There are two stories here. The reader’s experience – mine – and the behind-the-scenes marketing story – this belongs to Jon Katz. If you’re following what’s happening in the publishing world, and you read his blog, you know how he pre-sold Going Home – Finding Peace When Pets Die.
If you read MY blog, you know that I was one of the almost 500 of Katz’s fans who supported his marketing efforts and pre-ordered his latest book from Battenkill Books, instead of ordering it through Amazon.
I haven’t quite decided if this is going to be a post about the book itself or the way in which Jon Katz decided to get the word out to his readers about this book. Both are equally fascinating to me.
Or, maybe this will be about something else.
I paired Going Home with Soul of a Dog – Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm after reading the former and deciding that stylistically, I was more drawn to the latter.
These two books belong together – at least that’s my thought – and if you’re new to Jon Katz and wrestling with your own grief about the death of your pet, you’ll want to read Going Home before you read Soul of a Dog.
Do read both.
As I read Going Home, I became profoundly grateful for the support I got from my friends each and every time I wrestled with the pending death of one of my pets. Women talk with each other – and we certainly did that. We were dog lovers, vet techs, dog groomers, dog obedience enthusiasts, dog breeders and many of us were actively involved in animal rescue.
We were intimately connected through our shared experiences and when one of us had to consider euthanasia for one of our dogs, we shared that experience too.
Some of my grief was private and some of it was public. During the 7 years that I was actively involved with ex-racing greyhound adoption, my family lost three hounds to bone cancer, the first two within five months of each other.
Because we were so visible in the community, hundreds of people knew our first greyhound, Commanche. That dog was the Lassie-standard for the adoption program and from the first step of his final journey – the cancer diagnosis – we walked that path with an attentive audience.
There are no easy answers. Nor is there a right or a wrong way to handle the death of a pet.
As I follow the daily up-dates on Jon Katz’s blog, what strikes me is that there are a lot of people drowning in grief, not knowing how to process their grief so that they can move on. And, as with everything we do in this lifetime, there is always choice. Some people may decide not to move on.
I hope that’s not true.
There are other people who are grasping eagerly for Katz’s book, hearing his message and choosing to start that healing process. For first-time dog owners, Katz provides a lot of objective information for this final stage of pet ownership.
He continues to be a good story-teller. Woven into the practical information he provides are stories of how Katz and other pet lovers have handled their own grief before finding themselves on the other side of healing.
Think of it this way: if home is what you carry in your heart, instead of the place where you live, you can never really lose what you’ve always had.
The power of Going Home is that it opens the door for many conversations about loss and healing. Welcome that.