Animals versus Humans: What Donald Unger Has to Say About the Human-Animal Relationship

January 25, 2019
Dog with Book

Have
you ever wondered what animals are thinking, how they view humans,
or how they would act in normal situations we humans run into
everyday? Donald Unger’s new book, Animal Tails for Grownups,
delves into these questions and more.

Not for the faint of heart, Unger’s dark humour comes alive in
this collection of four short vignettes from the perspective of
rodents, dogs, cats, and horses that was “birthed from a
nightmare”.

Having discovered evidence of rodents-in-residence in his
Massachusetts home, Unger set about the work of getting rid of
these unwanted visitors.

“When I’d killed over half a dozen,” he says, “I had
this creepy ‘dream shard’ in which I was captured by rodents
and put on trial for attempted genocide.”

The first vignette from the perspective of rodents all but wrote
itself. From there, Unger began exploring the idea of other animals
in similar situations.

“I started thinking about what I could write from the point of
view of other animals, what the unifying theme might be. What
emerged pretty quickly: Animal Liberation!” 

While he claims not to be an activist, Unger’s vignettes often
confront, or at least mention in passing, some of the more inhumane
aspects of the human/animal relationship: the shooting of race
horses with broken legs; the declawing of cats; the inconvenient
dogs “sent to live on a farm upstate”; mice and other rodents
being treated like vermin, despite being kept as pets by some.

 “That’s an odd turn, don’t you think?” he asks. “A
key piece of the history of civilization has revolved around making
our households safe from animal invasions. And now we pay for the
privilege of bringing rats and mice into our homes, pay to feed
them, build them tiny amusement parks! That’s a little
weird!” 

Perhaps so, but none of us animal lovers would have it any other
way! This relationship between animals and humans is an intriguing
concept to Unger who is fascinated by the way we humans interact
with our pets.

“Dogs being domesticated from wolves; cats in ancient Egypt;
the role of horses in colonialism; rodent-born diseases reshaping
populations: there’s an intimacy there, an entanglement going
back to the roots of human civilization that’s really quite
fascinating.” 

It’s interesting to be projected into the mindset of some of
our furry friends (and foes), and Unger’s book gives a unique
take on the hidden lives of some of our favourites.

“And who knows,” Unger says “perhaps we can learn from
getting a glimpse of ourselves through the eyes of other
animals.”

Don’t take our word for how captivating these stories are;
Unger’s book is available on Amazon now (both in print and on
Kindle). Make sure to keep an open mind while reading and let us
know in the comments below what you think!

           

Don Unger was born at New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital and has
spent more than fifty years now touring medical facilities across
Europe and the Americas. He’s published about thirty short
stories, a handful of poems, hundreds of journalistic pieces, and
done a few dozen radio commentaries for local NPR affiliates. He
writes the occasional unpublishable novel as well—one of which
was his MFA thesis. He was disappointed to discover that his PhD
did not earn him a prescription pad. He accepts that writing is
clear evidence of mental illness; he also understands that any
relief writing provides is symptomatic and temporary. He has had a
headache since 1990.

 

Please Note: This book is recommended for mature audiences
only.

Teaser Image: 
Animal Tails for Grownups
Teaser Text: 
Have you ever wondered what animals are thinking, how they
view humans, or how they would act in normal situations we humans
run into everyday? Donald Unger’s new book, Animal Tails for
Grownups, delves into these questions and more.

Source: FS – Dogs – MDM
Animals versus Humans: What Donald Unger Has to Say About the Human-Animal Relationship