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.
- ISBN-13: 9780226668468
- ISBN-10: 0226668460
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press
- Publish Date: September 2012
- Page Count: 263
- Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-06-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Bioethicist Pierce (coauthor of Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals) is well-positioned, both professionally and personally, to examine the way the lives of American pets end. While conceding the limits to our understanding of what animals actually experience as the end nears, Pierce makes a compelling case that the negative phrase, “to die like an animal,” needs to be turned around, to mean, instead, “a peaceful, respectful, and meaningful death.” The prism through which Pierce makes her observations is her own family’s experience with the end stages of the life of their beloved dog, Ody. Pierce alternates between entries from her journal and broader discussions of issues familiar to those caring for elderly or ill humans, such as hospice and euthanasia; shockingly, the latter is the main cause of death for cats and dogs in the U.S. The author is unflinchingly self-critical, continuing, even after having Ody put to sleep, to struggle with whether fighting harder for him toward the end would have been more for her than for him. This sensitive exploration of a topic that even many pet lovers have likely not thought enough about is likely to generate discussions about what kind of death is owed to beloved animal companions. (Oct.)