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Act One: The Youth In Asia

When a pet dies, to what degree can it be replaced by another? And to what degree can pets replace people in our lives? David Sedaris tells this story of cats and dogs and other animals.

Act Two: Polly Wants More Than A Cracker

Veronica Chater explains the conflict in her house between her love for her pet macaw—a kind of parrot—and her love for her husband and three kids. The macaw wreaks a sort of low-level chaos in the house, because it wants Veronica all to itself.

Act Four: Resurrection

Writer Brady Udall with another story about what animals can take the place of, in our lives and in our homes—this one involving an armadillo. This work of fiction originally appeared in the Autumn 1999 issue of Story magazine.

Act One: Beaching and Moaning

Even when an animal is not a pest, not chewing up homes or spreading disease or biting average citizens, even when it is universally loved, it can still wreak havoc when it arrives in our world. James Spring has this example from a community of harbor seals in La Jolla, California, near San Diego.

Act Three: Weeknight at Bernie's

In Anchorage, many people take pride in being able to co-exist side-by-side with wild animals. Jon Mooallem has the story of one animal that became a resident of the city in a way that few non-humans ever do.

Prologue

Ira admits there is a question he’s wanted to know the answer to since he was a kid in Hebrew school: Why is it that Jews don’t sacrifice animals anymore? Especially since the Old Testament is so clear that God wants it? Ira talks to religious studies scholar Jonathan Klawans to find out. Jonathan is the author of a book covering this subject, Purity, Sacrifice and the Temple.

Act One: Semper Fido

Susan Orlean tells us about the moment America asked untrained household canines to make the ultimate sacrifice: to serve in World War II. Susan talks to Gina Snyder, who remembers being a teenager when her dog Tommy joined the service.

Act Two: Run Rabbit

Camas Davis tells a true story about a rabbit kidnapping that saves some rabbits' lives, kills those same rabbits' babies, and leaves students in a Portland rabbit-butchering class scratching their heads.

Prologue

Ira Glass talks with Scharlette Holdman, who works with defense teams on high profile death row cases, and who has not talked to a reporter in more than 25 years. Why did she suddenly end the moratorium on press? Because her story is about something important: Namely, a beautiful chicken.

Act One: Witness for the Barbecue-tion

Scharlette Holdman's story continues, in which she and the rest of a legaldefense team try to save a man on death row by finding a star witness — achicken with a specific skill.

Act Two: Murder Most Fowl

The number of wild turkeys in the United States has risen from 30,000 at thebeginning of the 20th century to an estimated seven million today. And it'scommon for them to get aggressive with people.
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