“In his grief over the loss of a dog, a little boy stands for the first time on tiptoe, peering into the rueful morrow of manhood. After this most inconsolable of sorrows there is nothing life can do to him that he will not be able somehow to bear.”
…so says the dust cover on my edition of The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog, written by playwright Eugene O’Neill.
Written in the early 1940s about his dog Blemie, from Blemie’s point of view, this small book tells Blemie’s owner how he is feeling and what he wants for his owners after his passing…including things like having another dog and not to grieve for too long.
I see many owners who must face the grief over the loss of their dog (I deal with many older dogs in my massage practice); and I have lived through the loss of my own dogs. I can relate.
Every pet parent needs support during the grieving process. I highly recommend buying a copy of this book.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand
With Daisy’s passing, it is probably not surprising that I reached for a book on grief and – more specifically – a book about grief over the loss of a pet.
I purchased this book in 2013, but when I started to read it then, it didn’t feel right. Although aging, Daisy was still in good health and I felt like I was somehow ‘jumping the gun.’ The book went to the bottom of my ‘to read’ pile until last week when I found myself at loose ends in my empty house.
One of the biggest things about loss of a pet is, although deep down we know that our dog has a short lifespan, there is nothing that can prepare you for the emotional tidal wave that comes on the day of your dog’s death. So, having a book to turn to for guidance is useful.
This book is written in simple terms, with some historic references to cultures and how they view death, dying and the role of pets. It discusses the decision we face when euthanizing a sick pet, how to deal with children’s grief, understanding the need to care for yourself when grieving, and deciding when it is right to take steps that allow you to move on.
Since Kowalski is a clergyman, he has used his background to prepare a section on readings and poems that can be used in a memorial service for a lost pet.
I’m glad I had this book handy for when I had to suddenly face the loss of Daisy and, based on my experience, I would recommend to all my readers to have a book about pet grief in your ‘tool box’ for when you have to face the sad occasion of saying goodbye.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand