In many ways I was raised by animals. Not wolves or bears or eagles, and not a metaphor for horrific parenting. No, my parents were quite wonderful, for most of the years. I was raised by the constant presence of creatures I was not worthy of befriending or worthy of receiving their affection. Animals have a unique gift for forgiving people of their worst behaviors and accepting them in an absolute and necessary time of need. They simply save lives by existing. When my heart beats I can sometimes feel an echo of a thousand little footprints.