The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives

The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives

by Jessica Pierce
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The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives by Jessica Pierce

From the moment when we first open our homes—and our hearts—to a new pet, we know that one day we will have to watch this beloved animal age and die. The pain of that eventual separation is the cruel corollary to the love we share with them, and most of us deal with it by simply ignoring its inevitability.   With The Last Walk, Jessica Pierce makes a forceful case that our pets, and the love we bear them, deserve better. Drawing on the moving story of the last year of the life of her own treasured dog, Ody, she presents an in-depth exploration of the practical, medical, and moral issues that trouble pet owners confronted with the decline and death of their companion animals. Pierce combines heart-wrenching personal stories, interviews, and scientific research to consider a wide range of questions about animal aging, end-of-life care, and death. She tackles such vexing questions as whether animals are aware of death, whether they're feeling pain, and if and when euthanasia is appropriate. Given what we know and can learn, how should we best honor the lives of our pets, both while they live and after they have left us?         
The product of a lifetime of loving pets, studying philosophy, and collaborating with scientists at the forefront of the study of animal behavior and cognition, The Last Walk asks—and answers—the toughest questions pet owners face. The result is informative, moving, and consoling in equal parts; no pet lover should miss it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226922041
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 09/24/2012
Series: Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 365,271
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Jessica Pierce is a bioethicist and coauthor of Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals.

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The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Michael_C_Petty More than 1 year ago
Ms. Pierce has written an amazing book about her last year's journey with her dog Ody. As a veterinarian who has practiced for just over 32 years, I did not think there was anything new for me to learn about death, dying and euthanasia. But after reading this book, I realized how wrong I was. This book is a gut-wrenching story about the author's last year spent with her aging dog who has some severe neurological problems. The issues she bravely puts out there for all of us to read are the ones that haunt (or should haunt) any owner of a beloved pet. Don't read this if you are looking for a feel-good book. Do read this if you will some day need to contemplate the euthanasia of your own pet, and do so knowing that you will have a companion to help you struggle through your own personal decision. If I could have my way, this would be required reading at every veterinary school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My husband bought this book to help us go through end-of-life decisions for our dear cat. Rather than finding comfort in the pages of "The Last Walk", I was left in anguish and full of anger for the author's harsh criticisms for those who don't agree with her viewpoints. I wish I had never read it.  My biggest problem with this book is the author casts harsh judgments on those who choose to end an animals suffering before it gets out of hand (unlike the author who let her dog suffer needlessly for months - he had terminal cancer with severe mobility issues, defecating himself, difficulty eating/underweight, blind, deaf, in pain and obviously scared and anxious due to the fact that he spent much of his time hiding under a piano - still the author "wasn't sure" if her dog was suffering?). She accuses those who euthanize their pets to end suffering as "shoving them brusquely off a precipice". Ouch. In another chapter she alludes that those who euthanize their pets are denying their animal to have a "spiritual transition" to the afterlife (although she herself eventually chose to euthanize - this book is full of such odd contradictions). She also seems to have disdain for veterinary offices as she often describes them negatively as "smelling bad", having "cold metal tables" and even goes as far as pointing out that she wouldn't want her dog euthanized at her own vet's office because it's located "near a shabby liquor store" (simply absurd).  Bottom line: I would not suggest this book if you have an ailing animal and are trying to find answers as to when is the right time to let them go from suffering. This book will guilt you into thinking that you should hang on to your animal and prolong life for the sake of "quantity" and not quality of life (this author claims to understand what quality of life means, yet when asked to evaluate it for her own pet she missed the mark terribly). If you are an animal lover and are able to bravely put your animals needs before your own, then this book may send a shiver down your spine and leave you feeling upset, as it did for me. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got interested in this book because I have an older dog and thought it would be a good read. It's really interesting because it talks about the ethics of how dogs and all animals are treated as well as making it personal by talking about her (the author's) personal experience. Don't have to be a huge animal lover to like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago