THE DEARNESS OF THINGS
From 1955 to 2002, I owned and lost eleven cats, five dogs, one guinea pig, two turtles, twenty-five newts and salamanders, two goats, two Brahmin Roosters, one Brahmin Hen, one Rhode Island Red Hen, sixty-seven temporarily-adopted, newly-hatched chickens, one Long Island duck, twelve Mallard ducks, six Peking ducks, and too many rabbits.
And I owned pigs. So many pigs–twenty-eight all told. One Yorkshire boar, one Spotted China sow, one Hampshire sow, their twenty-four children, and an orphaned Yorkshire gilt named Snowflake.
This is the story of these animals, an account of their lives, and an accounting of the dearness of things, a study of love and loss. For the animals are all, every one of them, down even to the smallest newt, born out of our desire for love. And that is where the problem lies.