BOOKS—One Big Happy Family: Heartwarming Tales of Animals Caring for One Another
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2013: (Actually published on October 8, 2013)
One Big Happy Family: Heartwarming Tales of Animals Caring for One Another by Lisa Rogak St. Martin’s Press (c/o MacMillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010), 2013. 145 pages, paperback. $14.99.
Lisa Rogak in One Big Happy Family treats us to short but sweet stories of animals caring for animals of other species. Among the most unusual cases is that of Hiroko, a cat kept by Japanese farmers Norio and Yoshiko Endo. Hiroko had three kittens in 2007, but all of them died. Soon afterward Hiroko was accidentally left in a room with a pair of duck eggs. She apparently hatched the eggs and was found––and photographed––keeping the ducklings warm. At Secret World Wildlife Rescue, an animal sanctuary in England, founder Pauline Kinder raised a fawn whose best friend became Kinder’s son’s Great Dane. Among the best-known examples of cross-species friendship is that of Mzee, a 130-year-old Aldabran tortoise long kept at the Haller Park sanctuary in Mombasa, Kenya. Mzee in 2005 became surrogate parent to Owen, a two-year-old hippopotamus who was brought to Haller Park after he was orphaned by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Why Owen bonded with Mzee was discovered years later when elementary school students in West Vancouver, British Columbia, noticed that markings on the rear of Mzee’s shell resemble a hippo face. Both Mzee and Owen still live at Haller Park, but Owen now lives with a female hippo named Clara. Rogak, however, narrates a less famous story from the Kenya Wildlife Service Animal Orphanage in Nairobi. There, a seven-month-old baboon named Gakii adopted a three-month-old galago, or “bush baby.” Color photographs compliment these and many other amazing stories such as the Peacock and her Gosling, the German Shepherd and her Bengal Tiger Cubs, and the Chihuahua and his Baby Marmoset. ––Debra J. White