Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion
Edited by Laurel E. Hunt
Several years ago, Laurel Hunt's two dogs died within months of each other. Despite sympathetic support from friends, Hunt still missed her pets. She found solace in a poem called "The Rainbow Bridge," then decided that a book of writings about the death of animals might console other grieving dog owners.
While a fair number of the included poems, essays and illustrations are mawkish, others comfort, enlighten and even amuse. Many were written around the turn of the 20th century, but later contributors include playwright Eugene O'Neill and Ruth Pollack Coughlin, who wrote of her agonizing decision to euthanatize her dog Lucy in 1991: "I thanked her for being such a great pal. I kissed her repeatedly on every part of the small body I had kissed at least a million times during the past 13 years." Then Coughlin kisses Lucy's failing heart, "a heart that had beat so well, so true, a heart that could have, in a split second, taught a legion of therapists what unconditional love is really all about." (Hyperion, $17)