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The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog Hardcover – October 29, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eugene O'Neill, one of America's greatest playwrights, was the author of Beyond the Horizon, Desire Under the Elms, and Long Day's Journey into Night.

Adrienne Yorinks is a professional quilt maker whose quilts have garnered numerous art awards. She is the illustrator of Stand for Children and lives in New Salem, New York.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"After our first dog, Cadie, died, it took a long time for my wife and me to bring another dog into our lives. Cadie was smart and active, protective and loyal, but mostly she was our beloved first child. My wife adopted her when we were in college. Cadie lived nineteen years before my two young boys and I, connected by phone with my wife at work, listened to Cadie take her last breaths on the floor of our bedroom. There would never be another like her; she was my wife's other soul mate. I wish I had found this beautiful message from Blemie to share with my wife then. It would have been salve for both our hurts." ―Phil Zuckerman, Publisher --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (October 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805061703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805061703
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.4 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Nobles VINE VOICE on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Eugene O'neill(1888-1953)was, and is,in the literary and theatrical arena a world-renowned figure.Had he been a baseball player he would be in the Hall of Fame. He was a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, beginning in 1920 for Beyond the Horizon; in 1922 for Anna Christie; in 1928 for Strange Interlude; and again in 1956 for A Long Day's Journey into Night. He also won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1936. He is one of the crown jewels in American literature and Theater. Thus, it was with great interest that I recently received a copy of The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog. Quite frankly, while I naturally knew of O'neill, I had never heard of this book. It turns out it is a new edition of a book originally written by O'Neill in the 1940's as a tribute to his dog. Animal lovers, especially those with a particular affection for dogs, owe the publisher a great debt for reissuing this little known gem. Silverdene Emblem O'Neill-better known as Blemie-was a special Border collie that obviously captured the heart of O'Neill. In a moving and timeless elegy O'Neill clearly and compassionately describes the feelings of loss experienced by all true pet lover's when the death of a pet occurs.The pain is evident though O'Neill finds solace and comfort in remembering the joy,friendship and happiness he found with his friend.Those who have experienced the loyalty,love and friendship of a special dog will understand O'Neill's heartwarming tribute to Blemie.The message of love, friendship and caring will be an inspiration to all who have, or will, face the end of a special pet's life. I have read the book four times,not without tears, and still find a message of hope in this tender, special book.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Regan on March 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a must-read for anyone who loves dogs, animals, people, life in general. O'Neill's tribute to his dog, Blemie, is full of humor, love, and not a bit of pathos. He puts into words (aptly illustrated by Yorinks) all that is felt and thought by anyone who has loved and lost (or simply loved) a dog. What a wonderful treat this was.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T-Mac on October 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was recently given this book by my sister-in-law after saying goodbye to my 14 year old corgi, Tommy. Tommy passed in my arms, and it has been very hard dealing with this loss. This book helped me realize the best way to deal with my pain was to celebrate his life rather than mourn his passing. This is the perfect book for anyone who has recently lost their old faithful pal. The book is short, but it is very moving. Be ready to cry.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By beckyjean VINE VOICE on February 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This short text by playwright Eugene O'Neill is written from the point of view of his dog, Blemie. With quiet eloquence and dignity, Blemie considers the approaching eventuality of his own death and its effect on his beloved Master and Mistress.
He remarks that dogs do not fear death, as humans do, and offers other words of canine comfort related to grieving ("It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain.") and the possibility of getting a new dog -- a prospect Blemie endorses ("It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again.").
This tiny book, written in the voice of a beloved pet, says everything that needs to be said to a Master or Mistress who is mourning the loss of their dearest friend.
The only thing that kept me from giving the book five stars was the tangentially-related illustrations -- dull, unappealing quilts with photographic transfers of dogs stitched into their centers. Certainly, this lovely text could be heightened by beautiful, relevant illustrations. Unfortunately, this edition offers no such thing.
The text rises above the odd choice of illustration, however. This book is perfect for anyone who loves their companion animal(s).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carol Parker on December 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was familiar with this essay, having found it comforting when losing my own dogs and having given it to others when they lost theirs. I looked forward to having it in a lovely little book with beautiful illustrations. The illustrations are OK but nothing to write home about. More importantly, someone has tampered with O'Neill's original text which I find very disappointing. In the original essay, O'Neill has Blemie deliver some wonderfully funny quips that made me laugh through my tears. The laughter mixed with tears was the perfect comfort for losing a dog of fourteen years whose life brought me such happiness. Now O'Neill's doctored essay is somber with the quips removed. It is OK and perhaps those who are unfamiliar with the original will be satisfied. But, to whoever thought they could improve on O'Neill's writing, shame on them for their presumption. They took a wonderful essay and pasteurized it into bland, market ready pablum. In so doing, they removed the most healing aspects of O'Neill's writing--the laughter. Save your money--you can get the original essay on the internet for free and its much better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Jones on March 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was given to me when I said Goodbye to an extremely distinguished dog of my own. It was perfect, just what I needed. For anyone who has a beloved canine friend, this poignant essay, in this beautiful form, is a must have.
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