Animals Make Us Human
by Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson
Temple Grandin is a brilliant animal scientist/animal advocate who also has autism. In this book she writes about the physical and emotional needs of animals and how best to fulfill them.
Grandin also wrote Animals in Translation, which I have not yet read.
Animals Make Us Human has probably way more information than the average person needs or wants to know, but true animal lovers will appreciate it.
I loved the section on dogs and cats. I learned that dogs are the only animals that can follow a person's gaze or pointed finger to figure out where something is hidden. I learned that purebred dogs possibly have lost the natural submissive behaviors of their wolf ancestors. Therefore, they have difficulty doing these behaviors and reading other dogs' signals, which often leads to fights.
Grandin provides specific how-to's in separate sections for dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs and chickens regarding socialization, training, and fear issues. She includes a section on wildlife and zoos, and writes about stereotypie, a repetitive, self-soothing behavior animals engage in when they are currently suffering or have suffered in the past. This is often seen in zoo animals, but other animals do it as well. Grandin talks about her autism in several parts of the book and notes that, like animals who are suffering, autistic children are known to perform self-soothing behaviors, such as rocking back and forth.
The relation of her autism to her sense and caring for animals is fascinating. Like many with autism, socializing and relating to people is not something that comes naturally to Grandin; but relating to animals and changing the way they are treated does. The author consults with zoos and those in the cattle industry to teach them how to provide animals with a decent life and a painless death.
Do I Recommend?
Yes, to animal lovers. We're talkin' real animal lovers. If you just love cats and/or dogs, you could probably pass on this one because of the detailed chapters on farm animals.
Source: My friend Donna