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Talking Tails: The Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets    by Ann Love, Jane Drake & Bill Slavin order for
Talking Tails
by Ann Love
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2012 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Talking Tails: The Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets by Ann Love and Jane Drake, and illustrated by Bill Slavin, is billed as 'an informative and playful look at the relationship between pets and people through the ages!'

Topics addressed are: Pets and People: Hearts and Smarts; Different Pets for Different Folks; A Cat in the Family; and A Dog in the Family. In the opening pages (above a fascinating timeline of relationships between people and pets that continues throughout the book), the authors invite us to 'Come and explore the unique connection between people and their pets.'

They go on to explain the workings of our amygdala; issues with exotics; feathered pets; our fascination with fish; reptile options; rodent pocket pets; forming a connection with horses and ponies; and parrot history. Then comes discussion of the most common pets, cats and dogs. The feline fancier tells us, 'I'm well trained - the perfect cat person!' The dog owner says, 'I'm a dog person and he's family. For him, we're his pack.'

We learn about the wild cat who 'first walked into people's homes about twelve thousand years ago and has mystified its masters ever since.' They were appreciated for their 'rodent hunting skills.' Their sense of smell and hearing are superior to ours, and they see better at night. There's a heartwarming tale of a feline lost and found.

The authors present the current scientific view of how dogs were tamed - 'did people domesticate dogs, or did dogs domesticate people?' Dogs' vision is different than ours; they can locate sounds better than we can, and 'pick up smells we can't imagine.' They're 'natural born predators', but they can be trained to alert about their person's epileptic seizures, and to help in other ways.

Talking Tails is a delightful and informative book for animal lovers of all ages, children to adults. If you or your family are considering living with a pet, this book will give you a better understanding of what it involves and of your options. If you already have one in your home, it will help you better understand that often puzzling critter.

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