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Notes from the Spiral Staircases #3: Animal Stories

If you ever have the pleasure of sitting in the King’s-Edgehill Library when Nathalie Hardy’s lovely dogs Tucker and Bean come bounding in for a visit, then you will see first-hand how animals can bring an amazing burst of energy and joy into a room. The same can be said for the appeal of our School mascot, the Highland steer named Dylan. The desire to see and touch him—and to get a photograph of “the real Dylan”—captured the hearts of the Yearbook Club this week as they ventured to Hidden Meadows Farm for a visit. Standing in a pasture full of gentle and curious cattle changed the way all of us saw ourselves for that brief time. Students reached out their hand or their stuffy, crouched down low, and moved more slowly in order to connect with the beautiful animals.  

Many of the writers on our library’s shelves turn to questions about the special connections between people and animals. What could a person possibly have in common with a hawk, an elephant, or a cockatoo? Lorin Lindner’s Birds of a Feather tells of a psychologist’s experiences setting up and working in a sanctuary for parrots that is also a refuge for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. As the veterans work with the birds and bond with them, they find new paths forward in life. In her memoir about training a hawk, Helen MacDonald weaves her own story of falconry with those of others throughout history, including novelist T.H. White. Through her work with the hawk, MacDonald comes in contact with her grief over the loss of her father.  

Other inspiring stories include Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s rearing of newborn elephants in Africa, Dave Nasser’s life with his dog George, the largest Great Dane in the world, and Joan Winer Brown’s adorably illustrated book about a dog, Simon the Pointer. In that story, Simon is loved through illness and medical procedures. He meets it all head on, as dogs do. Brown writes, “A dog will show its courage. It is part of his blood, bone, and muscle. It comes, as the word courage comes, from the heart.”  The language of animals is just similar and just different enough from our own that it is worthy of contemplation. Which animal story would you dive into? 

Susie DeCoste
Library Assistant
SAT Coordinator

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KES inspires academic, athletic and artistic excellence with a commitment to the traditional community ideals of gentleness and learning, dignity and respect, so that students may discover and cultivate their unique potential, prepare for post-secondary education and develop a life-long enthusiasm for the spiritual and intellectual growth necessary to flourish in the contemporary world.

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King's-Edgehill School
33 King's-Edgehill Lane
Windsor, Nova Scotia
B0N 2T0 Canada
Phone: (902) 798-2278

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King's-Edgehill School is a coeducational boarding and day school for grades 6 through 12, located in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada.