For some people, animal shelters seem dark, desperate places. All terrified barks and frightened hisses, the shelter is the last stop for many an animal on what has too often been a painful journey. For others, the shelter is a place of hope, where the perfect dog or cat waits to be adopted. In her time spent volunteering at the Columbia-Greene Humane Society, author Elizabeth Hess discovered that shelter life couldn't be defined in such simple terms. In this "subterranean animal culture," life is a "complex mix of people and animals, emotion and ideology ... where life and death decisions are made as regularly as coffee."
Hess, an arts journalist who has written for the Village Voice and the Washington Post among other publications, first visited the shelter to adopt a dog for her daughter. A "series of ramshackle buildings and a shabby trailer, surrounded by a few chickens and a couple of contented cats," the Columbia-Greene Humane Society grounds were humble at best. But what Hess found inside the shelter inspired her to write Lost and Found: Dogs, Cats, and Everyday Heroes at a Country Animal Shelter. From the dog kennels and the cat rooms to a puppy mill raid and rides in the shelter ambulance, Hess introduces innumerable animals and humans who will inspire, educate, and break your heart. With more than 20 million animals ending up in shelters each year in the United States alone, Hess's demand to rethink our relationships with domestic animals couldn't have come at a better time. Perceptive, well-written, and utterly moving, Lost and Found is a rare find indeed. --Stefanie Hargreaves
From Library Journal
Hess has volunteered for the Columbia-Greene Humane Society for several years. Combining her obvious passion for such work with the skills she has learned as art critic for the Village Voice, she has produced a solidly written book that takes readers directly into the animal shelter. Like most shelters, the one featured here is short on money, staff, and time while long on abused and abandoned animals. Hess helps readers understand how and why the people who work in this field-both paid and volunteer-do what they do. She captures the frustrations of animal welfare advocates-too often confused with animal rights advocates-who feel trapped cleaning up the mess that the uncaring or irresponsible create while facing accusations from no-kill advocates. Anyone questioning the local animal shelter should read this book for an excellent standard of comparison. Recommended for all animal welfare collections.?Alicia Graybill, Lincoln City Libs., NE
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.