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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dr. Seuss’ lost manuscript reminds us to value our furry friends

    Sydney Richardson

    In our world, animal companionship can be found in various species, breeds and sizes, but in the ingenious world of Dr. Seuss, companionship can come in many fluffs, yents, strings and tents. But in both worlds, real and unreal, choosing a pet comes with a tough decision.

    Animal lovers, caretakers and Dr. Seuss admirers alike will find it easy to relate to the two children in Dr. Seuss’s “What Pet Should I Get?” and the complex decision process they experience. The sweet story’s manuscript was rediscovered in the fall of 2013, and released on July 28, 2015.

    After being enlightened by Theodor Seuss Geisel’s previous works, it’s easy to see that this manuscript was not fully ready for print, nor quite detailed enough to even send to an editor. The story’s poetry is also a bit redundant. While choosing their pet companion, the two characters relentlessly restate, “We have to pick ONE pet/and pick it out soon” and “It is something to make a mind up.”

    Towards the end of the book, I found my expense of the hardcover copy mostly worth it. The publisher, Random House, explains Geisel’s life as an animal lover in a few detailed pages. The book includes short introductions to Geisel’s own pet dogs, which include Rex, a Boston bulldog; Cluny, an Irish setter; and Samantha, a Yorkshire terrier. It’s almost as if the whole story was published to praise Geisel and his furry helpers rather than make this poetic context a success.

    Any animal enthusiast would find the publisher’s note a delight, relating to the idea that a furry friend by your side inspires creativity. Most of Geisel’s memorable creations were primarily about animals, mostly fictional. I chuckled a bit realizing that there was no tribute to any cat, probably because he was more of a dog person. It leaves one to guess that “The Cat in the Hat” was more favorable primarily because there’s no clothing item that rhymes with ‘dog’.

    The story reads with Geisel’s classic poetic style. The best of his creativity, however, is not the text this time, but rather his creative illustrations of the prospective pets. The kids resemble the same ones in “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”, which seems to spark some interesting theories about the manuscript. According to the publisher’s notes, it is thought that Geisel’s draft of “What Pet Should I Get?” could have been the inspiration for writing “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”

    The publisher’s note redeems Geisel’s timeliness, emphasizing that it is best to adopt a pet at a shelter rather than buy one at a pet store, as the two kids do in the story. Animal adoption was very common when Geisel drafted the manuscript around the 1960s.

    In order to make the world a better place for both animal adoptions and companionship, Random House and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have joined together to raise money over social media outlets, Instagram and Twitter, in a furry fundraiser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    The ASPCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting animal welfare. According to the ASPCA’s website, both the fundraising participants and the ASPCA itself will donate $1 for every one of the first 15,000 photos of a pet submitted with the hashtag #whatpet.

    In case you’re wondering how the story ends, without giving the conclusion away, remember that it’s best is to never choose a pet, but instead let the pet choose you.

    Follow Victoria Teplitz on Twitter.

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