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Unlikely Loves: 43 Heartwarming True Stories from the Animal Kingdom (Unlikely Friendships) Paperback – October 8, 2013
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About the Author
Jennifer S. Holland is a contributing writer for National Geographic. She has also written for, among others, The Discovery Channel, NPR, and The New York Times, specializing in science and natural history.
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Top Customer Reviews
I cannot praise this book enough! The stories are sweet without being sappy, fun without being contrived. But what really makes this book special are the amazing photographs of the animal friends together. They are sharp, beautiful, and so appealing that I can stare at them for a very long time.
I also appreciate that the stories are generally about animals who became friends by their own choice rather than being made to become friends by humans who forced them to mix. Even when introduced by humans, usually because they were rescued as babies and needed another young friend to learn to socialize, they continued to choose to remain friends when offered the chance to move on in life.
All the stories are amazing, so it's hard to select ones to highlight here, but I'll describe four of my favorites. I love the story of the African tortoise who decided that the perfect place for himself was at the bottom of the pile of ten great Dane puppies and who even ran with them (amazingly even outpacing some!), played with them, and ate the puppy mush with them!
There are also two particularly wonderful stories of animals who saved the life of others of another breed. A litter of kittens were at risk of dying because they wouldn't take a bottle after being bereft of their mother. So the female dog of the house noticed them and picked them up one by one by the nape of the neck in the same way she had done with her own puppies a year and a half earlier, carrying them to her own dog bed. And even though she hadn't had puppies in so long, her maternal instincts and the kittens' need inspired her to lactate, producing milk to feed the babies! How special!
The other story that I found so inspiring was the love between a donkey and a sheep. After they had been close for a while, a pit bull attacked the sheep, whom the owner saw dragging the dog as it hung onto the sheep's neck. She tried with no success to beat the dog with a pipe when she heard a scream of rage, and the donkey ran into the fray with no hesitation about its own safety and attacked the pit bull. The three animals struggled for quite some time, but the donkey ultimately saved the life of its sheep friend and remained by the side of the sheep as it spent a year recuperating, the most loyal of friends. This story was so special that it brought tears to my eyes!
And to conclude with a whole lot of fun, if for nothing else, you ought to read this book just to learn about the swan who fell deeply in love with a plastic swan boat! They even put the two together in the zoo to weather the winter together, but when they tried to introduce the swan (with its boat of course!) to other swans, yet another swan was smitten by the boat!
This book was so great that I have now ordered the author's first book, and I also bought a copy of this book to send to my favorite animal-loving family for them to enjoy together, which I understand they are doing.
My dogs showed very good taste in selecting an appropriate birthday present for me! Thank you, Liberty and Teddy Bear, for many evenings of joy with this book!
On to a tortoise and puppies - the tortoise likes the warmth afforded by sleeping among them, and actually likes to eat their food and be with them as well. Then its a black cat and an owl that many of us have seen on U-Tube - the owner was training the owl to hunt, and the cat just joined in on his own. The most dramatic - a leopard and a dog in an African rehabilitation center.
The common denominator seems to be that at least one of the animals was very young when brought into contact with the other; setting frequently involve nature preserves or animal parks.
And best of all - each story is documented with at least one photo, usually several of the two animals.