Here at the library, we have all been enjoying our 2021 One Book Chelmsford title, How To Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery. The book is a collection of short essays about the animals that have enriched the author’s life, and that have taught her valuable lessons on how to be a “good creature” herself. She writes: “All you have to do is recognize them as teachers and be ready to hear their truths”.
It has inspired us to think about our own good creatures and what they teach us everyday. And, since we know that no one ever says no to a cute pet photo, we wanted to share our creatures with you!
Sean says, “This is a picture of Kingston, our rescue dog, at our camp. He was found as a puppy neglected, wrapped up in wire in a yard in Florida, and he still has scars around his neck and left front paw. We fell in love with him at first sight. Kingston has taught me a life’s worth of lessons on unconditional love of family and how to give second chances (in his case, to all of humanity).”
Marty says, ” We have a sweet calico kitty named Harriet, who has definitely made me a better creature. I never had cats growing up, so I was a little unsure when we agreed to take her into our home for a family friend. Now I can’t imagine my life without her. The best thing about having Harriet in my life is that she forces me to slow down and relax a little bit. When she nestles in and starts purring in my lap, I just allow myself some space for quiet time and relaxation. I get lots of good reading done with her around the house!”
Vickie says, “This is my 15-year-old cat, Lucy. Over the years she’s taught me many things, like the importance of regular mealtimes and the joy of napping. She’s also taught me that there’s always time to be silly, and that there’s nothing better than the warmth of a good friend.”
Laura says, “My dog, Mamba, is a Husky White Lab mix that I rescued (but really she rescued me) while I was living in Hungary. We flew back to the U.S. together, which is a trip we both won’t ever forget – I can’t say I would do it again but she can now say she’s traveled by boat, train, plane and car and was unfazed by it all. What a champ! She continually makes me a better creature by reminding me to find joy in the simple things.”
Danny says, “This is Winry, our 3.5-year-old foxhound rescue. She’s originally from Arkansas, where she was part of a hunting pack and her owners turned her over to a rescue for unknown reasons. We suspect because she’s super afraid of metal sounds and banging noises. Winry has taught me a lot about nonverbal communication, patience, and listening. For example, in this picture, Winry is communicating her disapproval of our decision to eat lunch and not share any with her!”
Deanna says, “These are our cats, Lilly and Skye. They are quite different – one is an introvert and the other an extrovert – but they get along like sisters. These good creatures bring us joy every day, make us slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures in life (a contented purr, for example!), and also teach us to have patience with all kinds of temperaments!”
Maria says, “I have two dogs- a male named Titan and a female named Sawyer. We got Titan in 2016 when he was less than a year old. He has high anxiety and had an annoying habit of chewing through our blinds whenever we left the house. We needed to pull them up every single day. Titan is a Havanese poodle. Sawyer is a rescue. She was found in a box in an abandoned apartment in Orlando. We got her as a puppy and she too is anxious and is afraid of white vans, trucks, loud noises and Amazon boxes of any size. Sawyer is well known for her under bite and strawberry blonde eye lashes. Both dogs are having an awful time transitioning to apartment living but they do seem to love the snow. Despite all of these challenges, we could not see leaving them behind when we moved here. They both sleep in our bedroom- Sawyer in her crate and Titan next to mommy!”
Lisa says, ” Here are Hazel (upper left corner), Ripley below Hazel, and Koko next to Ripley – all waiting for a taste of peanut butter! All of our pooches have taught us important life values: Live in the present with gratitude; Take time for yourself, and take care of yourself, e.g., enjoy a nap, a good meal, a walk, enjoy snuggle time and a good book! Forgive yourself when you make a mistake (As Koko would say, “I didn’t mean to spill your coffee mug and take a sip, really I didn’t!”) Share love whenever you can and are able!”
Jess says, “Here is a picture of Lionelle and Ophelia as tiny kittens. They are very big old ladies now, but throughout they have been inseparable. They have taught me how special and remarkable playtime can be, the comfort of friends and siblings, how trust emerges, and how books and keyboards make excellent cushions!”
Becky says, “This is Foster, my sister’s dog, who is named after the great blues singer Ruthie Foster. As you can see, he is four pounds of adorable! He came into our lives at just the right moment and has reminded us of the importance and comfort of friends.”
Jeff says, “I have a number of good creatures in my life! Milton is a pretty big cat and provides great company and also makes sure that I get up on time in the morning in order to feed him. Bonking you in the head with his own head and staring out the window are his other favorite past times. Tabitha and DJ Roomba are the two adorable bunnies. They enjoy bananas and strawberries and provide strong moral support at all times. Last but not least, the newt’s name is Newt! He is patient and carefree and mostly floats around his tank where I imagine him saying things like “blorp,” “bloop,” and “you’re doing a good job.””
Trupti says, “This is Iris, who we call Pinu as a nickname. Pinu is a Bombay cat who we adopted in 2012. She is affectionate, sassy, and loves to be involved in whatever the family is doing. She also demands exactly what she wants, whether it’s petting, cuddles or treats! That’s a lesson we can all learn from Pinu. Pinu is a mama’s girl and I am her favorite person.”
We hope these furry faces have inspired you to share photos of your own good creatures with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! And don’t forget to register for our One Book Chelmsford web event with Sy Montgomery on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 7:00 PM EST. We hope to see you there!