"Animalish" is the author's progression from animal deprivation to animal indulgence. Susan Orlean always had a special affinity for pets, and she had known it early in her life. But her intense love for animals remained mostly unrequited in her childhood save for an experience with a non-resident cat, which seemed "less like a pet than a representative of some off-site cat charity who was dropping by to pick up our contributions."
Like many girls of her age, Susan also wanted a dog in her childhood, but her mummy was terrified about them and would create a scene when the animal was brought near her. "Consequently we remained dogless, and I suffered."
Now life seems to have come a full circle. Presently she lives with a menagerie of animals, comprising of one dog, three cats, eight chickens, four turkeys, six guinea fowl, one fish and two snow-white ducks. Still more animals are on their way to join her on their 55-acre property close to Taconic Mountains. A real change of fortunes about animals indeed.
The author tries to make sense of her special affinity for animals. Is it because there "have been more creatures in my orbit compared to other people?" She ultimately finds the answer in serendipity: her proclivity to find "higher-than-average tendency to find animals in my path." She beautifully recounts the story of her stumbling into a rabbit owner walking his pet on a "silver leash" on a Manhattan sidewalk, the bubbly pet protesting with regular resistance to hop on.
She has written extensively on the subject of animals, but has decided to publish her essay in Kindle Singles because she did not feel her article was suitable for The New Yorker, where she is a staff writer.
Susan has now chosen an appropriate platform to tell her tale, as the chance of her finding serendipitous readers is much more here.
Author of 'Hits and Misses'