Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780358212331. $27.99. PETS
Anyone who has lost a pet knows how challenging the grief can be. It can often feel isolating, as others dismiss feelings of grief over “just an animal.” Bartels does an excellent job of making a grieving pet parent feel seen, as she explores the history of humans and pets and how domestic animals have been honored after death. She discusses grief practices worldwide, such as mummification, taxidermy, memorials, and pet cemeteries, and also looks into the psychology of why humans love their pets so much, even when they know the animals will pass on before them, thus setting themselves up for heartbreak. Those who may be sensitive to reading about the death of animals will want to have a box of tissues nearby. This fascinating information about grief is beautifully woven together with tales of Bartels’s own beloved pets and what the love and loss of those animals has taught her.
VERDICT This book validates any pet owner’s grief and provides an insightful look into many cultures and grief practices pertaining to humans and their furry (or scaly) friends from around the world.
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