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Pet Tales

I find it amazing how much a part of our families our pets can become. They seem to know just when we need a calming purr or a furry head in our laps, when we’re afraid, and when we’re sad. Recently, I had to make the very hard decision to euthanize Tinker, my cat pal of 14 years. She had been with me through significant changes over the years, so I felt I had betrayed her even though I knew it was inevitable. We have three other cats that I love dearly, but I still miss my Tinker. If you have a pet, find your favorite chair and invite your furry friend to join you for some cuddle time while you read.

Danville author Russell Vassallo understands this attachment to pets perfectly. In Tears and Tales: Stories of Animal and Human Rescue (Krazy Duck Productions, $16.95), he fondly remembers animals that have touched his life over the years. Some were house pets, some were farm animals, some were even wild animals who seemed to be sent to offer a message of hope during Vassallo’s time of greatest sorrow. With each story, he seems to dig deeper to uncover emotions tied to that animal and, several times, brought this reader to tears. The book was awarded the Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award in 2007 and was also a USA Book News Best Books Award finalist. Perhaps the bigger reward to Vassallo, though, is the companionship and growth he has found through his animal friends.

Now that school is back in session, Woody and Chloe, the Kentucky wiener dogs, and Shepherdsville author Leigh Anne Florence will teach your kids a history lesson in Mr. Dogwood Goes to Washington (McClanahan Publishing House, $12.95). While the pups are on a tour of our nation’s capital, Woody shares all he is learning about our government, our freedoms, and our historical documents. Kids will chuckle at Woody’s ponderings about his right to chase kitties or bark at the mailman as he views the Bill of Rights. Included is a special section from Woody’s journal.

Now let’s talk about pigskins. Not the oinking variety, but the football variety. Tailgating season is here. Seasoned tailgaters and sisters-in-law Kelli and Jayna Oakley have collected more recipes and stories from their comrades to compile Kentucky TALEgating II: More Stories with Sauce (Acclaim Press, $21.95). Recipes are divided into categories with football-themed titles, and several photos of tailgaters are included. Many of the recipes, like the stories shared in the cookbook, have been passed down from generation to generation of fans. Also included is a list of quantities to serve 100 people, measurement conversions, and room to write in your own fan favorites.

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