Barbara Abercrombie and contributors present and sign Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost. If that sounds far too sad to bear, think again. The book features essays by Anne Lamott, Jane Smiley, Carolyn See, Thomas McGuane and former L.A. Weekly writer Judith Lewis Mernit. Of the collection, Abercrombie says, “I was looking for the whole arc of an animal's life — the craziness, the delight, the frustration, and then, yes, getting through the sadness at the end. I looked for essays that would comfort someone who had just lost a pet — not with rainbow bridges, etc., but with the knowledge they weren't alone in feeling unhinged with grief.” Yeah, but it's dead kitties and doggies! She promises: “I wanted as much humor as possible — it's such a huge part of having a pet.” As funny as when my 80-pound shaggy mutt ate the stump of umbilical cord that had fallen off my newborn son and landed on the floor? We'll see. Does Abercrombie think animals know when they are about to die? “Thomas McGuane quotes his vet in his essay about horses knowing when they are going to die — and how they're not afraid. I think animals do know, in some way that we can't really understand. And they handle it so much better than most humans at the end.”

Thu., April 28, 7 p.m., 2011

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