48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
"Animals Have Taught Me How to Love Purely.",
This review is from: Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die (Hardcover)
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If there is one thing that Jon Katz makes perfectly clear in his latest volume on our relationship with animals, GOING HOME: FINDING PEACE WHEN PETS DIE, is that our pets are not "furry children," they are not people. We can love them as they fill important gaps in our lives but we should not feel guilt, a phenomenon unknown to animals, when we have to make responsible decisions about the ends of their lives. We should consult with our vet but the decision is ultimately ours. Based on the information we have, we should move forward, reminding ourselves that we have done our best. That is good advice.
There is a wealth of other good advice in this book that should become a reference manual for people dealing with losing a pet and the accompanying grief that follows. Since only about 50% of the population has pets, we should be careful about whom we seek out for comfort, perhaps another animal lover or a sensitive friend so that we don't hear from well-meaning people that he was just a dog or a cat after all. Or we can find help via the internet, where we can remain anonymous, from others who have suffered similar losses.
We should anticipate what will happen at the end of our pet's life so we should be prepared, as best we can, when the end comes and grief overcomes us. Everyone grieves in his own time. As Emily Dickinson reminds us, sorrow has its own season. Since animals cannot speak, we have an obligation to speak for them and do the responsible thing for them. We should be honest with our children when their pet dies as well. Mr. Katz suggests that children are much better able to deal with the death of a pet than many of us believe.
One of the most beautiful things about this book is Mr. Katz' incredible candor, something that should not surprise anyone who has read his previous books. He says of his beloved border collie Orson--whom he has written about before-- that he had to have put down after the dog had bitten three individuals: "He was the dog who changed my life." Powerful words. Mr. Katz goes on to say that he felt closer to "this crazy dog" than to his own father, that the dog brought him to a farm and to a new romance in his life. Another dog Izzy was a prince of an animal when it came to visiting people in hospice and taught Katz a great deal about dying. Another dog Stanley always made him laugh. Of course there was no dog like another border collie Rose. Finally, "Animals have taught me how to love purely. And patiently. They have helped fill some of the lonely gaps of life. They have helped me to be a better human being. That, I think, is their legacy and glorious purpose."
Mr. Katz' latest offering should be a book you will come back to again and again for both advice and comfort when your beloved animal "goes home."
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Initial post: Aug 16, 2011 7:25:21 PM PDT
Sandra Harknett says:
This was a well written review but it told too much. I would rather not have heard what happened to Orson. Too much information.
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