Caroline's Reviews > Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin
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Jun 19, 11

bookshelves: kindle, nonfiction, animals
Recommended for: Mom, Kate Pineo, Kelina Foley, Tiffany Edwards
Read from June 10 to 17, 2011

I bought this book because I love my dog and worry about her happiness. Not in the 'she's-a-mini human-in-a-furry-grey-coat' way but in the 'is she fulfilled as a dog' way? I didn't read the the author's first book, Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, but had heard of it and found the premise interesting. What if we could see the world the way our beloved fuzzy friends see it? How would we treat them differently?

This book attempts to answer those questions. Each chapter is a different animal (dog, cat, horse, etc.) or group of animals (animals in zoos, wild animals) and talks about the species'/groups' needs and how best to fulfill them. The suppositions are largely supported (and meticulously footnoted) by research or the author's own experiences.

The weird part is how completely engrossing I found this book despite its sometimes dry content. The writing style is unexpectedly straightforward. The author has an agenda, just not the usual one associated with a book like this. I would sum it up as advocating for a world where we have a symbiotic relationship with animals, not the animal rights nutjob's coexistence utopia. Sometimes topics changed from paragraph to paragraph, bouncing around and then somehow all weaving together to create a coherent chapter and, ultimately, whole body of work. Each time I set it down at a "slow part", I'd pick it up later and get sucked in to a different topic.

The best part of reading this are some truly insightful findings about the animals we love. Too many to relate here but my favorite was this one: animals, like humans, like the anticipation of a reward as much as the reward itself. That's why clicker training is so successful (even with horses, which I wish I'd known back in the day).

Highly recommended for all pet owners, and anyone responsible for caring for or interacting with animals.
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Reading Progress

06/10/2011
17.0% "Very no-nonsense approach to providing a good life for our non-human family members. Straightforward writing, backed by frequent references to published reasearch. Engrossing and educational all at once."
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