When I was in second grade, during recess, some friends and I saw a black and white cat scurry through the school yard. Being a major animal lover, I had to investigate. By the end of the day, I was the proud owner of a malnourished, mangy, mangled, mute cat. After some TLC, medications and some time... she cleaned up astonishingly well! We named her Jasmine.
Fast forward a few months, to my delight, Jasmine had 5 kittens under my bed! Though our parents took it all in stride, the sudden growth in our pet population came at a pretty inconvenient time - they had recently put our house on the market. During showings, we needed to get our family of cats out of the way. When agents gave us a quick heads up, our mom would load us and all the cats up, then drive us to my grandparents house a couple miles away. This arrangement wasn't ideal, so as soon as they were old enough, my parents anxiously found the kittens various new homes and scheduled an important surgery appointment for Jasmine.
Then one evening, shortly after giving the kittens away, we got a call from my grandparents. Somewhat exasperated, they asked why we hadn't told them that we had brought Jasmine over. They were horrified thinking that somehow she had gotten out of their house and were unsure for how long - but they were relieved that when they opened the door, she anxiously darted inside. My mom insisted we hadn't taken Jasmine to their house that day, but... we did realize that none of us had seen our cat since that morning. Just to be sure, we skeptically headed over, assuming our grandparents had unintentionally kidnapped a neighbor's cat. But when we arrived, we were shocked! In such disbelief, it was the remaining tell-tale signs of her unfortunate previous life that confirmed her identity. There was no doubt, it was Jasmine! Apparently this devoted and determined mama cat was missing her kittens and she searched out the only other place she thought they might be.
I'm still astounded at how Jasmine found her way to my grandparents! Sure, they technically didn't live very far away... But where we lived in St. Louis, the couple of miles included busy streets, mazes of other houses, and a dangerous highway to cross. Never in my life has anyone in my family ever walked from my old house to my grandparents' - It just wasn't a pedestrian friendly area. But somehow Jasmine figured it out, and SAFELY! Then, who knows how long she patiently waited at my grandparents door, watching for them to get home.
I'm not 100% sure, but I strongly suspect you don't even have to be a major animal person to appreciate seeing, hearing, and especially witnessing the unbelievable things animals are actually capable of! Whether its from their impeccable training, strong instincts, or some Devine intervention, there is a plethora of incredible animal stories out there. Thankfully, some have been documented in excellent books for our kids.
Some jaw-dropping... some heart-warming.
Here are several wonderful animal story books!
James Herriot's Treasury for Children
By James Herriot (Author)
Ruth Brown (Illustrator)
Peter Barrett (Illustrator)
Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln
By Shari Swanson (Author)
Chuck Groenink (Illustrator)
Silent Swoop: An Owl, an Egg,
and a Warm Shirt Pocket
By Michelle Houts (Author)
Deb Hoeffner (Illustrator)
Ruuxa & Raina: A Cheetah and Dog's True Story of Friendship and Miracles
By Georgeanne Irvine
Elephants of the Tsunami
By Jana Laiz (Author)
Tara Cafiero (Illustrator)
Scarlett the Cat to the Rescue:
By Nancy Loewen (Author)
Kristin Caraan Sorra (Illustrator)
Bobbie the Wonder Dog: A True Story
By Tricia Brown (Author)
Cary Porter (Illustrator)
The True Story of the Little Horse
Who Became a Hero
By Patricia McCormick (Author)
Iacopo Bruno (Illustrator)
Inspiring True Stories
of Courageous Animals
By David Long (Author)
Kerry Hyndman (Illustrator)
A Hometown Hero
By Nancy M. West (Author)
Little Tyke: The True Story of a
Gentle Vegetarian Lioness
By Georges H Westbeau
The Skunk That Wouldn't Leave and Other Strange and Wonderful Animal Stories
By Joe L. Wheeler