The FACE Foundation recently received a wonderful piece of writing from local animal lover Murielle Payeur. Many readers may already be familiar with playwright Eugene O’Neill’s tribute to his Dalmatian, “The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O’Neill,” but for those who are not, it’s well worth a read. The piece is a great comfort to anyone who’s ever lost a beloved pet, and serves as a reminder that death can be welcome release for an animal that is truly suffering, and that we will always have cherished memories of our pets in our hearts.
Eugene O’Neill wasn’t the only famous writer to have a special love for animals. Doris Lessing, the brilliant, Nobel Prize winning author of The Golden Notebook and many other works, had as keen an insight into cats as she had for people. Her book, Particularly Cats, is a great memoir of the various cats she’s known in her life, as well as a perceptive exploration of feline behavior. It’s full of fantastic descriptions of cats, like this one: “In grey cat’s eyes lay the green shade of a jade butterfly’s wing, as if an artist had said: What could be as graceful, as delicate as a cat?”
The late writer Caroline Knapp had as much of an affinity for dogs as Lessing had for cats. In her book, Pack of Two, she wrote about the close relationship she shared with her beloved dog Lucille, and of the dog-human bond in general. Knapp thoughtfully writes about how dogs and humans interact and how having a dog can influence every aspect of your life. One interesting observation she makes based on her own family history…how tensions among humans can be diffused by the simple presence of the family dog.
No look at writers and their pets would be complete without a nod to Ernest Hemingway and his famous clan of polydactyl cats that still live at the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida. Hemingway was a big cat lover, and this famous group of cats got their start with one six-toed cat given to him by a sea captain. Many polydactyl cats, descendants of the first one, can still be seen at the Hemingway Home today.