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FOR ANIMAL LOVERS
By Kim Cano
Average 4.8 STARS Buy now for only $0.99!
For Animal Lovers is a heartwarming book for kids ages 9-12. Although mainly a short story collection for children, it also appeals to adult readers who are young at heart. Prepare to be transported into the world of each animal, as they tell their tale in their own words. Best of all, 10% of the sale price is donated to the ASPCA® to help homeless pets!
“Becoming Sacred” – Charlie is a cow who lives on a farm, but plans to escape and move to India, fulfilling a promise he made to his late father.
“Pascal’s Magic” – A classic cat story. Pascal is an adopted shelter cat who has been through a lot. Now with new owners, he finds he needs to work his special brand of magic to save his family.
“Abduction at Sea” – Alice is a special-needs swordfish who's obsessed with aliens. In order to be an independent gladiator of the sea, Alice has to learn to confront some of the greatest dangers the ocean has to offer.
“Charlie!” Bob spoke a little louder than before. “Geez, are you even payin’ attention?”
Charlie turned from gazing into the field. “I’m sorry…did you say something?”
“Yes I said somethin’,” Bob replied. “Jennifer found this great-tasting patch of grass none of the other cows know about. We’re headed there now. You wanna come?”
Charlie’s focus returned to the field ahead. The meal tempted him, but he didn’t want to leave. He was deep in thought about his future; the life he planned to live in India.
“Come on Charlie,” Jennifer said. “It’ll be fun!”
The soft, persuasive tone of her voice pulled him from his reverie. Bob led the way while Charlie walked alongside Jennifer.
“You’ll get there someday,” she reassured.
Charlie liked Jennifer. She was a real friend. She understood him and passed no judgment.
“You ain’t gonna get there!” Bob exclaimed. “What are you, a little kitty cat that can stow away on a ship? No! You’re a cow!--There’s no way you’re ever gonna get there!”
Bob was forever the optimist, Charlie thought. But he had a point, the details hadn’t actually become clear yet. Eventually he’d put together a plan.
“Stop being so negative!” Jennifer complained. “Let’s just try to enjoy this lovely meal.”
With grass hanging out of his mouth, Bob joked, “Someday we’re going to make a lovely meal.”
“Stop gossiping about something you heard,” Charlie replied. “You don’t know if that’s even true!”
Jennifer stepped back, sensing a fight. Bob and Charlie were a combination that never quite mixed. Like a lab experiment, she never knew when there could be an explosion.
“I don’t know what I’m talkin’ about! Okay, where did our parents go?” Bob asked. “Where did our old friends go? You think they all went on a trip to Disney World?”
“Of course not,” Charlie said while lowering his tone. He refused to be prodded into a quarrel. This was typical of Bob and he wasn’t going to get sucked into it.
“They were sent away, killed for the people,” Bob shouted. “I even heard one of ‘em talkin’, saying they get extra for us, ‘cause we get to walk around and roam freely.”
This comment upset Jennifer and caused her to lose her appetite. “I’m no longer hungry,” she said. “I’m heading back.”
Charlie gave Bob a dirty look and escorted Jennifer back towards the barn. “Don’t listen to him,” he said.
“I try not to,” Jennifer replied while walking slowly. “It’s just, I wonder if he may be right? I mean, if he were, it would ruin all my plans.”
Charlie was surprised by her comment. He had thought he was the only cow at the barn with plans for the future.
“What plans?” Charlie asked.
“Well, you may laugh.”
“I won’t,” Charlie promised, then stopped walking and looked directly at her.
“Well, I’d like to have a big piece of land someday, with rolling green hills and a stream. I’d like to start a family.”
“That sounds amazing,” Charlie replied. “Why did you think I’d laugh?”
“I don’t know. I guess because most of us don’t talk like that,” Jennifer said. “But you’re different, Charlie; you have big dreams.”
“Are they big?” he asked. He didn’t think they were and added, “If you and I were born in India, our lives would be so different.”
“But we were born here,” Jennifer said, “and India is a half a world away from the United States.”
Charlie knew she was right. At least she dished up reality in a kind way. Bob just smacked you upside the head with it.
“I’m tired,” Jennifer said. “I’m going to call it a night.”
“Thanks for the meal,” Charlie replied. “See you tomorrow.”
That night Charlie lay down but couldn’t sleep. He needed an escape plan, but the more he thought about it, the more his head began to ache. In his mind, he heard the exotic sound of sitar music lulling him to sleep.
The next morning, Charlie woke up to the sight of Bob staring down at him.
“Are you awake yet?” Bob asked. “I’m hungry and wanna go back to that patch of grass.”
“And you want me to go with you?” Charlie asked. “Why should I do that?”
“Uh, I don’t know,” Bob replied. “You ain’t still sore about the India thing, are you?”
Charlie gave him a look that said he was.
“Geez, Charlie!” Bob continued, “I was just trying to bring you back to reality. I mean, we’re just cows, you know? We sleep, we eat, and we talk and have some good times, nothing more.”
Charlie listened in disbelief. Surely Bob couldn’t believe this. Surely he had dreams of his own he hadn’t yet revealed. Right then, Charlie decided Bob was an actor. He’d pretended he was tough, but deep down, he had to be different.
Later that evening, Jennifer came to visit Charlie. He seemed depressed and she wanted to lift his spirits. As she approached, he looked up at her.
“Hey Jen,” Charlie said.
“Hey,” she replied. “I’m in the mood to hear a story.”
As much as Charlie loved to tell stories, tonight he wasn’t in the mood.
“What kind of story?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Jennifer answered. “How about the one about your cousin?”
Charlie looked away. He remembered his father recounting the tale of his distant
cousin many times. This one he could muster the energy it took to tell.
“You really want to hear that one?”
“Yes,” Jennifer replied.
“Okay. Well, my dad used to tell me about our distant cousin. I think his name was Ravi or Sonji,” Charlie said. “Anyways, he was born in India, and he and his dad lived an adventurous life.”
“Go on,” Jennifer said.
“My dad told me Ravi and his father traveled all over India, through the cities and through the forests. They saw beautiful palaces and met all kinds of interesting people.”
Jennifer smiled. “To bad you couldn’t have your dad with you when you go,” she said.
Charlie looked down. That was how it was supposed to be. They had talked about it all the time.
“The day the truck came and took my dad,” Charlie continued as his voice cracked, “I promised him I’d make it there. I promised him I’d live the life we planned.”
“So don’t break your promise,” she said in a soft voice that comforted him.
Jennifer sensed Charlie was growing tired, and that it was time to go, so she thanked him for his story, leaving him with his thoughts.
Weeks later, something unusual happened. One of the ranchers got called away for an emergency. He left the big gate wide open. Charlie took his chance. He looked around and saw Bob and Jennifer were sleeping. It was early sunrise and none of the other ranchers were in sight. Charlie began running as fast as he could. As he crossed through the open gate, an enormous surge of energy propelled him to run even faster. With the cool morning wind against his face, he pressed on. He felt as light as a feather, his heart brimmed with happiness. Freedom! It was an indescribable feeling!
Caught up in the moment, Charlie didn’t hear the sound of the pick-up truck approaching. The lasso slapping around his neck brought him back to reality. He was down.
How could this be happening, he wondered.
The ride back to the farm was sobering. He was a failure.
But his friends greeted him as if he were a hero. “You kept those idiots on their toes!” Bob exclaimed. “Good for you!”
“I’m sorry you didn’t make it,” Jennifer said, “but I’m glad to have you back.”
Charlie smiled a little. All the positive comments helped soften the pain in his heart. Life continued as before. Then one morning the big white truck came. The ranchers loaded Bob, Jennifer, and Charlie onto it along with many others. The three of them looked at each other, panicked, but no one spoke.
Later, as they got out of the truck and headed somewhere, single file, between metal barricades, Bob cracked a joke.
“Anyone in the mood for steak au poivre?”
He glanced around, but no one laughed.
Charlie realized Bob would never stop acting. He’d never know the real Bob, although he’d hoped to.
They continued walking, curving to the left, then curving to the right. As their pace slowed, Jennifer looked back at Charlie.
“I’m scared,” Jennifer whispered, as a tear rolled down her face.
Charlie looked in her eyes. He didn’t know the right words to say. Then she turned forward and stepped into a contraption that held her neck and head securely in place. A man lifted a captive bolt pistol and placed it between her eyes, and she shuddered like a blade of grass in the wind.
After they dragged Jennifer away, Charlie stepped forward. He stepped forward without fear, without a heavy heart. When the gun touched his forehead, he felt nothing, for he was already gone.
He’d arrived in India, with the hot sun warming his fur, the pungent smell of curry filling his nostrils, and sunlight so bright it blocked vision. He squinted, and finally was able to see. The first thing he noticed was a little Hindu boy who smiled and nodded, almost greeting him. As he looked around, he saw lots of activity, people hustling and bustling everywhere.
He began to walk past the busy market, going forward without any particular destination in mind. As he passed people on the street, they noticed him and sent respectful glances his way. Filled with joy, he stood a little taller as he pressed onward.
Maybe he’d visit the Taj Mahal? Or the beaches in Goa? There were so many options to choose from.
I knew I’d make it here, he thought. After all the wishing and plotting, and failed escape attempt, he’d finally arrived.
In the end, I made it Dad.
In the end…I became sacred--just like we planned.
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