Lynn Marie Cuny,
Through Animal's Eyes:
True Stories from
a Wildlife Sanctuary

(University of North
Texas Press, 2001)

Texas born and bred, Lynn Marie Cuny has devoted her life to rescuing animals of all types, parlaying her passion into a career which she describes in her book, Through Animal's Eyes: True Stories From a Wildlife Sanctuary, which contains 31 heartwarming tales of rescued creatures from a large wildlife rehabilitation center in San Antonio, Texas. Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation (WRR) was founded by Cuny in 1978 and she has run it ever since, championing its mission to save orphaned, injured and displaced wildlife. Taking in more than 5,000 animals each year, the center also offers permanent homes to animals too disabled to be released, as well as to non-native wildlife rescued from the exotic pet trade.

Following the introduction that describes the WRR's founding and statement of purpose, there are the vignettes about Cuny's most memorable experiences plying her trade. Written in a simple, clear and unadorned prose style (ideally suited for young adult readers but still appealing to all ages), the anecdotes are profusely illustrated by excellent and striking black-and-white photos of the subject of each chapter. By recounting stories of her experiences with a wide variety of creatures, Cuny's intent is to dispel the belief that animals do not reason, have no emotions and show no compassion for each other and for other species.

Cuny's recollections encompass an astonishing range of species and run the gamut of emotions from humorous to tragic with outcomes that can be inevitable or surprising. The anecdotes are all touching and moving, some of the most memorable being about: a raccoon with burned feet that refused to give up; a self-appointed, guardian hen who refused to leave an injured fox; an abandoned emu who found a friend in an old one-winged vulture who played with him; and a traumatized momma mockingbird who adopted an orphaned sparrow. The reader will also encounter poignant tales about bobcats, lynxes, deer, macaques, ducks, squirrels, owls, coyotes, bears, cougars, opossums and even mice.

Through Animal's Eyes conveys amply and clearly Cuny's love for her charges, a passion that not only entertains the reader with some amazing stories, but that also serves to remind us that human compassion can and should turn outward to embrace the animal world. The author, by recording this memoir in the hopes that readers will be sensitized to the problems our species creates for other animals, always reveals the dignity of each creature striving to survive in a world made cruel and dangerous by the thoughtlessness of humans. Fortunately, there are those like Cuny and her staff whose valiant efforts to ameliorate manmade problems and cope with natural disasters are recorded here in this excellent, inspiring book.

[ by Amy Harlib ]



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