I usually can’t handle reading any books in which animals die but I was able to get through Christian Kiefer’s The Animals without bawling my eyes out. I actually hated taking breaks from it even as it was breaking my heart. I found a kindred soul in the main character, Bill Reed, who owns and runs a wild animal sanctuary in Idaho. All of the animals have disabilities and could not survive for long in the wild. Bill does not have very many worldly goods and the sanctuary limps along barely making ends meet with great volunteers and Bill, who will go without if a bill pertaining to the animals needs to be paid. He is fortunate in that his county sheriff believes in him and his girlfriend is a veterinarian. The bad news is that there is a new game warden in his region who follows federal law to the letter and starts hassling Bill about permits that were never sought, etc. by Bill’s dead uncle who started the sanctuary. He even says Bill will never be able to retroactively get a permit for Majer, his beloved blind bear who is over 30 and has never known anything but captivity or for Zeke, his wolf who was found so injured that one of his legs had to be amputated but is living very happily in the sanctuary with three legs. The new warden says those animals will most likely have to be euthanized since they can’t be set free and the government won’t let Bill just take care of them until their natural death. While Bill and Grace are gearing up to fight for the animals, an old friend shows up from Bill’s wild criminal past determined to make sure Bill doesn’t get to live a happy, good life. Highly recommended.