This group of book dedications—all to animals and from books both about and not about animals—might be my favorite yet. Why? Because I love animals; because it seems that a dedication to an animal is inherently sweet and sometimes funny; and lastly because, in a way, they make me think that dedications are often foremost just for us readers. (My first This Is Dedicated To post shared dedications more explicitly to readers, and my second, to loved ones.)
Dedicating a book to an animal is to offer up countless weeks, months, and, most likely, years of labor to someone (or something, in the case of bugs—I’m not perfect) who can’t actually appreciate your labor. But we readers can pause over a dedication to a list of past pets, or an entire species, or one cat named Splodge, and think that such a thing makes perfect, human sense. I can totally understand an animal deserving that sort of praise, imagine a writer working with said dedicatee in mind or under foot. (At right is an example of how I tormented my cat while he tried to sabotage my efforts at doing homework a couple years ago, perhaps like Atticus C. A. Moose did to Brian Fagan, below.) Some people attribute their happiness, even their survival, to animals or their pets. When we consider that, a book dedication seems like the least ol’ Splodge deserves his due.
Has a dedication to a furry friend ever caught your eye? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Between Two Dogs, by Shaina Fishman
To my parents, for always having a house full of animals:
Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects, by Scott Richard Shaw
This book is dedicated to my wife, Marilyn, for
her patience, support, and most especially under-
standing. Thanks for letting me keep bugs in the
freezer. I couldn’t have done it without you.
This one isn’t “to” animals, per se, but that second sentence really paints a picture for us.
Calls Beyond Our Hearing: Unlocking the Secrets of Animal Voices, by Holly Menino
For John and his song.
I still listen.
Maybe John is winged or four-footed, but maybe not. If so though, “John,” is a pretty great animal name.
Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation, by James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould
whose loft may be found at
Convenient in the event you wish to send Verity a piece of fan mail via hot-air balloon or dog sled.
Atticus Catticus Cattamore Moose
A splendid beast—who did everything he could to stop this book
being written by dancing on the keyboard—at inopportune moments.
And he never has to worry about sea levels.
How Animals Grieve, by Barbara J. King
FOR CHARLIE, SARAH, AND BETTY
AND FOR CATS MICKEY AND HORUS,
GRAY & WHITE AND MICHAEL,
RABBITS CARAMEL AND OREO,
AND EVERY OTHER ANIMAL WE HAVE
LOVED AND LOST
I can’t help but wonder: what species are Charlie, Sarah, and Betty?
Encountering Gorillas: A Chronicle of Discovery, Exploitation, Understanding, and Survival, by James L. Newman
For Gorillas Everywhere
Wolf Spirit: A Story of Healing, Wolves and Wonder, by Gudrun Pflüger
My constant, “my girl,”
and all her wild relatives.
and all the children of his generation.
I love you.
A Real Cat
Sleeping with Cats, by Marge Piercy
FOR ALL THOSE I HAVE LOVED,
TWO- AND FOUR-FOOTED
Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor, by Suzanne McCinn
In Memory of Clover
May 29, 2007–September 10, 2012
Travels with Casey: My Journey through Our Dog-Crazy Country, by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
Zing! Your move, cat-book authors everywhere.