Home > Genre, nonfiction, Reading Challenges > Book Review: Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary by Kathy Stevens (Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge)

Book Review: Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary by Kathy Stevens (Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge)

Woman standing next to a horse in front of a country landscape.Summary:
When Kathy Stevens decided to change careers mid-life, she wanted to do something that would help animals and let her teach.  She landed on the idea of founding an animal sanctuary.  But this book is very minimally about Kathy.  It is mostly about the animals that came to find a safe haven at the sanctuary she founded.  Animals like Rambo the sheep who guards other animals.  Paulie a former cockfighting rooster who loves car rides.  And of course a blind horse once terrified to move who now goes for trail rides.

This book wasn’t what I was expecting, which was an account of setting up and running an animal sanctuary.  Instead it is a collection of short stories about individual animals who live at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, in the vein of James Herriot, although not quite to that classic’s level.

The stories are roughly grouped based on the situations that led the animals to the sanctuary, their personality, and of course some ultimate peaceful deaths at the sanctuary.  I was a bit frustrated that instead of telling one animal’s story end to end, they were split up among sections.  I can understand not wanting to end every chapter with an animal’s death, but I also think seeing one animal’s life in a complete story would be more touching.  On the other hand, I also appreciated how clearly the different animals’ personalities were drawn without ever venturing into the land of hypothesizing.  One doesn’t have to impose their own beliefs on an animal to clearly see the difference between a hurt, abused animal and a happy one.  Stevens presents the difference quite clearly without venturing into speculation, which I think will give the book the broadest audience.

In spite of the dark past lives of these once abused animals, the book is a light read, both in spirit and in content.  You won’t learn the nitty gritty of founding and running an animal sanctuary, which I think is too bad.  It’d be nice if there was even an epilogue about more of the day to day realities of rescuing animals.  On the other hand, the light, easy read gives the book a broader audience.  It also features a suggested further reading list at the end, as well as links to the sanctuary’s website and invitations to visit, so those who want more can seek it out.

Overall, this is a well-written, feel-good collection of stories of the animals of Catskill Animal Sanctuary.  It doesn’t provide much insider information on the running of animal rescue charities, but it does provide insight into the personalities of farm animals.  Recommended to animal lovers who enjoy short stories.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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