Further gleanings from Smith's Los Angeles Times columns (Three Coins in the Birdbath, etc.)--squarely aimed to please animal lovers. In the L.A. suburb of Mt. Washington, where Smith and his family have lived for the past 30 years, ""Prestige . . . is not measured by the car in your garage but by the degree of rusticity you are able to cultivate in your life-style."" To keep up with the neighboring Daltons, who find opossums in their garbage and raccoons in the swimming pool, Smith keeps regular vigils at his living room window, where he spots skunks, peacocks, displaced parrots, a grackle (the first sighted in L.A.), and even a pair of coyotes. ""When it rains, odd creatures seek out our door. They are the drenched, the strayed, the dispossessed. In one memorable storm, we received, among other souls, a gray cat, an irish setter, a tarantula, some kind of large brown arachnid, and a man in a Volkswagen who was lost."" Among those who take up permanent residence, and provide the Smiths with comic relief, are: Gato the cat, an illegal Mexican alien; two poodles, Beau and Jolie, who, Smith conjectures, ""having been bred into aristocracy. . . were ill at ease in the middle-class environment into which we had thrust them""; a cockatiel whose single utterance is ""Big Deal""; and Fleetwood Pugsley, a spirited Airedale whose attempts to escape the backyard become the episodes' connecting thread. (Fortunately, says Smith, ""the men in my family have always had the good sense to marry women who are fleet of foot."") Also included are missives from readers--like the story of the dog offered a $1,500 line of credit by a bank. Genial goings-on, with a particular attraction for urban animal lovers.