Book Review: Animal Wisdom

by Linda Bender, DVMNorth Atlantic Books
reviewed by S. Rufus

The next time you see a cat catch a bird, veterinarian Linda Bender doesn’t want you to pity the prey. Animals are fully souled, deeply moral beings, Bender asserts, who perceive themselves and us as linked in a mutual-need network by which some willingly surrender themselves to others for the greater good. Thus, the capture, “while fleetingly scary, climaxes in a moment that is as happy for the bird as it is for the cat.”

Radical? Sure. But so are Bender’s avowals that animals communicate telepathically with each other and us before and after death, that they’re “meditating all the time,” that they collectively lament human loneliness, and that they’re unafraid to die because they “abide in a threefold trust—trust in themselves, trust in the world, and trust in the Source” (aka God).

If anyone’s in a position to preach—in the best sense of that word—about animals, it’s this impassioned vegetarian healer and activist whose globe-spanning career spent amid endangered and domesticated species spurs viewpoints that many open-minded animal lovers will find not just plausible but validating and downright electrifying.

Determined to improve the world by expanding its interspecies dialogue yet never standing aloof, this latter-day Doctor Dolittle devotes one chapter to human–animal telepathic communication techniques. Some readers might be waylaid by Bender’s extensive biblical references, but she invokes Rumi and the Dalai Lama, too.

And that bird?

“Only when eaten by the cat does the bird discover how delicious he is.”

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Animal Wisdom

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