The Refuge is a real place. All the animals in these stories really do live there and the stories about these animals are true. Gene and Rusty are real people who live in and understand the animal world and they don't find much difference between animal society and human society except may be animals are a little more forgiving.
Of course, animals don't speak English. That's not to say that someday we won't discover that they have languages of their own. They already share one language with humans and that is the nonverbal language of behavior. When you look at the picture of Sthanley, for example, I'm sure you will get many messages that make you realize that Sthanley is quite different from other lions.
It's "differentness" that sets us all apart from other species and from each other. "Differentness" can be an asset or a detriment. It is the job of society to emphasize and encourage "differentness" that will benefit the societies of both humans and animals and discourage the "differentness" that hurts.
At the same time we need to recognize the similarities between human beings and animals because similarities teach us a great deal about ourselves and others.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the whole world could be a refuge for happy people and animals?
These stories are meant to make the reader more aware of the problems shared by both the animal and human societies and to encourage some thought as to how both societies solve these problems.