Written by Gay Balliet-Perkins

The Celebrated Pet

How Americans Memorialize their Animal Friends

For the millions of Americans who love and are loved by their pets, an animal friend's death is a heartbreaking event—for some, as sad as the passing of a human family member. Many pet owners in the United States, in memorializing their animal kindred, create all manner of tributes and "memory spots," simple or elaborate, religious or secular, traditional or creative, or downright eccentric. Americans remember pets who have enriched their lives with their honesty, loyalty, love, even sense of humor. As we honor our humans that die, we feel compelled to pay tribute to our furry, feathered, and scaly companions. Memorializing our pets brings us lasting comfort and closure.

Excerpts, Reviews & Accompanying Images
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Next! by Virginie Snow

One man’s junk might be her treasure... After suffering twenty-eight years in a sexless marriage, forty-nine-year-old Ginnie Snow, a self-described “walking vagina,” scrabbles out of the doldrums of divorce and dives into the maelstrom of online dating. In her search for love, she is surprised, shocked, disappointed, and amused by the men she meets. She finds herself treading the swamp-waters of the internet world—deceptions, truths, and assorted "junk." But none of her internet dating adventures can compare to her own horrific deed of sexual need and betrayal.

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Touched By All Creatures

New Horizon Press, April 1999

Reminiscent of James Herriot's tales of creatures great and small, Gay Balliet-Perkins' story recalls her and her veterinarian husband's experiences tending the health of strange and delightful barn animals, buffaloes, birds, burros, and other friendly beasts.Her tales range from life-threatening situations to moments of absolute hilarity traveling the historically rich and colorful Pennsylvania Dutch country to tend the health of delightful barn animals.

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Lowell: The True Story of an Existential Pig

New Horizon Press, June 2000

From Babe to Animal Farm to Charlotte's Web, literature is filled with the escapades of clever pigs. But those fictional swine have nothing on Lowell, the sensitive, brave, and intelligent real-life pet of author Gay L. Balliet-Perkins. Meet Lowell, a truly existential pig and best friend to Gay. Some days he watches Oprah. Some days he helps Gay cook. Other days he listens to his favorite music by Gloria Estefan and cools off in his kiddie pool. He always does what he wants and what makes him happy but he looks out for those he loves, especially Gay, who would one day thank Lowell for saving her life.

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Lions & Tigers & Mares... Oh, My!

White glove Press, 2015

Monkeys, muntjac, and mules are only a few of the animals riding the veterinary carousel of life in Gay Balliet-Perkins' Lions and Tigers and Mares (re-issued by White Glove Press, 2015). Every day is a challenge, and many encounters spark laughter as this husband and wife veterinary team treats precocious pigs, rowdy roosters, baffled bats, and berserk buffalo. And the animal entourage comprises only half the fun. The other contingent comes from the human species: Bob, a burly Pennsylvania Dutchman who raised his deer, Andy, "from a titty bottle;" Ivanhoe, a South African woman forced to nail her refrigerator to the floor to outwit her African housepig; Bobby Miller, a corrugated-faced Dutch farmer whose cackling laugh made even his sheep flinch.

While the veterinary couple combs the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside tending their animal patients, the Balliets survive medical disasters and later laugh about rooster attacks and monkey feces and lion piss showers-all part of the daily adventure of treating large and exotic animals. Yet, considering the kaleidoscope of characters, both animal and human, and the palpable, odoriferous, and even dangerous situations they live through, a deeper message pervades the book, one that should not escape even those whose interests don't include animals.

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There's a Bear in the Basement

White glove Press, 2015

From the author of Touched By All Creatures: Doctoring Animals in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country and Lowell: The True Story of an Existential Pig and Lions & Tigers & Mares-Oh, My! comes another riotous book of veterinary adventures.

There's a Bear in the Basement serves the reader a cocktail of humor, inspiration, and literary engagement. Set in contemporary America's colorful Pennsylvania Dutch country, the Balliets' is a timeless world seemingly untouched by modern life. Filled with lush scenery, vividly-drawn Dutch folk and, of course, the strange and tender animals of a local zoo and numerous farms, Balliet-Perkins dramatically recounts medical emergencies and narrowly averted disasters. On the lighter side, she describes adventures with a spiteful, spitting llama named Sambuca; revelry at the annual pot-bellied pig festival, Pig Stock; and veterinary medicine showcasing raccoons, deer, turkeys, and many other unusual, sometimes eccentric, animals.

Readers will be charmed by Henry, the rooster, so protective of his goat herd; Minchi Ho, a potbellied pig who charms from his owners a cozy nest in the barn alongside the family's show horses; Clampit and See-No-Evil, two of a family of baby raccoons with their own tree-stump "palace"; Thunder, a horse who battles all odds and wins; Struttin' Feather and his mate, Hot Wings, two wild turkeys with an attraction for human company, and many other wonderful and odd animal characters.

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Academic Book

Henry Miller and Surrealist Metaphor: "Riding the Ovarian Trolley"

Peter Lang Publishing Co., NYC 1996

A handbook for surrealism, this book explores the origins and characteristics of French 20th Century surrealist aesthetics both in literary and fine art. As an aficionado of surrealism, Henry Miller employs metaphor to reflect "alchemical experimentation." His surreal imagery depicts the entropy of our time. Miller offers salvation through immersion in the elemental, primal, and sexual.

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Forthcoming Books
Forthcoming Book

The Companion Pig: An Extraordinary Pet for the Extraordinary Person.

Hoofs and Paws Press, 2015

A Companion Pig is a handbook for potential and current pet pig enthusiasts detailing information from various authorities about the acquisition, psychology, care, and training of miniature pigs.

People contemplating adopting a pet pig, can first analyze themselves and their lifestyles, their own habitat and its suitability for a pig, enabling potential problems to be avoided before the animal is brought home.

The following chapter headings cover all of these:

  • Courting the Pig
  • Becoming a Pig Companion
  • Basic Care of the Pet Pig
  • Bringing Baby Home
  • Basic Training
  • The Learned Pig
  • The Aggressive Pig
  • Veterinary Care of the Pet Pig
Forthcoming Book

The Summer Of Rustle

"Author Gay Balliet-Perkins brings vividly to life the special bond between her and her pet raccoon, Rustle. This story of interspecies communication and love will entertain, delight, and even cause a reader to cry. Gay tells an intriguing story of how her life and Rustle's was changed and rearranged when, after a disaster, she took over the role of his real mother. He repaid her for saving his life with such love and devotion most people would hardly believe. Yet every fantastic scene happened as it is described.

This story reveals that a human and her raccoon can share a startling reality-that a wild raccoon is capable of thought, can become emotionally connected to his human companion. THE SUMMER OF RUSTLE is a love story of a very special kind-one between a woman and a wild animal."