Reviews by Dennis Moore
December 21, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) -- If you're looking for last-minute holiday gifts for the pet lovers on your list, I heartily recommend Richard Lederer's newest books.
Most of us are either a cat lover or a dog lover--though Lederer, author of A Treasury for Cat Lovers and A Treasury for Dog Lovers, seems to be both. I have to confess that I am more of a dog lover, although cats have been a part of our household out of deference to my daughter. There seems to be something about the innate qualities of cats and dogs that have people attracted to one but not the other. Lederer, a San Diego author and host of the "A Way With Words" radio show, explores these differences with humor and insight, helping readers understand the motivations and behaviors of dogs, cats and their owners.
In A Treasury for Cat Lovers, Wit and Wisdom, Information and Inspiration About Our Feline Friends, this bestselling author of Anguished English cites quotations on the essential differences between cats and people:
“There is, indeed, no single quality in a cat that a man could not emulate to his advantage.” –Carl Van Vechten
“With the qualities of cleanliness, affection, patience, dignity, and courage that cats have, how many of us, I ask you, would be capable of becoming cats?” – Fernand Mery
Lederer offers his own comical views on why a cat is better than a woman:
• A cat’s parents never visit.
• A cat never expects you to telephone.
• A cat will never get mad at you if you forget its birthday.
• A cat never expects flowers on Valentine’s Day.
• A cat does not care about the previous cats in your life.
• A cat does not get mad at you if you pet another cat.
• Cats don’t care if you use their shampoo.
• Cats don’t notice if you call them by another cat’s name.
• If a cat is gorgeous, other cats don’t hate it.
His books on cats and dogs are thought provoking, enticing us to examine ourselves and our frailties in a way that we might not have otherwise. We find ourselves asking, “Why don’t cats erupt and get angry over the simplest of things, as we sometimes find ourselves doing? “ or “Why are dogs so loyal, when we find ourselves invariably prone to deceit and betrayal?” Again, it’s that innate nature of a dog and cat, that separates many of us.
I have a female friend in Chicago who owned a cat that died. My friend was devastated, which I couldn’t quite understand at the time. It was as if she lost an immediate family member. Sure, she replaced it with another cat, but it took her awhile before she could develop the type of attachment that she had for the previous beloved pet. After reading Lederer’s books, I now have more empathy and understanding of cat lovers as well as dog lovers.
In Lederer’s A Treasury for Dog Lovers, Wit and Wisdom, Information and Inspiration about man's best friend, he uses the following to determine if you are a dog lover:
• There is no sweeter sound to your ears than a doggie pleasure grunt.
• All of your clothes have dog hair on them, even when they come back from the Laundromat or dry cleaner’s. Dog hair is everywhere—on your rug, your bedspread, your packing tape, and in your sinks. Even when you find a dog hair in your food, you remove it and blithely go on eating.
• Lint rollers are on your shopping list every week.
• When you are cold, you put a sweater on your dog.
• Your floors are littered with rawhide bones and dog toys. You have five squeaky hedgehogs, but only one with a squeaky that actually works.
• You have no small children at home, but you have permanent baby gates installed in strategic doorways and a kiddy wading pool in the yard.
• You refer to yourself as “Mommy” or “Daddy.”
• You often talk in a goofy high voice.
• Your vet’s receptionist recognizes your voice. That’s because when you and your dog get sick, you take the dog to the vet’s but settle for an over-the-counter remedy for yourself.
• The instructions to the dog kennel are longer than the instructions to the house sitter.
• When you send friends and families cards, you sign for your dog. On your Christmas cards appears a photograph of your dog wearing fake reindeer antlers.
• You keep a mental list of people you would like to spay or neuter. You like people who like your dog and despise people who don’t .
Just as in Lederer’s other books, The Ants Are My Friends (a concert of musical punch lines) and The Giant Book Of Animal Jokes (4,509 beastly puns), he tends to humanize the animals in his stories—with delightfully entertaining results.
Dennis Moore is a writer, author, and a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. He has written for LifeAfter50 Magazine in Pasadena, East County Magazine in San Diego, and the Baja Times Newspaper in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. He has a yet unpublished book about Chicago politics, The City That Works. He is the President of a consulting, marketing and promotions company in San Diego, Contracts & Agency, LLC. Mr. Moore is also the President of Prison Ministry in San Diego for his Church, Bethel A.M.E. Dennis Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.