HONG KONG (February 1, 2014) -- From cats, dogs, rabbits and rats to birds, bears, snakes, monkeys and water buffalo, every creature has tales to tell. When people watch and listen carefully, they can learn some of life's most valuable lessons from animals.

A new book, All Aboard! Planet_Pets_Plus (by John Cairns, 2013, Power Publishing Club, 332 pages), presents a collection of true animal-stories from various corners of Asia, North America and Europe with implications for everywhere.

Meet Bruce, the Water Buffalo, plus a disabled, high-spirited dog named Mimi, a graciously dying cat aptly called Lady, working dogs with name-cards, many other inspiring creatures and people who care about them. Fascinating questions arise too:

  • How do veterinarians feel about performing euthanasia?Planet-Pets-Front-Cover Small
  • Who really ranks as mankind's best friend?
  • Why should people get "trained" along with their dogs?
  • Do some humans really "talk to animals"?
  • What happens to animals' spirits when they die?
  • Do animal-friendly attitudes benefit business careers?
  • Should people choose their pets, or vice-versa?
  • What happens inside of a veterinary college?

"Crowded and badly polluted, Hong Kong, where many of these stories take place, resembles most big cities with millions of people," Cairns said. "Each individual, with unique reasons for happiness, grief or grievance, has personal stories to tell. Yet most mega-cities sustain even more creatures than people. All with unique experiences too, the animals, including those living with humans, hold their own views about the world and how events unfold. They often have tails (sometimes to wag) and tales to tell. People who pay adequate attention can begin to unravel and understand those tales. Alas, most humans seldom take the time or find ways to follow the animals' stories. Yet such yarns are worth knowing. When willing to watch and listen, people can learn plenty from creatures simply by taking heed."

MaxiPro (Asia) Limited, a Hong Kong-based company that makes popular Kakato-brand pet food, sponsored the book. "Why not join us in striving to create a better world for animals and to build understanding about how easily that humans and non-humans can form fantastic friendships?" said MaxiPro general manager April Fong.

Many of the book's true stories are happy and upbeat, but others not so much. "Often, animals teach the most to their human companions amid the saddest situations, even during the final days, hours or moments of life," Cairns said.

All Aboard! Planet_Pets_Plus also reveals much about people who love and appreciate animals. "Nothing guarantees that those who behave kindly to animals will be 'good' people in other respects too, but the odds of that zoom sky-high," the author said. "Conversely, anyone who mistreats or disrespects animals shows a character flaw big enough to rival the Grand Canyon.

"Many people understand that they can become better humans by observing animals or, better yet, by knowing some of them really well. Keeping pets nurtures the best traits in people. Sharing our homes with dogs, cats or other animals teaches us lessons about compassion, tolerance, companionship, loyalties and affections or even issues of life-and-death that bound across species barriers."

The author, a Canadian, lives on one of Hong Kong's tranquil outlying islands. In 2012, he wrote the Power Publishing Club's first book, All Aboard! Planet_Expat. Using the pen-name Jay Scott Kanes, he previously penned three other books: two novels, High Degree of Atrocity and Dog-Gone Cat Case, and the Canadian-music-related non-fiction, Island Toes A'Tapping.

A former newspaper reporter, Cairns migrated to Asia in 1992. Later he edited various magazines, including Arts of Asia, Hong Kong Enterprise and Hong Kong Electronics. He welcomes email (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).