They Cage the Animals at Night is an autobiography, written by Jennings Michael Burch. Burch was left at an orphanage when he was eight, and his mother, who was too sick to adequately take care of him, did not come back. At his young age, Burch clearly didn’t understand why he was being left behind and why his mother never came back. They Cage the Animals at Night is a memoir that narrates the story of his childhood, from foster home to foster home, from nightmare to nightmare, with the occasional good experience mixed in.
Burch grew up without a proper home and without proper friends. As he moved foster homes, orphanages, and other institutions, the only thing he could hold onto was his stuffed animal, named Doggie. Because he was moving so often, he never had any real friends. Because he never had a real set of parents always there to support him, he lost his childhood before he should have. While They Cage the Animals at Night is indeed full of sadness and devastation, Burch’s story ultimately culminates in the power of hope and how when he finally gained the courage to love, he finally found it ready and waiting.