Belinda Recio / Skyhorse / 168 pages
More and more, advances in animal cognition research are changing the ways in which people perceive animals. Belinda Recio’s latest book, When Animals Rescue: Amazing True Stories about Heroic and Helpful Creatures, powerfully contributes to this change by allowing readers to look beyond the data.
Recio shares instead the unexpected anecdotal experiences and observations people have had with all kinds of animals over the years, from stories of whales and seals protecting people in life-threatening situations to acts of kindness and empathy between the most unlikely species. She recounts, for instance, a story about a crow who raises a kitten, forming a lifelong friendship, and another about a hippopotamus risking danger to rescue a young wildebeest. With every account, it’s nearly impossible to overlook precisely how alike human and nonhuman animals can behave in certain situations.
Animal enthusiast or not, anyone at any age with an inquisitive nature will enjoy the 45 stories detailed in When Animals Rescue. Throughout the book, each chapter is coupled with captivating photographs illustrating kindness in the animals being described, helping bring Recio’s words to life.
The author artistically balances her storytelling with relevant science, for instance, by discussing the potential role of spindle neurons in fostering altruism in marine mammals, or comparing the biology of humans and other animals to examine why some behaviors strike us as human-like.
Ultimately, the stories Recio has put together will inspire readers to live with greater compassion and empathy. After all, if a pack of lions can lead to a young girl’s rescue and creatures as small as mice can show compassion, surely people are capable of looking beyond differences and being kinder. When Animals Rescue will transform how readers perceive animals and encourage people to practice kindness in every walk of life.