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Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  813 ratings  ·  145 reviews
In Soul of a Dog, Izzy & Lenore,  A Good Dog, and other acclaimed works, New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz has written meaningfully about the cherished bond between humans and animals—especially our intense connection to our pets. Now, in this moving and thoughtful book, Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a devoted companion, and ...more
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Villard (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  813 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Unfortunately I needed this book. We lost our 11 year old dog 4 weeks ago today. It was unexpected and very, very hard. She was my constant companion for a long time, and I was very devoted to her. My life revolved around her, as your life does when you share it with a dog. I was reading this book, and grieving her, when our 4 year old dog had a sudden, serious injury. We lost him almost one week ago. We had adopted him two years ago. He had always had some physical difficulties due to crooked f ...more
Reader's Paradise
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Reader's by: Amazon Prime
Shelves: review
Headline: To Life & Death
Furbaby = your loving animal (cat, dog, horse etc)

Normally when I write a review I go through the details of the book, then why you should read it. This review I am going to work opposite of my norm because I want to tell potential readers why this book moved me so much.
I lost my furbaby Christmas Eve 2010, and this was the first time I have ever had a lost this close to me human or animal. I’m still dealing with my Jazzy’s (my loving Shih Tzu) death and the emotions I s
Sep 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
First, I would have liked this book better if it wasn't so canine-centric. Honestly, I probably would not have read it if that had been made clear in the description. After all, the book is subtitled "Finding Peace When Pets Die." He does talk about his farm animals, but that's about the extent of the variation from purely dog oriented stories.

I did want to like this book, but I just couldn't get past the contradictions. The author stresses that animals are not like us, that they don't fear deat
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I have lost my three cats within one to two years of each other. I got through my first cat's passing but my second cat, I took it hard. My third cat was a bit easier to deal with. I don't think I ever got over my second cat. Reading the book bought me back memories. The author is also right that even with close family, they basically will tell you to "Get over it." They don't understand the bond of a pet being your best friend and family.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has lost a pet
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Quick simple read. Had mixed feelings though throughout the entire book. Some things I disagreed with or thought was poor advice, though this is just my opinion. I don't think I would personally recommend this book to someone I knew grieving over a pet. I guess my feelings are different because my pets are children to me or family, while the author tells you your pets aren't. Just found myself disagreeing with a lot. Though parts of the book yes, I did like.
Jane Sorensen
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, and of course I found swaths of it quite likable. Learning how to live in the country, for one, requires some pragmatism and compromise with animals that city folk ought to accept. This part of the book is very human, engaging, self-depracatingly funny, too. I have no objection either to all the woo-woo life-after-death parts, because these are part of the normal grieving process, and also, being a Possibilian (if we can't disprove its possibility, and it doesn ...more
Christina Heckle
May 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really tried to finish this book. I'm having a hard time with the sudden death of my baby girl who passed from Cancer last month. I started this and the first chapter or two was great. I was very turned off when the author basically said to consider if your pet is worth the money, not if you can afford it but if it's worth it. There is nothing it wouldn't have done to save my girl. He literally sold his "beloved" cow to a butcher. Then he describes how he loaded a .22 and shot a lamb between t ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, reviewed, first-reads
I won this ARC book through Goodreads First Reads. Thank you Bdreads, Jon Katz, and Goodreads.

I decided to enter to win this one because I have a 14 year old pitbull who has been an important part of my life for a long time. She has always been a special-needs girl with lots of skin and food allergy problems but as of the last few months, her age is really starting to catch up to her. I was delighted that I was chosen as one of the winners. I plan on rereading this book when it comes time to say
It's hard to write a review with tears running down my face.

I bought 3 copies of this book a few years ago. I gave one to my friend Donna when she lost her beloved Pomeranian "Thumper" and another for my friend Kat who was at the time planning to start an animal sanctuary. The 3rd copy I kept for myself. I didn't read it but always knew it was on my shelf.

4 days ago my husband Brian and I had to make the decision to euthanize our crazy, sweet, lovable, not so pretty, Pug girl Miss Fergie (also
Teresa Appelwick
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I sat down yesterday to this book...the only book on pet loss at my very small library. It starts out nicely. If you recently suffered the loss of a pet,his dream of his dog will speak softly to you...hoping that this might be what your dog or cat might say to you in its afterlife. The stories in the beginning make you cry as you remember the love and comfort of your beloved animal, family member, best friend. However, towards the end, Katz writes a chapter on perspective...and incredibly cold c ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Animal lovers are very opinionated. That said, they don't necessarily agree among themselves as to how they should treat their pets. So whereas I agree with a lot that Mr. Katz has written in this book, there are some of his opinions and attitudes that I don't agree with.
That is not to say that this is a book to be dismissed out of hand, on the contrary, this is a book that I would recommend to any pet owner in preparation for dealing with the inevitable. I would just take some of what the autho
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
I think this book was ok for me. I think it was a bit "author centric" focused on his own situation versus looking at the areas of animal grieving in general. I do agree with the reviewer who felt it "jumped" around too much with the different type of animals and whether they were "grieving" worthy. I also felt there was a bit of judmenting in there for some animal owners who had lost pets...I don't know if this is a book I would go out there and recommend for someone who had lost a pet...
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
"By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadow of a dog. We are never here for long, or for long enough. We were never meant to share all of your life, only to mark its passages. We come and we go. We come when we are needed. We leave when it is time. Death is necessary. It defines life."

While definitely centered on dogs, this book was really comforting during a difficult week, as I made the decision to say goodbye to my fuzzy partner-in-crime. Katz tells stories of
Travis Cook
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Needed this one. Just laid my dog of fourteen years to rest, and am missing him terribly. The pain fades, and I know he is whole and hearty again, racing through the yards of the afterlife in joy. I remember him as he was, and as he always will be in my heart.
Eva Leger
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I wish I wouldn't wait so long to review my books sometimes. With some books it doesn't matter because they're just that good, luckily this is one of those.
I've read a few other books by Katz so when I spied this at the library, even though I had a decent sized stack of books I really needed to get to, I brought it home. Honesty, I don't think I noticed the sub-title because it wasn't until I started reading that I realized this is technically a self-help book. I don't "do" self-help usually. I
Saturday's Child
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most times I find a book that suits my needs or mood for reading, but on this occasion this book found me at just the right time. For me it was a cathartic read.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals, audiobooks
This was part sympathy (what I needed), part hard-to-listen to stories about Katz's previous animals deaths, and part lecture about how to treat animals. What I was hoping it would be was what the title hinted at: solace in parting with my best friend Archie, who was my best buddy for almost 13 years and who I recently put down. However, most of the chapters were either stories about his animals or readers' stories he had received through e-mail or in person.

Some of these accounts were moving a
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I thought it was a pretty bland book. I agreed with some of what he wrote about (it seemed common sense to me--to prepare, to consider the pet's quality of life before any personal needs, to talk to children about the situation); other stuff, I felt he was completely off the mark (for me, at least). I do not agree that I should only grieve for my pet through the vehicle and number of human lives he/she has touched. Thought that was nonsense. I wouldn't grieve my grandmother based on her history ...more
Candy C
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jon Katz has written a sympathy letter to all of us who have lost a beloved pet. He acknowledges his grief in losing his own animals and yet accepts that it is a natural part of their lives that must be incorporated into our loving them. "Grief follows love" ~ truer words were never spoken. If you are coming up on a tough decision, or if you have already gone through the sadness of an empty dog bed by your chair, read this book and be comforted.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
I won this book through the Goodreads Giveaways program... All in all, it was an okay book. I see the ways it can help aid the letting-go process of a loved pet, but I don't feel as though reading this book would ever change someone's grief. Some good tips/advice (nuggets of wisdom, if you will) were written, but almost forgotten as you sludge through the book. Okay book? Yes. Recommended? No.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
The title is so misleading. I just put my cat down due to sudden illness, and parts of this book made me feel much worse. I agree with others that the part about his pet bull was absolutely heart-breaking and did NOT belong in a book for others dealing with loss and grief for their beloved pets.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grief, nonfiction, animals
Read this in a little over an hour. Wept. Good stuff. Was very cathartic and comforting.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
I think this is my first review of anything, and the only reason I feel compelled to do it this time is because I don’t want anyone mourning their pet to hurt more than they already do. Reading this while vulnerable is a most isolating experience.

It would be difficult to imagine a book more unhelpful. It is selfish and small-minded. It rationalizes every egocentric, questionable decision, within two pages advocates adopting from a shelter but then discusses taking a friend to a breeder, states t
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Helpful in the grieving process of my pet.
Judith Hollister
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is grieving the loss of a dear pet.
Recommended to Judith by: a good friend
This book gave me insight to my grief when my dearest pet dog passed. It helped me to understand that my grief was normal and I would recover ,remembering all the wonderful things I loved about my dearest friend.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
A lot about deciding when to let a beloved pet get further medical treatment or let them go. An okay read mainly one persons opinion. Beloved farm animals who give joy seem to be just sent off to a slaughter house when they become big and no longer a pet in a sense, and at times they became a dinner for the owner. Kind of a turn off.
Kate Briquelet
Jan 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Found this short book while browsing at a New Age bookstore in Woodstock and thought I'd give it a try. The only good things about buying this $16 paperback: 1) I supported a local business. 2) No matter how much grief I feel over the loss of my dog, at least I'm not this guy!

It's just hard to relate to a corporate media hand-turned-amateur farmer who BUYS dogs from breeders. He discusses putting one of his border collies, Orson, to sleep for behaviorial issues. He also described sending his cud
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A couple of years ago I read "Saving Simon" by this author and enjoyed it immensely. So, a week or so ago when I was strolling thru the library to pick up my on-hold books I happened to see this on a display and picked it up - a serendipitous find because on April 21 of this year I lost my precious old bulldog Emmet. Katz is a practical man but he also understands what it means to love an animal (especially dogs) and the hole they leave in the lives of their people who are left behind. I think K ...more
Brigette Peterson
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I chose this book because we had lost our 16 year old golden retriever mix Jasmine 8 months ago and I found myself really grieving over her loss. The smallest things would bring me to tears. It was so refreshing to read that I was reacting like so many other people react. That the feelings I was having were "normal" and I wasn't over doing it in some way. When we lose a pet I think we expect to "get over it" a lot faster or easier than losing a family member... but in my life our pets are our fa ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Jon Katz has written a simple yet wise book about grieving the loss of a pet. It covers a range of situations of loss that pet owners might find themselves in offering suggestions on how to deal with them based on Katz's own experience. He also provides many examples from others who have shared their experiences with him. He talks about letting go of guilt. He gently suggests how to talk to a child about the loss of a beloved pet and respecting their right to grieve as well. For fans of Mr. Katz ...more
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All About Animals: Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die by Jon Katz 7 10 Oct 06, 2014 07:35AM  

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Jon Katz is an author, photographer, and children's book writer. He lives on Bedlam Farm with his wife, the artist Maria Wulf, his four dogs, Rose, Izzy, Lenore and Frieda, two donkeys, Lulu and Fanny, and two barn cats. His next book, "Rose In A Storm" will be published by Random House on October 5.
He is working on a collection of short stories and a book on animal grieving.

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