This Week’s Book = The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives (by J. Pierce)
Ok, so usually I seem to start these posts with a bit of humour or joviality but, in my opinion, this week’s book warrants a much more sombre tone. I feel like this is a super important book that is likely to be overlooked or even brushed off by a lot of people. However, I truly believe that this book could be really helpful for a particular subset of the population. So, let’s jump right in…
In The Last Walk, Jessica Pierce writes about a topic that is often missing in literature – the deterioration and eventual death of our beloved pets. Pierce reportedly based the book on a journal that she kept in the last year of her dog’s life. She reports the increased frailty and general decline of her once exuberant pet. She describes the great lengths that her family went to in order to keep him comfortable. And she discusses in detail the eventual decision to euthanize their adored dog. Interspersed with the journal entries, Pierce describes a multitude of research on the medical, moral, and practical sides of pet ownership, end of life care, and loss.
As an animal lover and a passionate pet owner, I was very much in favour of Pierce’s overall message that our pets deserve the best care and love that we can offer them. Like many people, including Pierce, I struggle on both an emotional and moral level with the idea of choosing to end an animal’s life (euthanasia). Given the topic, it feels strange to say that I loved this book…but in a way I did. Pierce’s love and subsequent grief for her dog is palpable. I felt like I, and likely any pet owner, could relate to her feelings and thoughts. This book is a must read for anyone who is a pet owner, as it will get you to think critically about your pet’s end of life care and it will make you feel less isolated when the loss of your pet occurs. And for all the people who “don’t get it” because they’re not pet people, I would suggest giving this book a read in the hope that you will increase your empathy and kindness towards those who grieving the loss of their pets.
Interested in this book? Click here!