Animal Camp: My Summer with a Horse, a Pig, a Cow, a Pigeon, a Dog, Two Cats, and One Very Patient Man

Kathy Stevens, Author
Kathy Stevens, Skyhorse (Norton, dist.), $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61608-011-2
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-62636-373-1
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-1-62087-566-7
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The majority of Stevens's somewhat didactic narrative focuses on her and her dedicated staff's time spent at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, "a peaceful haven for needy farm animals" in New York's Hudson Valley. Stevens opened the Sanctuary in 2003 and speaks of it highly: "Six small barns house our pigs, cows, goats, and sheep, while some twenty other outbuildings provide deluxe digs for our horses, donkeys, and smaller animal friends… chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese." Stevens (Where the Blind Horse Sings) recalls with pride and delight experiences with her dog Murphy;, Hazel, a pig in serious heat;, and Norman, a turkey she'd rescued before Thanksgiving and subsequently renamed Norma Jean (upon discovering that "Norman" was in fact female). It's easy, pleasant reading, but when the discussion turns to veganism, Stevens shows her alarmist side ("growing animals to feed humans is the primary cause of global warming"). She may alienate readers by challenging their food choices and suggesting that animal lovers would never consume meat or dairy, but her ability to tell enjoyable stories about her menagerie takes the sting out of her polemic. (Sept.)
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