What is it like to experience the world like your pets?

Being A Beast Book Cover

Is it possible to ‘blur the species barrier’?

That’s what Being A Beast attempts to find out.  For weeks at a time, veterinarian/lawyer/naturalist Charles Foster lived as a badger, an otter, a fox…in their habitat, approximating their movements & habits (dumpster diving in London, eating earthworms…).  This is radical nature-writing, and it’s witty, deep and humble. He attempts to blur the species barrier, ultimately knows he failed…but is necessarily changed in the process.  This is a transformative book that reawakens your sense of wonder & reverence for nature.  You can find it at our favorite independent bookstores: Longfellow Books in Portland, or Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boston.  To find out more, listen to him on NPR’s This American Life or read about in The New Yorker or The Guardian.

Do you wish you could get closer to your animals?  I do.  As my dog ages, I’m savoring the closeness we have…and he naturally slows down, spending more time napping & simply hanging around, which give me plenty of opportunity to observe him.  With a 16 yr old pug, Foster’s species-blurring approach of living like the animal wouldn’t require much adjustment….I wouldn’t have to eat earth worms or catch fish with my teeth for example.  I bet I could approximate my dog’s environment with un-radical changes, like sleeping & eating closer to the floor. Maybe I’ll start sniffing construction cones when no one is looking…

About Kathy Palmer

I grew up in NJ and Belgium and eventually settled in Portland, ME. Until missing the big city, which inspired a return to Boston in 2010, and the opening of Fish & Bone on Newbury Street. Fish & Bone and its original sibling store Fetch (est. 2000) bring together some of the things I love the most: animals, real food, great design, having an impact, the natural world, urban life, creative solutions, good community, and a good laugh. Zip is all pug, but I'm a cultural mutt.