The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human
As an emergency room clinician four years out of veterinary school, Dr. Vint Virga had a life-changing experience: he witnessed the power of simple human contact and compassion to affect the recovery of a dog struggling to survive after being hit by a car. Observing firsthand the remarkably strong connection between humans and animals inspired him to explore the world from the viewpoint of animals and taught him to respect the kinship that connects us.
With The Soul of All Living Creatures, Virga draws from his decades in veterinary practice to reveal how, by striving to perceive the world as animals do, we can enrich our own appreciation of life, enhance our character, nurture our relationships, improve our communication with others, reorder our values, and deepen our grasp of spirituality. Virga discerningly illuminates basic traits shared by both humans and animals and make animal behavior meaningful, relevant, and easy to understand. Insightful and eloquent, The Soul of All Living Creatures offers an intimate journey into the lives of our fellow creatures and a thought-provoking promise of what we can learn from spending time with them.
This was a beautifully written book that reminds us of the importance of animals in our lives. Virga uses anecdotes, fables, and parables to portray what he has learned about animal behavior. Each of the chapters relates a story that ties into that heading and shows how the animal and human are relating to each other and their environments. He urges us to take the time and have the presence to pay attention to all the things animals can teach us.
However, I was torn on this book. On one hand, I really enjoyed his stories of successes and appreciated his stories of losses; on the other hand, I was disappointed that Virga didn't go into more depth about specific animal behaviors and there wasn't the scientific underpinning I was looking for. I felt like Virga took some personal opinions about animals and tried to turn them into facts based on non-scientific evidence. This book definitely had more of a new age type philosophy to it. It could be arguably a self-help book that teaches us how to embrace life, grow in character and morality, and how to gain insight into what is truly valuable and precious.
But I thought this book really drove home the point of how we truly connect with animals on a deeper level then we really realize. Virga draws lots of beautiful conclusions showing what we can learn from the lives of animals. And he confirms what most pet-owners already know - animals have thoughts and feelings, souls and personalities. So while I finished this book wanting more information and more science, it is still a fascinating read for any animal lover :).
Check out the other books I've reviewed:
Dog is My Co-Pilot
When Elephants Weep
Scent of the Missing
Tell Me Where It Hurts
Little Boy Blue
Pawprints of Katrina
Hit By a Flying Wolf
What the Dog Knows
A Small Furry Prayer
The Dogs of Babel