BOOK REVIEW: Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin

20100121TempleGrandinFrom Wikipedia:

Temple Grandin is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, autistic activist, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. She also created the “hug box”, a device to calm autistic children. The subject of an award-winning biographical film, Temple Grandin, in 2010 she was listed in the Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the “Heroes” category.

I downloaded this book one day because I was looking for anything about understanding the behavior of my three dogs better.  I’d never heard of Dr. Temple Grandin.  To my surprise, the book was not just about dogs and cats, but also horses, cattle, pigs, chickens and zoo animals.

I’ve now listened to the book twice and every time I do I come to admire this woman more.  She writes in a common sense style that’s easy to follow.  And the book is full of interesting facts.  For instance, do you know why cats get stuck in trees?

Grandin writes a lot about the science behind proving that animals have feelings, just like we do.  She talks about the Fear, Rage, Seeking and Play systems of animals’ brains–what stimulates and upsets them as well as what seems to make them truly happy.

After reading this book, I wanted more than ever to buy only humanely produced meats, as well.  Dr. Grandin was instrumental in the audits at meat processing plants conducted several years ago by McDonald’s, Wendy’s and others.  She designed systems to keep animals calm instead of fearful when awaiting slaughter.

In short, I highly recommend this book, both for pet owners and animal lovers in general.  And especially if you have an autistic child, it is inspiring to see what someone with autism is capable of in her life’s work.

Here’s a video of her speaking:

You can get a copy of Dr. Grandin’s book at this link:


joy 300Joy Jones is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Anderson, Ohio.  When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphyscial column called The Midwestern Buddhist as well as urban fantasy and humor.  You can e-mail her at as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


capitolThere is an issue at hand that needs immediate attention, it is concerning the way in which we discard animals who are left homeless from irresponsible owners, and end up in rabies control or animal shelters and killed by the use of a gas chamber. Most of you know that animals bring so much to our lives~there are police dogs who serve, seeing eye dogs who give the blind their independence, therapy dogs who give hope to those who have none, and company to those who are homebound or elderly~and what do we do when they are homeless? We toss them into a gas chamber, turn it on and then 20-30 minutes later we discard their bodies in a landfill.  Read more…

The Sunday News Post


The biggest news this week is that the Howlloween Costume Photo Contest has ended.  Now, the entrants need your votes!  Go here and vote through November 9th!


Next, we wanted to let you know that due to the fabulous offer Barnes & Noble just made us, we will be offering links to sales on their Nook e-reader!  For this reason, we are moving book and e-reader recommendations to their own tab at the top of our page.  Enjoy this new special area called “Bookstore”, and don’t forget we always welcome your book reviews.  Please send them to

How Cheetah Cheated Fate

Cheetah the cat
Calicoes are spirited and inquisitive creatures. When they want something, they want it now. It takes a lot to stop a headstrong Calico from getting her way, and as someone who has owned two, I speak from experience. Currently I have a luscious, plump, orange, brown, black and white, proud purring machine named Cheetah, who sometimes is too curious for her own good. It’s gotten her into trouble enough to use a few of those nine lives.
Cheetah is very social, playful and interested in everything.  She’s unstoppable.  To this day, we keep baby latches on kitchen cabinets and covers over plug outlets because she wants to open doors and lick random objects.
One Saturday, (Caturday?) morning in December, I noticed her by the water dish being less active than usual.  In fact, she was a downright sloth.  When she sipped the water, she immediately yacked it back up!
My first thought was she might have an upset stomach.  Not a big deal.  I let it go.  As the day progressed, my husband and kids noticed the same things: Cheetah was not too energetic and not wanting to eat.
On Sunday morning I took her to the local emergency vet.  I explained her symptoms and how un-Cheetah-like her behavior was.  The vet, who of course didn’t really know our cat, felt around her body, commented on what an impressive size the cat was and decided to do an x-ray. Cheetah had not consumed food or substantial water to our knowledge for at least a day.  She hadn’t pooped either.
The x-ray was unclear but showed something in her belly that should not be there.  With the Cheetah-Who-Likes-to-Eat-a, you can never tell.   They injected fluid into her body to tide her over and told us to get her to our regular vet early the next morning.  I called in late to work and did just that on Monday.  Cheetah was only 18 months old at the time.
We were willing to do whatever it took to save her life.  In the meantime, at home, we discovered chewed and hacked-out bits of something dark-colored on the kitchen floor.  Downstairs, by the door to the holiday decorations closet, (which was opened and shouldn’t have been), I found nibbled bits of plastic Easter basket grass.
I knew I had an adventurous kitty but had no idea just how into everything she could potentially be until that moment.
The vet’s office called.  They had to do exploratory surgery to remove the unidentifiable blockage.  Of course, I gave them the OK.  After surgery, in her fat kitty colon they discovered a metallic piece to a pony tail stretch band and green plastic stuff.
Long story short, the doc removed the foreign objects from Cheetah’s gut, repaired her intestine, hydrated her and saved her life.  48 hours and $1500.00 dollars later and two days before Christmas, we had our big baby girl back.
What we learned after that was to keep the house more baby-proofed than we’d done even for our human children.  We had a furry toddler who could climb everywhere, fearlessly seeking out new territories.  Like a little kid, she was inclined to explore everything with her mouth.  She opened doors and drawers all over the house.  As careful as we were, we couldn’t control everything, and hoped she would one day out grow her urges to climb and maneuver into everything.
After the surgery one night I heard scurrying and scampering on the bare floor in the hallway. Cheetah had dislodged a push-pin from a bulletin board and was now swatting it across the wood flooring!
She is 11 now, very affectionate and settled down.  Do I trust her completely?  No way! Is she still playful and curious?  As much as ever. We are extremely thankful to the vets and techs who helped us with our large and loving Sweet-a Cheetah, and boy have we ever learned to be watchful and aware!
Paige 300

Paige Adams Strickland is the author of, Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity. She is a Spanish teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio and is married with two daughters and a son-in-law.  She has owned both cats and dogs but currently has four cats.  Her book blog is, and she welcomes visits and comments there. Her book is available on iPad, Kindle and as a print version at:     or: