Our Wild Calling: How connecting with animals can transform our lives and save theirs by Richard Louv is a masterful multi-disciplinary weave of stories, science, and spirituality centered around the vital connection between humans and non-human animals in the wild.
Louv has been a prominent voice in the urgency of reconnecting with the natural world in the age of technology, the topic of several of his previous books including Last Child in the Woods. Our Wild Calling focuses on the human relationship with animals and includes many inspiring stories of human connection with a multitude of animals from jaguars to service dogs.
Louv invites contemplation of the possibilities of how we can enact a greater sense of connectedness based in reciprocity, for the wellbeing of both humans and animals. With a reminder that we humans *are* animals. Connection is the heart of this book, captured in the titles of the its five parts:
1. Beautiful Acts: Life-Changing Encounters with Species Not Our Own
2. What the Wild Heart Still Knows: The Art and Science of Communicating with Other Animals
3. How We Co-Become: Wonderdogs and Werecats, Therapy Lizards and Robot Pets
4. The Age of Connectedness: Creating A Home for All Creatures
5. Wild Souls: Love, Humility, and the Principle of Reciprocity
Human-animal interaction became a focus area for me in counseling grad school and this has continued into my ecotherapy practice. So, I eagerly awaited this book and bought it immediately when it came out in 2019.
There is so much substance and content here, drawn both from Louv’s own stories and from numerous interviews conducted over four years with experts in wildlife and psychology, scientists and Indigenous healers. Louv synthesizes a tremendous range of topics and information into a meaningful work on what we know, and what could be, if we invest ourselves in caring for the wild world with love, humility, and reciprocity.
This book was a joy to read. I highly recommend it to all who are interested in a deeper understanding of human-animal connection and the healing potential it holds for all involved.