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

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 27, 2012 - Nature - 263 pages
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.
 

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Contents

Final Odyssey The Ody Journal September 29 2009January 15 2010
1
Into the Open The Ody Journal March 14 2010June 3 2010
25
Old The Ody Journal June 5 2010September 4 2010
53
Paint The Ody Journal September 20 2010October 24 2010
89
Animal Hospice The Ody Journal October 25 2010November 28 2010
129
Blue Needle The Ody Journal November 29 2010December 7 2010
165
Remains The Ody Journal November 29 2011 One Year after Odys Death
203
Acknowledgments
225
Notes
227
Bibliography
239
Index
255
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

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

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