A collection of essays from New Mexico author Rudner (A Chorus of Buffalo, 2000).
“I have spent my life with animals,” writes the author in the introduction to this sensitive and eclectic collection in which past relationships with dogs, horses, cats and birds are discussed and idealized. Rudner writes of wolves silhouetted against the full moon at Yellowstone; reintroducing peregrine falcons to the wild; a coyote “hitchhiking” on a ski trail by Old Faithful Lodge. Domestic animals aren’t given short shrift: there’s Champ, a handsome sorrel colt with a white diamond blaze; Ace, an agile trail horse; and Lion, the formerly feral tabby. Rudner is probably more finely attuned to animals than most; a chance encounter with a stray dog in a parking lot in Hilltop, Ariz., becomes a heart-wrenching episode: “When I climbed into the truck, he came to the passenger side and put his front feet up on the cab floor, ready to go with us. I forced him away as gently as I could and closed the door, but he chased us as we drove out of the parking area, running as if his life depended on it, as if he were screaming at us not to leave without him.” She’s far more wary of her two-legged kin, most of whom seem destined to disappoint and to mistreat animals. While Rudner is prone to anthropomorphizing, she is so observant that her perceptions seem accurate after all.
Despite an occasional dictatorial tone, Rudner has some astonishing tales to tell.