Part philosophy treatise and part pet owner manual, Vicki Hearne's Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name is groundbreaking. In it, she presents an unconventional but surprisingly effective animal training system. Hearne, herself, was both a professor of philosophy at Yale University as well as a dog and horse trainer. Rachel Fulginiti's graceful performance does this audiobook justice. Her voice is warm, sweet, and clear as a bell. Her pacing is thoughtful. She provides vocal variation in quite a natural way. This audiobook is a must listen for all animal lovers.
Have you ever watched a horse flick her tail or had a dog greet you at your door and known in your heart that the animal was exhibiting something more than simple instinctual responses? If so, you must read this book. In it Vicki Hearne asserts that animals that interact with humans are more intelligent than we assume. In fact, they are capable of developing an understanding of "the good", a moral code that influences their motives and actions. Hearne’s thorough studies led her to adopt a new system of animal training that contradicts modern animal behavioral research, but - as her examples show - is astonishingly effective. Hearne’s theories will make every trainer, animal psychologist, and animal-lover stop, think, and question.
The message of this book is definitely worthwhile for anyone who works with animals and especially those who have strong viewpoints on how humans should interact with them. The book is mostly philosophical with anecdotes peppered in. Some will find much of the book esoteric and difficult to follow as I did. The author seems to presume a fluency in philosophy and may leave the more casual reader scratching their head. This is exacerbated by the choppy diction of the narrator. 5 stars for the message, 2 stars for the delivery.
Vicki Hearne can be difficult to read but do the work and it stays with one. I have read this book several times and it never fails to amuse, comfort, challenge, and provoke thought. What we understand about language is assumed and Hearne begins to show us how to move from what we limit to what we can use about that form of ignorance. It is a book to reread and the first read is just a beginning. This narrator is adequate and not irritating. I am not sure if I would be happy about any narrator since I have a passion for this book.