Cat Person/Dog Person, Pet Person?

Here’s something I never thought I’d say/type: I miss our cat. I’ve always been a dog person, though I never had one of my own, and I thought that when I finally had room for a pet in my life, it would be a dog. Enter my now-wife and her cat Loki, and I can see the appeal of the temperamental little murder machines. It probably helps that Loki’s personality is more dog-like, and he would sooner run from a mouse than kill it, but he’s grown on me, and having to leave him with a friend while we move/renovate has made me realize how true this is. While it can be irritating being trapped on the couch because Loki won’t get off my lap, maybe he’s just looking out for me and telling me to slow down a bit. So, while thinking of my own pet, I decided to highlight some items in our collections that focus on pets and their bonds with us1.

The cover of The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

Thinking of Loki being far from home triggered a memory from my childhood, a memory of a golden retriever, bull terrier, and Himalayan cat trekking through the wilderness to find their owners. I’m aging myself here, as the movie came out in 1993, but I thought I’d search our catalogue for it anyway, and lo and behold, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is in our collection. I remember watching this one as a kid, then, as kids do, immediately re-watching it. After rewinding the VHS, of course. I have no nostalgia for that. Give me a DVD and the ability to instantly skip to any part of the film over having to wait for physical media to wind through spools any day. So, for those unfamiliar with the movie, it follows the three animals on their journey through the Sierra Nevada mountain range to find the family that they think abandoned them during a move… I’m glad Loki doesn’t have this kind of homing instinct. At least, I don’t think he does. He somehow knew the parking garage of the condo despite only ever being in it in his astronaut bag, though his does not look like a Pokeball. I’ll have to ensure he doesn’t try to bolt for “home” when we have him in the new house. Okay, no more side-tracks.

I think this movie is a large part of why I wanted a golden retriever as a kid2. Don Ameche’s Shadow, the dog, not literally his shadow, is everything you’d want in a dog: intelligent, brave, and loyal to a fault. Micheal J Fox’s bull terrier, Chance, takes a while to get there but does over the course of the film, while Sally Field’s cat, Sassy, lives up to her name. While doing my research for this post, I realized that this movie is an adaptation of The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford and that in adapting it, the movie removed its Canadian roots. Burnford herself was Scottish but wrote the book inspired by the animals she and her husband kept while living in Canada. In the book and the original movie, the journey is through the wilderness of northern Ontario, not a mountain range in the States. Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, no animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture

The Cover of My Dog, The Paradox by Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal)

I mentioned cats are murder machines, right? This is a well-known fact, but should you be concerned that your little furball might be considering going further than sinking their claws into the local wildlife? Maybe. So check out How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmealand judge for yourself if you’re in danger. For anyone unfamiliar with The Oatmeal, it’s an irreverent webcomic that spawned the Exploding Kittens card game. It can vary between intelligence, vulgarity, and plain sillinessoften within the same comic3How to Tell if Your Cat… is a collection of cat-focused comics that Inman has put out, with a handful exclusive to the book. If you’re more of a dog person but like The Oatmeal, we have you covered with My Dog, The Paradoxwhich contains comics related to Man’s best friend instead of our feline overlords. Ah…. maybe don’t share these comics with your kids. I’m not kidding about the vulgarity bit.

The cover of Good Dogs Don't Make it to the South Pole by Hans-Olav, Thyvold

There are a ton of books I could put in this last slot, which I’ve arbitrarily decided will be adult fiction. The book I’ve settled on shares some themes with my first book from last month in that our intrepid heroes, both human and canine, are seniors, and the comedic elements trend towards the dark side of humour. Unlike that book, though, this is one of those books told through the eyes of the dog. But, being translated from Norwegian, I don’t think it’s as well known as the two linked above. Good Dogs Don’t Make it to the South Pole by Hans-Olav Thyvold, introduces readers to Tassen, the mutt, and Mrs. Thorkildsen, widow to Major Thorkildsen, Tassen’s beloved owner. A twist on the story in this one is that Mrs. T can understand Tassen, and the two bond over trips to the library to research Roald Amundsen, his dogs, and his race to the South Pole with British explorer Robert F. Scott. Tassen doesn’t get caught up in a race to the pole, but there is friction between Mrs. T and her son’s family, as her daughter-in-law wants to move into Mrs. T’s home sooner rather than later. You’ll have to read the book to see how that plays out, though, as I won’t be spoiling it here.

The cover of Meowsterpieces by Jenn Bailey and illustrated by Nyangsongi

One more book! Meowsterpieces by Jenn Bailey and illustrated by Nyangsongi, is a picture book that reimagines classical art with cats. Each piece is accompanied by a cute poem, and the art is adorable. It’s well worth a check-out if you enjoy art history, cats, or both.

Before signing off, I should post the obligatory Cat Tax. Enjoy a dapper and derpy photo of whom I affectionately call The Little Idiot. And no, I don’t know why he sat like that, but he did stay there for a while.

1 Don’t worry; I’m relegating Paw Patrol to the footnotes. Does this mean fewer people will read the footnotes? Ah, who am I kidding? I put TV Tropes links down here; I’ve already scared off all the footnote readers.

2 I can put side tracks in the footnotes. Now I want a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

3 as TV Tropes puts it, Inman is Sophisticated as HellAre you regretting reading the footnotes yet?

About Adam

Adam is a Digital Creation Specialist - Children who never has enough shelf space for his board game collection, wall space for his photographs, or stomach space for his baking. Once he’s got a book in his clutches (preferably a fantasy, or humorous non-fiction one) absolutely nothing else is getting done that day. Working in a library is a blessing and a curse to his free time.  |  Meet the team