Saints of Feather and Fang

How the Animals We Love and Fear Connect Us to God

Saints of Feather and Fang

How the Animals We Love and Fear Connect Us to God

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From sheepdogs to wombats to coyotes to jellyfish, animals serve important biological roles in the world. But those who love animals know there's more. We know our connection to other creatures is more than fur, scale, or feather deep.

In Saints of Feather and Fang, writer and lifelong animal lover Caryn Rivadeneira looks at the ways that animals--from the pets who share our homes to the mysterious creatures of the deep--serve as spiritual guides for our hearts, minds, and souls.

Christian scripture teems with mammals, birds, and reptiles, and research on animals' sensory responses suggests that we not only care for our beloved animals but they, at times, care for us. A therapy pony who visits stroke victims, a rescued pit bull who shows restraint, hedgehogs that scurry down highways made just for them: these stories offer entrée to tender, whimsical, and deeply theological reflection on creaturely delight, instinct, curiosity, adaptation, fear, and awe. In them we discover and connect with the God who beckons, rescues, and shelters us with stretched-out wings.


"Caryn Rivadeneira finds holiness in wild and domesticated creatures. There are cuddly pets here, but there are coyotes, hedgehogs, and snakes as well. This is an honest God-experience. We feel stroked or companioned at times, but frightened and mystified just as often."

Jon M. Sweeney, author of Feed the Wolf and The Complete Francis of Assisi

"For curious animal lovers who cherish God, talented author Caryn Rivadeneira has compiled a beautifully inspiring look at how creatures of the animal kingdom serve as spiritual guides for the growth of human souls. Surprising and original, it is a glorious reflection on humanity's connection to the joy and power of the Lord's 'feather and fang' fellowship."

Patricia Raybon, award-winning author of My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love, and Forgiveness and I Told the Mountain to Move: Learning to Pray So Things Change

"From comparing God's love to that of a 'mama eagle,' to likening pit bulls to the good Samaritan and exploring the 'anywhen' of liminal places, Saints of Feather and Fang is full of surprises. Author, animal lover, and seminarian Caryn Rivadeneira is fierce, funny, and fresh in these pages as she examines what animals can teach us about our Creator."

Jennifer Grant, author of Dimming the Day and other books

"Animals have always been my teachers, my mentors, my inspiration. In them, I see the face of the Creator. Caryn Rivadeneira's sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, always touching stories remind us that each of God's creatures is sacred and holy, with lessons to teach us all about God's love."

Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus and How to Be a Good

"The psalmist tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God, but what does that really mean? From pit bulls and snakes to hedgehogs and sheepdogs, this book will inspire the reader to imagine and explore what creation might be proclaiming about God."

April Fiet, author of The Sacred Pulse: Holy Rhythms for Overwhelmed Souls

"Caryn Rivadeneira's sparkling mosaic of stories, science, and Scripture about animals will have you seeing God in the octopi, donkeys, and crows. Warmly, and with wit, she reveals One Great Love streaming through everything that breathes, redeeming us all, together."

Gayle Boss, author of All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings and Wild Hope: Stories for Lent from the Vanishing

"Caryn Rivadeneira writes that animals help us to understand and see God's greatness and goodness better; this book did just that for me. Saints of Feather and Fang is a book to be savored."

Suzy Flory, New York Times bestselling author or coauthor of sixteen books

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506472089
  • eBook ISBN 9781506472096
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 174
  • Publication Date April 19, 2022