Although significant grief is not, thankfully, something that have had to personally experience, I do see it everyday both from a distance, and close up, in my career in veterinary medicine. This book does hope to help readers through the grieving process by exploring the stages of grief and the relationship of the author with his own pets and their deaths.
The first part of the book deals with the stages of grief and as you would expect with a writer who is also a Father it leans significantly on the spiritual. This gets quite tiresome if you are not that kind of person (I’m not) and almost put paid to the book for me.
However, the second part of the book, which deals with the authors own relationships with his cats – their lives and their deaths – is much better. The author does manage to convey the deep connection that is possible to achieve between owner and pet and how it is impossible to relate to that connection unless you have experienced it. Although, the Father’s own recollections are with cats, which exhibit their own peculiar habits familiar to cat owners world-wide, the deeper message of acceptance, and validation, of the human animal bond are universal.
This is a very short book, much shorter than than even it’s slim spine predicts. One quarter of the book is taken up with resources and memorials to lost pets and considering how I found one half purgatory to read it’s $14.95 price tag more than a little steep. (Full disclosure: I was actually send the book free to review, I assume so I would consider selling them or recommending them through my hospital – I’m not.)
It is possible that in the mids of significant grief over the loss of a pet that this book could provide support and reassurance I suppose, but I hope there are better examples out there than this. If you are looking for an essay on the human-animal bond, this provides a good one – if a little on the pricey side.