruelty to animals basically has three levels of badness for me… The first is suffering caused on purpose (i.e. bloodsports, hunting or in the case of this book, hitting a dog over the head with a shovel), or for profit (fur farming, factory farming, experiments, etc) – these I consider to be bad because they either cause the worst amount of suffering to an individual animal, or because of the large scale of the problem and the fact that often the law is on the wrong side! The second level is neglect caused by laziness of owners or carers – there is no excuse for it, but unless it is large scale or violent, it is not as bad as the first, but the owners do need to be punished for it and the third level is that caused by poverty or illness of the owners – it is not willful and with support (which can be lacking) there’s no need for animals to be taken from their owners as long as the problem is resolved.
As foxes are one of my favourite animals, I loved the story about the fox cub! The only drawback I find reading books like this is that it makes me regret that I was unable to go down the career path I wanted when I was younger and that they also make me want to have more animals to look after! Maybe that will change in the future, once all the crap that we need to sort out now is over. I enjoyed this book immensely and I hope to be able to read more from the author.