After Gary Kowalski, author and the minister of Burlington Vermont's Unitarian Universalist church, completed his new book, Goodbye, Friend, on dealing with losing your pet, his own elderly dog, Chinook, died. In his first book, The Souls of Animals, Kowalski wrote: "My own wise friend is my dog. He has deep knowledge to impart." Apparently, Chinook did his good work up until the end. Kowalski's new book is full of sound, compassionate advice to get you through the loss of your pet(s). Included are ideas for rituals and ceremonies, spiritual guidance and readings and poems to use for solace. The author's voice is a soothing one, not surprising for a minister whose job it is to be wise and reflective. The book also addresses animals' grieving; their life spans; their growth, illnesses and needs. These are similar to ours: need to eat, to exercise, to sleep, to have fun, to enjoy companionship and to expect routine. Kowalski includes advice on how to take care of yourself after the death of a pet and the importance of honesty when talking with children about this event. Kowalski's book is not only useful for healing when a good friend dies, but also reasserts his primary message: that animals are important, that "pets are not petty," that they deserve our respect and our kind care. As Kowalski writes, "Animals enrich our lives in countless ways, with their playfulness, their tranquility [sic], their constancy, and their love..." This book will help readers mourn and remember them well. -- From Independent Publisher
From the Author
The bond we share with animals is especially pure: one hundred percent love, undiluted and unadulerated. Because the relationship is so direct and powerful, the grief we experience when our pets die can be profound and intense. As a parish minister, I often counsel those seeking comfort in time of loss. And as an animal lover myself (having accompanied two fine dogs to the end of the trail and helped my children struggle with the loss of an assortment of parakeets, rodents, and goldfish) I know the emotional roller-coaster firsthand. There are no timetables for healing. There are no easy repairs for an aching heart. While I can't offer any way around the pain, I can share what's helped me and assisted others in finding peace, for you are not alone on this journey. Through the centuries, people of varied faiths (as well as poets, physicians, veterinarians and philosophers) have accumulated insights that help us face death with hope and wisdom, with gratitude for the years we share, with trust in the mystery that is at once beyond our ken and present in every living creature.