Friday, October 4, 2013

Climb That Fence and Take That Leap

I just finished reading Climb That Fence and Take That Leap by Philip Johnsey. The book is a real gem.

As I read about the author's 18-year relationship with his cat Keiko, a seal point Siamese in dark-chocolate with deep blue eyes, it brought back memories of my own pets and how much their lives taught me about living. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, I was pulled into the drama as Keiko was diagnosed with a type of squamous cell carcinoma that degenerated her entire jaw. The author told of wrapping her in a towel and taking her on car rides, which she adored, as her physical condition waned. Her emotional attitude, however, remained high and that is due (in my opinion) to the caring and loving attitude of her owner, who clearly adored her.

Johnsey takes the story a step further, however, into what Keiko taught him about living each day to its fullest and making every moment count.

He also tells of a turtle he rescued who became a pet and family member, and how the turtle discovered the world beyond his fenced courtyard. While some owners would see the digging under the gate as a nuisance, Johnsey took the role of an observer, discovering why the turtle wanted to explore its world and deepening his bond with this unlikely pet. The result is how much this turtle taught him about broadening his horizons, taking on challenges and never giving up.

A truly heartwarming story is one in which he found sea turtles digging their way out of the sand and making their way to the beach, encountering rocky outcrops and terrain that threatened their lives. Only the size of quarters, he watched and assisted without taking from their unique experiences and tenacity to reach the sea. There were stories of waves pushing them back, of imprints in the sand that swallowed the baby turtles, of rocky ledges with four foot drops, and much more - but their determination to reach the sea and survive was an amazing, inspiring story.

There are many of these stories in which Johnsey observed animal behavior and applied their attitude, problem-solving and tenacity to our own lives, our own challenges and the worlds we make for ourselves. The result is learning how to excel in this life and perhaps, in the process, becoming the type of human that our pets believe us to be.

I highly recommend Climb That Fence and Take That Leap.