Imagine owning a pet who occasionally attacks your guests, tries to mate with your arm and for whom you must kill thousands of mice (paying $1 each and driving miles to find!) Welcome to the world of biologist Stacey O’Brien, a single gal who has a hard time dating because her heart belongs to Wesley, a “domesticated” barn owl.

Wesley the Owl – the Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl, is a quick weekend read that will captivate any animal lover. But it’s also great for high schoolers interested in pursuing a career in science.

In first-person narrative, O’Brien tells her tale of taking home an injured and homeless owl and attempting to raise him. From infancy to adulthood, Wesley learns her human ways, including the comical art of bathing (sometimes in the toilet!) even though owls are not water birds. But he stays true to his innate characteristics, killing spiders and her pet finches, swooping down on unsuspecting visitors and making the oddest of sounds. Owls don’t necessarily say “hoo hoo” like we learned in preschool! Ironically, Wesley doesn’t seem comfortable killing mice. Maybe that’s because O’Brien has fed him the already killed variety and in the process developed carpal tunnel from smacking so many of their skulls with an artful and quick flick of her wrist. She found it to be the most humane method.

Like a typical toddler, Wesley is treated with the same language O’Brien’s friend, Wendy uses on her child. “Not for babies” seems to work for Wendy’s inquisitive kid, so O’Brien uses “not for owls.” This phrase is used pretty often since practically everything in O’Brien’s apartment is “not for owls!”

O’Brien details her day-to-day life with Wesley and the effort it takes to raise such a unique and magnificent creature. In addition to learning all about Wesley, you hear what it’s like to work as a biologist, get a peek into the goings-on of her lab, CalTech, and find out about other biologists and their jobs. The research she describes in the book totally enlightened me since being a scientist/researcher/biologist is especially foreign to a right brainer like me.

There are times when you feel like you’re part of O’Brien’s world as she openly and honestly shares her thoughts and feelings, their deep relationship and the trials they encounter together. And, as with any pet story, there’s the inevitable heartache of their final parting since humans outlive their pets.

The best part, by far, is how Wesley seems a bit confused about his master and adopts her as his own mate. The trusting bond forged between them proves itself one night as Wesley lays across O’Brien’s chest, spreading his enormous wings tip to tip. It’s as if he gave her a gigantic owl hug and for that brief moment, the impossible seems possible. You find out that the statement “owls are wise” is a bit of an understatement.

Originally, I heard about this book through a friend. I purchased it for a bleeding heart animal activist I know who then insisted I read it once she finished it. I was so happy that I spent the time immersed in this amazing relationship between an owl and his love.

Once I finished this book, I passed it to my daughters to read. I suggest you purchase your copy today. This book made both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times Bestseller lists.

Get it here –